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View Full Version : Gordon Ramsay to set up shop in Vancouver?



SFUVancouver
Mar 30, 2008, 9:25 AM
A nice puff piece in the National Post about Vancouver's maturing high-end hospitality industry. I bolded what I found to be the most interesting part.

From the national posts (March 29, 2008): http://www.nationalpost.com/life/travel/story.html?id=407570

Van's new vibe
Vancouver's hospitality boom defines a new sense of luxury

Joanne Sasvari, Financial Post
Published: Saturday, March 29, 2008

Steve Bosch/Canwest News Service
Just the other day, international supers tar chef Daniel Boulud was in town cooking a lunch rich with scallops, truffles and crispy roast piglet.

"Coming to Vancouver, I am very intimidated. And a little scared, too," says Mr. Boulud, who was offering local taste-makers a nibble of his first Canadian venture, DB Bistro Moderne Vancouver, which will open here in July. "This city is very vibrant with energy around food."

You could say this city is very vibrant with energy around everything these days.

Not so long ago, Vancouver was a laid-back city of Birkenstocks, Cowichan sweaters and fish-and-chip joints. It was a nice place to live, but not a particularly luxurious one.

How things have changed. Today, the city in the rain forest is the very definition of modern luxury, the sort of casual elegance and graceful quality of life Vancouverites have come to take for granted.

Now the rest of the world is taking note.

Vancouver's skyline is bristling with cranes as more and more high-end hotels and condo complexes are built. Famous faces mingle with the crowds shopping at international luxury retailers. New restaurants open almost every week. And housing prices continue to skyrocket as more newcomers move to town.

It seems that everyone is rushing to join the party before February, 2010, and the Olympic Winter Games.

But while the Olympics have set an important deadline for construction, the games are not the only reason for the boom.

"I believe the Olympics are just one more catalyst in Vancouver's evolution," says Steve Darling, Shangri-La Hotels' regional vice-president for North America.

"There's no question in my mind that the 2010 Olympic Games are a catalyst to make the industry stretch to the next level. But had we not had the Olympics, we would still have the demand."

The Shangri-La, scheduled for completion in January, 2009, is just one of a number of new hotels under construction in Vancouver's downtown, but it is the one that towers -- literally -- over the rest. If it is true that the tallest building in a city symbolizes what is most important to that community, then this 61-storey hotel makes it clear Vancouver prizes hospitality above all else.

Also coming to town are the Ritz-Carlton and the Kor Hotel Group's first Canadian location, the Loden.

Fairmont is building the new five-star Fairmont Pacific Rim, next to the new convention centre, making this its sixth property in the region.

Perhaps most exciting, at least for those who long to preserve some of Vancouver's heritage amid the towers of glass, is the project at the Hotel Georgia, a historic Art Deco property that once played host to the Queen, the Beatles and Elvis Presley, but in recent decades had fallen into neglect.

"It's going to create something Vancouver hasn't seen in a really long time," says Bruce Langereis, president of the Delta Group, which is developing the $400-million hotel renovation and an adjacent 48-storey condo tower as "a place to stay and a place to socialize."

Although the hotel won't be completed until late 2009, Mr. Langereis already has his first guest booked for the Olympics -- famed director Steven Spielberg. But he notes the project didn't come together because of the Olympics. In fact, it was in the works even before Vancouver won the bid. "This is evolving because that's the way the city is evolving," he says.

Vancouver could use the extra accommodation. This city already has the second-highest occupancy rate in Canada, next to Calgary, and few of its 25,000 hotel rooms could be considered luxury accommodation.

That leaves plenty of opportunity for newcomers -- and plenty of reason for existing hotels to renovate, as the Four Seasons has done with its stylish new Yew Restaurant + Lounge.

Of course, the Four Seasons is also competing with the city's explosion in dining options. Last year alone, more than 100 significant new restaurants opened in the city. No wonder the international culinary community has taken note.

Recently, TV's Gordon Ram-say was spotted around town looking for a location. Already his compatriot, Michelinstarred chef Warren Geraghty, moved here from London's famed L'Escargot to take over at West when David Hawks-worth departed to open his own place at the Georgia.

And then there's Daniel Boulud. The French chef who introduced New York to the $150 burger is not only opening his own restaurant in the old Feenie's location, but will be overseeing one of Vancouver's best known fine-dining rooms, Lumiere.

