SO this one time, I LIVED IN A HOTEL FOR A MONTH...

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It all started when...

I was scrolling through Facebook and I noticed a few people tagged me in a post telling me that I was perfect for a contest that just launched for a swanky new hotel in Vancouver.

A nationwide call went out to find a Storyteller in Residence to live at The Douglas for 30 days and document their experience on social media. 

Naturally, I dropped everything I was doing in the moment and spent a couple of hours working on the application. Fast forward a few weeks and a some interviews, and I found out that I had been selected.

*pinch me*

So here we are: a couple weeks into living the absolute dream. I'm starting to share mini stories as I experience the hotel any everything in and around it.

Read more about the contest here, or keep scrolling for mini updates on my experiences.

- A

 

 
 
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in no particular order

I thought about a million ways that I could share my stories - but what it really just came down to was the idea of moments. 
I'm finding that as I take on more and more, my days start to morph into episodes where I have no sense of time...yet I still can remember perfect moments like they were yesterday.

So here you go. In no particular order, here is my word vomit of the perfect little moments and stories from my stay with The Douglas as they opened their doors to the city of Vancouver and set the new standard of hotel living.

#DOUGLASstoryteller

 
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getting settled

Synergy.

The interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements and contributions.

Last week was my first taste of @thedouglas_van and the next 20 days. My senses are overwhelmed with greatness and the one word that comes to mind is synergy. The energy, people, architecture, design, smells and tastes that come together created a perfect night that exceeded my expectations.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I’ll have photos and stories starting to roll out next week as I’ll start to feature experiences both in the hotel and around the city… but if you’re in Vancouver and looking for a new experience this weekend, I highly recommend popping in to create some memories over a drink or meal with good company and conversation.

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just breathe

One thing that this photo can't capture is the smell of the lobby. As soon as I stepped foot out of the elevator, I caught myself taking deep breaths with a smile on my face as I floated towards the front desk. A little detail goes a long way.

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Do it for the gram

If this isn't the most Instagrammed elevator in Vancouver, I don't know what is.  I'm mesmerized every time I step foot into it.

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it's the little things

Have you ever gone somewhere and taken a moment to say “wow, whoever created this did such a good job”? I’m sure there are a few experiences you’ve had that come to mind.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

With The Douglas, it’s one of the few places I’ve been where it extends so far beyond that. It’s a place where it’s obvious that a job well done doesn’t cut it. It’s a place where going those few extra steps makes you stop and think “wow, they’ve got something special going on here”.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Speaking of extra steps, I had a chance to head over to the Yaletown Distillery to have a tour of the facility that makes a Douglas Fir gin... and  yes, it’s completely custom. The only place you can get your hands on it is at the Douglas hotel.

Made in small exclusive batches on request from the hotel, this London Dry Gin is a craft local product made from local sourced and 100% real ingredients. Given that Douglas fir isn’t something that would be traditionally used in a gin, it took 4 batches to perfect the taste.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

You’ll find bottles of this in your room at The Douglas, as well as served at their very own D6 Lounge in signature drinks.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Talk about going the extra mile.

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favourite little spots

I start each of my mornings with a short ride down the elevator to the conference floor, making my way over to the breakfast. It’s one of my favourite areas of the hotel to walk through.

When the elevators slide open, I’m instantly drawn to the bright lights shining through the sky scraping windows, complimented by warm tones. 

Every day brings new character to it; like walking through a park. On sunny days, the windows are clear. On rainy days it’s completely different and you’ll notice the very same windows are actually tinted a stunning rose gold. 

I’m not sure why I love this spot so much but if you take a few minutes to experience it for yourself, I’m sure you will too.

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bliss

Ride the elevator up to the 17th floor of the JW Marriott and be prepared for quite the experience. The bright lights and pure white walls make you feel like you’re on the sunniest vacation. It’s one of my favourite spots to hang out in the hotel when I need an energy boost! 

I booked myself in for “The Douglas Body Wrap” (because when in Rome, right?). I’ll start off by saying that I can’t think of a better way to end my day. The treatment room overlooked a view of BC Place that I have never experienced before. The giant lights were sparkling below me and I felt as though I had the key to the city.

