Thursday, October 30, 2014

KELOWNA, BC: Delta Grand Okanagan Resort and Conference Centre

For our first visit to Canada’s famed Okanagan Valley, we chose to stay at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort and Conference Centre in Kelowna, a decision that proved an excellent choice indeed.

Hotel entrance from the promenade
The Delta Grand Okanagan is located on the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake in Kelowna, just north of the main highway through the area. It is convenient to a number of activities ranging from water sports like scuba diving and boating to golf to the Kelowna Community Theatre where Gordon Lightfoot was performing during our stay.

It is also an easy walk or bike ride along the adjacent promenade to the downtown Kelowna area. Bicycles are also available for rental during the summer season. Unless inclined to drive Highway 97 and visit wineries to taste the area’s famous wines, one could quite easily park the car upon arrival and not have to retrieve it until time to leave.

Service at the Delta Grand Okanagan was excellent. 

Sleeping area, ModeDeluxe Room
Upon our arrival after a drive from Vancouver, the bellman was quick to offer his assistance with our luggage and our German shepherd. Check-in was quick and efficient, slowed only by the desk clerks’ fussing on our pooch … which we’ve come to accept as part of traveling with our girl. The hotel also presented her with a welcome gift of a rope ball and dog treats and offered to have a dog bed brought up before our bellman showed us to our room and helped us settle in.

Our third-floor ModeDeluxe corner room, Number 312, faced southwest and overlooked the pool area, the promenade along the lake, and the lake and mountains beyond. The property had thoughtfully positioned us close to the elevator, which was also close to an exit on the ground floor so that we could get outside promptly when it was time to walk the dog.

The room was quite large – about 12 by 24 feet – divided between sleeping area and a lounging and work area. It was done in a contemporary style with lots of wood, glass, and white surfaces. The work area had a sofa that could be pulled out into a bed if needed.

Each area of the room had its own 37-inch LG flat-screen TV. In addition, the room also had a coffee maker and hot pot for tea, iron and ironing board, and bathrobes waiting in the closet. Instead of a dresser with drawers, the wardrobe had lots of open shelves for storage. The only item missing was an in-room safe.

Sitting area/workspace
The bathroom was huge with a corner jetted tub and a separate oversized walk-in shower. The bathroom features one sink and an additional counter space with its own lighting for hair and make-up preparation; ideal for two people who want to get ready at the same time.

Because the property also has conference facilities and attracts its fair share of business travelers, the hotel has equipped the rooms with “SmartDesks” with audio cables that allow music to be played through one of the flat-screen TV’s speakers, and an HDMI cable and other connections that make it possible to use the TV as a monitor.

Important for business travelers, the Delta Grand Okanagan offered the fastest Internet connectivity I’ve ever experienced in a hotel!

Wireless connections were at 17 Mbps for downloads and, interestingly, 36 Mbps for uploads, as measured by Speakeasy.net/SpeedTest. Normally, download speeds are faster than upload speeds. Wired access was even faster: 51 Mbps download and a blazing 90 Mbps upload speed. Anyone who has tried to email PowerPoint presentations back to the home office for a final review and approval prior presenting at a conference will appreciate the value of that speed, which the in-room brochure describes as “Up to 20x faster than working from home.”

Luxurious bath
Service can make or break a property and, as I stated earlier, service at the Delta Grand was excellent indeed. From the bellmen who offered recommendations on everything from where to eat to which wineries to visit to the bartender who carried our drinks from the bar to our room (which guests apparently aren’t allowed to do in Canada), all were exceptionally helpful.

Most telling to me, however, was the attention to detail. Shortly after our arrival, we were presented with a welcome gift of small pastries on a plate. After we’d enjoyed them, we placed the plate in the hall outside our room for staff to collect when making their normal rounds. By the time we emerged to do some exploring about a half-hour later, they’d already been retrieved. A welcome change from some hotels where dirty dishes seem to languish in the halls for many hours or even days.

The hotel is also home to the Lake City Casino, billed as BC’s largest gaming venue outside of Greater Vancouver/Victoria area.

While experienced travelers understand that prices at resorts include a “convenience premium” for not having to go off-property, prices at the Delta Grand are what I would consider very reasonable for a resort. Self-parking was $18 per night, the pet fee was $35 per stay (not “per day”), and prices at the bar and restaurant were equally reasonable. For example, drinks in The Vine bar were around $9 which was typical of other nearby restaurants, and a burger at the Grand Bay Café was $17, compared with $13 at The Grateful Fed, a pub and bistro on Bernard Avenue a few blocks away.

Given the service we received, the amenities offered and the proximity to leisure activities, I can’t image staying anywhere else when visiting the Kelowna area.

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 images

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