by Andrew Morrison | As mentioned last week in a press release, the new and – by the looks of it – much improved Waldorf Hotel is to be christened this weekend. We’re very excited, not least because of the awesome people involved, who were this week joined by former Salt Tasting Room manager and 2010 Sommelier of the Year, Kurtis Kolt (interview). There’s so much going on at this address that it’s hard to fathom fully in its as-yet-unfinished state. But all the pieces seem to be fitting together nicely, down to the analog speakers, rooms, cafe, salon, bar, gift shop and refreshingly left-field tiki vibe. The only hiccup that I know of is that the main restaurant will be delayed until at least Dec. 1st (no worries, as this venue is hardly a one room wonder – food and drink will still be in abundance).
Today, in anticipation of their Halloween opening, I took one of our cameras (not the best, sorry) down for a tour and probably – if only briefly – interrupted a thousand crucial things for which I apologise (much appreciated, Ned and Ernesto). After the photos, check out their late night, room service and cafe menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner… Read more
News from Scout supporter The Waldorf Hotel
Vancouver, BC | We are pleased to announce the relaunch of the Waldorf Hotel. To celebrate, we’re throwing a free multi-room Halloween party on Saturday, Oct 30th. The event will showcase the entire complex including our newly renovated hotel rooms and lobby, two dining areas, a freshly restored 1950s tiki bar and both nightclub and banquet spaces (the Cabaret and the Leeteg Room). The night is being produced in collaboration with some of Vancouver’s most interesting artists and musicians. Read the full program listing after the jump… Read more
News from Scout supporter The Waldorf Hotel
Vancouver, BC | The Waldorf Hotel, designed in 1947 by architects Mercer & Mercer, was remarkable from the beginning for its modernist style. In 1955, capitalizing on an emerging interest in Polynesian culture, the complex was transformed into one of North America’s most renowned “tiki” themed bars and hotels. A post-war phenomenon, tiki culture was rooted partially in the nostalgic tropical memories of returned soldiers but also in the erotic fantasies of a middle class fascinated by the exotic and forbidden. The original architects reworked existing interiors, creating a space dedicated to artifice and escapism.
In 2010, Musician Thomas Anselmi (Slow, Copyright, Mirror) and restaurateur Ernesto Gomez (Nuba) took over operations of the Waldorf and are working with architect Scott Cohen (designer of Gastropod, Les Faux Bourgeois) to reimagine the property. Collectively this team has a vision to develop the Waldorf into a creative hub in the heart of East Vancouver where contemporary art, music, food and culture convene under one roof. The programming for the space will be both artistically expansive and thematically inclusive. Read more
These gorgeous, vignette shots of The Waldorf Hotel come courtesy of my friend Kris Krug of Static Photography. If you haven’t heard jack shit about this killer re-imagining of this ancient east side joint, here’s the skinny. Press play and enjoy…
This is so rad that I have goosebumps and its like 29 degrees here in the vineyard’s shade…
The 63-year old Waldorf Hotel at 1489 East Hastings, originally designed by Mercer & Mercer in a (then) modern style, has been picked up by restaurateur Ernesto Gomez (Nuba, etc), architect Scott Cohen (Gastropod, etc) and musician Thomas Anselmi (Copyright, etc). They are now in the midst of renovating the iconic but much neglected 30 room hotel with a complete concept/branding overhaul and “boutique” status being the ultimate goal. We were given the exclusive details a couple of days ago.
Here’s the choice pull quote from the creative brief:
In 1955, capitalizing on an emerging interest in Tiki Culture, the complex was transformed into a “tiki” themed hotel. Original architects Mercer and Mercer restyled the existing decor, replacing the minimalist features of their original design with an exotic motif influenced by tribal cultures of the Polynesian islands. The newly renovated Waldorf quickly became known for providing a unique dining and entertaining experience that included authentic Polynesian cuisine, art, music and dancing. Catering to an affluent clientele of executives, citizens, visitors and guests, the hotel was an immediate success. This prosperity continued up until the 70s when, as the neighborhood found itself in decline and it’s clientele began to shift down market. Several attempts to revive the hotel in the subsequent years have not been successful at restoring its iconic status [...] The group see potential to re-enter the market as a boutique hotel, targeting a different clientele. A dominant trend in the hospitality industry over the past ten years, boutique hotels have emerged as a popular option for smaller sized properties looking to appeal to customers who wish to have a unique experience when visiting a hotel. In the local economy there are high-end hotels that have a “boutique” strategy but none that cater to a mid-range customer. In many other markets this positioning has proved very successful, examples include: The Drake in Toronto, The Ace in Seattle, The Jupiter in Portland. The Waldorf aims to offer the same type of cultural experience for a midrange price creating a totally unique positioning for itself in the local economy.
In addition to their aesthetic and creative assets in Cohen and Anselmi, the partners have brought in chef Ned Bell of Kelowna’s Cabana to lead the food and beverage side of the operation. If you’re notfamiliar with the guy, he was once upon a time a sous chef to Rob Feenie and a Food Network star in his own right. I’ve known him for a few years now and he’s got serious game. His new playground will see a 120 seat “value-oriented” cafe showcasing hotel classics and Pan-American street food at Nuba prices (ie. cheap), a 60 seat dining room for Basque and Southern French fare at bistro prices, and a 100 seat patio (arriving next summer) serving Mexican seafood from an outdoor grill. On the Liquor Primary side, they’re keeping the 97 seat Tiki bar as close to the original as possible with exotic drinks and DJs spinning vinyl on an all-analogue stereo system featuring vintage Lansings Hartsfield speakers.
If that wasn’t kickass enough, they’re also creating a state of the art multi-media performance hall licensed for 300 people and playing host to the new location of Barbarella, the popular Main St. salon and barbershop. Throw in multiple projectors playing looped films throughout the building, a recording studio in the basement, and regular gigs of live music, theatre, comedy, and performance art, and you have a hurricane of change coming to East Hastings. The official launch will see a 3 day opening party on the weekend of Halloween.
Like I said, goosebumps…
I’ll be going into much more detail in a upcoming Vancouver magazine article on the current eastward gravitational pull of our restaurant scene, so that’s all for now.