Aug 25th, 2007, 10:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 209

My husband and I have a rt flight into Seattle for 4 days in late September. We plan to rent a car and spend about 6 hours in Seattle, then drive to Vancouver on a Sunday afternoon in time for the Richmond Market. We will spend 2 days and 3 nights in Vancouver with our final day in Victoria. Back to Seattle for dinner and catch our 10pm flight back to Atlanta.
1. Should we rush to get to the Richmond Market? Is it worth it?
2. How long is the current wait at the border crossing into Canada by car?
3. Is there a car ferry from Victoria to Seattle in the late afternoon?
4. Should we skip Victoria and spend more time in Seattle or Vancouver?
Thank you,
Nicci is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 11:17 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Avoid the Marriott Victoria Inner Harbour

This Hotel's Executive Management has absolutely No Clue about Customer Service.

Overall, Excellent property, good views, friendly and helpful front desk staff, clean and comfortable rooms which are very well appointed....BUT, the executive management at the hotel is completely worthless when it comes to providing proper customer service. On top of that they are arrogant, snooty with stiff upper lip type attitude and totally lack basic customer courtesy skills. A problem I had during my 1 night stay was not resolved to my satisfaction even though I tried to offer a constructive solution to a noise related problem. My solution would help future guests not get rudely awakened in the early hours of the morning by the hotel's peppy high heeled staff walking on the concierge lounge hard kitchen floor above a particular guest room. So hope you think twice about staying here or ensure that your room is not directly below the concierge lounge. Hope you don't have any complaints or at least don't have to deal with the management staff!!!
jinxingit is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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Jinxingit, I notice that you have posted the same message, pretty much, three times in the past day or so, all on different threads. I also note that these are the only posts you have ever had on Fodors. You must really have it in for the Marriott!

We travelled with a group a few years ago and they were booked into the Marriott. The only reason we didn't stay there with them was that we had family in Victoria whom we stayed with, but the group was just delighted with the hotel.

I have never had a truly bad experience at any Marriott hotel, as a matter of fact. I have found that if there were problems, the management was happy to rectify them. I'm not questioning your experience, but just trying to add a different perspective from somebody who isn't quite so passionnate about discrediting that particular hotel.
Meesthare is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 06:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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There is no car ferry from Victoria to Seattle. (The Clipper is a passenger only ferry and the Coho, which does take vehicles, goes to Port Angeles.) Even if there was, I wouldn't risk getting off the island the same day I had to get a flight out of Seattle. Weather happens... mechanical problems and even bomb threats can happen.

Including Victoria doesn't give you much time anywhere. If I absolutely had to go, and had to return a car to Seattle, I would take the float plane over from Vancouver for a day. Or take the float plane over, and the bus and ferry back.
April is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 08:52 PM
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First, make sure your car rental company actually allows you to take their car across the border. Yes, there are those, like Thrifty, that forbid it. Give yourself enough time to clear the border - could be as much as 2 hours each direction.

For what's it's worth, we stayed three nights at Marriott Inner Harbor on our trip in July. I love Marriott, I always stay on concierge floors, and while I did not have the room under the kitchen, the staff at that hotel was particularly helpful to us with recommendations, directions, etc. I'm sorry the unhappy poster had a difficult time there, but that is certainly not the universal experience.
oliverandharry is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 08:57 PM
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April: Thank you for your response to my question. I was getting worried that my post would be ignored and turned into a rant about the Marriott. I really wish they had chosen to create their own posting.

Anyway, additional help from anyone else regarding the other questions would be very helpful since we are trying to plan our trip. Thanks in advance!
Nicci is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 10:06 PM
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I can't speak to the market.

The border crossing is usually between 20-45 minutes, but it gets longer at peak times, and Sunday night going in to Canada is a peak time.

I agree with April on the ferries. They are mostly reliable, but can be a problem if your schedule is not flexible.

I did some math that might help you when you consider this option. IF the ferries are running on schedule, you'll need to allow about 6.5 hours between the ferry leaving Victoria and your arrival in Seattle if you take the Coho (Victoria to Port Angeles) and the Bainbridge Island ferry to Seattle.

If you go on BC ferries from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, allow about 5.5 hours from the departure at Swartz Bay to Seattle. If you do either, make reservations on the Coho or BC ferries. Check websites for the Coho Ferry and BC ferries and be sure to look at the schedule that will be in effect when you are traveling, as the schedule is greatly reduced towards the end of September.

All that said, there is plenty to do in Seattle and Vancouver to fill four days three nights. I like April's idea of taking a float plane to Victoria if you want to see it. You just might need to come back!
Orcas is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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There is one other ferry option (assuming you're traveling on or before Sept 29) and that's the WA State Ferry from Sidney (north of Victoria) to Anacortes, through the San Juans. That's also going to take about 5-6 hours, but it avoids having to go through the car border crossing which could save you time.

