Sometimes, it’s just nice to escape from the city without having to pack, get into the car, and head off in another direction. I recently took an afternoon to enjoy a getaway right in the heart of Coal Harbour, at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.
ORU, located on the second floor of the Fairmont Pacific Rim, is home to locally sourced, organic, and Ocean Wise seafood dishes prepared by Executive Chef Darren Brown and his culinary team. Brown has forged many relationships with local farmers, who provide the freshest, hormone-free meats and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables to his kitchen.
Menus are focused on the Pacific Northwest, and also include dishes that cater to gluten-free, raw, macrobiotic, low fat, vegetarian, vegan, low carb, diabetic, DASH/Heart Healthy, and Mediterranean dietary concerns. A raw bar completes the picture.
Our table started with a dozen incredibly fresh Sawmill Bay oysters on the half shell from Read Island, plus mignonette, horseradish, and other accompaniments.
The newly created spa menu works in lighter, healthy dishes to compliment an afternoon at the Willow Stream Spa. Look for ORU’s signature salad, North Arm Farms’ beet salad, a vegan corn chowder, tuna tataki salad, sushi and sashimi, along with seasonal fruits, smoothies, yogurt parfaits, etc. All dishes are nutritionally balanced and use locally sourced, fresh products.
For this visit, I chose the poached lobster salad ($34), a heavenly concoction of poached lobster, Israeli couscous, oven-dried pineapple, heart of palm, and cilantro.
A lemon tart arrived at the end of our meal, a brand new item on the dessert menu, created by pastry chef JJ, a former member of the Fairmont Lake Louise pastry team. It’s featured on ORU’s Dine Out Vancouver $38 prix-fixe menu. Don’t miss this gorgeous little tart when you visit!
This delectable finish to our lunch has a lightly sweet crust, vanilla honey syrup, meringue bits, and a thin slice of candied lemon.
Arrival at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Willow Stream Spa is comparable to an out-of-town retreat.
Relaxing classical music fills the front desk area, spa boutique, changing room, and lounges (there’s separate men’s, women’s, and co-ed spaces) while you get ready for treatments or simply an afternoon of enjoyment in the outdoor jacuzzis, infrared sauna, steam room, or Experience Shower with its 20 jets of water that relax, rejuvenate, de-stress, revitalize, or stimulate your system, depending on your mood.
Willow Stream is a branded spa environment that as of this writing is home at 20 of Fairmont’s properties around the world. Each Willow Stream Spa features its own locally inspired treatments.
[Photo courtesy of Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel]
The spa boasts gorgeous views of downtown and the coastal mountains, while an outdoor (seasonal) terrace contains an urban oasis with meditation pod seats and lounge chairs.
[Photo courtesy of Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel]
From body wraps and facials to signature treatments, massages, salon services, nail and makeup sessions, there’s something for everyone here. I chose one of Willow Stream’s signature treatments, the Coastal Mountain Body Wrap, a 60 minute deeply relaxing experience that aims to nourish dry wintery skin using maple butter, cocoa and shea butter, followed by a massage with maple lotion.
Fiorella Fabiano is an amazing masseuse in that she’s gentle, knows exactly when to ask about your comfort level and massage pressure, plus her hands work magic into the skin. She started off with a head, neck and shoulder massage, using aromatherapy oils from Kerstin Florian. All products are organic and meant to work into the skin, naturally moisturizing areas that could use a bit of a refresh during winter’s colder days.
The cocoa and shea butter was then worked into my skin, with layers of wrap and cloths cocooning me into a warm, pleasant state of non-being. Once the butter had some time to soak in, a quick rinse off brought me back to the massage table where Fiorella started to massage the maple lotion into my limbs.
By this time, my eyelids were long dropping, but no matter, a lavender eye pillow is placed over the eyes to further relax the body. All my cares just melted away during the hour, and once home, my skin held onto the softness for several hours.
If lunch and an afternoon at the Willow Stream Spa sound appealing to you, you’re in luck. I’m giving away lunch at ORU (a main course from the new spa menu), plus one of the three treatments below (your choice). This includes entry to the spa with access to the steam room, infrared sauna, outdoor jacuzzi, Experience Shower, lounge, and lots of relax time to enjoy the view to one lucky reader.
The Great Canadian Facial—60 minutes
This treatment begins by bathing your skin in BC glacial water, followed by a customized peel, a hydrating mask of Saskatchewan clay, and a maple-infused facial massage.
Coastal Mountain Body Wrap—60 minutes
Nourish dry skin and release tension with a warm wrap using maple butter, cocoa and shea butter, followed by a massage with maple lotion. As soothing to the body as Vancouver’s coastal mountains are to the soul.
Stress Relief—60 minutes
A Willow Stream signature massage
The ultimate customized, medium-pressure massage, designed for the sole purpose of stress relief. Focuses on all main tension points: head, neck, shoulders and back. Your feet are massaged with a blend of rosemary, pine and menthol essential oils, then cocooned in warm aromatherapy booties.
To enter, 1) follow both @arianecdesign and @FairmontPacific, and 2) either leave a comment below stating your ideal getaway close to home, or RT the following:
I’ve entered to win a spa lunch and treatment from @arianecdesign and @FairmontPacific http://ow.ly/gWM7s
I’ll draw a winner at random on Thursday, February 14 at 1 pm. Congrats to Jeanelle, you’ve won the package! Happy Valentine’s Day.