Northern California Trip Report (Series Introduction)

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Northern California 2016


Back in July (yeesh, I can’t believe it was that long ago already), Ken and I traveled to Northern California for a week. One of Ken’s friends from college was getting married to his long-time girlfriend in Oakland, and we were invited! We figured, if we’re going to spend 5 hours on a plane traveling from the east coast to the Bay Area, we may as well make a vacation out of it!  

Northern California Trip Itinerary | Travel | Santa Cruz | Big Sur | Carmel | San Francisco | Muir Woods

It was interesting because Ken and I are not summer travelers. Fall and spring all the way!** I despise heat, crowds, and the more expensive travel rates that come with summer travel. But luckily one of those elements would be avoided – the heat! Northern California weather is gorgeous all year round, so that was a big plus!  

We considered lots of itinerary options, and ultimately decided on two nights in Santa Cruz, two nights in Big Sur (Carmel), and four nights in San Francisco.  

We used a mix of points and paid travel for this trip.

The Flights

Knowing that San Francisco is serviced by JetBlue, I pretty quickly decided that I wanted to try out JetBlue’s Mint class. We booked our flights from DCA to SFO (which included a short connection at JFK).  We opted for one points ticket and one paid ticket. For the points ticket, I transferred points from American Express Membership Rewards. It doesn’t have a great transfer value (250 MR to 200 JetBlue points), but I didn’t have any big plans for Membership Rewards points coming up, so just transferred some anyway.  For the paid ticket, we spent $617 (which included both segments, DCA-JFK-SFO), which I thought was an excellent price for lay flat seats on a five hour flight.  

The return flights were a little trickier. I try my hardest to avoid connections when returning from a vacation. But decent seats (read: lay flat) on a nonstop from SFO to any DC area airport was a tough find. Ultimately, I found one daily United flight that was a nonstop from SFO to Washington Dulles on a 777 with lay flat seats! And lo and behold, it had points options available.  It was a three-cabin aircraft, but we just opted for business class seats.  Boom.  100,000 miles (there was no saver availability) and $11.20 for two tickets.

 

The Hotels

I tried multiple VRBO and AirBnB options for this trip, but didn’t have any luck, as I lamented in this post.  So, we would have to stick to hotels.

Points redemption / chain hotel options in Santa Cruz close to the beach were extremely limited, so we stayed at a B&B called the West Cliff Inn in Santa Cruz. It was actually the first B&B we’ve ever stayed at, and it was fantastic.  So, we paid out of pocket for this hotel, but were able to use some Barclay Arrival Card points to recoup some of the costs in the form of a credit card statement credit.

In Big Sur, i was able to score two free nights in an Ocean View King with Balcony at the Hyatt Highlands Inn Carmel. The nights were 25,000 Hyatt points each. That same room was going for more than $600 / night, so that was a great redemption value!  Plus, they didn’t charge a resort fee.  

After exploring multiple points options hotels in San Francisco (like the Hyatt Regency, and even considering a Fairmont credit card application to get two free nights at the Fairmont in SF), the hotel photos and locations just kind of left me like, meh.  So, we opted for another non-chain hotel for the San Francisco portion of our trip: The Scarlet Huntington. This was also another really fantastic hotel.

 

The Rental Car

The rental car was definitely a splurge. After enjoying our convertible we had rented a few years earlier in the Florida Keys, we decided to rent one for our Northern California trip too!  We’d pick it up at the airport, use it for our drive along the Pacific Coast highway in Santa Cruz and Big Sur, and then return it at a San Francisco city location since we wouldn’t need a car once we got to the San Francisco portion of our trip. That worked out beautifully, and in fact, the in-city rental car return location was very close to the Scarlet Huntington Hotel.  

 

What this trip report series will include

I’ll review all the hotels, as well as Jet Blue’s Mint Class and United’s 777 nonstop business class service from SFO-IAD. I’ll also post LOTS of pictures of our pacific coast highway drive, and our sightsee-till-we-dropped activities in San Francisco.

