COVER: West Van’s Water’s Edge is as exquisite as it is expensive
The Park Royal Hotel was a West Vancouver legend, so it’s hard not to reminisce about the place, creaky floors, weird Faulty Towers rooms, old-world-unlimited ambience and all.
Not to mention the restaurant. What a restaurant! Supercilious servers, exquisitely crowded seating, lots of knick-knacks, and tons of English country-garden charm. What was not to love? The acreage was enchanting. A river ran through it. But it’s all academic now, history rather than just historic. The river is preparing to run past something completely different: the luxe new Water’s Edge condominium development going up on the site.
It’s always a bittersweet moment when the past defers to the future, which is right now: a symbol of old West Van razed, new West Van not yet built. Although we’re pretty sure a select few will be utterly persuaded to love this new legend, too.
There’s the great location, which was clearly the point. And although the lovely old grounds are — ouch! — toast, just basically gravel and dust, new grounds will be created. The plan is for a tasteful blending of West Coast and classical garden themes, carriage-style crescent driveway, gracious porte cochere, cobblestone waterside pathways, clipped yew hedges, stone seating circles — you get the picture. Nice plan. Nice picture.
Water’s Edge will be exquisitely toney, composed of three thoughtfully artistic five-storey residences, clearly a creme-de-la-creme type of place. If the hotel had everything quirky and atmospheric, Water’s Edge is slated to have everything elegant and expensive. It’s all about detail. Just one look at the astonishing stainless-steel kitchen upgrade (including stainless counters), with special drawer inserts for all your utensils, Meile and SubZero appliances, an eating bar deep enough to set big comfortable leather stools under and an (ooh-la-la!) stainless built-in cappuccino machine, and you get a very good idea of the heady territory we’re venturing into here.
Where once we ordered Eggs Benedict or, even better, a steak and kidney pie (best in town), lucky owners now will be serving their own homemade martinis to the envious Joneses, reclining in front of large fireplaces with stone-slab surrounds and marble mantles under nine or 10-foot ceilings with crown mouldings while they admire their herringbone hardwood floors. Or they’ll bask in gorgeous luxury soaker tubs in bathrooms with marble tile floors, they’ll sing in frameless glass showers and brush their teeth in square, undermount basins set in marble-slab counters. When the common areas boast coffered ceilings, concierge desk, library and health spa with his and hers sauna and steam rooms — hey — not too common.
Special features — as if all these features weren’t special enough — include crown mouldings in entry foyer, gallery, living and dining room and master bedroom; neo-classical pilasters in the gallery, overheight wood baseboards, air conditioning and heating using a natural-gas central system, elegant cabinetry and two lovely, understated symphony-of-neutrals art collection-ready colour schemes. Gracious floor plans — many of which have both river and garden views — are the norm.
To die for? We think so, especially with all the amenties of West Van retail shops, restaurants, parks and beaches so nearby — and yet so far. Just off the beaten path, Water’s Edge promises to be a haven from the hoi-polloi. And at the very least, it’s quite the way to downsize from bigger digs without making a lot of sacrifices. The market here, as with most West-Van condominium properties, is mostly West Van buyers — the place is famously clubby — but strangers may also apply.
WHAT: Water’s Edge is 79 condominiums in West Vancouver.
WHERE: Clyde Avenue at 6th St.
DEVELOPED BY: Millennium Park Royal Homes.
SIZES: One-, two- and three-bedroom homes, 726 sq. ft. to 3,145 sq.ft.
PRICES: $505,000 to $3.16 million
OPEN: Noon to 5 p.m. daily except Fridays, 1846 Marine Dr., West Vancouver, 604-974-0059.
© The Vancouver Province 2005