The Opus beckoned to me with a pulse-pounding bass that I heard from the taxi before I even arrived. As my cab slowed in front of Opus, the music's high notes lilted in and filled the spaces the bass missed as a parade of people made their way through the Yaletown streets. As for me, I noticed first the light drizzle and the slightly fogged window-covered faÃ§ade of the Opus, which seemed to refuse to dampen the spirits of this weekend vibe.
I was greeted at the door by a young, clean-cut doorman and giggling party-goers wearing lots of hair gel and smelling of vanilla. The weekend party was well under way by the time I made it through the Opus' doorway. Colorful drinks flowed and glasses clinked rhythmically to the music that filled the ground floor lounge and I felt officially introduced to a vibrant Vancouver party scene.
For those unfamiliar, the Opus Hotel is ideally situated in the middle of Yale Town, which is a burgeoning former warehouse district that is now filled with great restaurants, interesting stores, and loads of the fashionable elite of British Columbia.
My rolling luggage squeaked behind me as I made my way to the reservation desk, which felt more like a cozying up to an upscale bar than my usual hotel check-in experience of rigid spines and starched collars. No one seemed to mind my squeaky wheels. I was immediately invited to relax as a bell hop hurried my luggage upstairs.
Left standing with instructions to unwind, I allowed my shoulders to drop away from my ears several inches. While I have to admit I expected to feel out of place being over thirty in such a swinging setting, I met the faces of a diverse crowd, not dominated by the under-25 starlet scene I might expect to find at home in Los Angeles. I hung out in the lounge with some of Vancouver's finest before a minor dose of jet lag got the better of me.
As I went up to my room, I swayed to the elevator's piped-in house music with mood enhancing black light. My room was tasteful in dark blue, although I would find out later that room colors vary like the choices in a package of Skittles candies: orange, lemon, burgundy and lime. Although there was still a slight buzz in my ears left over from downstairs, it quickly faded to complete silence and everything went dark.
I have heard the Opus described as a "boutique" hotel. I do not know what that means. The word "boutique," to me, describes a secret room where only ladies are allowed. The Opus Hotel is far from that. During the day its punchy charm promotes a professional and businesslike environment. On the weekends, the Opus becomes one of Vancouver’s most happening, and apparently exclusive nightspots.
In the morning, the hotel was back to punchy charm "“ I barely recognized the place. The morning helped my appreciation move into high gear. I loved its central location. I easily walked to Gastown, West End, to happening Robson Street, the groovy shops on Pender and Main Streets, the harbor "“ for a short Aquabus (water taxi) to my favorite hangout in Vancouver, Granville Island, and of course Yaletown. Yaletown reminds me a bit of 1930's New York complete with aesthetic steaming vents and some great modern restaurants peppered in. I highly recommend Opus' Elixir Bar & Restaurant and Glowbal Grill & Satay Bar located just a couple of blocks away.
I rarely have much to say about hotels. However, I liked the Opus. It had a natural way of being trendy without being pretentious. As a self-proclaimed non-hipster, I felt comfortable. My room was elegant and clean and I love the proximity to loads of Yaletown spots. The staff was polite and allowed me to use the business center at 2AM to check email and stowed my bags after I checked out, and decided to hit Chinatown before I left. I never even had to throw a hissy fit to get these extras. It was still drizzling, but never dampened my spirits. More importantly, I left the Opus, even though my luggage still rolled squeaking behind me, feeling like I had a vacation.
Apparently I am not alone. Opus Hotel was named as one of the 100 Best of the Best by CondÃ© Nast in November '05
322 Davie Street
Written by Devin Galaudet