Over the weekend, I enjoyed a quick retreat in the Okanagan Valley with my partner Jessy and her parents, staying at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort right on the Kelowna waterfront.
Our family writer, Amy, recently stayed here with her family of five as well. We’ve therefore collaborated on this joint review of Kelowna’s flagship resort, covering the booking process, rooms, dining, and on-property activities from both of our perspectives.
In This Post
- Location & Arrival
- Grand Okanagan Two-Bedroom Residence
- King Deluxe Room
Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna – Booking
Given its great waterfront location and our Titanium elite benefits with Marriott, our first choice of accommodation in Kelowna was the Delta Grand Okanagan.
However, when I checked the rates two months out, I was appalled to see their standard guest room going for over $550 per night, and this was before taxes and fees, which were over $100!
I normally book much earlier than this, but with the pandemic, our plans were in constant flux. A month out, the rates had increased to over $700 per night. So, book early when you can.
Nearby alternatives, including Airbnbs, were priced similarly throughout the entire summer. Prices dropped moving further out from the waterfront, but then they lacked the surrounding amenities.
For example, the Fairfield Inn in Kelowna would cost over $300 per night.
Hyatt Kelowna is no better.
In the end, we stuck with the Delta. With kids, it’s always nice to have beaches, parks, and water nearby, even if you planned activities that will take you elsewhere.
The Delta is a Marriott Bonvoy Category 6 hotel. With summer peak pricing, it cost 60,000 points per night to book a standard Guest Room with 2 Queen Beds that can officially accommodate up to four guests.
At approximately $650 a night (because you still have to pay the $20 resort fee on redemptions), that meant I was getting a redemption rate of 1.08 cents per point, which wasn’t bad.
We booked two nights under my Bonvoy account and one night under my husband’s. for a total of 180,000 Bonvoy points. This allowed me to make use my Bonvoy point and Suite Night Awards, while we still worked towards Lifetime Platinum Elite status on my husband’s account.
Like Amy, I had made our booking for the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort in Kelowna fairly late – only two weeks in advance of our planned stay on the weekend before August long weekend.
Summer in Kelowna tends to get exceptionally busy, but even then, I was a bit shocked that the base rooms at the Delta were going for $600+/night, with the junior and one-bedroom suites entirely sold out. Then again, with Canadians boasting impressive vaccination rates and enjoying a well-deserved summer of domestic travel, that’s very much the reality of what to expect when travelling this season.
No worries, though – at least I had some Marriott Bonvoy points on hand. At Category 6 peak pricing, I was looking at dropping 60,000 points per night for a weekend in Kelowna… but at least it’s good value, right? Right?
Since we were travelling with our elders, we preferred to make our booking in such a way that offered separate sleeping arrangements – even though the base-level Two Queen room could accommodate four, it wouldn’t really work for us.
One possibility was to book two rooms, but that would run me 240,000 Bonvoy points for a weekend in Kelowna all of a sudden. At the thought alone, my mind was already drifting to potential next-best alternative uses of 240,000 Bonvoy points, making me a little sad.
As I mentioned, the regular suites were all sold out by this point, so submitting a Suite Night Award request on a single room was no use either.
However, I noticed that one of the hotel’s top-tier suite types, the Grand Okanagan Two-Bedroom Residence, was still available for sale that weekend.
It occurred to me that I should check if the two-bedroom residence was available for an upgrade on a points booking, and indeed, I was quoted an upgrade price of $550/night plus taxes.
(My efforts to charm my way to a complimentary elite upgrade were waved away with a claim that the Delta “doesn’t own the residence”, as it’s actually a part of their timeshare property.)
Still, while an upgrade fee of $1,100 was no insignificant sum, I felt it was better value than redeeming a further 120,000 Bonvoy points (or paying $1,400+) for a second base room, since the Two-Bedroom Residence would be a much nicer experience for all of us. Besides, we don’t take trips with Jessy’s parents very often, so it’s nice to treat them too.
And even better, I had a series of Discover BC and Marriott Amex Offers that I could use to offset the upgrade fee by nearly $500, simply by splitting up the payment across multiple cards – which made the upgrade to the Grand Okanagan Residence a no-brainer.
Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna – Location & Arrival
The Delta Grand Okanagan is perched directly on Kelowna’s Lake Okanagan waterfront, with direct access to the marina on one side and convenient access to the city centre on the other.
