Choosing the Right Hotel for Your Stay in Vancouver
A lot can go into choosing the perfect hotel: it's important to consider exactly what you want from your trip so that you can maximize the dollars you spend on your room or suite. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, you can tailor your hotel experience to give you the perks and benefits you value without shelling out extra money for those you aren't interested in.
The following are a few things to think about as you're searching for your ideal Vancouver hotel:
Location is perhaps the most important factor you should take into account when choosing accommodation in Vancouver. If you don't know where to start, here's a mini-guide to the major neighbourhoods in the centre of the city.
As one might guess, downtown Vancouver is the absolute heart of the city. Downtown takes up most of the city's central peninsula and is home to the business and financial districts, historic Gastown, and the up-and-coming Yaletown residential neighbourhood. It is here that you'll find the Vancouver Convention Centre, Rogers Arena where the Canucks hockey team plays, the Vancouver Lookout observation tower, and Robson Square, an open plaza with excellent shopping. This area is also home to many of the city's high-rise hotels, which offer great views of the nearby mountains, bay, and of course, the city skyline.
Gastown is the historic birthplace of the city, and its Victorian-style buildings will make you feel like you've stepped outside a major North American metropolis and into old Europe. Some of the most popular spots in this neighbourhood are the Steam Clock and an abundance of boutique décor shops. There are not many hotels in this district since some of its areas are rather rundown, but it is not to be missed on a first-time trip to the city.
Yaletown is one of Vancouver's chicest districts. In this former rail region, many of the old warehouses that used to be connected to the nearby train station have since been converted into trendy loft spaces. Many of these buildings were designed with roofless portions for unloading and loading train cars; these areas have since been converted into outdoor patio space. Yaletown also has a picturesque waterfront that connects two of the city's parks and is a nice place for exercising or picnicking with a view.
Davie Village is located just north of downtown and adjoins Sunset Beach Park on the western bank of the peninsula. This lively neighbourhood is the epicentre of Vancouver's flourishing gay nightlife scene. On the intersection of Davie St. and Bute St., you will find the famous Rainbow Crosswalk, and this city district is full of independent shops and unpretentious, relaxed spots for hanging out.
West End is a little more tucked away, but still accessible to the bustle of downtown life. It's a great option for accommodation if Stanley Park or English Bay Beach is on your to-do list, since it borders both of these areas. West End is also home to the Roedde House Museum, a historical home from Victorian times. This residential area is located within walking distance from both nature and tourist attractions and is especially bicycle friendly!
Coal Harbour is the place to be for the best mountain views in Vancouver. This neighbourhood is on the eastern part of the peninsula and borders downtown, Stanley Park, and naturally, the Vancouver Harbour. The area around the Coal Harbour seawall has a number of public art installations, and Jack Poole Plaza in this district is the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics torch. The waterfront at Coal Harbour also has great casual and fine dining, and of course, all the restaurants around here come with a view!
These are just some of Vancouver's most central neighbourhoods. Choosing the right hotel location in these or other areas will depend on what you'd like to see, whether you'll be driving or relying on public transportation, and whether you'd like to be right in the liveliest parts of the city or in a quieter, more residential neighbourhood.
2. Suite vs. Room
Many of Vancouver's hotels offer a range of room types, from basic guest rooms to luxury suites. Because of this, you can choose a hotel that has the exact type of room you'd like. If you feel more at home in apartment-style accommodations or are trying to keep to a budget, a suite at a smaller 2- or 3-star hotel that caters to long-stay guests is likely your best option. If, on the other hand, you know you won't be cooking and will not need things like refrigerator space, opt for a standard room instead. Luxury seekers might seek out top-floor suites for the finest amenities, lounge access, and the best views.
Of course, everyone gives at least a cursory glance to hotels' listed amenities, but careful consideration of what is especially important to you as a guest will help you choose accommodation that is more than just adequate. Most hotels list exactly what each room includes, in addition to a more general list of services available. Even the little things like knowing that your room will have free coffee and tea can make a stay that much more pleasant. Many Vancouver hotels have even more desirable perks, like free bike rentals and even free rental of fitness gear so that you don't have to waste valuable suitcase space on clothes for the gym. Whatever will make you feel at home, seek it out in your hotel.
Reviews can be a useful way to get a sense of the quality of service at different hotels, but like those amenities lists, read carefully to find out exactly what previous guests have liked and disliked. Perhaps someone wrote a one-star review because he was dissatisfied with the parking facilities, but you are planning on travelling exclusively via mass transit. If people are thrilled with a hotel because it excels in areas that are important to you, there's a good chance you'll have a great stay there. And if your non-negotiables have caused problems in the past, you'll know to move on and look elsewhere.
Vancouver is full of hotels of every shape and size that can accommodate guests with different tastes and budgets. The tips listed above should help you orient yourself in the city and find the hotel that provides you the exact experience you are looking for. With the convenient search function and descriptive listings on our website, you are sure to find the perfect place to rest your head on your trip to Vancouver.