Absolute Spa (Fairmont Hotel Vancouver)
I booked a spa day here at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (the only Fairmont I haven't stayed at in BC actually) after reading how they have won numerous awards for being the best spa. Actually, I lied, I had been here once prior to this date, it was for a pedicure treatment ($80). That time I only had my pedi done didn't bother using any of their amenities. I was in a rush, just wanted to get in and out.
The pedicure room was mediocre, a few massage chairs with TVs. A bit awkward because it's located right by the "salon" area so there was the constant noise of blow dryers, stylist talking, etc & that was kind of interrupting. I like private pedicure rooms like the one at Spa Utopia in Pan Pacific Hotel. Or even, Ritz Carlton for example. It's not a huge drawback, just an observation.
Anyways, this time, we had a massage, the service itself was wonderful. I don't have any complaints about that. Nice friendly smiles at the front desk. Checking in area is kind of sloppy. You don't walk in and feel immediately relaxed like you would at Shangri-La or Pacific Rim. Bright lights, no spa background music. It resembles a walk-in clinic or a dermatologist to be forthright. We were given hotel card to use their amenities upstairs (REALLY confusing to find the pool/hot tub lemme know how it goes for you but damn I had a rough time).
The relaxation room is average. It was quiet surprisingly being close to all their treatment rooms, enough chairs to relax, comfy with blankets. The main room had details like; magazines, complimentary banana bread, took me a while to find tea, and yogurt to enjoy. I loved the private eucalyptus steam room you can have before your treatment. The washroom is a bit outdated compared to their competition.
The main indoor pool area from the hotel is awesome! It's heated year round with a lot of natural lighting from the soaring glass panels, outdoor seating for you to get some fresh air. The hot tub was a good temperature, again lots of indoor lounges and tables. I didn't try the sauna but it's in the same area as the gym, which of course you have access to.
In general, however, I found that this spa really lacks ambience and pampering. It's the same price point as the top spas in Vancouver so I wouldn't come here expecting an overall spa experience. Rather, the services are a better reason to be visiting as they pretty much do everything here. I actually would come back for a hydro facial.
Advice: Bring a bathing suit if you want to use their facility.