Background The property opened just in time for the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February last year and occupies the first 22 floors of a 45-storey building on the waterfront, overlooking Coal Harbour, the North Shore mountains and Stanley Park.

The odd name came about for two reasons – first, this is one of four Fairmont hotels in the city, the others being the Fairmont Vancouver a few hundred metres away, the Fairmont Waterfront, and the Fairmont Vancouver Airport, so they needed to distinguish it. And second, because of the city’s location on the Pacific Rim, with much of its business coming in through the port – you can watch vessels moving in and out if you pay for a Harbour View room.

What’s it like? Quite beautiful. The outside is made from glass and white steel, with a million-dollar installation by UK artist Liam Gillick (it says: “Lying on top of a building the clouds looked no nearer than when I was lying on the street”) wrapping around the downtown-side corner and then up from floors five to 22, dividing the hotel from the luxury residences above. The entrance features a cobblestone driveway and waterfalls, while a teak bridge over a pond leads inside. The lobby has white Bianco statuary marble floors and columns from Italy, a six-metre granite-fronted fireplace, a lounge bar with a US$225,000 handcrafted Fazioli piano (there is live music every night) and a grand marble staircase leading up to the restaurant, Oru. The intention was to create the feeling of an urban oasis, and other elements in the hotel include an outdoor pool deck, palm trees, fire pits and cabanas.

Where is it? At the foot of Burrard Street, at the intersection of Cordova Street, in the heart of the financial district. It’s across the road from the cruise ship terminal, and close to shopping and restaurants. An underground walkway connects the hotel to the newly expanded Vancouver Convention Centre (see “Olympic city”).

Room facilities Unusually for a new-build, the 377 rooms are split into almost 30 different categories. Entry-level Fairmont rooms are 37 sqm and have views across town, but if you’re coming to Vancouver for the first time, go for a Deluxe Harbour View or Deluxe Harbour and Mountain View for the vistas. Better still, head for levels 20-21, which are the Fairmont Gold executive floors. The rooms are the same size but you’ll get access to the lounge.

All rooms have Stearns and Foster beds, Mascioni cotton bath towels and bedlinens, robes and slippers, turndown service, marble bathrooms with deep soaker jetted tubs and/or spa showers, LCD TVs in all bathrooms, wired and wireless internet access (C$15.60/£10 for 24 hours), media hubs, 42-inch flatscreen HDTVs with video check-out, Bose sound systems, iPod dock/alarm clocks, computer data ports, large workdesks, Nespresso coffee makers and tea-making facilities.

Restaurants and bars The 120-seat dining room, Oru – a name derived from the Japanese word meaning “to fold”– has an open kitchen with two chef’s tables, a private dining room, a wine tasting area, and a 55-metre-long sculpture by local origami artist Joseph Wu. It serves Asian fusion cuisine as well as breakfast. On the lobby level is Giovane, a dual-level Italian-inspired bakery that turns into a wine bar in the evening, with more than 30 vintages available by the glass.

Business and meeting facilities Being adjacent to the Vancouver Convention Centre, the meeting facilities, though well appointed, aren’t huge – the three ballrooms collectively hold 400 delegates for an event. The 1,393 sqm of meeting space is all on the second and third floors, along with a small business centre.

Leisure facilities Vancouver has so many leisure options, from sailing to trekking, that it’s hard to stay in the hotel. Still, there are plenty of places to relax, including the pool deck, private cabanas and meditation pods. The gym and spa are on levels five and six. The Willow spa has a beautifully calm atmosphere, with nine treatment rooms, steam rooms, and relaxation areas for men, women and couples. Adjacent is the fitness area, yoga room and spa deck.

Verdict The design makes the most of the Fairmont’s waterfront position, making it the perfect introduction for the first-timer to Vancouver. The service is faultless, and the rooms well thought out with good technology.

Fact file

Number of rooms There are 377 across almost 30 categories. Choose one of the Harbour View or Mountain Harbour View rooms on a high floor.

Room highlights Let the hotel know ahead of time and they’ll have an Adidas training kit ready and waiting for you in the room.

Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in November started from C$299 (£192) for a Fairmont room.

Contact Fairmont Pacific Rim, 1,038 Canada Place; tel +1 604 695 5300;