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.
The hotel’s interiors are virtually untouched in many areas and the new vision expands on the theatricality and surrealism of the original concept. The hotel complex consists of thirty rooms, two restaurants (directed by Ernesto Gomez), a Tiki bar (restored and retrofitted with a vintage analogue audiophile sound system), a hair salon (run by Barbarella Hair), a gift shop, a nightclub and a live music venue. In the works are a multi-media theater space and recording studio (tied to a residency program for visiting musicians).The Waldorf joins a new wave of Vancouver businesses that are conversing with the city, setting a benchmark for culture and hospitality.
For driving, walking or transit directions on how to get to the address: 1489 East Hastings Street (V5L 1S4), please use the Google Map provided on right.