 

**Interestingly, this was the second year in a row though that we had summer travel plans. The previous year was our Alaska cruise!  Although summer is pretty much the only time to travel to Alaska on a cruise!

Ruby Princess – Ship Amenities Review

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015


In my previous post in this series, I reviewed our cabin, a mini suite, as well as my dad’s accessible stateroom. This post will give an overview of the ship and ship’s amenities!

Let’s start with the outdoors!

Outdoor Activities and Pools

The rear of the ship (aft, yes, I know), was home to a small pool and some hot tubs:

Pools and Hot Tubs on Ruby Princess (aft) Pools and Hot Tubs on Ruby Princess (aft)

There were also two larger pools, as well as some hot tubs, in the middle of the ship.

Pools and Hot Tubs on Ruby Princess Pools and Hot Tubs on Ruby Princess

One of the pool areas in the middle had a huge TV screen above the pool. Movies played at scheduled times. Since it was chilly at times even in June, (we were, after all, heading to ALASKA!) cruise staff passed out blankets during the movies so you could stay warm!

Pools and Hot Tubs on Ruby Princess Pools and Hot Tubs on Ruby Princess TV screen in pool area on Ruby Princess

There was also an adults-only pool area, called “The Sanctuary.” Entrance to The Sanctuary was an additional fee, and every time I saw that area it was almost completely empty.

Entrance sign for The Sanctuary, the adult only pool on Ruby Princess The Sanctuary Adult Only Pool area The Sanctuary Adult Only Pool area

The Sanctuary had plusher chaise lounge chairs and regular seating as well.

The Sanctuary Adult Only Pool area The Sanctuary Adult Only Pool area The Sanctuary Adult Only Pool area

As I mentioned, my 2-year-old niece and 9-year-old nephew were on this trip. During one of their drop-offs at the kids areas, one of the cruise staff said that there were only 40 kids onboard under the age of 12. That’s MUCH different than like a Caribbean cruise! So, there probably isn’t much need to escape kids on an Alaskan cruise.

There was a mini-golf course on the ship:

Miniature golf course on Ruby Princess Ken playing mini golf on cruise ship

And my nephew was a big fan of this sports area, which had basketball hoops:

Basketball and soccer area on Ruby Princess.

And here are just a few other random photos of outdoor spaces on the Ruby Princess:

Ruby Princess | Ship tour photos (exterior) Ruby Princess | Ship tour photos (exterior) Ruby Princess | Ship tour photos (exterior) Ruby Princess | Ship tour photos (exterior) Ruby Princess | Ship tour photos (exterior) Ruby Princess | Ship tour photos (exterior) Ruby Princess | Ship tour photos (exterior)

Bars, Restaurants, and Casino

In no particular order, here are some of the onboard restaurants and bars, as well as the casino!

Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars Ruby Princess Restaurants and Bars

This was the “Da Vinci” dining room, where we ate all our sit-down (non-buffet) meals:

Da Vinci Dining Room Da Vinci Dining Room Da Vinci Dining Room

The menu was posted for each meal outside of the restaurant.

Da Vinci Dining Room

 

Atrium and Grand Staircase Area

This was always a fairly crowded area. There was usually piano music playing on the bottom floor of the atrium, there was a guest services counter in the area, and several shops and bars!

Atrium on the Ruby Princess Atrium on the Ruby Princess Atrium on the Ruby Princess Atrium on the Ruby Princess Atrium on the Ruby Princess Atrium on the Ruby Princess Atrium on the Ruby Princess

The Theater

Princess Theater Princess Theater Princess Theater Sign XX

The Library and Internet Cafe

I never priced out how much it would be to use the internet onboard the ship. Mostly I just relied on my phone when we were in port. In between ports, there was no cell service or data, so the internet cafe could be an option for those that really need it.

The Ruby Princess Library The Ruby Princess Library The Ruby Princess Library Internet Cafe Sign Internet Cafe

Kids Play Area

This was a play area for younger kids. There was also an area for older kids, with like some big couches and TVs and video games, but I didn’t get photos of that area.

Kids Play Area on Ruby Princess Kids Play Area on Ruby Princess Kids Play Area on Ruby Princess

You could drop off kids that were potty trained. Non-potty trained kids (like my niece) had to be accompanied by an adult.