In terms of a central location in the city, it really doesn’t get much better than the Delta. You’d obviously still need a vehicle if you’re interested in exploring some of the hikes, bike trails, and vineyards in the surrounding Okanagan region though.
We arrived just after 4pm in the afternoon, and were greeted in the central roundabout by a hotel staff member, who looked up my name against a list of guests checking in that day.
Once our arrival was confirmed, we were informed we could briefly park in front of hotel to check-in and unload our stuff, and then to park in the neighbouring parkade.
Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna – Check-in
I was helped at the front desk by a friendly check-in associate, who thanked me for my loyalty as a Titanium Elite member and confirmed our paid upgrade to the Two-Bedroom Residence.
A junior associate who had corresponded with me over the Marriott chat app came out to greet me as well. He mentioned that he had mistakenly quoted the $550/night upgrade price, and that it was actually supposed to be $650/night.
While I could understand the mistake, I insisted that what was quoted at the time ought to be honoured, and the more senior staff member was happy to honour the $550/night price.
They also explained to me that the Delta Kelowna’s $20/night resort fee covers a series of benefits that are actually worth a lot more, including daily complimentary wine tasting from 2–5pm with local wineries, complimentary bike rentals, and a handful of vouchers for use at the restaurant and marketplace.
One thing they forgot to mention? Our benefits as an elite member, especially breakfast. Once I got to the room, I was just about to head back to the front desk with half a mind to claim the US$100 in elite benefit guarantee compensation – but the junior staff member proactively showed up at our door, having realized their mistake.
Instead of the standard elite breakfast vouchers for two guests per day, he instead handed us enough vouchers to cover breakfast for all four of us on both mornings. I very much appreciated his gesture (as well as the other staff member honouring the lower upgrade fee earlier), so our stay was off to a great start.
My husband and I had split up our bookings across two accounts, which unintentionally worked in our favour. During the second check-in, my husband was not offered his elite benefits, which resulted in 15,000 Bonvoy points as compensation.
Unfortunately, my Suite Night Award requests didn’t clear. I tried some social engineering over chat, but that also failed. Because we travelled over Canada Day weekend, the hotel was fully booked.
At check-in, I thought I’d give it another shot, and surprisingly, they were able to upgrade us to a corner King Deluxe Room with a sofa bed. It was only one room category higher, and still could only accommodate four guests, but was up to 100 sq ft more spacious than our original room.
Space has never been an issue when fitting our third child in any room that can accommodate four guests, as long as you don’t mind some creative sleeping arrangements. It’s more about how obvious you want to be at check-in that the third child actually exists.
For the most part, I find hotel staff in Canada and the US don’t care much (it’s a different story in some other countries). To avoid any awkwardness, leave the kids in the car while either you or your partner checks in.
Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna – Grand Okanagan Two-Bedroom Residence
The Delta Grand Okanagan Resort consists of standard guest rooms in their main tower, as well as a separate block of vacation rentals and timeshares. The Grand Okanagan Two-Bedroom Residence is actually part of the latter complex, so it was a bit of a trek from the lobby to get there.
The residence was large, homey, and well-stocked with amenities – an ideal setup for a weekend retreat.
The main living space consisted of a sitting area with a coffee table and television, a dining table, and a small side table.
The suite was equipped with a full kitchen, allowing us to cook our own meals if we wanted. We never made use of the stove and oven, preferring to eat around town instead, although the full-sized refrigerator was certainly helpful for storing – to cherry-pick one example – the cherries we picked from a nearby farm.
The two bedrooms were positioned on opposite sides of the living space. The master bedroom featured a king-sized bed, along with an ensuite bathroom with a full soaking tub.
Meanwhile, the second bedroom had a queen bed and a smaller bathroom adjacent to it, though not ensuite.
The residence even offered a full washer-dryer combo. We didn’t quite make use of all the suite’s features during our weekend stay, but if we were relaxing here for longer, it would’ve been a perfect base.
Our favourite feature of the suite was the outdoor patio, which led directly to the public walkway by the marina and was very conveniently situated next to the Resort Experience Centre.
It was awesome to be able to rent some kayaks and paddle in the lagoon just a few steps away from our door, head over to the marina to watch the sunset, and then retreat to our patio for some dinner and drinks.
