A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending a weekend at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver. This was my first weekend away from home since the start of the pandemic and while the hotel is only located approximately 50 miles from my home base of Victoria, BC, stepping into the airy lobby hotel felt like I was being whisked away to another universe.
Located amidst the glass skyscrapers of downtown Vancouver on the edge of the False Creek waterway, this dreamy hotel has a resort-like setting reminiscent of a luxe Vegas hotel but with a distinctly chill and understated vibe that Vancouver’s known for. If you stay at the JW Marriott Parq you technically don’t need to leave the property to have a super fun and relaxing weekend. On property you’ll find a host of amazing restaurants & bars, a spa, a rooftop aqua lounge that offers stunning views of the city and of course, a 72,000 square-foot world class casino (unfortunately, the casino is currently closed because of the pandemic.)
I also love that the hotel is conveniently located. If you want to leave (which I did), you’re only steps away from the seawall or the hustle & bustle of Gastown, Yaletown and Chinatown. This made it super easy to visit some of my favorite places in Vancouver while staying at the Parq.
As someone who suffers from anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder — a condition that’s definitely been amplified by the pandemic — I feel like I’m constantly playing “germ math” (this fork is clean, but how clean is the table it’s sitting on? Will it kill me? What about this door knob. Will it kill me?) I was nervous about travelling from Victoria, BC (where we have relatively few COVID cases) to Vancouver, BC (where COVID cases are higher). But the JW Marriott Parq ended up being the perfect destination to dip my anxiety ridden toes back into travel.
Before I arrived, the hotel team assured me that they follow stringent guidelines set up by the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council, a group of experts dedicated to ensuring the comfort and safety of guests. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, they’ve reduced touch-points, increased cleaning practices, and created touchless experiences to ensure the utmost safety of their guests.
I was naturally a little skeptical, but the hotel really went out of its way to make a germ-phobic traveller like me feel safe and looked after. Masks were worn in all public areas, hand sanitizer was readily available (I noticed the staff using it before and after they touched your bags and/or cards) and there were wipes set up everywhere so you could wipe surfaces like elevator buttons and doorknobs before you used them.
I stayed in one of the One Bedroom Suites. Not only was my room super luxe (the beds were so incredibly comfy) but the staff also made sure to include a note card outlining all of the high touch areas that had been disinfected before my arrival along with a complimentary package of anti-bacterial wipes (I gave everything a once over even though I probably didn’t need to because, anxiety!)
I took advantage of the Spa by JW which features 10,000 square feet of space dedicated to healing, restoration and rejuvenation, and treated myself to a relaxing aromatherapy massage followed by some quiet time in the relaxation lounge which overlooks False Creek.
I also enjoyed an early morning soak and took in the views at the Parq’s rooftop aqua lounge.
Last but not least, I ate a few meals at Honey Salt. The eatery offers upscale locally sourced eats in a super cute setting. My favorite: the Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes (pumpkin spice, almond butter, oat crumble, pumpkin seeds). I rarely see gluten free pancakes on brunch menus (even though I make them at home all the time), so these were a real treat.
Did I still feel anxious about the pandemic and germs during my stay? Definitely. But that has more to do with my brain chemistry than the hotel.
From the bounty of wipes and hand sanitizer readily available near every high-touch surface to the conscientious staff that made every effort possible to make me feel as safe and comfortable as possible during my stay, it’s clear that the JW Marriott Parq takes the health of their guests seriously.