Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hotel Reviews: Vancouver's Sheraton Wall Centre & River Rock Casino Resort

I spent the past two weeks out in Alberta and BC where I stayed in some nice, and some not-so-nice hotels.  Let’s start with two of the nicer ones.

The Sheraton Wall Centre
I have to admit that I was a little nervous about this hotel. We booked it on Hotwire, our first time using that site, and afterwards I noticed several reviews about it on where people theorized that they had received small and/or crappy rooms at this hotel because they had used Hotwire or Priceline.

But in the end my nerves were for nothing because we were assigned a great room that was extremely clean, spacious and home to a very comfortable bed (and how I needed a good bed after four nights of bad mattresses at other hotels).

My single issue with the room we ended up with is that it was on the sixth floor of the North tower, too low for any great views, which I'm told this hotel does have higher up. We could also hear a bit of street noise in the morning though it was tolerable and didn't wake us up.

The Sheraton Wall Centre is nicely located in the middle of everything (Granville Island can be reached in about 10 minutes, including a trip on the False Creek ferry, while Stanley Park is an easy 30 minute walk) and its staff is polite, professional and very helpful. While there’s no free wi-fi, there is a pool, complete with hot tub, and a restaurant that charges reasonably for breakfast.

We paid $130 a night for our room through Hotwire, which is more than a great price for the high quality room that we received.

River Rock Casino Resort
This was our trip’s other Hotwire find and was another huge hit for only $130. We were upgraded to a one bedroom and ended up getting a large, well-kept space that came complete with such amenities as an espresso machine and an iPod dock. And yes, it also had a very comfortable bed, located in a very quiet bedroom.

For our purposes, the location of this Rickmond hotel was ideal. We wanted somewhere near the airport and not only does this hotel meet that qualification, it exceeds it by having a SkyTrain stop essentially in the hotel.

However, being near the airport is about the only thing this place has going for it location-wise. While I guess you could stay out here and use the SkyTrain to head into Vancouver, it would be a bit of a hassle to do so.

While there’s not much to do around this hotel, there is stuff to do on the inside including losing money in the casino, swimming in the nicely landscaped indoor pool or taking in a show (nobody was performing when we were there but the night before the Price Is Right had been there).

There are also several dining options though we only tried out the overpriced and disappointing buffet. If you do stay here, avoid the buffet and also try to get a room in the main tower (the one where you check-in). It houses all of the amenities and is also located away from the SkyTrain so it’s quieter.

Should I ever have to take another 7:30 am out of Vancouver’s airport, I’ll likely end up staying here again.

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