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Language: English | Currency: Canadian Dollar ($) | Local time: UTC-8:00 | Avg. Flight time: 9.5 hrs
The majority of Vancouver’s hotels are clustered in the busy grid streets of its Downtown and Business districts, generally inside Richards and Burrard Streets, and surrounded by restaurants, bars, shops and a clump of modern skyscrapers. Also here, conveniently, is the Vancouver City Centre Skyline station, which has direct airport connections.
The mass of options means all budgets are catered for, from luxury-seekers requiring a spa, pool and rooftop cocktail bar, to those keen on snapping up Vancouver’s cheapest options while still wishing to be among the action. Just west of Downtown, along pulsating Granville Street, is where most hostels and cheaper chain hotels congregate.
The area north of Burrard Street is more traditional, and has a low-rise character with a residential, slightly sleepier vibe and some heritage buildings among newer-builds.
All four sides of Downtown offer Vancouver hotel alternatives, albeit less numerously. To the south-east is Gastown, the city’s oldest district as evidenced by its Victorian-style street lamps – it’s now been fully gentrified by neighbourhood bars and buzz-generating restaurants. Further west is the livelier-still Entertainment District, which is brash and bright.
Then comes the similarly trendy Yaletown, another modern and trendy quarter. The warehouses here now hoard concept stores and cool cafes, while the immersive Science World Museum delights children.
You could also stay facing Vancouver Harbour; hotels along the waterside are glassy and glittering, often part of a chain.
The districts of Downtown East and Kitsilano are not central, but they do offer benefits – and getting to both is easy using Vancouver’s extensive public-transport system. Like its western counterpart, Downtown East hoards some of Vancouver’s cheapest hotels, while leafy Kitsilano – found across the English Channel – hosts the Museum of Vancouver and family-friendly Kits Beach.
Those seeking seclusion could stay beside English Beach, located north-west of the centre, to be very close to Stanley Park as well as the seashore.
Further on from Downtown East is the area of Grandview-Woodland – the heartland of East Vancouver, known to locals as ‘Yeast Van’ for its many craft-beer breweries. This is one of the trendiest parts of town, but its distance from the main drags – 15 minutes by bus – keeps rates low at the smattering of hotels.
Vancouver hotel prices hit an annual high during July and August, before almost halving by September/ October. This, along with May, is a great time to travel – you’ll get warm weather, not too much rain and quieter attractions. Avoid Easter, as room rates also spike then.
Another cheap period in which to travel to Vancouver is late January into February. March is also affordable, and comes with the benefit of spring blooms in Stanley Park. Do bring an umbrella, however.