a trip to ids vancouver + our favorites city finds.
A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to check out IDS Vancouver 2017 and stay at the luxurious Fairmont Pacific Rim. today, we’re sharing the whole experience with you–along with some of our favorite places we discovered in the city. If you’re not familiar, IDS Vancouver is an interactive design show, now in its 14th year, that connects industry creatives to design-savvy enthusiasts and the public through an immersive 4-day event. it’s basically a design-lover’s dreamland and such a unique way to experience the work of designers from not only the pacific northwest but all over the world.
and outside of the IDS show, we were busy living our best life at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Located in the heart of Coal Harbour, this hotel is all about design. From the stunning decor both in the hotel and dining venues like Botanist (we seriously want to live inside of this restaurant. more on this spot below!), to the high tech guest rooms (there was a tv inside the bathroom mirror just begging us to have a bubble bath/netflix and chill sesh), everything is so perfectly put together.
We stayed in a Fairmont Gold Owner’s Suite, which includes a swanky sitting room with a record player and the perfect assortment of classic vinyl. as well as, one of the most comfortable beds that we’ve ever slept in, a walk-in closet, and not one, but two gorgeous bathrooms, and breathtaking views of the marina to boot! we also got the chance to check out the hotel’s spa, Willow Stream, and it did not disappoint. The massage was amazing and left us feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. fun fact, if you book a spa service, you get access to the rest of the spa’s amenities as well, which includes a gym, steam room, outdoor hot tubs, and a sauna. we recommend taking your time and making a whole morning out of it.
back at the IDS main event, we loved seeing so many different products in one place, like the Intro/LA exhibit featuring some of our hometown favorites and the HAY pop up shop by Inform Interiors, featuring some of the most playfully-designed home accessories we’ve seen in a while. our favorite exhibit was entitled clay & glaze and highlighted contemporary ceramics at its best, but the keynote speakers, which included Jaime Hayron, Matteo Cibic, Camille Walala (above), and Kate Arends, were definitely another highlight. hearing about their personal experiences and the projects that led to their success was so inspiring! though we were equally inspired by the off-site experiences, a new addition to the show this year, which took us inside several local designer’s studios to hear about their unique process and perspective and explore the spaces where they work.
and after the show it was back to the Fairmont — if this hotel were a cake, Botanist, and its glorious bar, garden, dining room and champagne lounge, is the icing! every aspect of this dreamy restaurant is inspired by the beautiful principals of botany and besides being a feast for the eyes, the food is among the best we’ve ever experienced. between the menu, the live music, and the mind-blowing signature cocktails, the likes of which we have never seen or tasted before (see below), we basically floated back up to our room on cloud nine.
until we’re able to visit this magical place again, we’ll be following along on botanist’s instagram. honestly, the only downside to staying at a hotel this nice is that we never wanted to leave. And why would we? especially when our room came with access to Fairmont gold services that includes access to a lounge serving up breakfast daily and free snacks around the clock. once we did manage to tear ourselves away though, we took advantage of the hotel’s free BMW bike rental service for a ride around the world-renowned Stanley Park Seawall. it only took a little over an hour and it was definitely worth every minute. Beyond all of this, these are a few of our other favorite Vancouver eating/drinking/shopping spots that we discovered during our stay:
the found & the freed — this adorable antique shop (above) had a booth in the district marketplace at IDS and after seeing their selection of vintage finds, we highly recommend checking out their shop. Think: vintage chairs, signs, mirrors, globes, wall maps, lamps, quirky potted plants, and according to their instagram, cute shop dogs to pet, too.
much & little — a thoughtfully curated shop located in Vancouver’s mount pleasant neighborhood. the store has two sides, one filled with women’s clothing and accessories, and the other with home decor and gift items. the focus here is on local and fair trade artisans and independent designers.
Block — this shop was a tad pricey but had really, really lovely men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. their shoe selection is a definite highlight, as is the built-in wood shelving unit it’s so beautifully displayed on.
49th Parallel Roasters — come for the doughnuts, stay for the coffee. this place was busy when we popped in but it wasn’t hard to see why. everything looked delicious and while there’s no shortage of coffee and doughnut shops in Vancouver, this seems like a local favorite. Other coffee shops we recommend: Matchstick, Gene, Revolver, Nelson the Seagull.
the main exchange — a curated contemporary consignment shop where you can find a unique winter coat, a perfectly worn-in pair of vintage boots or on-trend hat or bag. vancouver is chock full of consignment shops and this one is small but mighty so it’s at the top of our list.
the cross — we didn’t make it to Yaletown to see this store in person, but it seems like a favorite in the area for picking up a yummy smelling candle or splurging on something new for your home. judging from their instagram, they also carry lots of tabletop decor for holidays and other hosting needs.
the good spirit — this is described as a “metaphysical supply store”, so we weren’t sure what to expect, but it’s an adorable plant-filled space where they sell beautiful tarot decks, books, crystals and other wonderful spiritual wares. they also host workshops and offer readings in their tarot studio that can be booked online in 10, 20 or 30-minute sessions.
