Totem poles and Tojo's rolls
Vancouver Travel Blog› entry 1 of 9 › view all entries
May 23rd, 2009 – by: hauteboy
Hotel: Courtyard San Antonio Airport, $89
San Antonio airport is only 1h15 from our house, but since our flight was at 6AM, that meant we either had to leave the house at 3AM and risk a flat tire, etc. or head down the night before and get a nights sleep so that we would be refreshed for Vancouver the next day. I found a great park and fly deal for $89 at the Courtyard San Antonio; considering parking at the airport for the 8 days would have been $50. It would also count as a hotel partner toward the Delta 25k partners promo.
As it was we got a late start out of Austin; my wife had to work until 9PM and it was almost midnight by the time we finally started driving for San Antonio, so much for the good night's sleep! We arrived at the Courtyard around 1:30 AM then fell into bed, only to be woken up about 3 hrs later for the shuttle.
Flight: San Antonio (SAT) to Denver (DEN), United Airlines 7073, Economy
Flight: Denver (DEN) to Vancouver (YVR), United Airlines 629, Economy
Hotel: Fairmont Waterfront
We caught the early shuttle from the hotel to the airport around 4:30. I had already checked in online the night before; this was the first time I'd flown as non-status on an airline since they've added the 1st bag fees () and we had to pay $15 apiece for our backpacks. Normally I'll carry mine on but I had two big bottles of bugspray/suntan lotion that wouldn't have made it in the Kippie bag.
We grabbed a quick breakfast before boarding the United CRJ flight to Denver; I fell asleep as soon as we sat down so the flight passed quickly. We arrived in Denver way at the far end of the CRJ B-gates then hoofed it down to the center hub. Our flight arrived 20 mins early which left us over an hour to wait for our next flight to Vancouver. That flight left on time as well and soon we were approaching Vancouver in gorgeous clear weather; I was able to see Point Roberts, WA (a cartographical oddity, it an exclave of the US and shares a land border with Canada). We also arrived early here at 10:06AM, but then had to wait nearly an hour for our bags to come out on the belt! We caught the YVR Airporter bus ($14); takes about 20-30 minutes and stops at several downtown hotels including the Fairmonts.
We arrived at the Fairmont Waterfront right at noon; the place was packed with cruise ship passengers and luggage. The hotel is right across from the convention center and cruise ship pier. Our room wasn't ready yet (and they said it wouldn't be ready until 3PM!) so we dumped our bags with the bell captain. The lobby at the hotel was very nice, light and airy. The Waterfront is a new hotel, unlike the original chateau-style Fairmont Vancouver a few blocks away. We asked the concierge if there was a nearby dimsum restaurant, she recommended the Imperial. Some of the best dimsum we've ever had! Well, at least the best outside of San Fran and Hong Kong. We came back to the hotel and sat around awhile before finally our room was available; we had been 'upgraded' to a huge high-floor corner city view.
We had a bit of a nap before heading out again, this time to Gastown to see the steam clock. From there we caught a cab over to Stanley Park and the totem pole display. It was already late afternoon by now; the cruise ships were setting off under the bridge on their way up to Alaska. We had made reservations at Tojo's for sushi dinner at 8:30PM, we had a few hours to kill so we walked slowly along the seawall back into town before catching a cab to the restaurant. Tojo's offers an omakase experience; you tell the waiter if you have any food allergies and how much you want to pay, and they bring you 4-6 different courses prepared especially by the chef.
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