Trying out the Element Metrotown Vancouver

Returning from Whistler, I wanted to try out the new Element Metrotown Vancouver hotel which is located in the city of Burnaby proper. This would also be my first stay ever at an Element hotel, and I did this to get the special SPG bonus for staying at all 11 brands (including Design hotels). The hotel is part of a mixed-use residential and commercial complex right across Crystal Mall in Burnaby and about a major block away from Metrotown, which is also one of the largest shopping malls in the Greater Vancouver area. It is about a 20-30 minute drive away from downtown Vancouver, though the drive can become more like 50 minutes to an hour when there is snow on the major road of Kingsway.

Front porch
Front porch with the hotel logo

Entering the hotel via the porch, I managed to park my rental car temporarily while I checked in. Element hotels have a ‘by Westin’ branding tying the hotel’s theme with travelling and living well. The contemporary feel of Westin hotels thus filtered down to the furnishing here as well and the bright and clean lobby design shows it.

Reception desk
Reception desk with Christmas tree

Luggage carts are available for guests to use beside the small reception desk though I did not need them. There was a guest in front of me before I was attended to for check-in and the process was pretty straightforward. With an all-suite concept, I was told I had been upgraded to a one-bedroom suite. The receptionist also gave details on where to have breakfast and where I could find a drug store to get some necessities. On-site covered parking was available for a fee of C$15 per day (~$12) and the access to the parkade was quite easy since there was still lots available on the same floor as the lobby.

Lobby lounge
Lobby lounge with luggage carts

Room No: 1108 Category: One Bedroom Suite

Hotel floor plan
Hotel floor plan on the 13th storey

Heading up to my room, the feel is like staying in an apartment and that was actually quite nice since it felt more casual. The new furnishings does have a fresh smell to it and it felt clean.

Elevator lobby
Elevator lobby

I was assigned a corner suite with a balcony from the floor plan and the reason I had a photo of the floor plan on the 13th floor is because I mistakenly thought my suite was on that floor. It was actually on the 11th storey. There is the bathroom entrance on the right after entering the room. It was a standard sized bathroom but brightly lit and featured a walk-in shower, something that I prefer to the usual bathtub and shower combination.

Suite bathroom
Suite bathroom with walk-in shower

The spacious shower cubicle also featured the rain-shower head featured in Westin hotels so that made for a comfortable shower. Bath amenities are wall mounted, a first indication of the lower end tier similar like in an aloft hotels. Though the lotion and soap are placed in individual packs by the vanity.

Walk-in shower
Spacious walk-in shower
Wall mounted amenities
Wall mounted amenities

Amenities are by Pharmacopia, a brand I have seen on past Andaz and Hyatt Regency stays so it was better than the average.

Soap and lotion
Pharmacopia soap and lotion

Going into the suite proper, there is a kitchenette lining the wall with a large fridge that could hold a good few days worth of groceries. The adjacent malls sure makes it convenient to buy food and drinks for a week of stay here. The kitchenette is also properly equipped with utensils, pots and pans, an induction stove, microwave oven and dishwasher. Cleaning equipments are also provided along with cutleries and dishes.

One-bedroom suite
One-bedroom suite with kitchenette
Suite living room
Suite living room at the Element Metrotown

While there was a place to cook, there wasn’t a place to dine. Because the rest of the living space is taken up by a 2-seater sofa, a lounge chair, coffee table and TV console. There is also a work desk with a chair beside the balcony. The sofa could be converted to a bed for more sleeping space if needed and that makes this suitable for families on an extended visit to Vancouver.

Living room
Living room with work desk in the corner

The bedroom has an open layout meaning there was no door but the floor was carpeted in contrast to the parquet flooring on the main living room. By comparison, the bedroom is quite small to the rest of the suite, though it has a large closet and another wall mounted TV that could be swivelled to watch TV comfortably from the bed.

Bedroom and closet
Bedroom and closet with wall mounted TV
Bedroom in the suite
Bedroom in the suite

The bedroom also has a comfortable large King bed with mattress from the Heavenly Bed series, similar to those found in Westin hotels. Though I found these to be slightly on the soft side.

Heavenly bed mattress
Heavenly bed mattress

As I mentioned the corner rooms feature a balcony and offers an unblocked view of the mountains in the north and a suburban mall across the hotel. All around, the views are pretty good and on a clear day, one should get a nice mountain scenery from here.

Kingsway view
Kingsway view from the balcony

Even though it was cloudy when I stayed, the snow does make for a pretty scene when I woke up the next morning.

Winter view
Winter view in the morning, looking north

All guests staying in an Element hotel gets free breakfast served in the restaurant on the 5th floor. The breakfast restaurant feels more like an Ikea cafeteria with a buffet counter. Guests could be seated freely when they arrive and help themselves to the buffet.

Breakfast restaurant
Breakfast restaurant

The breakfast spread consists of the usual toast, bagels and muffins.

Toast at the buffet
Toast at the breakfast buffet
Bagel and muffins
Bagel and muffins

There are also packed instant oatmeals and cereals from the dispensing machines.

Cereal choices
Cereal and instant oatmeal choices

Two choices of hot wraps are provided in the selection. The food is standard lounge fare and tries to focus on the eat healthy concept. There are also coffee and tea provided along with a selection of juices. Newspapers are available beside the restaurant for guests to catch up on news. While I visited, the restaurant was quite packed with families though I still managed to find space. Thus guests could expect a more chaotic scene during peak summer time or when the hotel is full.

Selection of wraps
Selection of wraps
Element breakfast
Element breakfast

Fortunately, there was an extended lounge space beside the breakfast area. The TV lounge adjoins this space and there is another lounge towards the end with a view of Kingsway and Crystal Mall. This space is also good for guests to read their newspaper after they are done with breakfast. At the side separated by a partition, there is a small space with printers for guests to work on their laptops and maybe get breakfast at the same time.

TV Lounge
TV Lounge
Mezzanine lounge
Mezzanine lounge

This one-night stay costs C$160 after taxes (~$120) though I found it to be way more valuable than the one night stay at Holiday Inn. The large suites with a nice view makes it a great choice for longer term stays. In the event guests get upgraded to the larger suites with a kitchenette, it makes it a pleasure with the new furnishings. With this Element experience, I would definitely consider another stay with their property elsewhere. To conclude I recommend staying here if guests have a rental car at their disposal since Burnaby is not too far and greatly recommend it for families due to the large suites and easy access to the suburban malls.

Crystal Mall on Kingsway
Crystal Mall on Kingsway
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