After staying at the Sheraton Wall Centre on the Friday and Saturday of my long-long-weekend in Vancouver, I moved over to the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver for Sunday and Monday.
I had heard so many great things about this hotel from friends who had stayed previously, and so was very excited to be trying it out for myself. I’ve never had a bad experience at a JW Marriott hotel, and this was one of the brand’s newest properties worldwide, having only recently opened in October 2017.
As a Category 6 hotel that charges 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, I didn’t feel that there was great value in redeeming points compared to the cash rate of $281, so I went ahead and paid the cash rate, using the MR Select points from my Amex Cobalt Card to offset the cost.
The hotel is housed within the Parq Vancouver building, a large, modern mixed-use facility adjacent to BC Place, overlooking the end of the False Creek inlet that extends into the heart of Vancouver.
Parq Vancouver is perched on the southwestern tip of Downtown Vancouver, but it’s still in a convenient location all things considered, with most Downtown attractions and the Yaletown-Roundhouse SkyTrain station within walking distance, as well as the Cambie Street Bridge immediately adjacent providing access to the neighbourhoods of Fairview and Mt. Pleasant to the south.
There’s actually another Marriott property, The DOUGLAS (part of the Autograph Collection) in the very same building, and in fact the two hotels have a shared lobby and some shared facilities as well.
As you enter the building, the DOUGLAS’s lobby is to your left, while the JW Marriott is to your right. The DOULGAS is also a Category 6 property, and has a more boutique feel compared to the JW Marriott – I’d love to give it a try next time as well.
This time, though, we turned right and headed towards the front desk of the JW Marriott. The lobby is stylish and welcoming, fitted with mid-century modern furniture and polished off with a soothing colour palette of warm bronze and dark oak tones.
It was 11am when we arrived, so we were early. Nevertheless, the associate processed our documents, handed us our invitation to the Executive Lounge on the third floor, and invited us to wait in the lobby as it wouldn’t be long until our room was ready.
Since he made no mention of a suite upgrade, I asked if we had received a suite, and was delighted to be informed that yes indeed we had gotten a “very nice” one-bedroom suite on the 18th floor on account of my Platinum Premier Elite status (now Titanium Elite).
Jessica and I were planning to meet some friends at the hotel for coffee anyway, so we didn’t mind waiting for our room. We thought about having coffee at the hotel’s restaurant, Honey Salt, but they were fully occupied for lunch already, so we instead headed up to the second-floor casino and passed the time at the cafe upstairs.
When we returned to the front desk at 12:30pm, our room was indeed ready, so we took our keys and headed up to the 18th floor. The chandelier at the elevator banks was looking very snazzy.
Indeed, the JW Marriott’s interior design is beautiful wherever you look, and the guest room hallways are no exception.
We had been assigned Room 1801. Don’t you just love it when you find your hotel room at the very end of the hallway? You just know you’re going to get a really nice room.
This was probably one of the more interestingly shaped hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. As you enter, you first walk through a long hallway before arriving at the living room of the one-bedroom suite.
As a modern new development, the Parq Vancouver is shaped like a long, flat building, with its two parallel walls coming together as a rounded cusp on its very northwestern end. Our suite was situated within that cusp, giving the living room a funky polygonal shape.
The furniture was designed to match the living space, as exemplified by the slightly rounded edge of the couch. Opposite that, you’ll find a widescreen television, and I was delighted to see that it was a Smart TV to which you could connect all your devices.
The two chairs at the end of the room provide additional space for sitting and relaxing.
The pantry is also located in the living room, where you have access to a wealth of equipment for coffee and tea, some bottled water, and some drinks in the minibar.
Meanwhile, the bedroom is located around the corner from the living room, and consists of a king bed and another widescreen TV, this one mounted on the wall and designed to swing outwards to face you in bed.
The king bed was exceedingly soft and provided a heavenly few nights of sleep. I also loved the design of the light fixtures in the bedroom.
In addition to the primary bedside lights, there’s also a set of reading lights that flip out from their sockets in the wall.
Opposite the bed is a large armoire, where the bathrobes, slippers, coat hangers, ironing board, and additional blankets and pillows were kept.
Overall, I thought the suite was absolutely gorgeous, and was exactly the type of look that I’d love to have in my own apartment.
The bathroom is wedged in-between the hallway near the entrance and the bedroom, and it has two doors providing access from each. In keeping with the shape of the suite itself, the bathroom is also designed in that angular polygonal shape, with the standalone bathtub taking up residence in the “corner”.
The soaking tub was a little bit on the small side – comfortable enough for one, but a tight squeeze for two.
The sink, shower, and toilet occupy the more spacious side of the bathroom, with the shower and toilet obscured behind separate frosted-glass doors. As you’d expect from a luxury hotel like this, the water pressure on the shower was excellent.
