Vancouver in July - Need Input

Jun 18th, 2005, 03:10 PM
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Vancouver in July - Need Input

My husband and I will be vacationing in Vancouver towards the end of July. We're planning on renting a car so that we can do some day trips (Whistler, etc). Does it make sense to stay downtown and have to park our car (cost involved and convenience?) or should we find a hotel in another area of town? If so, which area would you suggest? We have considered Sheraton Wall Centre, Opus, Wedgewood, Listlel, Hilton and Marriot downtown so far. Our other choice would be to depend on hotel shuttles and public transporation for the majority of the trip and rent a car only for the days we would be day-tripping. Since we have never tried this transporation combination, we'd appreciate any advice on this subject.
lovebug is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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Hello lovebug,

I really do like staying in downtown Vancouver.

In theory, you can do everything you'd want to do in Vancouver, even a day trip to Whistler, by bus. In practice, I have enjoyed having a car for places outside of Vancouver.

Someone else posted a trip report here -- I think it was about a year ago -- and they did exactly what you're thinking of doing. That is, they got around on foot and used public transportation, but they rented a car on an as-needed basis when they went further afield. They said it worked out great because they didn't need to pay for parking at their downtown hotel.

I don't know if you've looked up Vancouver in the Destinations section of the Fodor's web site. Fodor's provides a good itinerary for Vancouver. Their Victoria itinerary is good too, in case you'll be going there.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 06:19 PM
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Unless I am completely blanking on it, I don't think that there is a Hilton in downtown Vancouver. There is one at the airport and one in Burnaby, but neither of those is convenient to downtown.

My suggestion would be just to rent the car for the days you need it and stay downtown otherwise. Parking and driving in Vancouver isn't that much fun and if you aren't using the car then I don't see the benefit. Most of the places you've got in mind will allow you to walk just about everywhere.

If you want a hotel that is conveniently located to a car rental place, the Sheraton is across the street from a Thrifty car rental and the Wedgewood is a few steps from an Avis. That might make your day trips a bit easier.

The Sheraton, Opus and Wedgewood are all a bit nicer than the Mariott and all of those are nicer than the Listel. They are all, however, fine places to stay. Each is quite central, in the main downtown section as well, with the exception of the Opus. The Opus is in Yaletown so is a bit further from some of the main tourist attractions in Vancouver but Yaletown is an interesting area and the hotel is a true "boutique" style destination. I'm not sure how much walking you want to do, but you may be relying on cabs and hotel shuttles quite a bit if you are at the Opus.
Cat123 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2005, 07:09 AM
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CAT123, When you say the Seraton, do you mean the Sheraton Wall Centre? Any opinions about the Metropolitan compared to the Sheraton Wall Centre? Also, we have a discount rate for Hertz, which we were going to rent to drive to Seattle. Do you know where their downtown location is? You seem very knowledgeable about Vancouver. Any good restaurant recommendations?
CFW is offline  
Jun 19th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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I'd stay downtown,and just rent a car for day trips. Its easy to walk around downtown or use public transportation. There are many great restaurants in vancouver. If you like seafood try "C", Coast, or Blue Water Cafe.
leuk is offline  
Jun 19th, 2005, 04:08 PM
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Thanks, Judy_in_Calgary and Cat123! You both gave wonderful information that we plan to utilize. We live in the Midwest where public transportation leaves a lot to be desired. Our comfort level would be to use a car for most of our sightseeing, but sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone, right? Besides, dealing with parking a car at a downtown hotel can't be much fun. I like your suggestions about hotels close to car rentals (very helpful) and your idea about taking a bus to Whistler. That way, my husband can enjoy the scenery too instead of having to concentrate on driving. I believe I read in an earlier string that you could take a train to Victoria (which takes less time that the ferry). Not sure how the cost compares, but I'll do some research on that option too. BTW, I did check out the Vancouver section on this site before I even made a decision to plan our vacation to Vancouver. Find this site and the travel forum extremely helpful no matter where we're planning to travel. Thanks again for all of your help!
lovebug is offline  
Jun 19th, 2005, 04:55 PM
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Just rent the car for those day trips, and save yourself the parking charges and some rental dollars.

