SHOPPING
For maps, brochures, and personalized service, visit the Tourism Vancouver InfoCentre (8:30-5 Mon-Sat; 200 Burrard St.,next to the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel; www.tourismvancouver.comor 604/683-2000). All prices are quoted in Canadian dollars(the exchange rate was about 64 cents U.S. to the Canadian dollarat press time

La Casa del Habano. 980 Robson St.; (604) 609-0511.

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. 1025 Robson; (604) 687-5874.

Murchie's Tea & Coffee. 970 Robson; www.murchies.com or (604)669-0783.

Purdy's Chocolates. 105-1100 Robson; (604) 685-7884.

LODGING AND RESTAURANTS
Even Ebenezer Scrooge figured it out―the holidays weremade for excess. Although bargain accommodations abound inVancouver, splurging is half the fun this time of year. The hotelsand their in-house restaurants listed here are especiallydelightful at Christmas: lavishly decorated, with extravagantseasonal meals. Many offer packages―contact Tourism VancouverInfoCentre (see above) for special rates and online bookings.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Opened in 1939, this grandest ofthe city's grande dames is decorated each year in high,neo-Edwardian style. Steak and seafood top the menu at the hotel'srestaurant, 900 West. 556 rooms from $199. 900 W. Georgia St.; www.fairmont.com, (800)441-1414, or (604) 684-3131.

Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. Facing Vancouver City Harbour,the contemporary marble and travertine interior is filled withChristmas trees decorated in monochromatic color schemes andmassive pots of fresh flowers. The restaurant, Herons, is famousfor its lavish Sunday brunches. And if―we kid younot―musk ox is on the menu, try it. You'll be surprised byits tender texture and subtle richness. 489 rooms from $219. 900 Canada Place Way; www.fairmont.com or (604)691-1991.

Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. The festival of trees―40themed trees sponsored by local corporations for charity―is aVancouver holiday tradition. The Chartwell restaurant featureslocal seafood. 376 rooms from $225. 791 W. Georgia; www.fourseasons.com/vancouver,(800) 332-3442, or (604) 689-9333.

Metropolitan Hotel. Elegantly understated, a single toweringChristmas tree and bold seasonal floral arrangements welcomevisitors. The Diva at the Met restaurant features British Columbiancuisine: don't miss executive chef Chris Mills's inlet sockeyesalmon with Dungeness crab and creamed leeks in a pepperedcitrus-orange sauce. 197 rooms from $199. 645 Howe St.; (800) 667-2300.

Pan Pacific Hotel. The Christmas tree in this bustlinginternational hotel's lobby has been known to top 25 feet. The FiveSails Restaurant boasts views over Burrard Inlet and a menu thatspecializes in Northwestern cuisine. 504 rooms from $199. 999 Canada Place; www.panpac.comor (604) 662-8111.

The Sutton Place Hotel. The lobby is filled with decoratedtrees and pastry chef Wolfgang Dauke's extravagant displays ofchocolates. There's more chocolate at the Fleuri Restaurant: thechocoholic buffet is open 5-10 p.m. Thu-Sat (for those whose sweettooths have already been sated, there's a fine Sunday buffet too). 397 rooms from $199. 845 Burrard; www.suttonplace.com, (800)961-7555, or (604) 682-5511.

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