Jarren MacDougall is Chef Concierge at the Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver, on Canada’s west coast. Jarren was born in Vancouver but had the opportunity to live in the UK and Ireland for many years. His time away really showed him how special and beautiful Vancouver is. He has worked at the hotel for going-on eight years and has always enjoyed helping people. Working at a hotel allows him to be a friend to new visitors to the city and being in a ‘five-diamond’ property gives him such pride to be part of a team that strives for customer service excellence. Let’s hear from Jarren on the things we mustn’t miss when in his beautiful city…
The most popular request we get from guests would be where do they dine and what is not to be missed when sightseeing.
If it’s a brilliant-sunshine day, I enjoy taking my bicycle and biking the seawall, or taking a walk through Pacific Spirit Park, located on the University Endowment Lands near the University of British Columbia. Since Vancouver is home to many craft breweries I would stop at Faculty Brewing in the afternoon and sample some of their incredible beers with a good friend.
Hands down it would have to be Revolver. They are located in Gastown and they not only serve an amazing cup of coffee but also have down to earth and friendly staff who make you feel very welcome.
Since Vancouver is home to some amazing Japanese food, I would say that my favourite lunch spot is Shizen-Ya. They offer ethically-fished seafood and healthier Japanese cuisine. Their sushi is made with brown rice and they offer organic, gluten-free and vegetarian options.
Since it rains for a large part of the year, Vancouver has a plethora of activities when the liquid sunshine starts to fall. I would suggest either visiting Granville Island, which houses a large artisan community and is mostly covered or semi covered. Also make time to visit the Flats, where some of the premier art galleries are located. The best reprieve from the rain is to enjoy some incredible interdisciplinary art.
An absolute must is to visit Stanley Park. Perched on the edge of the city, this nature haven has a 10-kilometre seawall that wraps around the park. You can either walk or bike along the seawall, or weave your way through the many trails that make up the interior of the park.
I love the understated luxury that the hotel offers. The interior is warm and welcoming in a luxurious setting. Our spa is not to be missed either, as it offers an immersive experience where you can forget the outside world exists for a time.
Vancouver is extremely diverse. We have different neighbourhoods that offer their own unique personalities, and a variety of cuisine that is both approachable and eclectic. The wonderful thing about Vancouver is that since we are so close in proximity to the mountains you can access nature very easily and quickly, to either hike or take a light walk in the summer, or ski in the wintertime. Nature is all around us and we encourage visitors to partake in it as much as possible.
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