I planned a four-night stay in Vancouver as part of hosting the Vancouver Miles & Points Meetup. A trip back to my birthplace is always special, although this would be my first time checking out Vancouver’s upscale hotel scene, so I decided to split up my four nights across two Marriott properties.
For the first two nights, I’d be at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, where I had chosen to host my event. After that, I’d move to the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver down by BC Place.
The Sheraton was kind enough to provide a complimentary one-night stay as a result of hosting my event there; meanwhile, for the second night, I decided that the $267 cash rate represented better value than shelling out 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for the Category 5 hotel, so I paid cash and offset the cost with my Amex MR Select points from my Cobalt Card.
Jessica and I arrived in Vancouver on the evening Air Canada flight from Toronto, so it was about 10pm when we headed downtown via the SkyTrain and made the 10-minute walk to the hotel from Vancouver City Centre station. I took some pictures of the building exterior the next day.
The Sheraton is housed within two buildings that are both part of the Wall Centre residential and hotel complex, located conveniently at the corner of Nelson St and Hornby St and within walking distance from most Downtown Vancouver points of interest.
The North Tower is a 48-storey skyscraper, of which the Sheraton occupies the first 27 floors (the remaining floors are a mixture of another hotel’s facilities and condominiums). Meanwhile, the South Tower is a smaller 36-storey building that houses additional guest rooms.
There’s a nice outdoor pavilion linking the entrances of both towers, as well as an indoor walkway on the second floor. Guests can check in to the hotel at the reception desks of either tower.
Jessica and I arrived at the North Tower front desk, where the associate was more than happy to help us even though we had been assigned a room in the South Tower. We were informed that we had been upgraded to a corner suite, and that we’d have access to the Sheraton Club Lounge in the South Tower by virtue of my Platinum Premier Elite status with Marriott (now known as Titanium Elite).
The entire check-in procedure took only a few minutes, and Jessica and I were soon on our way across to the South Tower to catch the elevator up to our room.
We had been assigned Room 3506, a corner suite on the second-from-top floor of the building, known as the Stanley Park Suite.
Interestingly, the room on the floor above, Room 3606, was only accessible via a staircase near the entrance to our room, rather than via the elevators.
There’s a separate door outside the staircase leading up to 3606, which makes me think that these two suites are often booked out simultaneously by large families as kind of an “adjoining room”, with the door to the Stanley Park Suite acting as the door to the combined unit instead.
Anyway, stepping into Room 3506, there’s no foyer or anything – you find yourself immediately in the living room of the suite, which consists of a sofa, two chairs, and a coffee table.
Opposite the sitting area is a wall-mounted television, a small countertop along the wall, and the minibar in the corner.
An archway with sliding doors leads the way to the bedroom, which was just about big enough for a king bed and a desk in the corner.
There was another television here, mounted on the column in the corner that forms part of the building’s skeleton.
The bed wasn’t quite as plush as what you’d find at a Westin or a Ritz-Carlton, but it provided two very comfortable nights of sleep nonetheless. Of course, coming in to Vancouver from the east, it was quite easy to get to sleep every night given the three-hour time difference.
The bathroom was located around the corner from the bedroom, and was arranged in a simple but spacious layout. The water pressure on the shower was a little on the weak side, though.
The bathrobes were very thin, but better than nothing.
On the plus side, I thought the overall layout of the corner suite was well-designed and a nice departure from the “standard” hotel room layout with the bathroom by the hallway near the entrance. For me, having the bathroom around the corner from the bedroom just makes more sense.
It’s worth noting that this is a relatively small suite compared to other one-bedroom suites I’ve stayed in (i.e., not a junior suite), but the clever use of space meant that I didn’t take notice of the limited square footage at all.
I thought the room’s decor was polished and businesslike without coming off as drab, in keeping with the rest of the hotel’s facilities. The hotel is also just beginning to show its age, but I wouldn’t call it “dated” by any means. I’d say the property could benefit from a refresh about 5-10 years down the road to jazz things up and make it more stylish.