Kids Play Area on Ruby Princess Kids Play Area on Ruby Princess Kids Play Area on Ruby Princess Kids Play Area on Ruby Princess

There was also a little outdoor area of the kids play area as well:

Kids Play Area on Ruby Princess

Overall, the ship was great. The service was mostly good. I was getting annoyed with a near constant “upselling” of things like soda passes and alcoholic beverages. I even noticed that I got significantly better and faster service when I ordered beer or wine with my meals. When I went without alcohol, our service suffered. My sister had talked to a staff member in port, and he mentioned that employees get “time off” bonuses for selling certain numbers of soda passes or drinks. He was off the ship because he had achieved a certain amount sold. I understand Princess’s desire to incentivize, but the upselling really did leave a sour taste about the entire shipboard experience.

I still don’t think I have a “favorite” cruise line just yet. In the past 10 years, we’ve been on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and now Princess. I have always liked Carnival, but it’s been 15 years since I’ve been on a Carnival Cruise, so I’m guessing they could’ve changed as well.

Have you been on a Princess cruise? What did you think? What is your favorite cruise line?

Mardi Gras 2016 in New Orleans – Day 2

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016

After our first jam packed day in New Orleans, I think we managed to cram in even MORE stuff the next day! We started out with brunch in a New Orleans neighborhood called the Magazine District (we took an Uber there from our hotel since it was about a 15 minute drive. Also, more on where we ate in New Orleans in a separate, future post!).

After brunch, we walked around the Magazine District. It was such a cute neighborhood!

Magazine District

Magazine District New Orleans Magazine District New Orleans Magazine District New Orleans Magazine District New Orleans

Of course, many of the houses and business were decorated for Mardi Gras!

Magazine District Homes decorated for New Orleans Magazine District Homes decorated for New Orleans Magazine District Homes decorated for New Orleans Magazine District Homes decorated for New Orleans

One of the interesting things we noticed during our trip to Mardi Gras is that there are a lot of um, I’m not sure how to describe them, missionaries / preachers / religious folk trying to remind Mardi Gras goers about Jesus. To the point that they were even skywriting about it:

Jesus skywriting

The next photo is not from the Magazine District, but from Bourbon Street, where we saw a group of men carrying a cross down the road.

Cross bearing men on Bourbon street during Mardi Gras

Anyway, after the Magazine District, we decided to walk around the French Quarter to take in all the daytime Mardi Gras revelry.

French Quarter during Mardi Gras French Quarter during Mardi Gras

Chuckling at the bead whore sign!

French Quarter during Mardi Gras

And bra decorations on the balconies!

French Quarter during Mardi Gras French Quarter during Mardi Gras French Quarter during Mardi Gras

We made our way to Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral area. We just walked around the area for a while and we didn’t even take that many pictures, mostly because we had visited that area extensively on our previous trip to New Orleans in 2008!

Jackson Square New Orleans

The entire area was packed!

Across from Jackson Square

We couldn’t believe it, but we were getting hungry again thanks to all the walking, and stopped by and grabbed some lunch. And then, you guessed it, we resumed walking! There was this cute open-air (but covered. Is that a thing?) market. We walked through there and did some people watching!

Farmer’s Market in New Orleans French Quarter Farmer’s Market in New Orleans French Quarter Farmer’s Market in New Orleans French Quarter Farmer’s Market in New Orleans French Quarter Farmer’s Market in New Orleans French Quarter Farmer’s Market in New Orleans French Quarter

And then, just more photos of the stunning French Quarter. I am IN LOVE with all these gorgeous buildings.

French Quarter during Mardi Gras French Quarter during Mardi Gras French Quarter during Mardi Gras

We had grandstand tickets for the Bacchus parade later that night, so we started to head back to the hotel. Our legs were aching and we tried to decide between walking back to the hotel and taking an Uber, and we just decided to keep on trekking on our sore legs.

And wouldn’t you know it, just like the previous day, we tripped across another parade on our way back to the hotel! (Not sure which krewe this is though!)

