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Entering Vancouver’s Westin Grand lobby, you’re now greeted with friendly employees wearing masks and standing behind a plexiglass barrier. Welcome to the new hotel stay! We checked in for a one-night staycation recently to see how things differed from pre-COVID-19.

Check in is smooth and easy. Our king suite is stocked with water bottles and antiseptic wipes however no coffee machines or glassware. Coffee is available on demand though.

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Daily housekeeping has also taken a “pandemic pause”, but fresh towels, linens and other necessities are just a phone call away.

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The outdoor pool/whirlpool (max six persons; two/one family in whirlpool), sauna and 24-hour gym (max three persons) remain open. Common indoor areas require wearing a face mask and of course, physical distancing is in place.

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Rooms are comfortable and offer a lot of natural light. They’re stocked with Westin’s own amenity bath line and lavender balm by the bed for a calm night of rest.

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The work desk has a USB outlet on its side while a panel on top of the desk has a couple more USB and regular outlets for your tech. That same panel is repeated in the bedroom on one of the side tables as well as on a lamp on the other side. Free WiFi is included with your stay.

Westin Grand king room

Within the neutral colour palette are inviting seating areas, a variety of light fixtures and a flatscreen TV in both living room and bedroom. Inside the closet we found a safe, umbrella, iron and ironing board plus extra bedding.

The Heavenly Bed (Westin’s own) and cozy bedding is a comfortable experience to look forward to at the end of the day. It’s got support and softness rolled into one and we slept great during our stay, especially when it’s often hard to adjust to a new bed for the first night.

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If We Could Change One Thing

The bathrooms could use a dimmer switch. The large lit mirror and ceiling lights are all or nothing when turned on. This simple solution would make it a lot nicer, especially late at night when using the bathroom.

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Dining at Glowbal

Food and beverage service is temporarily unavailable but you’re right in the heart of downtown, with restaurants such as Glowbal, Noodle Box, Black and Blue, Italian Kitchen and Homer Street Cafe and Bar all within walking distance.

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Glowbal offers both indoor and outdoor seating with a choice of single-use paper or scannable online menus. The outdoor spaces are well designed to keep diners comfortable with ample room for physical distancing. Our evening begins with a dozen West and East coast oysters (Paradise Bay, Chef’s Creek, Kusshi), paired with a glass of bubbly.

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I sample a taste of Glowbal’s muddled strawberry and mint virgin mojito, cool and refreshing on this summer evening. It’s even garnished with a house-made dehydrated lime slice for good measure.

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Our amuse bouche of gnocchi, lobster, peas, asparagus and Enoki mushrooms is a nice touch to start us off, compliments of chef Michel Swanson, recently moved here from Toronto.

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There’s a well-rounded international wine list as well as bottled and draft beer and craft cocktails/mocktails on the drinks menu.

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My husband gets served a big and bold plate of paella filled with fresh seafood, well paired with a glass of BC’s Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris.

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I order an Ahi tuna rice poke bowl served with four different sauces (honey lemon vinaigrette, buttermilk ranch, charred lemon vinagrette, ginger carrot dressing), providing a different flavour experience to every bite. This dish hits the spot for a light and satisfying entrée.

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A summer berry crumble and herbal tea round off our relaxing al fresco evening. This is one of Glowbal’s seasonal feature desserts and is perfect for sharing, graced with a scoop of vanilla bean gelato.

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Sitting here in a rounded “cage” booth enveloped by a soft, oversized light and views of the fireplace built into a large marble wall, we can’t help but savour the vibe.

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In the Hood

There’s loads to explore, from Gastown to Yaletown and further afield, Stanley Park. Even with theater and sports venues closed, there’s a city waiting for locals and out-of-towners alike to discover. Westin Grand is located at 433 Robson Street in downtown Vancouver.

We were hosted by the Westin Grand and Glowbal for the purpose of this feature. Opinions, as always, remain our own.

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