Bruce (1038 Alberni St.; 604/688-8802), a two-year-old boutique, has fast become Vancouver's model for fashionable living, with everything from Jimmy Choos to street-savvy Gravis clothes. • Martha Sturdy Originals (3039 S. Granville St.; 604/737-0037; www.marthasturdy.com) is the gem of South Granville's "the Rise," a busy strip of great shopping. It's the only retail store of Canadian design icon Martha Sturdy; her line of housewares has recently extended to wall sculptures and jewelry. • Eugene Choo (3683 Main St.; 604/873-8874) carries work by local designers, including Victoria's own Smoking Lily, whose line is decorated with images from vintage science-book illustrations (weight lifters, dumbbells, anatomically correct hearts). • Inform Interiors (97 Water St.; 604/682-3868; www.informinteriors.com) sells furniture, lighting, and home accessories in a sleek, spacious store. Its walls are inscribed with lofty design-themed quotes, including one from Mies van der Rohe: "A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier."
Save It For a Rainy Day
Vancouver is the rainiest city in North America, measuring some 45 inches per year. Here, some places to duck into between puddle jumps. • Skoah Spa + Store (1011 Hamilton St.; 604/642-0200; www.skoah.com) offers a simple menu of affordable spa treatments. Owners Chris Scott and Jamie McKeough visited more than 30 New York spas to come up with their version of modern luxury: prompt, attentive service at half the price. • Light up legally and kick back in the private smoke room at La Casa del Habano (980 Robson St.; 604/609-0511; www.lacasadelhabanocanada.com), a cigar shop where photos of Fidel adorn the walls. • Retreat into Don't Show the Elephant Gallery & Café (1201 Hamilton St.; 604/331-1018) for a selection of fragrant imported teas (French raisin, blackberry-apricot, deep-roasted Japanese fruit) and a serene setting furnished with high-backed Scandinavian chairs.
This month's opening of the 97-room Opus Hotel (322 Davie St.; 866/642-6787 or 604/642-6787; www.opushotel.com; doubles from $185) completes the reinvention of the Yaletown neighborhood from run-down warehouse sector to trendy shopping district and restaurant-packed waterfront. Choose among different room "personalities," from Hollywood outré to modern minimalist. • Even after 26 years, the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver (791 W. Georgia St.; 800/332-3442 or 604/689-9333; www.fourseasons.com/vancouver; doubles from $255) remains a paragon of service and style. The harbor, city, and mountain views from its 385 rooms make staying in and ordering room service a dream. • At the Pacific Palisades Hotel (1277 Robson St.; 800/663-1815 or 604/688-0461; www.pacificpalisadeshotel.com; doubles from $185), L.A. interior designer Cheryl Rowley colored the 233 rooms with a wild citrus palette. • Guests at the historic 1939 Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (900 W. Georgia St.; 800/441-1414 or 604/684-3131; www.fairmont.com; doubles from $186) are in good company. The hotel has played host to Queen Elizabeth II and King George VI, as well as such Hollywood royalty as Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, and Katharine Hepburn.