Vancouver has no shortage of great hotels. There are five-star classics like the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, sleek new luxury digs like the Shangri-La and chic boutique options like the Opus Hotel. But hotels aren’t always for everyone.
Maybe it’s a matter of price. Maybe you prefer a little more privacy and space. Maybe you want to get a more intimate feel for the city. Whatever the reason, there are a range of options out there for the savvy traveler. Here are a few hotel alternatives in the city:
1. Furnished Vacation Rentals: This option seems to have become more popular in recent years. Instead of staying in a hotel, you rent out a bedroom, an entire apartment or a home for the duration of your stay. You often end up with more space for the same price or better, and sometimes have access to a kitchen and other facilities. Of course, the challenge is finding the right place in the right neighborhood and making sure you’re dealing with reputable people.
For that reason, I usually steer clear of Craigslist. The site Airbnb.com connects owners with people looking to rent. They process payments, screen hosts and have a section for user reviews. Options in Vancouver range from glitzy Yaletown apartments to cozy bedrooms in Kitsilano. Lots of good deals are to be found.
Or you can deal with a vacation rental management company, which represents individual homeowners. Again, reputation is key. One reliable local company is EMR Vacation Rentals. They’ve got 303 properties across British Columbia, from modest to ultra-luxury. The company has a long track record and was an approved furnished rental provider during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
2. Bed and Breakfasts: If getting your own furnished vacation rental sounds a bit scary, old fashioned BBs are a good option. You get almost all the service and attention of a hotel, but you also get to meet real local people. There are plenty of BBs in Vancouver, especially in the more residential neighborhoods outside the heart of downtown.
The site BedandBreakfast.com has dozens of listings for Vancouver, many of which feature user reviews. Alternately, do a search for Vancouver accommodation on TripAdvisor, and select the BBs/Inns button for the Property Type.
3. Hostels: Really on a budget? Vancouver has more than its share of hostels, from bare bones to quite comfortable. Some offer private rooms, in additional to the traditional shared bunks. Many also have kitchen facilities so you can do your own cooking.
The website Hostels.com has an extensive listing of Vancouver hostels and also features user reviews to help you make your selection. The most popular hostels in the city are clustered along Granville Street, but others can be found in Gastown and Chinatown and as far away as Jericho Beach.
Any other alternative accommodation options out there? Please share any other suggestions below.