Trumpeter swans honking were the sound I heard and I spotted them flying over the water of English Bay coming towards  me in Stanley Park.  The Westin Bayshore hotel is near the entrance to Stanley Park, 1.5 square miles of wooded parklands and gardens on the western peninsula within walking distance of Vancouver’s central business district.

Trumpeter Swans over Stanley Park Vancouver

Trumpeter Swans over Stanley Park, Vancouver

Trumpeter swans are the largest waterfowl native to North America.  These Pacific Coast trumpeter swans are endangered by shotgun pellet lead in Judson Lake, located across the Canadian border in the USA, just 15 miles east of Highway 101 and the border town of Blaine, Washington.  Wildlife biologists traced the deaths of hundreds of trumpeter swans.  About 1,600 swans have died in the region since 1999.  News story for this information is here.

Vancouver Westin Bayshore Hotel complex

Westin Bayshore Hotel complex, Vancouver

That is probably not a good way to start a hotel review.  The point is the Westin Bayshore is near Stanley Park in Vancouver and a great place to be in a natural setting adjacent to skyrise Vancouver.  My eyes love the skyscrapers of Vancouver city and the Sheraton Wall Centre and Westin Grand in the urban center are architectural eye candy.  In contrast, the Westin Bayshore presents a blight on the waterfront architecture of Vancouver.  This hotel, from the outside, looks like a 1970s retro beach hotel in the 21st century city waterfront along the rest of the bayshore of Vancouver’s Central Business District.

Vancouver Westin Bayshore Skyline View at Dusk

Westin Bayshore Vancouver city skyline view

Viewed from the inside the Westin Bayshore provides the comfort of an upscale hotel experience with fine furniture, comfortable seating, high quality TV viewing, Heavenly bed and great bath features (except for the ultra-skinny shower width).  Best of all was the city view of the Vancouver small boat docks and bayshore pathway leading into the city center. 

Vancouver Westin Bayshore harbor view at dusk

Westin Bayshore Vancouver waterfront view

My eyes like the architecture of Vancouver city center.  My soul likes the waterfront position of the Westin Bayshore hotel and the proximity of escaping into Stanley Park for quick contact with nature.  The big city is something I only enjoy for a few days at a time and then I like to be back in the woods and on the beach.  Vancouver is a city of 600,000 people.  The place is dense with people. 

The Westin Bayshore is the Starwood Hotel in Vancouver for the traveler who wants the activity of city life, but relaxing at a hotel closer to the water, trees, and paved waterfront paths for walking, jogging, or cycling.  There are lots of residents in the surrounding streets in this west end of the city making this part of Vancouver easier for finding services like markets, cheap food cafes, and laundry facilities.  This end of the city definitely seems more affluent when walking the streets at night than the Gastown – City Center areas of Vancouver.

Vancouver Westin Bayshore hotel outdoor pool

Westin Bayshore Vancouver outdoor pool, Nov. 11, 2008

Remembrance Day, November 11, is a well-observed holiday in Canada.  The day brought an intense rain storm to Vancouver. On the waterfront with a view of the bay, we saw some strong gusts of wind and rain.  There was a couple in the large outdoor hotel pool hanging out in the heated water on a blustery day.  It looked fun.

Westin Bayshore Vancouver remodel exhibit in Towers lobby

Remodel exhibit in Tower lobby of Westin Bayshore Vancouver

The indoor pool had several children and dads swimming on the Tuesday holiday morning.  Moms were having quiet time I guess.  The indoor pool and workout room are located in the Tower section of the hotel complex and the hotel corridors go from one side to another without having to go outside.  The Tower rooms are in the process of being remodeled until the spring of 2009.  Some rooms are still open for Tower guests.

Vancouver Westin Bayshore Suite sitting room

Westin Bayshore Vancouver suite sitting room on 5th floor main building

The Westin Bayshore lobby is cavernous compared to the other two Vancouver Starwood properties.  There is a conference center portion to the hotel.

Westin Bayshore Vancouver sitting room2

Westin Bayshore Vancouver sitting room

Westin Bayshore Hotel has two buildings for rooms.  The main hotel is a 9-story building wing extending to the waterfront.  Half the rooms face east to the city center and half face Stanley Park, the Tower building of the Westin Bayshore, and the outdoor pool enclosed from the bay shore paved pedestrian path by hedges and and a fence.

Westin Bayshore Vancouver TV in sitting room suite

Westin Bayshore Vancouver suite sitting room TV

The bedroom and the sitting room of the Westin Bayshore suite had sliding glass patio doors to balcony decks. 

Vancouver Westin Bayshore balcony

Westin Bayshore Vancouver balcony

The Heavenly bed was its usual comfort.  The bed was center aligned with the patio door.  The bedroom was huge and easily would have accommodated shifting the bed over another foot or two for better views out the windows to the city and harbor.  This would also alleviate the problem with the bedroom door opening inward to the room and being blocked by a doorstop leaving so narrow a space that the guest has to squeeze between the bed and the door. 

Westin Bayshore Vancouver suite bedroom

Westin Bayshore Vancouver suite bedroom

Was this the same designer for the Westin Grand bedroom?  It seems Vancouver Westins like to force guests to contort around physical barriers in the guest bedrooms to get around the room.

Vancouver Westin Bayshore suite shower-tub

Westin Bayshore Vancouver shower and tub in suite

The bathroom was nicely equipped with a closet containing robes and an umbrella, vanity mirror, separate shower and tub, and the glass shower stall was another space for skinny people.  Barely 20 inches between the handle fixtures and glass of the shower door and the tile wall.

The horrible weather of Vancouver on Remembrance Day motivated me to head back to Seattle earlier than I planned.  There was no issue with immigration questioning for this trip that I usually experience with airport travel to Canada.  Driving back to the USA wasn’t a cakewalk though.  Over 90 minutes to drive the last mile through border control at the USA border.

Remembrance Day, Canada, November 11

Remembrance Day Poppy, November 11

Room Cost: $134 CAD room +$28 CAD parking (about $155 USD total).

This was a Best Rate Guarantee found on GTAHotels.com via a Kayak.com search and based on a $145CAD rate on the SPG website.  Received 2,000 Starpoints bonus and the hotel still generously placed me in a full suite upgrade.  Vancouver Westin Bayshore was a good value stay.

Related Loyalty Traveler links:

Vancouver Sheraton Wall Centre review 11-24-08

Vancouver Westin Grand review 11-25-08

 

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