Saturday, March 23, 2013

From Seattle with love

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:
Gelato $2.50
Love -$2.50
How sweet was that?

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.

10 comments:

  1. I know my cousins who live in Vancouver go fairly frequently on shopping trips to Seattle. They say it's the nearest out-of-town big centre. And to think that we sometimes moan about having to travel the eight miles from Ilford to Romford for shopping!
    I agree that the true test of any company is how they react when things go wrong (especially internet providers!)
    Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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  2. What a lovely trip you had and imagine, in this day an dage, finding helpful and courteous service.

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  3. Bazza, not sure the comparison as entirely apt. You probably traipse out to Romford for things you can't get in Ilford. Vancouverites can find everything they want right there in Vancouver. They choose to head south of the border because a lot of things are far cheaper there. But yes, Seattle would be the nearest big center from Vancouver.

    Delores, oddly, I've found helpful service to be far more prevalent here than not. I hope we can keep those values alive.

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  4. It sounds like you had a fabulous trip. (And who knew you'd find LOVE in an Italian restaurant...?)

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  5. It is so much fun finding different places to eat when on holidays.
    And how sweet to give you love and a gelato. To me, gelato is love all by itself anyway

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  6. Susan, it was indeed. And, yeah, who'd have thought it :)

    Mynx, we love exploring for good places to eat, too.

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  7. I LOVE Seattle, even though I haven't been there in 14 years... The hubby wants to move out that direction--just a little further south. (We're too spoiled with sunlight and warm weather.)

    You had never experienced horchata before? *gasp* Say it isn't so!

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  8. Crystal, yes, 'fraid so. Horchata was an entirely new experience for us. I guess we don't have quite so much Mexican influence this side of the border.

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  9. Sounds like a fun time! I've never been to Seattle but I would love to visit. And any place named Space Taco is bound to be awesome!!

    Hugs!

    Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi

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  10. Valerie, it was great, and Space Taco was small and cozy but definitely awesome!

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