The service was next level. It consisted of a body scrub with invigorating scents, a wrap, foot massage, private shower and finished off with a moisturizing massage. I left the room beaming and took my time winding the day down with some tea, a good read and a steam. 

I think it’s safe to say that I never want to leave this place.

 
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around the block

Neighbourhood tip: during your stay at The Douglas, wander in to Gastown and enjoy the best avocado toast this city has to offer at Nelson The Seagull.

You’re welcome.

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Lotus whiskey + tea lounge

I finally had the chance to make my way over to the Lotus Whiskey/Tea Lounge.  It's been a highly anticipated visit as whiskey and tea are two of my favourite things.

This modern and elegant spot offers a seriously impressive selection of whiskey, scotch and bourbons, along with a huge list of high-quality, imported teas. Pro tip: if you're as indecisive as me, allow something to be recommended to you!

You'll get different vibes with this spot depending on the time of the week you decide to pop in. I opted for mid-week to enjoy a quiet and more intimate experience with some conversations - but if you're looking for a bumping weekend spot you should definitely pop in!

Anyone interested in joining me for round 2? I'll definitely be going back.

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feed your addiction.

If you are someone that may easily become addicted to croissants, please stay away from this spot. You will find Small Victory in Yaletown, about a 10 minute walk from your stay at The Douglas...and I'm not kidding when I say they have the best croissants in town.

Their coffee (shown here) is also amazing, but if I'm being totally honest I ate the croissant so fast and forgot I was meant to take a photo of it.

Check them out: Small Victory Bakery. I'm confident it'll be one of your favourite finds in the city.

 

MEET CODY

Whenever I had friends come hang out at the hotel, they always brought up the staff at the Douglas - Cody in particular. He's full of life,  passion, a ton of smiles and his energy is contagious.  I took a few minutes to hang with him and ask about how he ended up at the Douglas and what he loves about it.

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how did you hear about the douglas?

"A year ago, I heard about the development of the Parq complex and was really intrigued. I ended up going to the huge hiring exhibition that was held at BC Place. I didn't have any expectations, I just wanted to explore. 

I ended up meeting Nicole, one of the managers at the Douglas, who told me that she thought my personality was a great fit for The Douglas.

The rest is history."

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what's your favourite part about being on the team at the douglas?

"There's something really special about being on the opening team at the hotel.  Everyone got to really connect with each other, we're all family now"

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what's your top REcommendation for anyone visiting the hotel?

"D6. Hands down.

That place is the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night. It's bumping, and totally my style.

BC Kitchen is also great for a quick casual bite and great cocktails."


a tour of the one bedroom apartment

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the water room

I found my dream apartment...and it's over at The Douglas.

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honey salt

Before this morning, I had been to Honey Salt a few times for dinner. Admittedly, once was takeout - once you have a taste of their Brussel sprouts, you’ll understand why.

Like all spots I’ve experienced in @parqvancouver, I was impressed at the environment, menu, service and food. Maybe it was because the sun came out today and the light shining through the window put a huge smile on everyone’s face...but something about this morning was different.

The staff blew me away. It’s one of the few places that I’ve ever felt like I was at a friend’s house. They were beyond pleasant, friendly and had contagious energy.  To top it off, it’s probably one of the best spots I’ve ever had brunch at in the city.

Recommendations? Grapefruit juice, The Bircher Muesli and the Full English Breakfast. I haven’t had a chance to try the avo toast, but I’ve heard great things as well.  Book in for yourself, I’d love to hear your thoughts :)

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breakfast is served

I found the recipe for the perfect morning:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

- a great atmosphere

- appetite

- a person you love

- coffee

Mix that in with good conversation and you’ll find yourself making memories in no time.


MEET RICARDO

One of my favourite parts of coming back home to the hotel was seeing Ricardo.  His energy is warm and always welcoming. It was cool to get some time to chat with some members of the team, hear their story and learn about how and why they ended up at The Douglas!

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why the douglas?

