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Where to Stay in Vancouver, BC

Picking the Best Vancouver Hotel Location

View of Vancouver City Center from Kits Beach courtesy Vancouver Park Board

This comprehensive guide helps you pick where to stay in Vancouver, BC.

You find out the pros and cons of various Vancouver neighborhoods, with an emphasis on convenience and cost.

Your choices include

Vancouver International Airport
Vancouver Downtown
Vancouver Granville Entertainment District
City Hall - Vancouver South
Coquitlam – Burnaby
North Vancouver

Above: View toward downtown Vancouver and West End from Kitsilano Beach. Photo courtesy of Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

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Vancouver hotel neighborhood maps

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For general maps of the Hotwire Vancouver area neighborhoods discussed, click on & type in "Vancouver, Canada" and any future date. For individual maps, click on "Area details" or "See details."

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Vancouver International Airport - Richmond

If value is your mantra, the hotels around Vancouver International Airport in Richmond offer by far the best prices for where to stay in Vancouver for comparable quality.

When checking airport hotel prices, you may wonder if these are any good?

They are. It's just a matter of too many hotel rooms built for too few guests.

Deluxe hotels here include the 4-star Fairmont Vancouver Airport and Westin Vancouver Airport, with numerous less expensive choices.

Airport hotels are a particularly good choice for auto travelers, as they avoid high downtown parking fees, yet have easy access to Vancouver Island ferries.

However, carefully consider your options before staying at Vancouver Airport.

The airport puts you some 8 miles away from most Vancouver sightseeing, with no freeway connection. On the other hand, the convenient Canada Line subway connects you to downtown.

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Downtown Vancouver - Waterfront and West End

Downtown Vancouver gives you best access to sightseeing, fine dining, and upscale shopping.

Most Vancouver hotels, other than the least expensive ones, are downtown. These include the Fairmont, Shangri-La, Four Seasons, Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Sutton Place, Delta, St. Regis, Landmark, and many others.

A waterfront path leads you from many of these hotels to Stanley Park, with simply sublime views.

Cruise ships leave from Canada Place at the north end of Granville Street. Others depart from Ballantyne terminal, a short taxi ride east of downtown.

Downtown Vancouver remains the corporate capital of British Columbia, with the Vancouver Stock Exchange at its core.

West of downtown, the more residential West End adjoins Stanley Park, a place you absolutely must visit in Vancouver. The Westin Bayshore here offers spectacular views of Vancouver Harbour and the north shore mountains.

Overall, the downtown waterfront and West End make excellent choices for your Vancouver trip.

Granville Entertainment District

Vancouver's Granville Entertainment District includes a large area of former warehouses called Yaletown converted into trendy restaurants, clubs, and condos.

Portions of this area offer adult entertainment and other non family friendly influences.

Many would call Granville Street between Nelson and Pacific somewhat shabby.

A younger vibe thrives here. This fun zone, with its pubs, cafes, and alternative and rock music venues, has become hugely popular.

The northern portion of Granville Entertainment District toward Robson Street comes across as decidedly more upmarket.

Hosting the Vancouver Symphony, the Orpheum Theatre near Robson Square is perhaps the leading cultural venue in western Canada. (I am not taking sides.)

You are also close to Rogers Arena (Vancouver Canucks, major events) and BC Place (BC Lions, Vancouver Whitecaps, major events), which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the XXI Olympic Winter Games).

Hotwire.comlink to Hotwire divides downtown Vancouver in a different way.

City Hall - Downtown Vancouver South

Although Vancouver South offers less convenience than the actual downtown, you are nevertheless close to the central core and many of Vancouver's main tourist attractions.

Relatively few hotels are in this largely residential area and no truly luxury ones. Parking comes with a lower price tag here.

The Canada Line subway takes you to the heart of downtown from its stop at city hall in 5 minutes.

Nearby, you find the Granville Island farmer's market and restaurants and Vancouver's outstanding VanDusen Botanical Gardens.

NOTE: Vancouver residents never call this area Vancouver South. To them, South Vancouver means the very southern edge of the city, near the airport.

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Coquitlam - Burnaby

The Coquitlam and Burnaby zone also includes an area of less expensive motels and motor inns in the eastern part of Vancouver and New Westminster along the Fraser River.

Burnaby has numerous corporate headquarters and the first class business-oriented hotels that go with them.

Because Vancouver lacks a truly extensive rapid transit system and no freeways penetrate the city itself, getting around can be time consuming in stop-and-go traffic.

You may save money booking in this zone, but unless you are on a rapid transit line, you'll spend considerable extra time commuting to the most popular Vancouver attractions.

North Vancouver

Directly across the Vancouver Harbour from downtown Vancouver, North Vancouver is not as convenient as it may seem on a map.

Just one bridge (3 lanes in total) links you directly to downtown Vancouver, and becomes frequently clogged even on weekends. Moreover, no rapid transit connects you to the downtown Vancouver, although there is a fast passenger ferry.

North Vancouver does offer the most convenient access from Vancouver to the Whistler and Grouse Mountain ski areas. Moreover, it is a very pleasant town.

Good luck finding where to stay in Vancouver. Have fun in this wonderful city!

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