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Saturday, September 11th, 2021

Checking In: Parq and Play

Andrew McCredie
The Vancouver Sun

With two hotels, a casino and access to BC Place, this downtown Vancouver property is ideal for a sporting staycation

Game On! That was the predominant vibe in and around the JW Marriott hotel a couple of hours before the Vancouver Whitecaps kicked off against Los Angeles FC right next door at BC Place.

The match would be the first to be played with fans in attendance in 539 days, and the lobby was buzzing with blue and white-attired supporters as we checked in for a staycation night at Parq, which opened in 2017 and bills itself as ‘Vancouver’s premier entertainment destination.’

The property includes two hotels, a two-level casino, a large outdoor park, a full-service spa and a number of restaurants and bars. That in itself makes it a bit of a one-stop staycation location, but its proximity to both BC Place and Rogers Arena also make Parq an ideal base of operations for taking in one of the city’s three professional teams. That was our plan, and clearly we weren’t the only ones who were keen to catch a Whitecaps game and spend overnight downtown.
As mentioned, we stayed at the JW Marriott, which is located at the south end of the Parq complex, and  as such many of its guest rooms offer great water views overlooking False Creek and Olympic Village. At the other end is The Douglas, with equally impressive city and mountain views. However, it is closed until early 2022. The scenery out the floor-to-ceiling guest rooms isn’t the only thing that differentiates the two hotels: the JW Marriott features a cool, luxurious and contemporary colour palette, while The Douglas is all rich earth tones and back-to-nature aesthetics. Even if you don’t stay at The Douglas you have to check out its lobby and the giant, horizontal Douglas Fir that serves as the check-in counter.


In the saddle between the two hotels is the casino, along with the ideal place to grab dinner before the game: The BC Kitchen sports bar. Sure enough it was full of Whitecaps fans priming for the game, but also others who were settling in for the Manny Pacquiao fight. With the sounds of casino action in the background, you’d be forgiven if you thought you were in Vegas for just a moment or two. After some yummy pub grub comfort food, it was less than five minutes later we were walking into BC Place for the Whitecaps game.

And while Southsiders might argue that the best part of the night was the 2-1 home win — thanks to thrilling last-minute heroics by newly acquired Ryan Gauld — capping the night next door with a single malt in the Lotus bar after some casino action with the knowledge that our ride home was simply an elevator ride away was the high point for us.


Ideal staycation for: With its next-door-neighbour status to Vancouver’s two pro sport venues, Parq’s two hotels and entertainment amenities make for a great pairing with a couple of Canucks, Whitecaps or Lions tickets. It’s also very close to the False Creek walking and cycling trail system, and Yaletown, Gastown and Chinatown are close by and connected with good walking routes. And with a casino and spa part of the property, if it’s raining out there are still good in-house options to keep you entertained.

Rooms and amenities: With 329 guest rooms and suites, the JW Marriott is the bigger of the two hotels, and features 24-hour room service, high-speed wi-fi, satellite TV, Illy Coffee and Molton Brown products. Luxury suites offer upscale amenities, including soaker tubs. The Douglas, which reopens in the new year, has 188 guest rooms, including three luxury suites: Apt 108 is billed as ‘eclectic bohemian’ and features a billiard table; The Den is multi-leveled and has a big circular couch as its centrepiece; and The Loft has a baby grand piano and Bauhaus-inspired chairs. All rooms offer 24-hour room service, are pet friendly, have internet-connected TVs, original artwork, Illy Coffee and Aesop Bath amenities. Both hotels have mobility accessible rooms.  

Dining: . You’d figure a place with two hotels and a casino would have many and varied dining options, and Parq certainly doesn’t disappoint. For the finest dining experience, there is The Victor, featuring Pacific Northwest seafood and sushi and a tiered selection of specialty steaks. MRKT East is inspired by Singapore night markets and offers Asian street food with a decidedly upmarket take. More casual dining from morning to night can be found in Honey Salt, featuring farm to table cuisine. And for the sports-minded, BC Kitchen has all the classic menu items and plenty of big screen TVs. For the cocktail-minded, D/6 Bar and Lounge just off The Douglas lobby has indoor and outdoor seating (along with a hidden room), the casino’s Centre Bar is a great place to chill and watch the action, and for a night cap the Lotus Whiskey/Tea Lounge is the place for the scotch and bourbon connoisseurs.

Current Deals: The Park & Dine Local Getaway includes complimentary daily parking, a $50 resort credit for dining on property, late check-out and room upgrade, based on availability. Available now through to Dec. 30. And in keeping with the sporting theme, when guests present their B.C. Lions or Vancouver Whitecaps game day ticket for the same-day-at-home game, they will receive 15 per cent off the bill. And also on game days, guests can enjoy an $11.95 Burger & Beer at Centre Bar up to two hours prior to the start of a home game.

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