The first contact point to many travellers visiting Canada for the first time, the team behind Botanist Bar takes its responsibilities seriously. They realise that their bar’s setting in the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel means that as many international guests arrive in Vancouver and check in, the first thing that they will do is head to the bar for a drink – the service philosophy is designed to give these people the best possible welcome to their nation.
It's all about introducing guests to a spirit of hospitality that centres in making guests feel like they are returning home, into their own space. This ‘living room hospitality’ principle ensures that all processes including taking guests’ coats, offering them a seat, distributing menus and taking orders have been continually fine-tuned since the bar’s 2017 opening. Although carefully honed, they feel natural, welcoming and give a sense of place, suggesting to the guest that they arrived at their final destination and that it’s time to relax.
These structures have contributed to Botanist Bar being named the winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2023, the award voted on by all 260 members of the North America’s 50 Best Bars Academy, who are asked to name the bar where they have received the single-best hospitality experience within the 18-month voting period.
The experts behind the service strategy are Grant Sceney, the hotel's creative beverage director, and Botanist’s head bartender, Jeff Savage. Both are inspired by Danny Meyer's seminal 2009 book Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business, which influences much of their thinking around the guest experience. Each element of the bar has been considered for its texture, colour, sound and, when it comes to the cocktails, taste.
The drinks list intends to introduce patrons to the flavours of the Pacific Northwest as it does the region’s hospitality. It seeks out indigenous ingredients and puts them front and centre – each member of the bar team can wax lyrical about their origins, further ingratiating guests to the local spirit.
Taking inspiration from the rainforests and oceans that encapsulate this part of the world, then pairing it with a sense of passion that comes with the team’s pride in their locale, Botanist Bar is a worthy winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2023, which is a first for Canada across all 50 Best award programmes, since the award’s inception in 2020.
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Discover more about the previous award winners