Full housekeeping service has already returned at the Delta Kelowna, and is carried out on a daily basis. In case you’re wondering, though, housekeeping of our two-bedroom residence did not include cleaning up the dishes in the sink. 😉
Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna – King Deluxe Room
The king deluxe room with a sofa bed was quite spacious. My husband and I took the king bed, while our two kids took the sofa bed, and the third child took the couch cushions with an extra bedsheet and blanket (which we requested from housekeeping).
My kids were happy to find that our room had a smart TV, and hence Netflix was back on the daily agenda.
The bathroom was also very spacious, equipped with both a shower and bathtub. The tub was actually a jacuzzi, which soon became our own kids’ own private hot tub.
Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna – Breakfast
The hotel has one restaurant and bar, OAK + CRU Social Kitchen & Wine Bar, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and also just drinks.
They have a large outdoor patio right on the waterfront. During peak travel times, I would recommend booking a reservation beforehand.
Their menus offer a variety of items and kid-friendly options. I really enjoyed breakfast here; as a Marriott Platinum and Titanium elite, you can order any entrée off their extensive breakfast menu, which had some pretty unique offerings. I normally don’t have fried chicken for breakfast, but their fried chicken sandwich was really good.
If you don’t have elite status or prefer lighter fare, there’s also the Cannery Marketplace, where you can purchase croissants, other baked goods, sandwiches, burgers, salads and a wide variety beverages including alcohol. It also serves as a gift shop with a small selection of local goods.
If you are a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member or higher, you’ll be given a handful of vouchers at check-in – the most I’ve received at any Marriott property.
So what vouchers do you get?
- A one-time voucher for two Welcome Drinks. Whereas many other Marriott properties allow you to choose whatever beverage you like, including alcoholic drinks, here you are limited to a choice of two pre-selected lagers or ciders from the Cannery Marketplace (I was successful in redeeming it for two non-alcoholic drinks for the kids instead).
- $20 OAK + CRU dining credit per day
- $10 Cannery Marketplace credit per day
- US$10 Food/Beverage credit to be used at any of their food establishments
- Elite Breakfast voucher for two per day, which includes choice of an entrée, coffee or tea, and juice for each, redeemable at OAK + CRU
The vouchers technically cannot be combined and are limited to one per visit, so although it seems like a great value, in practicality, they were a little tedious to use, as you have to make multiple trips to these food venues each day.
The first day we scrambled to use them all, then I developed a bit of a game plan for our family. Here’s what we did:
- Use the welcome drink voucher on arrival.
- Use the elite breakfast voucher each morning for you and your partner. Some Marriott properties will extend the benefit to your children, but this one does not.
- Use your $20 OAK + CRU dining credit for breakfast for the kids. Technically, you cannot use it during the same visit as your elite breakfast; however, we had luck asking our hostess to just split our bill so we could pay for the kids’ breakfast separately.
- After breakfast, head to the Cannery Marketplace and use your $10 credit to pick up some drinks or snacks for the day and pack them for your outings.
Now you’ve used up all your vouchers in the morning and go about your day without needing to worry about them. Oh, and that US$10 credit, use for nice “adult” drink at the end of the day.
Like Amy, I received a fistful of vouchers upon checking in to our stay – some of which are part of the resort fee and given to all guests, while others are part of the welcome amenity for elite members.
We enjoyed breakfast at OAK + CRU on both mornings, using our extra set of elite breakfast vouchers to cover breakfast for the entire party.
We found the breakfast offerings to be equally as impressive in variety, quality, and portion size – some of our favourites included the braised beef Eggs Benedict and the fried chicken and waffles.
The ahi tuna and avocado salad was also delicious, although its limited portion size made it more of a shared dish than a breakfast entrée. No worries, though, as we needed to use up our extra $20 OAK + CRU voucher anyway, and the server was more than happy to split the bill and get around the “one voucher per visit” rule.
(If you’re here as a party of more than two and only received the standard two elite breakfasts each morning, then your extra $20 OAK + CRU voucher would help offset the additional breakfast costs, like Amy suggests.)
Since we had packed ample snacks and drinks for our weekend road trip, we ended up spending the two $10 Cannery Marketplace credits on some local Okanagan sauces and dressings instead.
The Cannery Marketplace also serves Starbucks coffee in the mornings, so if you need a quick hit before you head to breakfast but you aren’t happy with the in-room coffee maker, that’s another potential use.
Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna – Dining
OAK + CRU is also open for all-day dining. We stopped by one afternoon for some light snacks, having just returned from cycling the Myra Canyon Trestles without eating lunch yet.
The restaurant offers a happy-hour session between 3–6pm, when you can order three dishes to share for $22 – an ideal use of our $20 credit.
Overall, between breakfast and happy-hour snacks, I was very impressed with the quality of food here at the OAK + CRU restaurant.
In my mind, I sometimes think of North American resort properties as falling below a certain global standard when it comes to things like food and beverage, elite treatment, and service – I was delighted to be proven wrong here at the Delta Grand Okanagan.
Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna – Activities
During the mornings and early afternoons, we would venture off to nearby attractions, as outlined in my post about our trip to the Okanagan.
It was nice to come back to our hotel after our activities for a quick rest (and break from the heat) before enjoying the amenities at the hotel and exploring the waterfront that was right at our doorstep.
Pool. The hotel has a massive indoor and outdoor pool, with hot tubs in both areas. When we stayed there, pool reservations were still required. They could be made the day prior (reservations opened at midnight) for 3 hour time slots (minus 15 minutes for switchover).
Reserving in the indoor or outdoor pool area only determines where your seats are; you can still freely use both pools and hot tubs during your time slot.
The kids loved the pool, and it was nice not to be rushed, with their generous three-hour sessions.
Table tennis and shuffleboard. You don’t see these games at most hotels, so it was a fun and unique for the kids to try. It made for great activity to kill time while waiting for your dining reservation. They are located beside the outdoor pools and you need to ask the pool staff for the equipment.
Resort Experience Centre (run by Lakefront Sports). Just outside the hotel on the waterfront, is a shed where hotel guests can rent pedal boats, kayaks, paddle boards and bikes for free, as it’s covered by the resort fee.
This is a great activity to do after dinner, when the temperatures are more favourable and its less busy. The water activities are done in an enclosed lagoon, away from the traffic of Okanagan Lake, making it a safer environment for kids.
Surrounding waterfront. Just outside of the hotel is the waterfront boardwalk that leads to Tugboat Beach and Rotary Marsh Park on one end, and Kelowna City Park and Hot Sands Beach on the other.
There is plenty of green space and pathways just behind the hotel which makes it a great place to just stroll around, enjoy a takeout picnic meal or just let the kids burn some energy running or biking around.
Wine tasting. On our second afternoon at the resort, we dropped by the complimentary wine tasting session, which takes place every day from 2–5pm. The Okanagan Valley region is known for its excellent wine, and even though we’d later do a tasting of our own at the beautiful CedarCreek Estate, we thought we’d also check out what the hotel had to offer.
A rotating lineup of wineries come in each day to host the wine tasting sessions. On this afternoon, we got to sample some fine whites and reds from 50th Parallel Estate, working up a nice afternoon buzz before another sunset hike to Knox Mountain Park later that evening.
As hotel guests, we like to complain about resort fees, which often come with “useless” benefits and are clearly intended to be a cash-grab. Here at the Delta Kelowna, though, between the daily wine tasting and all the food and beverage credits, the $20 resort fee is more than outweighed.
From a family perspective, the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort in Kelowna is a great property with many family-friendly amenities.
The base rooms lack the kitchenette that some families might prefer for easier or cheaper meals, but otherwise, you can’t beat the location and the on-site and nearby off-site activities that it offers.
At 60,000 Bonvoy points per night for three nights, it was an expensive points redemption, but worth it given the current circumstances of high demand and high prices everywhere.
It’s not often that I’d choose to blow 60,000 Bonvoy points per night on a weekend getaway, but with Jessy’s parents in town and all of us craving a dose of summer adventure, the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort was exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries for the rest of the year.
Even though I didn’t arrive at the hotel with the highest expectations, the Delta left me fairly impressed between its robust elite benefits, wide range of amenities and activities, and the delicious and fulsome breakfast offering at OAK + CRU.
As much as we enjoyed our Two-Bedroom Residence this time, I wouldn’t mind trying out one of the regular suites next time, especially since the hotel’s own rooms do look to be more recently refurbished than the vacation rentals.
While I wouldn’t return at this price point again, I’d certainly come back to the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort for another weekend of sunshine and free-flowing wine when the resurgent demand for travel has settled and prices are a bit more reasonable.
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