~The Keefer and Chinatown~

A few days ago I chaperoned my son's grade six class trip to Chinatown. Vancouver has a thriving and vibrant Asian community and Chinatown is a feast for the eyes and nose. I have always been fascinated with Asian food, decor and architecture. One of my best friends growing up was Asian and I loved eating at her house. It is because of her family and extended family's hospitality that I love Asian food and have developed an appreciation for Asian decor and architecture.

 While touring the Dr. Sun Yet-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens I could of snapped so many photos but I forgot my camera that day! The garden embodies the Asian philosophy of ying and yang, the mix of opposites. For example, the round opening and the graphic square pattern in the gate. The garden evoked a feeling of peace and calm. Even all 70 students managed to be somewhat calm and orderly in the garden! What a beautiful place to wander through and see the koi and turtles swim in the lily filled pond, the naturally acid-etched rocks that were imported from China mixed with bright peony bushes, weeping willows and sculptural trees.

source: The Seattle Times
source: Flickr

source: Classical Garden visit

 My goal is to take my kids back this summer to nibble on apple tarts and steamed pork buns at the New Town bakery, to visit the herbalist shops, to buy more Asian pottery and lanterns (cheap!) and enjoy some traditional Cantonese cooking at Foos Ho Ho's. 

source: Urban Spoon

While we were having a tour of the historic buildings of Chinatown our guide brought us to a beautifully renovated building that has been converted to a gorgeous boutique hotel called "The Keefer." The graphite painted exterior beckoned a look inside. Because I had 6 children in my charge I decided against going inside, but instead enjoyed the view from the outside. We could see the rooftop patio from the street and I had fun that evening going through their photo gallery on their website. I think my husband needs to take me there for one night for our upcoming 19th anniversary. I want to have a martini in their bar, dinner at Bao Bei and then stroll the street at night and hit the Chinese night market. 

Who wouldn't want to eat here? I love the chintz covered industrial bar stools, the worn out leather chair in the corner, the mix of old world, Asian and modern elements.

The Keefer Hotel is a beautifully decorated building. Each suite is gorgeous and has a mix of Asian and modern styles. I couldn't copy the images from their website but found these at Expedia. 

Update: Tara from The Cinnamon Post (another fab Canadian blog) informed me that The Keefer's interior was designed by Wendy Williams Watt, the doyenne of style, former owner and founder of Vancouver's Liberty furnishings and now owner/designer behind her latest endeavour, Grace studio. Another juicy tidbit, her ex-husband is the owner of The Keefer.

Love the mix of the Asian lantern, French country armoire, modern mirrored night table and old world charm of the ceiling.

Love the Asian drum stool in the shower - I could see myself soaking in the tub with a glass of wine.

A glass bottom pool on the roof top with gorgeous city and mountain views. I think I could move in.

Ehem.... hubby are you reading this? Hint....hint.....wink....wink....

All images of The Keefer Hotel: Expedia



  1. Oh I hope your hubby takes you there Barbara, the Keefer looks absolutely stunning! I had never seen images of the inside so thanks for posting thiese pics! That bathroom is killer.

    Don't you just love the Sun Yet-Sen gardens?? It's been a long time since I've gone, these photos make me want to plan a trip soon!

  2. the keefer is decorated by my design crush Wendy Williams Watt - she was one of the founders of Liberty and has such amazing taste...divine!! lucky you to have a peek around. work on that hubby of yours...

  3. I, too, hope your hubby reads your post and gets the gentle (?) hint. It looks like a wonderful place to visit and stay.
    Unfortunately, I moved from that area 2 years ago and never did visit China Town. Now I wonderf why in the world we didn't. My hubby does not like Vancouver, so we didn't venture down there at all unless it was to visit our daughter. Perhaps the next time we visit I can persuade him that as tourists now, we could do a little more. I hope so.
    Cindy from Winnipeg

  4. Oh, How I would love to have a chinatown to take my kids to. I feel as though they live in a bit of a bubble sometimes. The lanterns and apple tarts sound great!
    Enjoy them this summer.


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