Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Where to Stay - Westin Bayshore Hotel Review

I knew about the Westin Bayshore Hotel from many years ago when I went to one of the rooms for a photoshoot. To be honest, it didn't leave me much of an impression back in the days. It was a standard hotel with a standard room.

Fast forward to last month, I was invited to an afternoon tea tasting at the H Tasting Lounge. It was such a beautiful space ! I didn't even realized the Lounge is situated in the hotel I shot at years ago. Everything looked new, trendy, and up-scale. The restaurant and its decor definitely turn the vibe into a contemporary space. I wouldn't guess the Westin Bayshore has opened since 1961 ! I later learned that Westin Bayshore has went through a renovation in 2015.

The hotel has a very grand entrance located right by the water. The driveway is wide for both parking and loading. Some hotels in Vancouver have their entrances by a busy road, and I always get so stressed out to park in front of it for valet. So this set up is perfect for someone like me ! Both self parking and valet are available at the prices below. 

Self Parking: $40 per night (including taxes)
Valet Parking: $45 per night (including taxes) 

It's easier to self park if you are planning to drive out again soon to explore the city. But if you are just staying in the hotel, the Valet service is only $5 more than Self Parking and saves you the hassle to look for a spot.

We handed our car to the Valet and proceeded to check in. The lobby is grand with a spacious hallway, accented by H Tasting Lounge.

Below is the check in area, it's intimate and straight forward. The soft tinted lighting is a contrast from the bright lobbying area, but a great design choice to make customers feel comfortable and at home.

The Westin Bayshore Hotel is huge in comparison to some of the boutique hotels in Vancouver. It felt a little bit like the hotels in Vegas minus the casino. We had to walk through a long high way to get to our room, located in a separate wing. 

The hallway is well-lit and many of the hotel amenities are located here - gym, and outdoor and indoor pool, and a spa ! There's also a side door that leads directly onto the sea walk. I'll talk about the great location later.

Speaking of pool though, Frank and I visited their indoor pool for a little bit before dinner and it was refreshing ! :D If the weather were better, we would totally try out their Liquid Yoga ! 

The Liquid Yoga is basically doing yoga on floating mats in the pool. It really trains your balance and your body strength. It's open to both hotel and non hotel guests so even locals who are interested in Liquid Yoga, can check Westin Bayshore's classes out ! 

We got the harbor view room and the view is definitely #veryvancouver.

And that's the first thing I noticed and ran to immediately after we keyed into our room.

You can see the Stanley Park sea wall right from the balcony, and it's literally so close that you can see people jogging, cycling, and walking their fluffy ones.

For Vancouverites, we are all so familiar with Stanley Park. For out of city guests, Stanley Park to Vancouver is like Central Park to NYC. So imagine living right across from Central Park, and having its view from your bedroom window. That's Westin Bayshore Hotel.

The other parts of the room is standard. But very impressive for such an old hotel. It has everything you need to be comfortable. Standard doesn't mean bad, rather, it means a standard of quality you can expect from a 4 star hotel.

One notable thing about the standard room is its added thoughtful details :

There's a small bottle of lavender balm by the bed to help you wind down and sleep soundly. The scent is so beautiful and comforting, I brought it home and still using it every night ! 

There's this other service that I find SO THOUGHTFUL ! They lend you New Balance Workout Gear for $5 so you don't have to bring all of that in your travel suitcase ! We all know how much space that pair of sports shoes take, when you only need it for gym. 

These little details are what made a "standard" hotel, not so standard.

We had dinner at the H Tasting Lounge. I was really excited for it and couldn't wait to introduce my great experience from last time, to my Fiance. Luckily, he was greatly impressed too ! 

The H Tasting Lounge has a very interesting back story. It was built in memory of Howard Hughes, who moved into Westin Bayshore in 1972, and stayed there for half a year. The interior, hence, was designed largely based on airplane elements. If you look closely, the waitresses have uniforms like air hostess. Some of them even wear small airplane pins on them. The brass panels resembles plane propellers, and the large chandelier is also formed by crystal propeller blades ! I truly appreciate the stories behind a design, it adds so much depth to the already beautiful space.

There was a live Jazz singer that day during our dinner. SHE WAS AMAZING. She was so good and sang all my favorite oldies. I should have asked for her name so I can follow her around when she performs in Vancouver : (

Our dinner did not disappoint and was delicious just like their afternoon tea.

I HIGHLY recommend ordering their baked brie. I love baked Brie and order it whenever I see it on the menu, but H Tasting Lounge's bake brie is by far one of the best ones I've ever had !

The dessert we got was prepared by our table, with a flaming pot. It was an orange crepe with vanilla ice cream.

We spent our night watching Shrek 1,2, and 3 all night in our room. Which is your favorite ?

Our morning started out with BREAKFAST BUFFET at the H2 Restaurant.

My favorite meal of the day is brunch ! Even though normally I usually just drink a juice or smoothie for lunch, brunch food is my favorite type of food. I especially love breakfast buffets so that I don't have to choose just ONE dish.

But of course, if buffet is not your thing, you can always order from their regular breakfast / brunch menu.

The buffet consists of a oatmeal/cereal station, fruit station, beverages, cheese plates, pastries, an egg station where you can get your egg dishes made to order, hot food station, and a congee station !

We requested for a super late check out, at 5pm. So Frank left for work after breakfast, but Coco and I stayed in the room for a bit more before I went for my spa treatment at VIDA spa. 

The Spa is very well equipped. It has a locker room with fresh towels, rope, and slipper for you to change into before your treatment.

There's also a very cozy lounge area where you can relax and rewind.

There are a few treatment rooms, for couple's treatment, individual treatment, or just mani/pedicure !

I did a 60 min. customized massage, after filling in this little questionnaire to determine my Dosha :

I am obviously a VATA so my masseur formulated essential oils and techniques to help balance my Dota more.

The massage felt superrrrr relaxing as they used SOOOOO MUCH OIL on me. I love an oily massage and I cannot lie. I had tons and tons of warm oil in my hair, on my face, and all over my body. Can you imagine how good it felt ? I highly recommend this massage if you do visit the VIDA SPA in Westin Bayshore. Unfortunately, I didn't know what the specific name was called, but maybe describe it as, "the massage where you first determine your dota, then lots of oil", hahaha.

I would say the Westin Bayshore Hotel is great for family, work trip, or even couples. It's spacious and nothing can beat its scenic location. I'm most impressed by the two lobby restaurants - the H Tasting Lounge and the H2 Restaurant. Even if you are not a hotel guest, I highly recommend to stop by the Westin Bayshore and try the amenities they have to offer ! 


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