Mardi Gras Parade Mardi Gras parade

It was during this parade that I was NAILED RIGHT IN THE FOREHEAD with an enormous BAG OF BEADS that was thrown from the floats. From that moment, I was very cautious of entire bags of beads being thrown. I much preferred the strands!

Mardi Gras parade

We stood around and watched the parade for a bit.

Mardi Gras parade Mardi Gras parade Mardi Gras parade Mardi Gras parade

We relaxed at the hotel for a short while and then headed to the grandstands area for the Krewe of Bacchus.

It was COLD that night. Really, it was cold our entire trip. When we packed for our trip, I had seen that the lows in New Orleans would be like 50–55. Compared to DC’s lows of like 20 at that same time in February, 55 seemed downright balmy and we didn’t pack anything heavier than a fleece for a jacket. But man were we regretting it that night! I wish we would’ve packed our heavy winter coats! Sitting on cold metal grandstands didn’t help much either!

Anyway, a word to the wise, even if the weather seems “warm” for winter compared to northeast standards, pack a heavy jacket (and dress in layers).

See, these women were smart. Heavy coats!

Waiting for Bacchus parade to start

The parade was running crazy late. Like probably 2 hours late. But when it did finally get started, there were these two gorilla floats among the first floats. People tossed their beads AT the floats! I guess this is pretty common knowledge, and we quickly joined in, trying to toss our beads at the two gorilla floats!

Gorilla floats during Bacchus | Mardi Gras Parade Gorilla floats during Bacchus | Mardi Gras Parade Gorilla floats during Bacchus | Mardi Gras Parade

Then the bulk of the parade started. Like the other ones we had seen, it mostly followed the “float followed by marching band” order. Although there were some horses mixed in on the parade too!

Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016 Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016 Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016 Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016 Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016 Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016 Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016 Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016 Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016 Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016 Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016

The parade was the same night as the Super Bowl, and this guy marched in the parade watching the Super Bowl from a TV on the back of an SUV!

Krewe of Bacchus | Mardi Gras 2016

After a while, the wind really started to kick up, and we were getting even colder. The parade kept getting “stuck,” and sometimes there was a 5, 10, or even 15 minute wait in between the different floats and marching bands. We decided that we had seen plenty of the parade, and we wanted to go back to the hotel to warm up.

We would need to cross the street of the parade route to get back to our hotel, so we walked several blocks down the street to Canal street, where the parade route was not operating, and waited for a break in the parade and for police officers to temporarily open the street barriers (we had seen law enforcement do this several times during the other parades we had watched.)

And we waited. And waited. And waited. And the police officer there wasn’t opening the gate to cross the street, even though there were long breaks in between the floats. There was a huge crowd forming waiting to cross the street, and people started to get pushy. Somebody asked when he would open the gate to cross, since there were no floats within sight. With an extreme attitude tone, the police officer said to the crowd, “Why don’t you all just go enjoy the parade?”

And we’re like, wait, what? Does that mean he won’t open the gate at all? Ken and I were cold getting pretty tired, and I was starting to envision some sort of stampede. Someone else asked where they could go to cross the street, and once again, with that terrible attitude, he said, “GO ENJOY THE PARADE.”

Ken and I broke free from the crowd and walked back up St. Charles Avenue several blocks to another police-staffed barrier. We had just missed a opening, so at least we knew that gate was staffed by reasonable officers allowing people to cross the street. So, we just waited for a few minutes at the gate.

Waiting to cross the street during Bacchus Parade Waiting to cross the street during Bacchus Parade

Then, when there was a break of a few minutes in between the next float, the police officers opened the gate and allowed people to cross.

We still have no idea what the problem was at that first crossing point. We had seen people crossing there previously, and if the police officer didn’t want to open the gate, we don’t understand why he didn’t just say, “I can’t open the gates right now, but there’s a gate about 4 blocks away that they’re opening during breaks in between the floats.” I certainly don’t envy New Orleans police officers during Mardi Gras, and I’m sure it’s terribly stressful, but all our other encounters (including at the place we finally crossed) were just so pleasant. That “GO ENJOY THE PARADE” command just really irked us. Not a good way for law enforcement to represent their city.

