For the second article of EASY IN VANCOUVER, I will give you today, my advice about where to sleep in Vancouver.
WHERE TO SLEEP | Accomodation type
Like everywhere, there are a few types of accomodation that you can choose from when planning your trip to Vancouver. The most traditional – the hotel, then AIR BNB (renting a flat more generally) and finally couchsurfing, or friendsurfing. Friendsurfing, as the name implies, is when you sleep at a friend’s house, but if you have no friends in Vancouver you have to choose one other option. Personally I’ve used two of the three types of accomodation. Accordin to you, which ones ?
HOTEL: During my trips to Vancouver, I have stayed at 3 hotels, all in Downtown Vancouver. According to me, hotel is the best accomodation if you travel with your family or if you stay there for a week end. No need for a kitchen as Vancouver has plenty of gread restaurants to eat at (a new post about that is coming soon). Unfortunately, I only remember two of the three hotels that I’ve stayed at: the Days Inn in Downtown Vancouver, the Landis Hotel and Suites (that was great for a 5 people family) and the last one, which name I forgot was on Robson street. I won’t talk too much about the quality of the hotels that I’ve been at, because I consider that everyone has its criteria and a budget. What was nice for me might not be the same for someone else. Just one piece of advice, though. If you ever go to Vancouver, you better book your hotel on a website like Booking.com (or other of that kind), where you don’t have to pay in advance for your reservation and that you can cancel it for free anytime. One thing I’ve learned in this exchange is that you never know, and it would be stupid to pay for seomething you are not going to use (because of a missed plane for example) !
COUCHSURFING: Yeah, couchsurfing, pretty unbelievable right ? During a 6 days trip with a friend, we decided to try couchsurfing. We had a very tiny budget and wanted to stay a long time in Vancouver, so we basically had no choice. It may disappoint you, but I am not going to talk too much about it as well. I tried it only once, and I don’t think I have enough experience to say something objective about couchsurfing. Although, I will say that we were extremely lucky, because we stayed at an amazing place, where couchsurfers and artists from all over the world lived and it was a very inspiring experience. I realize now how much we were lucky. I don’t want to tell you to do or not to do couchsurfing because despite all the luck we had, I realised only after how difficult or even dangerous this could have been. Therefore, my only advice on couchsurfing is: CHOOSE WELL ! Not according to the location of the flat nor the comfort that you might have. Seriously, it’s better to sleep on a matrass on the floor somewhere you feel safe in, than in the cosiest bed in a flat where you’re scared. Choose according to the person that you see on the website, talk with him or her, and go there only if you feel 100% sure that it will be alright. Because after all, the fact that your trip will be great (or notdepends a lot on the person you will stay with.
WHERE TO SLEEP | What neighborhoods
Before I begin, I really want to point out that the distinction between the different neighborhoods is subjective, and are a reflection of my own feelings. The fact that I disliked a place doesn’t mean that someone else might like it. Moreover, I decided to talk only about the downtown part of Vancouver, because I don’t know the rest of the city enough and most of the hotels are in central Vancouver.
I distinguished 4 types of neighborhoods: green, blue, orange and red. Check out their meanings below:
“GREEN” DISTRICTS: Place where a family or a couple seekings tranquility will have a nice stay. These places are very close to the main touristic sites. For example, you have the Yaletown (1) district, that I particularly liked for its cafes and galeries. You also have Gastown (4) which is very nice, the historical heart of the city with plenty of restaurants and shops.
BLUE DISTRICTS: Nice and quiet neighborhoods, but a bit far from downtown (you have to take a bus to get to the touristic sites). One of the “blue” districts is Ganville Island (6) which is an island located in the False Creek. This is a great place to visit for a day or at least a few hours. It feels like a tiny village in the heart of the city. But as it is an island, it’s pretty complicated to go there by foot, so you have to take the bus. Therefore, if you are looking for an original place to stay, but don’t mind taking the bus every day, this might be the perfect location for you !
ORANGE DISTRICTS : Busy neighborhoods with a very active nightlife. The two places I desinated as “orange” are Chinatown (8) and Granville Island (7). From what I’ve heard from people living in Vancouver, Chinatown can be dangerous at night and there are several pubs which can be noisy and not adapted for a family. As far as Granville Island is concerned, this is a very busy street and it’s nice to go there during day time. At night, I have to admit that I was not feeling 100% comfortable, especially in the southern part of the street. I am easily scared, so I wouldn’t really like to sleep there but during the day, it is a absolute must-do !
RED DISTRICTS: There is only one neighborhood that I marked as red: the surroundings of East Hastings street. I may be excessive, but if you want my advice, don’t go there. Especially if you are a tourist and want to see Vancouver on its positive side. I found opposite views on the matter. Some people say it is really dangerous, and it’s better to avoid this place. Some others consider that being scared of that area contributes to its increasing marginalization. I tend to think a little bit of both, but I couldn’t help feeling really uncomfortable and unsafe. But hey, this is again only my opinion and someone else could feel safer than I did. So it’s up to you, but if you want my advice – don’t (and if you don’t believe me, google “East Hastings Street Vancouver” and you’ll see).
Congrats ! You’ve made it through the second article of the series EASY IN VANCOUVER. Thanks to this one, you’re one step ahead in planning the trip of your dreams to Vancouver !
See you soon !