As a follow-on to my last post, there were many things that made our brief trip to Seattle enjoyable, but I wanted to offer a few special acknowledgements.
The Westin Hotel was an excellent choice to stay. Ideal location, central downtown with plenty of shopping and eating within a few blocks, and right alongside the monorail and light rail stations. The room was comfortable, it was great to relax in the pool after a day on our feet, and the staff were welcoming and helpful.
Tutta Bella Pizzeria served up mouth-watering pizzas. Half-way through, Megan realized hers had a bit of a chilli bite to it and she started to struggle, torn between melting deliciousness and unaccustomed heat. When our server cleared the table, Megan mentioned this and he apologized, and suggested a gelato to cool her down. On the bill, we found:
The pizza was really for Matthew, so the next (and our final) night was Megan's choice. She fancied tacos. We found a nearby Mexican restaurant online, but when we got there it was closed. More online searches directed our feet along a few streets, by now looking for anything vaguely hospitable. Most places seemed either shut or shutting for the night, or uninvitingly empty...
*crickets* ... not a good sign!
Getting hungry, we stumbled by accident on Space Taco. Clearly it was meant to be. Wonderful newly-opened restaurant. Warm atmosphere, delicious food. Megan was happy, Matthew was happy, we were happy, and the owners introduced us to horchata, a delicious rice drink that we are going to try at home.
We sailed down to Seattle on the Victoria Clipper. When we checked in for the return journey, they canceled the sailing due to strong winds making the sea dangerous for the little catamaran.
This is where travel companies usually fall down. No matter how good the travel experience when things go right, what really counts is how you handle your passengers when things go wrong.
Victoria Clipper staff were wonderful. They confirmed immediately that they would get us to Victoria that day. They kept us regularly updated on progress, and were open about what they didn't yet know (e.g. which port we would be sailing from and when we'd arrive). It took them time to line up a couple of coaches, then they drove us across the border to Vancouver, where we caught a BC ferry. All the while, the accompanying staff checked in with us and talked through what was going to happen next, at the border crossing, and on the ferry. Yes, we arrived home a few hours later than planned, but the way we were treated made it an excursion rather than an ordeal. In those situations, honest information is vital. Kudos, Victoria Clipper.