Just finished an enjoyable 9 day trip with 7 days in Vancouver BC
Day 1: Phoenix to Seattle via Southwest with ticket purchased with MR points and Mrs. CO flying on her companion pass that will expire Dec. 31, 2018. We arrived at the airport early to have time in the Priority Pass lounge. I was very pleased when I realized that the AMEX Hilton Honors Ascend card ($95/yr), which replaced the VISA Hilton Honors card, has 10 Priority Pass lounge entries each year. From the Seattle airport we took the light rail to the Pioneer Square station which is 1 block from the Courtyard Pioneer Square. We were upgraded to a suite that reminded me of a Residence Inn.
Day 2: We walked 8 blocks to the AMTRAK station for the 7:45 AM train to Vancouver. While I could have paid for this with SPG points I didn’t think it was worth the effort for the price of 2 coach tickets. This is a beautiful 4+ hour trip that spends most of the trip at water’s edge. This trip was in AMTRAK coaches with much room between the seats and tables in the dining car. We arrived at the Pacific Central Station in downtown Vancouver which is right next to the Science Center light rail station, which we took to the Water Front station (on Vancouver Harbor) which is 2 blocks from the Delta Vancouver Suites where we were booked for 7 days. The front desk acknowledged my Platinum status and upgraded us to a 19th floor corner suite with floor to ceiling windows in the bedroom. Across the street was the Harbour Center which has an exterior glass elevator taking people to the observation deck. We could see them so they could see us. Made sure to close drapes when appropriate. Since the Delta did not have a lounge they gave us breakfast chits for 2 breakfast each day, worth $26/person. The rooms have all been recently upgraded and were very functional. We also got as many free bottled waters as we wanted each day.
Days 3 – 7: Each day we would purchase 2 all day passes for the light rail/bus/water taxi system. Spent the next week wandering all over Vancouver/North Vancouver. When we first arrived I wondered if I had booked too many days, but at the end I felt like we had just scratched the surface. Vancouver is a very interesting town. Multiple trips to Granville Island, a trip to Grouse Mountain (Ski resort), Lynn Valley, Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park and many neighborhoods around the city. Traveling on public transportation allows viewing a lot of the city along the way. On Wednesday we were planning to just walk and not use public transportation. That morning was cold and windy so I purchased all day passes and we took the light rail Metro line to the end (past Burnaby in the east) and then took the Millennium line back into town. By that time it was late morning and had warmed up and we were able to start walking again. I was very disappointed in their China Town. We walked past the new JW Marriott which is attached to the Parq Casino, near False Creek. Attached to the other side of the casino is a Douglas Hotel, which I discovered is a Marriott Autograph Collection. On Sunday we took light rail down to Richmond and visited with friends we had met at the fire pit at MVC Canyon Villas Last October.
Day 8: We had to leave early since the AMTRAK back to Seattle departed at 6:35 AM. Since we could not have breakfast at the Delta we were given MR points for our unused breakfast chit. We got the first light rail of the day back to the Pacific Central Station. The return AMTRAK train had AMTRAK staff, but the coaches were Organ State Rail coaches, not nearly as open as the AMTRAK on the way up. I am thinking that the return trip should be via ferry the next time we do this. When we arrived in Seattle we walked back to the Courtyard Pioneer Square and were again upgraded to a suite that looked like a Residence Inn. We dropped off our luggage and walked down to the Bainbridge Island ferry to meet a cousin for lunch and an afternoon of winery tours.
Day 9: After breakfast at Biscuit ***** (amazing selections of biscuits and gravy, www.biscuitbitch.com,just around the corner from the Courtyard), we took the light rail back to the airport. Priority Pass got us access to the Alaska Air lounge while we waited for our flight back to Phoenix.
This was my first stay at a Delta Hotel and I was impressed, very friendly staff. This hotel is perfectly located for me because it is close to the light rail. Vancouver has great public transportation. Thanks Marriott for an amazing trip on points! Only 20 more nights to make LTP.