Of course, the best part of the suite was the incredible floor-to-ceiling windows and the sweeping city views they provided. Unfortunately, the days we were in town were pretty gloomy and rainy, but I still enjoyed looking out over the buildings of Downtown Vancouver with the mountains in the background.
The hotel had left me several goodies in the room, which I imagine was a gesture of thanks for hosting my event here, like a complimentary Vancouver-themed Starbucks mug, a pair of binoculars, free in-room movies, and complimentary vouchers for a drink at the bar and a coffee from the Starbucks downstairs.
If I were staying here as an ordinary guest, I’d still expect to get a suite upgrade on account of my elite status, but I certainly wouldn’t expect to receive all this free swag.
I also got a cute handwritten card from the hotel staff…
…as well as a delightful fruit, cheese, and charcuterie plates left for us in the minibar fridge, together with a bottle of wine, which we promptly devoured upon arriving in the room since we were starving after our five-hour transcontinental flight.
And the following day, a hotel associate delivered another two plates of these to my room!
Again, I’m certain I got a little bit of special treatment from the hotel for hosting an event with them, and I don’t think these aspects of my stay would be indicative of a regular guest’s experience.
Jessica and I visited the Sheraton Club Lounge on the 25th floor of the South Tower on quite a few occasions. It’s a very pleasant space with comfortable seating, a cool interior staircase linking the two floors, and impressive views of the city.
The hotel has all-day snacks, soft drinks, coffee, and tea, as well as a computer workstation with a printer for guests to use.
While I enjoyed spending time down here, I was a little disappointed with the breakfast offering in the lounge, which only consisted of cold items like charcuterie, cereals, hard-boiled eggs, juice, toast, and pastries. There were no hot items to really fill you up.
Now, per the terms of the elite program, Sheraton hotels are only required to provide “breakfast in the lounge”, and a “continental” breakfast like this does fit within that definition. I asked the hotel if they could provide breakfast in the restaurant as an alternative benefit, but I was told I’d have to pay for that.
So overall, while the hotel does have a breakfast benefit for Platinum and Titanium members, I can’t help but feel disappointed at the lack of hot breakfast foods.
As a relatively large hotel that often plays host to business conferences and other events, the Sheraton Wall Centre boasts numerous other facilities. In terms of food and drink, Bar One in the North Tower’s lobby is the main cafe and bar, and that’s where a group of us retreated after my event to keep the conversation going.
There’s also a Starbucks in the lobby of the South Tower for you to stay caffeinated throughout your time at the hotel. Of course, the Club Lounge upstairs also serves Starbucks coffee, so that’s something to keep in mind if you have access.
The second-floor enclosed walkway between the two towers also provides access to the hotel’s many convention halls and meeting rooms.
In the middle of the hallway is a business centre with computers and printers that can be used by guests staying in both towers.
Meanwhile, the fitness facilities are also shared between both towers, and are accessed via a door on the exterior of the building. There seems to be limited space in this part of the property, so the gym is split across two different sections.
There’s also an indoor heated pool, which seemed to be pretty popular among hotel guests.
Lastly, let me take this opportunity to mention how friendly and professional the staff at the hotel were. Throughout my stay, whether I was asking about elite benefits or trying to get something sorted out for my event, the staff members always went out of their way to ensure I had a good experience.
In particular, the staff member in the Club Lounge welcomed me by name when I came for breakfast the first morning, and one of the associates on the Events team was more than happy to help me with a large print job and deliver the documents straight up to my room – both of which were gestures that left me highly impressed.
No doubt that certain parts of my stay, like the excess of gifts I received from the hotel, were the result of hosting an event here, but I could tell that the staff’s professionalism and pride in their work were the result of an enduringly strong service culture at the hotel.
The Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel enjoys a reputation as one of the best mid-range hotels in the city, and it’s not hard to see why. In the past I’ve found Sheraton properties to be something of a mixed bag, but I was impressed by the smartly designed corner suite, wide range of facilities, and the warmth and kindness of the staff at the hotel.
It wasn’t a perfect stay – the elite breakfast benefit, for example, while in keeping with the requirements of the elite program, fell short of what I’d get at many other Vancouver hotels – but I saw enough positives throughout my stay that I would consider returning for another visit if the price was right.