Definitely stay downtown. Any of the hotels you've listed would be fine (and I don't know where the downtown Hilton is, either). I just stayed at the Listel again, and really enjoyed it. It is, however, a step or two below the others. Great location and service, and my room appeared to have been recently renovated. Your nightly budget will help you decide. is a great resource for Vancouver neighbourhoods, restaurants, etc. as is The Georgia Straight's web site.

Recently ate at Rodney's Oyster Bar, C and Coast, all in Yaletown. C was a fabulous, higher-end (for me, anyway) eating experience, Rodney's was fun, good people-watching and good food. I wouldn't return to Coast, it had a forced ambience and safe food (and a big bill). Au Cafe de Paris on Denman is one of our favourites, as well.

Have fun in Vancouver.

BowenLinda is offline  
Jun 19th, 2005, 05:51 PM
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There is no train to Victoria, as there are no bridges of any kind connecting Vancouver Island to the mainland. The only options for getting to Vancouver Island are ferry, or plane. There is, however, a Via Rail train on Vancouver Island connecting Victoria to the other Vancouver Island cities of Nanaimo and Courtenay, but none from the mainland.
Carmanah is offline  
Jun 19th, 2005, 07:08 PM
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Thanks also to Linda and Carmanah for their added knowledge and advice. I must have misunderstood the string on the train to Victoria. My husband thinks the float plane sounds great, but we'll have to see how much we'd spend compared to the bus ride. We're not exactly on a budget, but want to save plenty of money for dining out. One of our favorite reasons to travel is to find and experience great restaurants. Anyway, the more info we can gather up front from experienced Vancouver visiters, the better. We are really looking forward to this trip!
lovebug is offline  
Jun 19th, 2005, 07:46 PM
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FYI The float plane from Vancouver to Victoria is $109 CAD per person one way. It takes 35 minutes. The bus which goes on the ferry is $33.50 pp each way. The total time from depot to depot is approx 4 hours. Hope this helps.
traveller69 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2005, 05:30 AM
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It had slipped my mind when I first posted but there is a Hertz by the Mariott and another one by the Westin Bayshore.

CFW, I think that the Sheraton and the Metropolitan are quite similar in their overall standards of rooms. The restaurant at the Met - called Diva - is quite highly regarded, while I've never heard of the one in the Sheraton. The Met is about 2 blocks or so closer to the main downtown core and I think it has a better location. However, I think that you can probably get a better view from the Sheraton's rooms, if that is important to you.

Also for CFW, for restaurants, it would obviously depend on your taste, but I would suggest Parkside or Bishop's for a great fine dining experience, Bin 941 for unique tapas, C for seafood exquisitely prepared, Vij's for modern indian fusion, Fiddlehead Joe's for the best brunch in the city, right on the water. Other suggestions are reviewed in Vancouver magazine, and I think that their reviews are generally accurate - or at least I agree with them, anyway!

Cat123 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2005, 05:31 AM
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Here's a link to Vancouver magazine's mini restaurant reviews:
Cat123 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 06:56 PM
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Traveller69 and Cat123, appreciate the added info on getting to Victoria by plane/bus and car rental downtown. Again, this is the best place to get the down and dirty on travel
lovebug is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 04:59 PM
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Thanks CAT 123 - great restaurant guide. Now how to choose from so many tempting sounding places!
CFW is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Can't resist throwing in my .02 worth.

I've made two trips to Vancouver over the past two summers, and I'm about to take my third trip in July. (My husband has to go there to work and I tag along -- lucky me!) Anyway, we live in a rural area, and I'm not at all accustomed to public transit. I found it extremely easy to get around Vancouver on buses and on the seabus -- mainly, because everyone was so nice and helpful when I needed directions -- even the bus drivers! Really, I was amazed at what a friendly city Vancouver is. I also felt pretty safe exploring on my on, except for Gastown.

The only time we used a rental car was on a day trip to Whistler last summer. On our first trip, we took a Greyline tour to Whistler. Had lots of fun both times.

We stayed at the downtown both times -- perfect location, I think. I wouldn't want to stay anywhere else.
MaggieAnn is offline  

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