Monday, September 15, 2014

VANCOUVER, WA: New DoubleTree Hotel

When I pulled up to the DoubleTree Hotel off Mill Plain Blvd., in Vancouver, Washington, my heart sank. Clearly, this had been a lower echelon property that had been rebranded a DoubleTree. What had I signed on for?

Guest Room 207
As it turned out, I needn’t have worried.

The hotel had, in fact, been a two-star Phoenix Inn Suites until it was taken over by DoubleTree this summer and completely refreshed inside. All the rooms were redone with new carpet and flooring, paint, furniture and fixtures, and now sport many touches familiar to frequent guests of the chain, including fresh-baked cookies presented upon arrival.

Being new, the rooms are very pleasant indeed. My room Number 207 had a king bed, and a cabinet containing a small fridge, microwave and coffee maker in the sleeping area. A separate area, set apart by a half-wall, contained the workstation with plenty of outlets for recharging our traveling electronics, an end table, and a small sofa and easy chair with separate ottomans.

The new 38-inch flat-screen HDTV could be easily angled to be viewed from either the seating area or the sleeping area.

Crabtree & Evelyn amenities
The bathroom – clearly the most difficult to update without major structural changes – had a basic toilet and a shower/tub combination. The sink was located off the main sleeping area, and was equipped with hair dryer and higher-end Crabtree & Evelyn® shampoo, rinse and lotion. An iron and ironing board were in the closet area next to the sink.

Rooms still use wall-mounted air conditioners controlled by thermostats in the sleeping area. The units appear to be in good repair and are not particularly noisy, as some can be.

Hotel staff members were friendly and accommodating, greeting guests as they passed in the common areas and answering requests for assistance promptly.

A few modest downsides became apparent during my brief stay.

Sitting area
First, the towels were not as luxurious as the new surroundings might lead one to believe. In fact, they were quite scratchy and thin; the hotel would do well to put them on the list of items to be upgraded. Second, rooms lack in-room safes, which many of us want to store our electronics when we leave the room. In my estimation, they would be a nice addition. Third, while the hotel accommodates pets for a modest $15 per night pet charge (to cover the additional time taken to clean the room after the guest and pet’s departure), it is not exactly what I’d term “pet friendly.”

Don’t misunderstand; everyone was helpful and pleasant, even fussing over our German shepherd when we walked through the lobby on our way to the convenient grassy areas for, shall we say, “necessary activities.” However, the property did not provide bowls for food or water, bedding, treats of any kind for their furry guests, nor did they have any clean-up kits like those I’ve been offered at other hotels. Unless and until they add items like those, I would characterize the DoubleTree as a hotel that accommodates pets but falls a bit short when it comes to being “pet friendly.”

Microwave, fridge and coffee maker
The DoubleTree is located next to a business park, which means it is fairly quiet in the evening. It is also within easy walking distance of three restaurants – Sweet Tomatoes, Applebee’s, and McGrath’s Fish House – and is an easy drive to two Starbucks locations as well as a Fred Meyer store for those who want to stock the larder or buy a bottle of their favorite beverage.

There is a restaurant on property that serves breakfast. Nibbles are available from the bar when it opens at 4 p.m., as well as from the 24-hour pantry.

Free internet access is included, though access was spotty at best during my stay. The hotel also has a pool, fitness facilities, and meeting rooms.

While the hotel still has some areas that need attention, it is well on its way to becoming the four-star property I believe it can be, and I would stay there again without a moment’s hesitation.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos by Carl Dombek
Click on photos to view larger sized images

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