Walking through the casino at the Parq Vancouver resort during an exclusive sneak peak of the property Wednesday morning, unexpected sunlight streams through the floor-to-ceiling windows lining the walls.
The amount of natural light illuminating the gaming floors sends an immediate message that gone are the days of the dark, smoky casino hotels that make up much of the popular gambling hot spot Las Vegas, Nevada. In Vancouver, at least, this new generation of casino resort is light, bright and offers beautiful views of Vancouver. An added bonus, Sports fans heading to B.C. Place can simply walk across the casino’s second floor to a bridge linking Parq to Gate 6 of the stadium. The casino, which has 600 slot machines, 74 table games, poker rooms and 11 VIP salons designed for private gaming, opens Friday, Sept. 29, at 11 p.m. with a ceremonial roll-of-the-dice.
The two hotels anchoring the resort also defy Las Vegas stereotypes. The JW Marriott Parq Vancouver is also bright and features light-coloured carpeting throughout and guest rooms decorated in subtle shades of white and beige. This is the first of the JW Marriott luxury brand hotels to open in Western Canada. The JW was designed by Toronto-based Studio Munge and includes 281 rooms and 48 suites located between the sixth and 25th floors — as well as Canada’s first Spa by JW.
Meanwhile Douglas, from the Marriott’s Autograph Collection, is less bright, but only due to its West Coast-style of decor that includes dark carpets, wood and a lobby boasting a check-in desk made up from a full-sized replica Douglas fir encased in glass and lit from within. The Douglas includes 178 rooms and 10 suites designed by Vincent Celano and created by Rob Wells. Joining the two hotels is what’s called the Park, a 30,000-square-foot outdoor space on the sixth floor featuring more than 200 native pines, which pay homage to the natural beauty of B.C.
When it comes to food and beverage, Parq is also breaking with the traditional Vegas-style buffet. Instead, Parq has got you covered, no matter what you’re craving — from a 24-hour take-out window on the casino floor to an exclusive cocktail and tea lounge. In total Parq has eight restaurants created by the award-winning duo comprised of restaurateur Elizabeth Blau and Canadian chef Kim Canteenwalla of Blau + Associates who found inspiration from the cuisines of the Pacific Northwest, as well as their own international travels. A mobile tea cart service offers guests and gamblers a choice of teas, depending on their budget.
When it comes to conferences and meetings, Parq offers 13 ballrooms, boardrooms, and meeting rooms, including the Parq Grand Ballroom, the largest hotel ballroom in the city at 15,600-square-feet. Built to meet LEED Gold environmental standards, Parq Vancouver is the largest private development in the province.
The hotels will open to the public following the David Foster 30th Anniversary Miracle Gala Oct. 21 at Rogers Arena presented by Parq and featuring Steven Tyler, Jay Leno, Robin Thicke, the Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan and more. The annual event brings celebrity friends from around the world together for an unforgettable evening of remarkable performances and surprise guests, all curated by Foster.
This year’s annual gala celebrates 30 years of raising funds to support the non-medical expenses of Canadian families with children undergoing life-saving organ transplants. As well as being an important fundraising event for the David Foster Foundation, the annual gala assists in building awareness of the need for increased organ donor registration across the country. For more information on the gala and the foundation, please visit the DavidFosterFoundation.com.
Where to eat and drink at Parq Vancouver
Honey Salt: Located on the first floor, adjacent to the JW Marriott lobby and accessible via Pacific Boulevard, Honey Salt celebrates the bounty of B.C. with regionally inspired, farm-to-table cuisines from locally sourced ingredients. Look for regional beers, spirits and cocktails. Honey Salt serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as brunch and afternoon tea.
B.C. Kitchen: Offering high quality and creative versions of classic bar “comfort” foods, B.C. Kitchen is where guests can enjoy their favourite dishes – with a twist. Located on the second floor (casino floor) with an exterior entrance leading directly to B.C. Place, B.C. Kitchen wil offer an extensive collection of local, regional and international beer.
Mrkt East: Inspired by Singapore night markets, Mrkt East is an innovative and immersive dining experience featuring a menu of Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Singaporean and Vietnamese favourites.
The Victor: Opening this winter, the Victor promises unparalleled views of the water and downtown skyline with a centerpiece sushi bar, expansive wine selection and a cutting-edge cocktail menu.
1886: Drawing its name from the year Vancouver’s Chinatown first emerged, 1886 offers dishes from four culinary regions of China -- Canton, Szechuan, Hunan and Shanghai, with an emphasis on Cantonese cuisine.
Centre Bar: Accented by a spectacular glass chandelier, the Centre Bar serves as the social hub of Parq Vancouver’s casino. Guests can choose from a selection of signature cocktails, high-end premium spirits and wine by the glass while observing the action on the gaming floor.
D/6 Bar and Lounge: An indoor/outdoor sky bar located on Parq Vancouver’s sixth floor spilling out on the rooftop park, D/6 is much more than a lobby bar serving the Douglas. Look for an inviting fireplace, bookcases, a pool table and a menu of hand-crafted cocktails.
Lotus Whiskey and Tea Lounge: Located on Parq Vancouver’s third floor (high limit gaming floor) the Lotus Whiskey and Tea Lounge serves a variety of high-quality, exotic and internationally brewed loose-leaf teas during the day. In the evening, the Lotus turns its attention to a menu featuring reserved whiskeys, scotch and bourbon.
Look for more photos here after the official grand opening Sept. 29. Parq is located next to B.C. Place Stadium at 39 Smithe St.