1960s & 1970s
A Very Mod Makeover

In 1964 Hilton Hotels assumed operations of Hotel Vancouver, shortly after which a top-to-bottom renovation began at a cost of $8M. A “modernization” to meet the new demand from travellers for motor hotels. The updated look was bold and bright. The renovation included relocating the main entrance from busy West Georgia Street to behind the hotel with the construction of a covered driveway, as well as expanding the conference space to double the size of the British Columbia Ballroom.


The lobby change was drastic. To distance itself from the look of a grand railway station, the hotel cut down the lobby dimensions, lowered the ceilings, and removed any non-structural marble columns. The original custom 1939 art, including paintings, sculptures, and wall murals, was all removed or covered up.


The Grand Staircase and Pacific Ballroom both received stunning new crystal chandeliers. The renovation and expansion of the British Columbia Ballroom removed the custom-carved wood ceiling, replacing it with chandeliers recessed into rectangle coves.


Guest rooms were renovated and refurnished, some received structural alterations. The new looks featured mixes of mid-century modern, bright colours, and bold patterns. The ‘Royal Floor’ (14th floor) was renamed first as ‘Executive Suites’, then later as ‘Plaza 21’.