Fairmont Vancouver Airport - Afternoon Tea

February 06, 2012
I recently bought Living Social vouchers ($36 for 2 people) for afternoon tea at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport. For those of you who missed the deal, simply print out page 20 of the Richmond Review (Jan 27, 2012). (Coupon is valid until April 30, 2012.) This is an experience you do not want to miss. The biggest issue with having afternoon tea here is the uber expensive parking. Valet parking is $40 and self-parking is $4.75/half hour (but you get 50¢ off if you self-pay with a credit card). The hotel is located right inside the airport in the International (US) Departures check-in area.

A set of escalators and stairs lead up to an elevated glass corridor.

At the end of the corridor is the entrance to the hotel.

We made our way past Jetside Bar, the hotel's lobby lounge with a large fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows offering an excellent view of the plane parking lot.

Right behind Jetside Bar is the seating area for afternoon tea, which is also the hotel's signature restaurant — Globe@YVR. The cheerful gentleman walking towards us in the picture is Claude, our friendly and professional waiter for the meal.

The first thing I did was to admire the place setting, the vibrantly coloured flower centrepiece, and of course the panoramic view of the landing area outside the window. I also noticed that the small honey jars on the table were branded with the hotel's name. The wildflower honey in the jars was apparently produced from Fairmont's own beehives.

We were given glass steepers instead of traditional ceramic teapots. We also got a sand glass timer so we could adjust the strength of the tea to our liking. I chose a green tea called Japan Sencha Fukujyu, a delightfully light and crisp cup with a faint hint of honey. I also tried the Jetsetter, the Egyptian Chamomile and the Safari Masala Chai. They were all very good, but I found the chamomile and chai teas rather common. I would recommend the Jetsetter because it is Fairmont Vancouver Airport's signature blend, and it has a peculiar flavour that you wouldn't find anywhere else. Some people may find it strange, but I liked its malty texture and richness despite its low caffeine content.

Before the tower of food came, Claude brought each of us a palate cleanser of fresh strawberries (and a blackberry) with fresh basil and mint.

Then it was time for the 3-tiered tower. On first glance, the portions seemed a bit small.

Bottom Tier: aged cheddar and apple with fresh basil, egg salad croissant, smoked salmon on rye with cucumber and fresh horseradish, curried chicken and mango on baguette

The combination of cheddar, apple and basil was innovative and refreshing. The smoked salmon with cucumber and fresh horseradish was also very tasty. But both the white bread and the rye used in these sandwiches were stale and dry. Perhaps the place didn't have a high enough turnover, so the bread wasn't very fresh. The croissant and the baguette were pretty good though. The croissant was slightly warm and very fluffy and buttery with a light egg salad filling. The baguette was moist, dense and chewy with a sweet-piquant chicken curry.

Middle Tier: cranberry and lemon scones served with clotted cream and strawberry jam

The scones were possibly the best I've had in all my afternoon tea experiences. They were served fresh from the oven and were still quite warm when I got around to eating them. The texture was soft and fluffy with a slightly crusty shell and a light dusting of icing sugar. I'm not a fan of clotted cream, but I tried a bit of it. It was unbelievably creamy to the point that it tasted just like soft whipped butter. I still didn't like it because I'm not a fan of butter either, but my dad and Kish raved about it and finished one whole ramekin each. I stuck with the strawberry jam which was also delicious. I think it should've been called strawberry jelly as it had a very gel-like consistency.

Top Tier: vanilla cream puff, FVA honey cheesecake, chocolate and hazelnut tart, lemon tart

The desserts, like the scones, were also the best I've had in all my afternoon tea experiences. There was a good balance of flavours and textures: fluffy choux pastry, creamy cheesecake, sweet chocolate, and tart lemon curd. They were equally delicious, as each dessert had its own unique character. The vanilla custard in the cream puff was remarkably creamy, even more so than the cheesecake made with Fairmont's own honey (as mentioned earlier). My personal favourites were the 2 mini tarts. The chocolate was a bit sweet, but it was delicious with the graham crust and the whole hazelnut embedded in the centre. The lemon curd was a refreshing end to the meal with its light pastry crust and cranberry garnish.

Compared to my afternoon tea experiences in the other Fairmont hotels (Hotel Vancouver, Pacific Rim, Fairmont Empress in Victoria), I would say that this experience was the best overall. In terms of food, I think the quality was outstanding despite smaller portions. The service was arguably even better than at The Empress. Although our waiter didn't pour our tea for us, his demeanour was very cordial and professional. While I was there, I had the feeling the place was run smoothly by a team of butlers. Hot water for the tea was refilled promptly and our every need was attended to with politeness and speed. I'm already looking forward to my next visit.

Jet Side Bar (Fairmont at YVR) on Urbanspoon
Globe @ YVR on Urbanspoon


  1. Oh my god! Thank you for that link, I missed the deal because I wanted to make sure my friends wanted to go and by the time they said yes, it was all sold out!

  2. Oo we will be going as well :D once we find a day that works.. The time restriction is so tight :(

  3. @chibimaruko: Np! But I remember the hotel saying the Richmond Review coupon will only be good for 2 people. Do confirm with them when you make the reservation.

    @YY: 2-4:30 pm is a bit restrictive, but at least it's available every day.

  4. OGMGG, I was like "DID I MISS THE DEAL AGAIN?" and then I saw your link. Thank you! :D
    Wow, the place looks amazing! I'm definitely going for sure! I'm excited for the scones, ahhaa.

  5. @KayCe: The scones were so warm and fluffy! Honestly I think every part of the experience was perfect except for the dry bread in 2 of the sandwiches.

  6. Yay! I'm excited now! Time to make reservations before everyone else does after reading this post!

  7. @Janice: Haha yes better hurry Janice. Or I'll beat you to it! Muahaha... but I probably won't go again until March or April since the menu's probably gonna stay the same.

  8. Yay I'm going on Monday, can't wait!! :D:D I totally forgot about the crazy expensive parking O.O, thanks for the heads up. :)

  9. @Kirby: Yea parking is a pain, and it's REALLY far from the hotel. I think it's like a 15 minute walk. Not that you have a choice though unless you take the Canada Line. Seriously though, with 2 people it may be a better idea to take the skytrain. At least you won't feel rushed as you eat and you can stay as long as you want. Hope you have fun on Monday! Happy anniversary ;)

  10. now please come to London Heritage Farm in Steveston and check out our scones! We offer full tea for $8.50 and parking is free. It's casual and quaint and you can enjoy a walk along the dyke and/or around the gardens.

    We'd actually love your feedback! Should we go more high end and offer High Tea like these places or keep it as a farmhouse full tea?

  11. @London Heritage Farm: Wow that sounds interesting! I'll definitely give it a try. I've just checked out your website and $8.50 is a great price for a pot of tea, a scone and 3 pastries.

  12. Thanks so much for the link! It looks so pretty, I hope to give it a try soon!

  13. @Alice: Hope you enjoy your visit! Better hurry though. The coupon expires in a month!

  14. @Ching: You're welcome :) Good deals are meant to be shared! I just made a reservation for next week too.

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