The scale of the new Parq Vancouver resort is staggering.
Two luxury hotels with more than 517 rooms. Eight restaurants and lounges. A casino with 600 slot machines and 75 tables (and 11 private salons). A total of 60,000 square feet of meeting and event space. A 30,000-square-foot park with 200 pine trees. Two-thousand employees.
The landmark project, which opens this weekend, is one of the biggest the city has seen in decades – big enough to make you feel like you got a good workout just from touring the place.
It’s a landmark casino as well. You’ll be hard pressed to find another gaming room that’s so flooded with natural light and generally connected to the outside world.
This connectivity underpins the whole concept of Parq, which is right beside B.C. Place Stadium, just steps from False Creek and three blocks from Yaletown. It’s something that the project’s leaders are keen to emphasize on the media tour (during which no photos were allowed).
“In Las Vegas, they keep everyone in a box,” says Scott Menke, CEO of Parq developer Paragon Developments. In Vancouver, they want to connect guests to the wider city.
“We get to show off Vancouver in its finest form,” Menke adds, namechecking B.C. Place, Yaletown and Granville Island. “We’re so proud of Vancouver as a destination.”
That’s despite the fact you seemingly have more than everything you need in the Parq complex.
The restaurants here range from the sports bar feel of B.C. Kitchen (local beer flights, burgers, pizza) to the bright, homely feel of Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla’s Honey Salt (farm-to-table cuisine “inspired by how we like to eat at home,” Blau says) and high-end steak and seafood at The Victor.
Mrkt East, inspired by Singapore night markets, offers casual Asian dishes (and bubble tea), while more upmarket Chinese options – along with a live seafood tank and innovative tea service – can be found at 1886, named after the year of Chinatown’s creation.
Much is also made of the amount of event space at Parq, which now boasts Western Canada’s largest ballroom, at 15,604 square feet – ideal for those casual 1,200-person weddings. Need to showcase some high-end cars here? No problem, a special freight elevator can whisk them up to the fourth floor.
That elevator goes as far as the sixth floor and The Park, the giant outdoor green space spanning the two hotel towers that frame the stadium. It’s a communal space for all visitors here, with patios for The Victor and the D/6 Bar & Lounge and a potential 10,000 square feet for entertaining. It’s here that you can appreciate how the stadium’s strong lines are softened by the curves built in to Parq’s architectural design.
Feel like you need a lie down? Even here you’ve got a choice: The bright airiness of the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver’s rooms, or the more subdued, raw-surface, West Coast feel of the Douglas.
Touring Parq Vancouver – even as a legion of crew are finishing up its ample interiors – it’s evident that significant attention has been paid to design and style. The lighting ranges from soft pendants to shimmering chandeliers, while walls are finished in wood, artistically stencilled wallpaper, or gold- and silver-infused plaster. Marble floors are interrupted by a range of ornate carpets. Gaming stations – spaced apart at an optimum intervening distance – offer device charging, pull-out trays and storage options. The views over False Creek and Yaletown’s towers, meanwhile, seem to have been created just for this space.
It’s lavish and awesome in scale – and now it has to deliver.
• Parq Vancouver opens on Friday, Sept. 29 at 11 p.m. with a ceremonial dice roll. The restaurants will have slow rollout from Saturday. The hotels are already on a soft opening but are only taking reservations from Oct. 23.