One of the best things about the suite was the views to the southwest, which overlooks the waterfront of False Creek and the distinctive globe-shaped Science World building. It’s worth noting that the windows are tinted pretty heavily, to prevent the sunlight streaming into the room in the afternoons from being too overwhelming.
Meanwhile, the Parq Vancouver building wraps around the BC Place stadium, so windows on the other side of the room faces the structure of stadium itself.
On the whole, I was quite pleased with our one-bedroom suite at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, and very much enjoyed spending time in here. There were a few caveats that I think are worth pointing out, though, the most pressing of which would be the complete absence of any sort of desk or workstation in the room.
I don’t know how a hotel can get away with not having a desk in the room. If there’s no desk, at the very least there should be a dining table, or some sort of surface on which to get work done.
A coffee table or end table simply doesn’t cut it, and neither does expecting your guests to work while sitting upright in bed.
I was pretty frustrated at the lack of a desk, so ended up mostly working from the Executive Lounge downstairs. But guests who don’t have access to the lounge could feel particularly hard done by, in my opinion. Next time I’m staying here, I’ll definitely be asking for a suite that has a desk inside.
The other minor complaints I’d have would be that I never received a welcome amenity in the room, which is somewhat surprising compared to the excellent elite recognition I’ve received at other JW Marriotts around the world.
Furthermore, there was also no turndown service during my two nights at the hotel (or if there was, I didn’t notice anything significant being done), which again fell short of the high standards set by my previous JW Marriott stays.
As I mentioned, I spent plenty of time down in the third-floor Executive Lounge. Eligible guests will have their keycards programmed with access. Note that even though there’s a front desk in the lounge, it was rarely staffed, so I imagine it’d be quite easy to tailgate your way in here.
Similar to the rest of the hotel, the lounge was visually striking, with the high ceilings and darker colour scheme setting the mood for an intimate and exclusive environment.
There’s a wide variety of seating arrangements spread out throughout the lounge, along with a few television screens and a computer workstation in the back.
Breakfast, afternoon treats, and evening hors d’oeuvres are served in the central buffet area. Light snacks and beverages are available throughout the day as well.
I enjoyed breakfast in the lounge on both mornings of my stay. The spread wasn’t the largest or most varied – it mostly consisted of your usual hot breakfast items, pastries, cereals, and a rotating specialty item like pancakes or waffles – but the quality of ingredients was very good.
I also dropped by the lounge in the evenings for some hors d’oeuvres, and even used the evening spread as a dinner replacement on my second night, since I was busy working in the lounge anyway. There’s one or two hot items, like meatballs, potatoes, or chicken wings, along with a salad bar and some desserts.
Alcoholic beverages are available in the lounge in the afternoons and evenings, and like most North American hotels, the liquor is set up as an honour bar, meaning you’re supposed to let the lounge attendant know if you’d like to drink, so that they can charge it to your room. If a lounge attendant is available by the buffet area, they’re more than happy to serve you the drink as well.
Meanwhile, the afternoon spread mostly consists of small finger foods (both sweet and savoury), although I didn’t manage to get pictures of it. Pre-packaged snacks, like Doritos and Hardbite chips, were also available throughout the day, making it convenient for you to grab-and-go from the lounge as you’re heading out or to bring the snacks back to your room.
In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, the conference halls and meeting rooms are located on the third floor as well, opposite the Executive Lounge.
The fitness centre, spa, and whirlpool are up on the 17th floor.
The fitness centre occupies a large space on this floor, with views of the large dome structure of the BC Place stadium. I was impressed by the size of the gym and the abundance of exercise equipment within.
Adjacent to the gym is a doorway that leads to the outdoor patio and whirlpool.
It was a gloomy few days on this November weekend in Vancouver, so I didn’t see anyone spending time out here, but I imagine it’d be quite nice to relax on the patio when the sun is shining.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that Parq Vancouver’s fairly large casino, located on the second floor of the premises, can be accessed from an escalator down in the lobby in-between the JW Marriott and the DOUGLAS. With the slot machines only a few steps away, you’ll have to decide whether to resist or give into the temptation to try your luck!
Tthe JW Marriott Parq Vancouver left me seriously impressed. Most of my hotel stays within North America have been decent enough, but generally of a lower quality than what I encounter along my travels on other continents, so a new luxury hotel as nice as this one is a breath of fresh air.
Besides the (frankly quite ridiculous) absence of a desk in the room, I really enjoyed my one-bedroom suite upgrade, as well as the aesthetically pleasing ambience of the Executive Lounge and indeed of the hotel overall. I definitely want to stay here again on my next visit to Vancouver, although I’ll be sure to insist on a suite that has a desk inside.