Next time you’re headed to Vancouver, BC, consider staying at the Sheraton Airport Hotel in Richmond, a community at the mouth of the Fraser River that’s fast becoming Canada’s new Asian hub.
This Starwood property is conveniently located just a 15-minute free hotel shuttle ride from Vancouver International Airport. Skytrain, the area’s elevated light rail, is just three blocks away and quickly and inexpensively links you to all of Vancouver’s treasures. In addition, the hotel is only a block away from the Richmond Centre, one of the area’s most dynamic shopping centers, and it’s in the heart of some of the best Asian food in Canada. Perhaps best of all, you’ll find all of this convenience at a fraction of the price of a downtown Vancouver hotel. What’s not to love?
The Sheraton Airport Hotel is a 398-room property that was completely renovated in 2008. Three of the rooms are executive suites, eight are junior suites, and the rest are spacious standard rooms with either one king or two queen beds. The décor is modern with muted tans with plenty of contemporary wood furniture accented by a few vibrant orange upholstered pieces. The effect is both clean and calming.
The room I stayed in came with two queens with super-comfortable Sheraton mattresses, crisp sheets, and two satiny duvets –one thin one for those of us who sleep warmly and another thick one cold blooded sleepers. As someone who is nearly always too hot in hotel rooms, I dislike the ubiquitous fat duvets and really appreciated having both.
My spotlessly clean room came with a large flat screen LED TV with cable and in-room movies, a mini-refrigerator, and a nice-sized desk and office chair I could actually work at. It also featured an overstuffed chair, ottoman, side table, and reading lamp, something missing from so many hotel rooms these days.
The bath had a good-sized shower/tub with fluffy towels and nice toiletries. There’s in-room Starbuck’s coffee, not the pod kind, but actual ground Starbucks, which tastes so much better.
The hotel has an outdoor pool and hot tub, a surprising offering considering the area’s cool weather many months of the year. It also has a 24-hour gym stocked with state-of-the-art fitness equipment that would put many private gyms to shame, including 5 elliptical machines, 4 recumbent bikes, 7 treadmills, mats, fitness balls, and a huge selection of weight machines and free weights. Instead of the usual televisions, this gym has one flat screen that runs fitness videos.
The hotel charges an extra $9.95/day for in-room internet. Our readers know that I think all hotels should offer free in-room WiFi. However, you can avoid the extra charges by using one of the two lobby business centers that have super-fast computers with free Sheraton Link (45 minutes per day free).
The spacious lobby is also the location of a full service Starbuck’s and Harold’s Bar and Bistro for casual dining. The bar has large flat screen TVs tuned to the latest game and the bistro offers tables warmed by a modern gas fireplace. The first night I arrived, I enjoyed a Harold’s Special Burger, a fat, hand-formed chuck patty, with a slab of back bacon, caramelized onions, sliced mushrooms (fresh not canned), and smoked provolone served on a toasted ciabatta roll with lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Served with a big cone of fries, or soup or a side salad, this was one great burger, juicy, smoky, sweet, with the ciabatta roll offering just the right chewy crunch. I left there feeling almost too full (I could have stopped eating it, but it was too good!)
One thing I was impressed with at this hotel was the staff was especially friendly and helpful. From the front desk people, the housekeeping staff, to the wait staff at the bistro, everyone went out of their way to ensure my every need was met.
I flew into Richmond, so I did not have a car. Like many cities, Richmond’s space for parking comes at a premium. The Sheraton Airport Hotel charges $14/day for hotel guests to park their car. While this seems a bit steep (though less than what downtown Vancouver hotels charge), the bargain-priced rooms make up for the inconvenience of having to pay extra to park. If you want to avoid the parking charges, consider going carless and take the super-convenient Skytrain just steps from the hotel. — BH