We had a short walk back to our hotel. We decided that we weren’t even terribly hungry, so we just skipped dinner, cranked up the heat in the hotel room, and cozied up for the rest of the night.


A few hours in Vancouver, B.C. (Alaska 2015 Trip Report)

This entry is part 6 of 12 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

Arriving in Vancouver in the wee hours of the morning and then having a train to catch to Seattle at about 6PM, we certainly didn’t have much time do see even a sliver of the sites that Vancouver has to offer. But, since our transportation option to the Pacific Northwest took us to Vancouver, we decided to make the most of the short time we did have in Vancouver. We spent all that time at Stanley Park. And holy smokes, we probably could’ve spent another full day or two JUST seeing that park.

Well, first, we started off with breakfast at Le Petit Belge, just a block from the hotel. They offered some amazing Belgian Waffles, both sweet and savory! (I got savory, and Ken got sweet!)

Exterior of Le Petit Belge Sign for Le Petit Belge Savory waffle with prosciutto, asparagus, and egg salad Large waffle with maple syrup

It was fantastic, and we definitely recommend it!

Since we were so short on time, we took a taxi to Stanley Park. From some of the first sites in the park, we were enthralled. Take a look at that skyline!

Skyline view of Vancouver from Stanley Park Sailboats and Skylines at Stanley Park in Vancouver

As we walked along the path in the park, we came across the First nations art and totem poles exhibit.

Totem poles in Stanley Park in Vancouver

According to the City of Vancouver’s website, “Three beautifully carved, red cedar portals welcome visitors to the Brockton Point Visitor Centre and to the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people. Their form represents the traditional slant-roof style of Coast Salish architecture. The gateways show the history and thriving modern culture of Coast Salish people.” They were installed in 2008.

Brockton point totem poles Totem poles in Vancouver

As we walked around, we saw a seaplane taking off! We were watching it closely because we would be going on a seaplane in just a few days time on a cruise excursion in Ketchikan, Alaska!

Seaplane taking off near Stanley Park in Vancouver

The paths were well marked with lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Paved paths in Stanley Park Bike and pedestrian lanes in Stanley park

And again, the views of Vancouver! Stunning!

View of Vancouver skyline from Stanley park

As we continued our walk around the paths in Stanley Park, we came across the Brockton Point Lighthouse.

Brockton Point Lighthouse in Stanley Park Lighthouse in Stanley Park | Brockton Point

Just past the lighthouse, we saw a lovely sculpture, which we later learned was called “Girl in a Wetsuit.”

Girl in a Wetsuit Sculpture in Stanley Park | Vancouver Statues Sculpture that looks like Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid Statue | Girl in a Wetsuit

And right near the statue was a replica of the S.S. Empress.

Replica of SS Empress in Vancouver’s Stanley Park Description of the SS Empress Replica of SS Empress in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

And a few more fun finds in Stanley Park:

You are here sign in Stanley Park

A sign that I thought was most stereotypically polite Canadian: “Water not suitable for swimming.”

Funny signs in Vancouver | Water not suitable for swimming

And of course, those views!

Water views from Stanley Park

We reached a shadier area with lots of trees, and we even spotted a splash park for kids.

Stanley park trees Splash pad in Stanley Park

It was at this point we had burned off all our Le Petit Belge breakfast calories, and we were getting crazy hungry! And we had no idea where to pick up a taxi. (At the time, Uber was not operational in Vancouver. Not sure if that’s still the case.)

But, we actually located a bus stop and waited there for a bus. Only one problem. When the bus arrived, we realized we had ZERO Canadian money. Since we had verified that taxis took credit cards, we just assumed that we wouldn’t need any cash during our VERY short time in Canada! The bus driver still let us board, and we were apologizing profusely. We were mortified.

We were going to take the bus all the way back to the hotel, but we were driving past a strip downtown that looked like it had a good concentration of restaurants. So we got off the bus, and headed to a pizza place. Except the pizza place was open air and didn’t have A/C. And we were pretty sweltering at that point (it was pretty hot weather for Vancouver. Seattle was the same way, pretty unusual). So, we opted for a pub-like place right across the street called Malone’s.

