Thursday, 4 January 2018

Vancouver's Latest Leisure Complex

On the sixth floor is a shallow pond and the steak house Victor
This evening we checked out the new casino complex in downtown Vancouver called Parq Vancouver, right next to BC Place Stadium.

Inside there are two floors of casinos and walk around and they're practically all Asian gamblers -- it's like walking around any casino in Macau except the dealers speak English. It was a surreal experience.

The 25-foot replica of a Douglas fir cut up intricately
There aren't one, but two hotels, JW Marriott and Douglas, an Autograph Collection Hotel. We checked out the lobby of the latter which features a reception desk that is a 25-foot replica of a Douglas fir log that's been intricately sliced up and lit from within and encased in glass. Pretty cool, until I found out it's a replica.

To the right of the reception desk is D6, a nice space for a lounge to enjoy drinks, complete with a billiard table and modern fireplace.

On the left is an outdoor space that looks into some people's condos across the street -- and they don't seem to mind -- and on the other side an up close view of BC Place in its LED glory. Tonight the fog had set in, so at first we felt like there was a canopy roof over us!

Past the outdoor space that includes a kind of shallow pond with lights is Victor, a steakhouse that also serves seafood and sushi. I've been told the Tomahawk steak at CAD$150 feeds six people. The restaurant also has a not-too-fussy vibe with lots of wood, and booth seating with green leather.

The hotel also boasts a ginormous ballroom at 15,604 square feet that holds 1,000 guests -- finally a venue for mega weddings, serving either Western or Chinese cuisines.

The interior of 1886, the fine-dining Chinese restaurant
On the third floor is 1886, a fine-dining Chinese restaurant that goes head-to-head with Mott 32 Vancouver. The latter has a more elaborate interior design, whereas 1886 -- the date Chinatown was established in Vancouver -- is more restrained but elegant with high ceilings and circular booth seating for smaller groups.

The opposite side of the room has several private rooms that can open up into one long one. One room was particularly boisterous the evening we went with mainland Chinese diners imbibing lots of alcohol with their dinner.

We were told by the manager the restaurant has been open for three months and is clearly meant to cater the gambling crowd as it's only steps away from the tables.

While this might be considered clever and convenient, the restaurant's location misses out on a huge segment of potential diners -- families. Only adults 19 years old and over can enter the casino area, hence 1886 is an adults-only restaurant.

In some ways this is good for customers who want a relatively quiet meal, but in terms of revenues, it's missing out on families who want to dine on dim sum with their children, or have Sunday night meals together.

Nevertheless, the food is pretty good overall and will raise the standards of Chinese cuisine in the city.

Parq Vancouver
39 Smithe Street
Tel: 604 683 7277

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