"There's something appealing about the Autograph Collection and one of my goals was always to work in a luxury hotel.  

I love the individualized experience that you get here, it's like nowhere else."

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what do you love about being a part of the team?

"Learning. We get to create the hotels identity from scratch; there's no brand book. It's really fun working as a team to create this and watch it all come together."

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What's your top recommendation for someone visiting the parq complex?

Casino to play.  The spa to relax, and D6 to hang out, have a conversation and have some cocktails.


1886

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I went into this spot with zero expectations

...and it was only because I didn't really know much about 1886.  WELL LET ME TELL YOU THAT I WAS SO UPSET I DIDN'T EAT HERE EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

You can pop into 1888 for lunch or dinner and be met with an exclusive dining experience and outstanding service. Lunch features a Dim Sum and tea service and dinner features a completely different menu.

Favourites: Milk Oolong tea, the purple sweet potato dessert and literally everything else.

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A TOUR OF THE DEN


MRKT EAST

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Good eats

I used to work and travel a lot in SE Asia, so walking around and soaking things in at MRKT EAST was a modern twist on my nostalgic feelings. You start by penciling in your meal on sheets of paper that list a variety of Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese foods. Wander over to the table of your choice and you’ll have your food in no time.

This is fun spot for a quick sit down with the option of exploring off into @parqvancouver for the rest of your evening. I opted for my bed back at the Douglas..because who really says no to a king size bed calling your name after a long day?

Not me

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bubble tea + snacks on the go

If you don't have time for a full sit down (even though this spot is on the more quick and casual side), the take out window at this spot is great!  It was also my first bubble tea experience!


Other eats + drinks

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BC KITCHEN

From a quick takeout window in the Casino, to a full sit down bar and restaurant - this is a great spot for pub food and delicious drinks.

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d6 lounge

Some of my favourite drinks are found at this spot.  This is probably my new favourite spot to go out in Vancouver on a Friday or Saturday. Great space, music, and vibes all round.

..oh, and there's a secret bookshelf.

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bed

Is there anything better than pants off, netflix and a dinner brought to your bed?  I don't think so.

The Douglas offered one of the best room service menus I've ever seen!

 

MEET SARAH

Sarah was one of the first people that welcomed me into the hotel with her huge smile. She's embodies the lifestyle of The Douglas, she's charismatic and has a captivating energy. It was crazy to hear about her background and story, but there's it's no surprise she took a leap into a new challenge to be a part of the opening team at The Douglas.

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why The Douglas?

"The Parq complex was long awaited here in Vancouver with the Edgewater Casino shutting down.

I came from the food and beverage world and was looking to make the jump into luxury hotels - when I heard about The Douglas, there was no question. It seemed like the perfect fit."

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Supporting local

"I come from the farm to table restaurants where local products mean a lot as well as supporting local suppliers.

As much as the Autograph Collection is a big corporate brand, the message that we send and the products that we have here at the Douglas are all locally sourced. It was something I could totally get behind - it was so perfect for me."

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an empowered team

I loved that we had a fresh team of people coming together to create and open something new in the city.  From day one, management everyone doing and learning everyone's jobs and working as a team - I loved that!

I also really love how management empowers us and trusts us to make decisions without them.  I love that I'm continuously learning and growing.

 

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it's been one month.

30 whole days.

That’s 43,200 individual minutes that pieced together to form moments of wow, bliss, disbelief, shock, comfort, laugh attacks, companionship, love, friendship and gratefulness.
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These moments formed stories and photos - but most importantly, they created an experience. One that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
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The DOUGLAS became my home, and I’m finding my eyes fill with tears as I write this post because I’m so incredibly sad to leave. I watched this place come to life more and more each day as the team worked so hard to create magic in the heart of Vancouver.
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To the team at the DOUGLAS, Autograph CollectionMarriott HotelsJW Marriott Parq VancouverParq Vancouver,Autograph CollectionAvenue PR and 6S Marketing, thank you. Taking on this assignment has been a dream for me and I hope we can continue to create together in the future.
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- Ally
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#DOUGLASstoryteller