"I do believe Vancouver is ready for this type of dining experience. Both DB Bistro Moderne Vancouver and Lumiere are very different and yet speak to the luxury-minded guest," says David Sidoo, co-owner with his wife, Manjy, of the two locations.

He adds: "Luxury retailers and hoteliers and real estate developers are targeting this audience as well in Vancouver and see the potential for growth in this vibrant market."

Mr. Boulud has certainly figured that one out. At the lunch he hosted recently at Lumiere, between the Black Tie scallops and the Quartet of Young Quebec Pork, he told Mr. Sidoo, half-jokingly, "David, you're going to have to get me a little condominium nearby. I forgot to tell you that."

He would be wise to get into the market sooner rather than later. Already, prices are so high that $1-million will get you a tear-down in a borderline neighbourhood.

"Vancouver is built out. It's over," Mr. Langereis says. "In 15 to 20 years, we've built out most of the land. There's no more supply. People think it's expensive here now, but wait 10 years."

Vancouverites may be mortgaged to the hilt, but that's not stopping them from shopping, and retailers have taken note.

Almost every major label has a boutique here: Tiffany, Chanel, Agent Provocateur, Coach, Ferragamo, Hermes, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, among others. Michael Kors just opened one of his two flagship Canadian stores here (the other is in Montreal). Luxury retailer Holt Renfrew recently spent untold millions to open a massive new flagship store downtown. And the market for gourmet foods, fine wines and high-end housewares just keeps growing.

In the new definition of luxury, it's not about formality and grandeur, but about style, authenticity, hospitality and a certain quality of life. Vancouver has become the epitome of all that and now, it seems, the world is catching on.

As Mr. Langereis says, "It's just confirming what we all know about our lovely little town."

Rusty Gull
Mar 30, 2008, 3:22 PM
Wow. That's a great find, SFUVan. Having Chef Ramsay snooping around town for a location says a lot -- as outside of New York/London/Tokyo, he does not have very many restaurants.

In the spirit of the forthcoming "Ramsays on Robson", perhaps we can encourage some of the forumers here to be future participants on Hell's Kitchen? Mr X? TowerGuy?

hollywoodnorth
Mar 30, 2008, 6:00 PM
Go Gordo Go!

mr.x
Mar 30, 2008, 8:26 PM
Wow. That's a great find, SFUVan. Having Chef Ramsay snooping around town for a location says a lot -- as outside of New York/London/Tokyo, he does not have very many restaurants.

In the spirit of the forthcoming "Ramsays on Robson", perhaps we can encourage some of the forumers here to be future participants on Hell's Kitchen? Mr X? TowerGuy?

it's okay, i'm a terrible cook. i've blown up pots and kitchenware before. he would probably murder me if i did that in his kitchen.

deasine
Mar 30, 2008, 8:55 PM
it's okay, i'm a terrible cook. i've blown up pots and kitchenware before. he would probably murder me if i did that in his kitchen.

Then we would have something interesting to watch =)

jlousa
Mar 30, 2008, 11:31 PM
Maybe Chef Ramsey can make my steak. :tup:

hollywoodnorth
Mar 31, 2008, 12:21 AM
Maybe Chef Ramsey can make my steak. :tup:

LOL! :cheers:

cc85
Mar 31, 2008, 12:51 AM
A nice puff piece in the National Post about Vancouver's maturing high-end hospitality industry. I bolded what I found to be the most interesting part.

"Vancouver is built out. It's over," Mr. Langereis says. "In 15 to 20 years, we've built out most of the land. There's no more supply. People think it's expensive here now, but wait 10 years."



I love people, they're so funny.

officedweller
Mar 31, 2008, 2:24 AM
Yeah, like Rennie said Yaletown Park was "Yaletown's Last Opportunity"..., but no, wait, The Beasley is "Yaletown's Last Opportunity".

And if those are in Yaletown (neither is in the historic zoned area), there are still a few development sites down on Homer and on Richards near Drake, which are just as close to Yaletown as these ones.

cc85
Mar 31, 2008, 4:50 AM
Yeah, like Rennie said Yaletown Park was "Yaletown's Last Opportunity"..., but no, wait, The Beasley is "Yaletown's Last Opportunity".

And if those are in Yaletown (neither is in the historic zoned area), there are still a few development sites down on Homer and on Richards near Drake, which are just as close to Yaletown as these ones.

exactly, there is the trampoline place, the partially vacant/derelict toyota storage yard/building with the whales on it, and many others which i dont know cause i dont go past seymour.