frank & oak — think: hair salon slash apothecary slash clothing store. we wanted every cozy knit piece we tried on, especially in pink. stop in for affordable men’s and women’s basics.
old faithful shop— this was probably our favorite store we visited, though they also had products on display at IDS, as well. the shop is located in Gastown, and between the friendly staff and the dreamy merchandise, we were in heaven. they had an excellent selection of decor books and magazines, clay pots, home decor, accessories, lighting, and lots and lots of cute gift items. the shop is so beautifully curated with each item adding something unique to the mix. definitely a neighborhood gem.
the cascade room — we popped in here to give our feet a break and enjoy some happy hour cocktails. the whiskey smash was delicious.
the diamond — talk about a perfect date-night spot! located in a charming little square of gastown, this cozy restaurant and bar is located on the top floor of a charming brick building (look for the neon diamond sign) with tall windows that wrap around the room and lovely green foliage spilling over them from outside. the wall sconces and tiny table lamps give the room an intimate glow, and the tall cafe tables are all pretty close together, so the whole place has a “one-big-happy-family” kind of vibe to it.
revel room — a quirky little jazz bar in gastown. we actually ended up here after trying to get into Guilt & Co, which was recommended to us by the hotel concierges, but since there was a line there we decided to follow the sound of jazz music to the nearby revel room for a nightcap. the band consisted of two older gentlemen and they were later joined by a female singer whose voice was reminiscent of amy winehouse, which was fun. we sat upstairs and even though we couldn’t see the show, it sounded great and the rhubarb gin our server suggested was the perfect end to the night.
tacofino — proof that you can take the girl out of l.a. but she’ll still crave tacos. this west coast inspired spot caught our eye mid-day, so we stopped in for a snack. the space is open and modern with big, roomy booths, but we parked ourselves at the bar to save time. we ordered a crispy chicken taco (it was massive, and delicious, and we were so glad we split it as a snack!) and some chips and salsa to share. we washed everything down with two blood orange margaritas, and they were divine!
Bird on a wire Creations — we picked up a couple handmade gifts for friends back home here. the baby and kids section is particularly adorable but they also have a killer paper goods selection with some really lovely postcards and greeting cards made by local, independent designers.
Baker’s Dozen Antiques — one of the cooler antique shops we’ve visited but like most antique shops, this place is packed with merchandise. the good news? everything is relatively sorted into categories, so it makes hunting for something specific a bit easier. we enjoyed chatting with the shop owners and perusing the winding aisles of treasures and oddities (e.g. a glass case filled with slightly creepy vintage stuffed animals).
Umeboshi — this chic shop carried shoes and handbags and had the most delightful decor. the shop girl was lovely and we were drooling over the fall boots and block heels in both leather and velvet.
fable diner — this is an adorable modern day diner located in mount pleasant’s historic lee building, which has been home to a diner since 1949. this place is shiny and new but you can feel the history here and the menu is filled with deliciously updated classics.
the narrow lounge — a literal hole in the wall if there ever was one. this place has a red light outside instead of a sign. and like the name suggests, it’s quite narrow but if you walk all the way to the back you’ll find a kitschy little patio area that I imagine gets pretty full in the summer months. overall this place is a dive, but if you’re looking for a dark spot to grab a drink with a friend while listening to the bartender’s picks on vinyl, you found your spot.
Burdock & Co — this restaurant has a chic, modern look. we didn’t dine here, but we wish we had. it’s definitely on our list to try next time!
neighbor — this high-end men’s shop is so beautifully curated. if we’re being honest though, it was their collection of shop plants in the window that brought us inside. the shop is located in an adorable little alley along with MeeT in Gastown, a cute vegetarian restaurant + craft cocktail bar.
Le march st george — a small general store and café located in a residential neighborhood near mount pleasant. it’s first come first serve, and will probably be quite busy (there are only 16 seats) no matter what time of day you stop by.
the soap dispensary — this is such a cool store and a minimalist’s dream! come here for any kind of vessel or jar you can dream of and get them filled (and re-filled) with various soaps, cleaners, oils, honey, spices, salts, herbs, and more. made us wish l.a. had something similar.
dandelion records & emporium — adorable record shop with a nice selection of vinyl, a friendly, knowledgeable staff and an array of lovely gift items for sale, as well.
Litchfield Shop — we were so bummed when we realized we didn’t have time to make it to this lovely shop but it was recommended by a few different people so we’re including it. next time!
Inform Interiors — this is the gorgeous store behind the HAY pop-up shop at IDS, which had the most adorable toothbrushes we’ve ever seen in various solid colors (even the bristles!). besides their online store, they also have two local showrooms where they feature a highly curated selection of the world’s best furniture, lighting and accessories.
This is a sponsored post in travel trade partnership with IDS Vancouver 2017 and all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep sfgirlbybay going with fresh content every day.