Courtesy Hotel Georgia’s Hawksworth Restaurant.
What’s old is new again! The Hotel Georgia was the toast of Vancouver, BC, when it opened in 1927, and it held that premier position for decades—attracting the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Elvis Presley and British royals. But after nearly a century of stays and celebrations, the hotel’s worn decor began to belie its storied past. That is, until Rosewood Hotels and Resorts stepped in to give the property a multimillion-dollar renovation and reopened it in July as the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.
Today the property is a study in modern elegance. The grand lobby features several striking Czech crystal chandeliers, among 110 on-site. More than 200 pieces of Canadian art are on view throughout the property, as well as three fine displays of British art—two pieces in the lobby by Patrick Hughes and, notably, a limited-edition Damien Hirst print of Big Love with Diamond Dust. The Canadian pride extends to the spa, where treatments such as the Vancouver Signature Sensation employ products sourced from native ingredients like glacial clay. The guest rooms solve every historic property’s small-space riddle through inspired furniture arrangements, hidden outlets and a dual purpose television/computer flatscreen.
Most remarkable of all is David Hawks¬worth’s eponymous restaurant. The native Vancouverite has designed a menu that’s a la minute and elegant, but not at all fussy. The surprising seasonal options include a Bartlett pear salad with extraordinary imported burrata and an outrageous chestnut and black truffle agnolotti. For his dream venture, Hawksworth recruited a crack team of collaborators. Sommelier Terry Threlfall of London’s Chez Bruce guides guests through an extensive and—encased in glass as it is—attractive cellar. If you’re in the mood to drink Canadian, Threlfall may suggest Riesling from Sterling Vineyards and Poplar Grove to bookend Le Vieux Pin’s Roussanne/Viognier blend or a Foxtrot Vineyards’ Pinot Noir. If you’ve never heard of these winemakers, never fear: The sommelier offers a quick primer in Canadian wine.
In a town that often catches flak for its lackluster nightlife (two words: “hockey bars”), bar manager Brad Stanton’s tasty cocktail menu is a welcome revelation. For the hotel’s signature cocktail, Stanton paged through Ted Saucier’s seminal 1951 book, Bottoms Up, and found a recipe for the Hotel Georgia Cocktail. Apparently Saucier had traveled to Vancouver! The barman adjusted the recipe’s proportions and kept the egg white topper to create a smooth, timeless cocktail served in a coupe Champagne glass. Sipping it, then or now, there’s only one place you could be.
The Hotel Georgia Cocktail
1¾ oz. Plymouth gin
¾ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. orgeat
6 drops orange blossom water
1 egg white
Beginning with the egg, combine all ingredients (except nutmeg) and shake. Add ice, shake again. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Dust with nutmeg.
801 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, BC; rosewoodhotelgeorgia.com.