After 44 years soaring above Vancouver's West End, the Empire Landmark hotel is getting ready to check in its final guests.
The 42-storey skyscraper on Robson Street will close its doors on Saturday to await the demolition that will make way for two new condominium towers.
"It's just very sad," said Christina Ko, a sales manager who has worked at the hotel for 13 years.
"Packing my own personal things is just heartbreaking. I have so many memories here."
She spent Thursday evening in the hotel's distinctive revolving Cloud 9 restaurant, and plans to be there again Friday to enjoy the sweeping views of the city and its surroundings.
"You won't have this view again, that's for sure. The next time you'll have this view, you'll have to pay $1,000 a square foot," Ko joked.
'It is the last time, so it's worth it'
It's been impossible to get a dining room reservation at the restaurant for weeks already, and those hoping for one last spin in the bar area have sometimes waited two hours for a table.
"They're willing to wait. It is the last time, so it's worth it," Ko said.
"Ever since the public heard about us shutting down, we've been getting reservations maybe two months ahead."
Thursday night, the hotel was fully booked and there was just one room still available for Friday — the final chance to sleep in the doomed tower.
According to plans filed with the city, developers plan to knock down the hotel at 1400 Robson St. and replace it with two shorter structures, measuring 31 and 32 storeys.
"When we got the official announcement, I was...speechless," Ko said.
A demolition date for the building has yet to be set.