This Room Is Me!

The Opus Hotel is hip, sophisticated and full of personality

By: Maryann Hammers

My room at The Opus Hotel in Vancouver was painted a deep blue that in certain lights took on a purple hue. It was a bold choice, especially when contrasted with the rose-red chaise. But when I peeked into my neighbors’ rooms with walls of electric lime and deep burgundy, I decided that my blue room wasn’t so startling, after all.

“We aren’t shy about color here,” admits general manager, Daniel Craig, who explained that I was in the “Susan room.”

Susan is a 30-something Toronto fashionista. She’s sexy, hip, high-end and totally fictional, existing only as a concept. But her sophisticated sense of style permeates the space.

Other rooms are named for other equally fashionable and equally fabricated guests. There’s Billy the London partyboy/rocker/filmmaker, who inhabits the electric-green room. Bob and Carol are the tony and traditional San Francisco yuppy couple. Their cozy, conservative room is yellow. Mike the gay New York doctor has a “modern and minimalist” style, while Dede the L.A. drama queen’s room resembles a trendy beach bungalow, decorated with a funky mix of faux fur and sensual leopard-skin coverings. Each room takes on its character’s personality, from books on the nightstand to CD collections.

Craig explained that the hotel’s 96 rooms have been designed around distinct personalities who resemble typical Opus guests that is, cool, creative and self-confident. The hotel takes the make-believe personas a step further, with its new “lifestyle concierge” program. Guests decide which character most resembles them, and appropriate activities, restaurants, and nightlife are accordingly recommended from spas (for stylish Susan types) to nudist beaches (for free-spirited Billy), gay lounges and nightclubs (if you’re like Mike), the best boutiques (Dede shops here) and live jazz (Bob and Carol’s choice).

The concept kooky as it seems works well at The Opus. The only modern boutique hotel in trendy Yaletown, it’s known as a sleek, sexy and nontraditional hotspot, from its “see and be seen” bar, which is packed late at night with a young, attractive crowd; to its mood-setting elevator with red or turquoise overhead lights and glittering fabric behind glass walls; to its penthouse corner suites, which are more often than not booked by celebrities.

Even the hotel’s smaller rooms boast luxe, yet hip, features. Some have fireplaces; others open to private courtyards. Bathrooms are stocked with yummy L’Occitane products, plus a personal canister of Oxia Oxygen, in case you need a quick hit. A clear glass wall separates the scrumptious fluffy bed from the deep-soaking tub with ceiling rain-shower heads. The demure can draw the curtains, but somehow I think it’s doubtful that many guests at the Opus are overly demure.

Room rates range from $239-$499, 10 percent commission. 866-642-6787;


Here’s a fun way to get acquainted with BC’s finest and freshest foods.

The Opus Hotel’s two-night Epicurean Experience includes a three-hour culinary tour in and around Yaletown and the nearby Granville Island Market. The hotel’s personable and talented executive chef, Don Letendre, helps guests choose their dinner ingredients, from artisan cheese to chanterelle mushrooms and BC wines. That night, Letendre whips up a four-course feast at the hotel’s French brasserie-style Elixir restaurant.

The tour’s first stop is likely to be Les Amis du Fromage on West 2nd Avenue. The spectacularly stocked (but overwhelmingly pungent) shop carries up to 500 different kinds of cheese from Quebec, France, Italy, Spain, England, Ireland and Portugal, as well as gourmet items such as chianti vinegar and white truffle carpaccio.

Next door there’s the irresistible Patisserie Lebeau, a bakery that sells fresh-baked, fist-sized Belgium Waffles topped with everything from cranberries to mangoes.

Barbara-jos Books to Cooks, also on 2nd Avenue, boasts an inventory of 30,000 titles, ranging from memoirs, to history to health all with food as the main subject.

Letendre then leads the way to Granville Island Market, where hundreds of vendors hawk produce, baked goods, organic coffee, tea, ethnic foods, sweets and more in a colorful, chaotic setting. The tour winds its way through the market’s stalls and stands, culminating at Edible BC, a store that sells the province’s best, from Okanagan wines to Fraser Valley cheeses.

Then it’s back to The Opus via water taxi and time to get ready for dinner.

Price for the Epicurean Experience starts at $479, including two-night stay, three-hour tour, and four-course dinner. Commission is 10 percent.

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