But I agree with April--I would not want to have to take a ferry the same day you're flying even though your flight is late in the evening.
NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 09:04 AM
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All this said, if you wanted to go to Victoria, you could change your order, going Sunday to Richmond, Monday to Victoria (by bus if you can, which goes on the ferry), Tuesday return to Vancouver, and drive to Seattle on Wednesday.
Orcas is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 10:15 AM
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Orcas & NWWanderer: Thank you for your replies. They are very helpful. Maybe we should reverse our route. The only reason why I wanted to be in Vancouver by Sunday evening was for the Richmond Market which is only Sat.-Sun. We are "foodies" and enjoy street food when we travel internationally, so we thought this would be a lot fun. We'll spend time on Granville Island which may give us a similar experience.
Nicci is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 08:33 AM
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Nicci, go to the market on Granville is fabulous!
Bobmrg is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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If you do reverse the itinerary, you could try visiting the International District in Seattle as sort of a substitute for the night market--there are lots of hole in the wall spots to get Chinese BBQ, pork buns, stuff like that. If you go, be sure to visit Uwajimaya which has a great food court.
NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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We just returned from a very similar trip 2 weeks ago (but stayed longer and went a few more places on Vancouver Island). I too, heard on the grapevine about how "wonderful and fun" the Richmond Market was. We rushed out of our downtown Vancouver hotel to drive 20 minutes out to this bland suburban office/warehouse park area where the market is held, and found that it was a total scam! If you like deep-fried any thing (mostly unidentifiable frying objects) and junky tacky stuff to buy (think prizes in a grade school carnival)you might enjoy it. Honestly, the merchandise made the dollar store look like Neiman Marcus! Bottom line: so not worth it. I wonder who has been circulating that hype?
donnawho is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 08:51 PM
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I spend a lot of time in both Victoria and Vancouver - your choice of whether to skip Victoria probably depends what you prefer - busy urban (Vancouver) or quiter and somewhat lower key (Victoria). In addition to the Coho (mentioned in an earlier post) Washington State Ferries ( )offers car ferry service from Sidney (about 15 -20 minutes drive north of Victoria) to Anacortes (about 2 hours drive to Seattle)

The suggestion of a float plane to Victoria is also a good idea - it leaves right from Vancouver Harbour and lands right in Victoria Harbour. For the return that evening you could fly or take the ferry and bus which will bring you back to downtown Vancouver.
HuberaSanti is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 02:51 AM
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We travelled in mid July - Vancouver to Vitoria via Horseshoe Bay crossing and then back to Anacortes. We had very little time wasted in immigration queues leaving Sidney Bay. Funnily enough we did stay in the Marriott - it was excellent! We were quite dissappointed with Vancouver (2 night stay, no history to the place) and sorry that we hadn't more than 2 nights in Victoria - the Titanic exhibition is excellent. We also had two nights in Seattle - much better than Vancouver.
Kerryman is offline  
Sep 7th, 2007, 06:37 PM
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I agree with Kerryman, my husband was in Vancouver several weeks ago for business and I took the train to meet up with him. I did not care for Vancouver much at all, tho I did enjoy Granville Island and have driven back there for the day with friends. I would definitely cut back on my time in Vancouver, but, that is my opinion only.
Suspaul is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 11:00 AM
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Thank you for all the responses. This is our plan:
Arrive in Seattle at midnight and stay at an airport hotel on Sept.22.
Day 1- Pick up rental at airport and spend day in Seattle. Check into LaConner Country Inn for the night and dinner at their restaurant, Nell Thorn.
Day 2- take Anacortes Ferry at 8am thru San Juan Islands to Sidney and spend the day in Victoria. Take Swartz Bay Ferry to Tsawwassen at 5pm or 7pm. Spend night in Vancouver.
Day 3 & 4-Vancouver sights and highlights. Return rental car to Seattle airport at 8pm for 10pm flight.
I am a a bit concerend about the border crossing. Hopefully the construction will wait until we leave.
Can anyone suggest a good sushi and seafood restaurant in Vancouver?
Nicci is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 12:41 PM
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Honestly, that sounds like a rather exhausting itinerary and I'm a pretty go, go, go traveler. But presumably you know your own energy levels and feel comfortable with having such long days.

I would definitely leave Vancouver by 2 PM at the latest on your last day to be on the safe side to make your flight--give yourselves 2x as long as you think it might take, even if the construction hasn't started yet. You can always have dinner or spend a little more time in Seattle if it ends up only taking you 3-4 hours for the trip.

The best sushi in Vancouver is Tojo's. For seafood, Blue Water, C's, or Joe Forte.
NWWanderer is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 10:58 PM
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I agree with NWWanderer on the need to allow lots of time to cross the border. I'd allow even more (plan on being at the border at 1 PM), as you'll be getting into Seattle at rush hour. There is a lot of construction on I-5 near Everett as well.

Be sure to stay on top of construction at the border. The papers announced last week that there will be major construction and traffic reduced from seven lanes to two. It's not clear exactly when it will start - late Sept or early Oct. You'll be able to find out the status of this on the internet. Try this website:
Orcas is offline  
Feb 8th, 2008, 07:23 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2
My husband and I are planning our trip (for Aug 26-Sept 2,)to Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver. We are thinking of using public trans instead of renting a car. We already have our flights RT to Seattle, so our trip would have to start and end there. I am getting confused about how to do the travel to Victoria and Vancouver. The Cascades train sounded very nice, and the ferry to Victoria, fun. How many days at each is also a tough decision since we've never been to any of these destinations. Any help in itinerary is appreciated. We enjoy cultural, architectural, beautiful scenery and "chocolate". tee hee
Aries1 is offline  

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