In praise of old and new

By Kylie MacKenzie

A downtown landmark in the former home of the original Vancouver Stock Exchange, the recently opened 32-storey EXchange Hotel is the city’s first LEED Platinum Heritage conversion.

Check-in takes place at the private second-floor reception, with an elegant living-room-style salon with Ann Sacks marble floor inlay complemented with crystal, brass Moorish-designed Il Pezzo wall sconces and original art pieces. The Italianate lobby ceiling has been fully restored, along with the rest of the original marble-clad Howe Street lobby, and there is a marvellous new glass tower with a unique “pinstripe” design that soars 350 feet skywards through the middle of the old building façade. We can even see where the original open trading floor came to life each morning. No loss of grandeur here!

Throughout the hotel, the architects and designers have taken great pains to conserve the best of the old structure while paving the way for new standards of sustainability, energy conservation and healthy living with their use of enviro-friendly paint, wall finishes and flooring, LED lighting, geothermal heat exchange and water-saving systems.

All rooms feature custom murals, inlaid herringbone-designed hardwood floors and scrumptious marble bathrooms with heated floors. The trophy suite, simply referred to as “the patio,” overlooks an enclosed private rooftop court with illuminated greenery walls that can be seen through 40 linear feet of window wall.

Hydra Estiatorio Mediterranean—a happening bar and restaurant named after the magical Greek island—operates under Chef Mark Greenfield’s culinary direction (he hails from Black+Blue Steakhouse and Coast). The 110-seat restaurant is already well known for its great service and Mediterranean favourites such as grilled sea bass with roast lemon and sea salt, or carved spit-roasted oregano lamb drizzled with fresh olive oil. The Hydra Café coffee bar on the heritage-lobby level is modelled after The Philosophers Library in Greece, with local woodcraft shelves and wood-slab books created by a local millworker.

Luxurious, convenient, comfortable and eco-friendly, with service that made use smile. What more could we need during our stay in Vancouver?

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