New tea room addition proposed for Shangri-La Vancouver

New tea room proposed adjacent to hotel lobby

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The Shangri-La hotel and residences tower in Vancouver is one of the city's tallest buildings. Credit: Shangri-La Vancouver

The owners of the eight-year-old Shangri-La Vancouver are planning some significant changes to the plaza area surrounding the hotel.

James KM Cheng Architects, on behalf of owner Westbank, are proposing the addition of a new tea room, adjacent to the hotel lobby.

Shangri-La tea room addition
Rendering of the proposed tea room addition.

“The Tea Room would re-introduce seating and animate the pedestrian Galleria connection between Georgia Street and Alberni Street and provide an amenity for shoppers,” reads the design rationale submitted to the city.

The architect says the addition of the tea room will not result in a reduction of public open space surrounding the hotel, as it will be located within an area originally planned for outdoor seating. However, the outdoor seating area was never furnished.

The original lobby lounge fronting Alberni Street was converted to retail space last year and now houses luxury watchmaker Rolex. The emergence of luxury retail on Alberni Street in recent years likely made it difficult for the hotel to justify keeping the space as a lounge.

A restaurant terrace on the third floor will also be enclosed, as well as the overhead “bridge” connection running from the third floor of the tower to the west building housing The Keg.

The architect says shadows cast by a new office tower at the corner of Alberni and Thurlow streets has impacted the viability of the third-floor outdoor terrace.

“Shadows cast by the new Commercial Tower on Alberni Street negatively impacted sunlight on the Level 3 existing outdoor restaurant terrace, which has compromised the viability of the restaurant.”

Another terrace on the sixth floor will also be permanently enclosed, replacing temporary weather protection — white tents — used during inclement weather.

The architect says the alterations to the Shangri-La, one of the city’s tallest buildings, will blend seamlessly with the original design.

“These proposed hotel changes respect the existing design of Shangri-La while responding to its changing context and contribute to the animation of the public realm.”

Feedback on the application can be provided online at the City of Vancouver’s website.