We’re back for another year of People of Downtown, a series where we share inspiring stories about impactful members of the downtown Vancouver community.
To kick off 2022, we spoke with Adam Laker, General Manager of Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
Adam’s history in tourism and hospitality found him working in hotels across Asia for an impressive fourteen years. Before moving to Vancouver with his family, Adam acted as the Regional General Manager of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila and the General Manager at the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa in Khao Lak, Thailand. Adam also spent years working in Australia before taking his career to Asia. He now resides in Vancouver, where he’s been the General Manager of Fairmont Hotel Vancouver for close to four years.
“Vancouver is a vibrant and beautiful city with so much to offer,” he says. Adam sees the city as a “gateway to British Columbia,” an environment with great people and stunning views that captivate visitors and locals alike.
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has a rich history of over 80 years and is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. “After completing such a vast refurbishment project, the hotel is back to its full glory and enjoying its place in Vancouver once again,” Adam says. Adam has been working with Accor, a multinational hospitality company that owns, manages, and franchises hotels, resorts, and vacation companies, for over 16 years. “Fairmont is a luxury brand within the collection that makes up Accor,” he says. As the General Manager of Hotel Vancouver, Adam’s main role is to ensure the vision and direction of the property is maintained, “I make sure we operate to our full potential within the Vancouver and Canadian Market,” explains Adam.
During the pandemic, hotel operations looked different as the tourism and hospitality industry was severely impacted by travel restrictions and health and safety regulations. “We had to change and evolve with what was allowed through B.C. Health,” says Adam. When Hotel Vancouver’s restaurants weren’t allowed in-person dining, they had to switch to a “to-go” menu and concept. The restaurants also changed from printed menus to QR codes, redesigned the floor plan to allow for more distance, and most recently required guests to provide their proof of vaccination for indoor dining. “The pandemic and recent floods have truly tested us to see how dynamic and innovative we can be and how quickly we can evolve,” he says. With supply issues due to closures, floods, and postponed deliveries, the hotel has had to adapt to constant changes and updates. “We have utilized C.E.W.S. to allow us to bring more employees back to work and to help us develop our business unit. This was definitely a big help and enabled us to get our restaurants back open and stay open even when revenue couldn’t support the operating costs,” Adam explains.
Adam speaks fondly of his years at Hotel Vancouver and highlights being a part of the 80th-anniversary celebration. “I hope I’m here for the 100th,” he says. He also notes how exciting it is when grand events take over the hotel’s historic ballroom, “everyone dressed to impress and enjoying the night- this is always a thrill as the hotel enjoys being busy hosting special events,” says Adam.
When it comes to the future of Hotel Vancouver and the downtown core, Adam looks forward to a pre- pandemic personal and professional life. He’s also excited to welcome international tourists back to the city and to experience large public events like street parties and conventions once again. “To simply bring Vancouver back to life,” he exclaims.