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Friday, February 22, 2013

Checking In: The Opus Hotel - Vancouver

When I was deciding on a Vancouver hotel for my visit last month, I wasn't really sure where I wanted to be. Luckily, I came across the very hip and boutique Opus Hotel located in Vancouver's trendy Yaletown. Think W Hotel with a smaller and trendier twist.

Yaletown is similar to SoHo or Queen West in Toronto in terms of vibe with lots of small boutiques, galleries, bars and restaurants situated inside old converted warehouses which are all at the doorstep of the hotel. The Ferry to Granville Island Market is located right at the foot of Davie Street, so popping over for a coffee, lunch or a snack with a water tour for only $4.50 one way is a real treat. The location of Opus really can't be beat - you are at the heart of this gorgeous city.

Our Deluxe King Room was a welcomed change from the usual 'blah' hotel beige. We were greeted by a bold purple suite with a sofa to lounge on and a desk equipped with an ergonomic chair to log our blog posts from. I couldn't get enough of the heated tile floors, deep soaker tub and glass shower stall. The room was also equipped with two iPhone docking stations and a sweet Sharp Aquos flatscreen LCD TV. The docking stations are so key - I can't think of the number of times I've either A) forgotten my charger or B) have it buried somewhere in the bottom of my suitcase.

The Opus Hotel features 96 guestrooms, plush spa bathrobes, luxurious L'Occitane toiletries and an iPad in every room! Which was great for doing quick look-ups, especially if you don't travel with your laptop while on vacation. Other amenities include a BMW car service, a 24 hour fitness room and complimentary mountain bikes and cruisers. Overall, I was really impressed by how spacious and functional our room was. I had ample space to even do yoga every morning before hitting the town for the day. The suite felt more like a cozy condo then a cold, sterile hotel room. Which actually counts for a lot when you travel for a living or are staying at the Opus on business. 

La Pentola is the anchor restaurant at the Opus Hotel and features Northern Italian cuisine. When I sat down and scanned the large menu, there were over 15 things I wanted to eat. My husband and I narrowed it down to about five (this was hard) and shared everything family-style, which many of the diners around seemed to also be doing. Maybe they wanted one of everything also? 

To start, the Fritto Misto ($13) came in a whimsical bucket with pieces of fried calamari mixed-in with julienned fried carrots, zucchini and fennel. It was actually a nice change to have the vegetables in there and not just the straight-up calamari. The batter was light and not overbearing that you could still appreciate the taste and texture of the squid and vegetables.

For our starters we chose ths signature Porchetta Tortellini with sage butter ($13, bottom right) with tender shredded pork wrapped in a delicate homemade pasta. The sage butter sauce let the dish be simple and the flavours really stood out. The porchetta was not salty at all and I thought this dish was very original. You often get a porchetta sandwich, but I have never eaten porchetta pasta. The Polenta Gnocchi with cheese fonduta and sauteed mushrooms ($13, top left) was very creamy and the pasta was cooked perfectly. I enjoyed the mix of mushrooms on top. The pasta at La Pentola is simple, but simple equals delicious - they don't try to cram in five different vegetables and a meat sauce to distract you.
For our side, I ordered the Kale Tortino ($7) with no idea what to expect. I was hoping for more of a fluffy side of steamed kale. Though this dish was inventive, I would probably not order it again and would opt for a side of broccoli rabe instead. The Flat Iron Steak with arugula, balsamic, parmigiano and pine nuts ($28, bottom left) was wonderful and I highly recommend it.
The hotel has won multiple awards and made lists for 'Trendiest Hotels in the World' (Tripadvisor, 2012), Top 500 in the World (Travel + Leisure, 2010) and Readers' Choice + Best Business Travel (Conde Nast Traveller, 2011). It's easy to see why. The boutique style, location, walkability and service can't be beat. I would definitely stay here again. 

The Opus Hotel - Yaletown, Vancouver
322 Davie Street 
(604) 642-6780





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