Malone’s Restaurant in Vancouver

We started out with some poutine (of course, right?)

Poutine

And we both had burgers, albeit with different toppings!

Burgers from Malone’s Burgers from Malone’s

We finished up our late lunch, rested our legs for a little while longer at the restaurant, and then decided to walk back to our hotel, which was about 15 minutes away. We needed to get our things packed up and to get ready for our train ride. Since the train was going to Seattle, we’d have to transit customs at the train station, so we wanted to allow ourselves plenty of time for that.

We definitely need to get back to Vancouver for a more thorough trip! I think I envision a Pacific Northwest road trip sometime in the future!


Westin Grand Vancouver (Hotel Review)

This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

By the time our flight landed in Vancouver, we transited Canadian immigration and customs, and stood in a long taxi line, it was about 3AM when we got to our hotel, the Westin Grand Vancouver. We were only staying for one night, but they had graciously already pre-approved a (very) late checkout for us of 4PM the next day.

I had long lamented what hotel to stay at in Vancouver. Which was silly because we were going to be there for such a short time. Did we want to stay close to the airport? Close to Stanley Park? (since that was going to be our primary place to visit during our short stay?)

I had been ogling the Fairmont Pacific Rim, but alas, couldn’t justify the price. Although the Westin Grand Vancouver was not terribly close to Stanley Park (we took a taxi there), it was centrally located in Downtown Vancouver and was very reasonably priced.

I booked a Deluxe Corner Suite, with view.

Upon entry to the room, there was a bathroom door straight ahead, and a living room to the left.

Deluxe Corner Suite at Westin Grand Vancouver

The living room was nice, but oddly shaped and not as spacious as I expected.

Living room in Deluxe Corner Suite at Westin Grand Vancouver Living room in Deluxe Corner Suite at Westin Grand Vancouver Living room in Deluxe Corner Suite at Westin Grand Vancouver Living room in Deluxe Corner Suite at Westin Grand Vancouver

There was a small nook in the hallway with a closet, coffee supplies, and a small fridge.

Coffee Nook | Westin Grand Vancouver review

The bathroom was spacious and had a separate tub and shower.

Bathroom at Westin Grand Vancouver | Hotel Review Bathroom at Westin Grand Vancouver | Hotel Review Bathroom at Westin Grand Vancouver | Hotel Review

There was also plenty of counter space, which is greatly appreciated.

Bathroom at Westin Grand Vancouver | Hotel Review

The bedroom was a decent size, and had wraparound windows.

Bedroom Deluxe Suite Westin Grand Vancouver

The windows were gorgeous and allowed for great views of the city, but it was summer, just shy of the solstice, so the days were LONG and the sun was up early. And the room darkening curtains had some unfortunate gaps, especially in the corners. Not usually a problem when we travel, but when you’re not getting to bed until after 3AM.

edroom Deluxe Suite Westin Grand Vancouver edroom Deluxe Suite Westin Grand Vancouver

There was a door to a small balcony next to the desk in the living room.

Door to balcony in Deluxe Suite

There were some fantastic views of the Vancouver skyline from the balcony. And if you peak far in the distance, you can even see the coast! (er, the bay?)

Views of Vancouver at Westin Grand from hotel room balcony Views of Vancouver at Westin Grand from hotel room balcony Views of Vancouver at Westin Grand from hotel room balcony

One minor complaint about our stay is that the elevators in this hotel were HORRENDOUSLY SLOW. There were only two, and the hotel had at least 30 floors, if I recall correctly.

But, the hotel location was great, and I was so appreciative of the late checkout that they allowed. Since our train to Seattle wasn’t leaving until 5PM, I didn’t want to have to pack up and put our luggage in storage before heading out sightseeing for the day. I’m never a huge fan of having to put my luggage in storage after checkout and before moving on to our next destination. So, the late checkout gets a big thumbs up from me!

Have you visited Vancouver recently? Where did you stay?