Canada, Eh? A Review of The Westin Grand Vancouver
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This year, the Pacific Northwest’s beautiful spring weather called for an impromptu weekend road trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, from my home base in Seattle. Having stayed at the Sheraton Wall Centre in the past, I decided to check out another Starwood property in the city, The Westin Grand, for this one-night stay.
I used a corporate rate via the SPG mobile app to book the hotel about 12 hours before we planned on checking in. Including taxes and fees, the rate came to $252 CAD (about $195 USD) for a Premier Suite with a queen bed and queen sofa bed. While I wouldn’t have ordinarily booked a suite, I later learned that the 207-room property is an all-suite hotel and this room was the most basic.
I earned 1,004 SPG Points for my stay, including a 500-point Platinum welcome gift. I put the the stay on my Citi Prestige card, which earns 3x points on travel purchases — a total of 582 ThankYou points in this case. I value Citi points much more than I used to ever since Avianca became a transfer partner. For the same night, SPG Point redemption rates were not populating on the app, but when I called in, I could have booked one night for 16,000 points.
The Westin Grand is right in downtown Vancouver, walking distance from most of the hot spots. Gastown, known for trendy boutiques, eateries and nightlife, is about a 15-minute walk. Yaletown, with a similar but slightly more upscale vibe, is even closer. The location is great for both business and leisure stays.
From the airport, a taxi would cost around $35 CAD (about $25), or you can take the SkyTrain, which has a station about three blocks away and cost between $7 and $9 CAD ($5 to $7) depending on the time of day. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are not legal in Vancouver.
After we pulled into the circular driveway of the hotel in our rental car, the valet said there was self-parking for $34 CAD ($25) per night and that the valet service was for $39 CAD ($30) per night. He said there wasn’t anything cheaper nearby, but I quickly found an overnight parking lot right across the street that cost $20 CAD ($15) for 24 hours.
There was a small bellhop stand and concierge desk at the ground level of the hotel, but the lobby was actually one level up. Since there were only two elevators in the building, the wait for one could take a while. (There were stairs but no escalator.)
Our room was ready when we arrived at 3:00pm. The efficient and friendly check-in agent upgraded us to a Premier View Deluxe suite and offered a welcome amenity of 500 SPG Points or a continental breakfast at Hendricks, the hotel restaurant. There was no lounge at the property. We went with the points and were quickly on our way up to Room 3007.
The room’s living room was filled with natural light and blue colors that seemed a nod to the city’s perch on the Pacific Ocean.
The views from the room were magnificent, especially on a clear Vancouver afternoon.
There was a TV and ample seating, along with a small desk and chair.
The bedroom, less spacious than the lounge area, was just as light-filled, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. The king bed took up the majority of the room. There were reading lights on each side of the bed, and the mattress was super comfortable — I have a soft spot (pun intended!) for Westin’s Heavenly Beds.
The Sleep Well lavender balm smelled great.
The bathroom opened onto both the bathroom and the entryway. It was small and dark.
There was a rather dated looking bathtub and rainfall shower, which may have been too tight a fit to pass the TPG shower test.
By the front door was a small, exposed closet, minibar and a bench convenient for putting on shoes.
The gym and outdoor pool were both on the third floor. The gym was on the small side compared to most Westins I’ve been to, and it felt slightly dated. The space generated a lot of foot traffic, as people going to the pool had to walk through the gym to get there. When I opted to go for a run outside instead, the concierge gave me running maps of the city, which was pretty cool.
The outdoor pool was beautiful, though I wasn’t as brave as the guest swimming on a 55-degree day. There was also a hot tub. It, along with the pool, was open from 6:00am to 10:00pm daily.
Hendricks was on the second floor near the lobby. We didn’t eat there, but it was highly rated on TripAdvisor and Yelp and looked like a better-than-average hotel bar. The place was buzzing on a Saturday night.
Our stay started off on a sour note when the parking valet told me there weren’t cheaper places to keep our car and then we found one across the street. Even saying something like “There might be cheaper options in the area” would have been a reasonable answer.
The room itself was large and had great views of the surrounding area. Most importantly, the location was a perfect base to explore Vancouver. I would happily stay at the property again.
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