We will be going to Alaska in July and for 1 night before and 3 after the cruise, will be staying in Vancouver. Can anybody suggest where to stay? Is it best to be near Canada Place? How expensive are the hotels? Are there deals?
We stayed right in Canada Place in the Pan Pacific Hotel. The exchange rate for the US/Canadian dollar works to the benefit of Americans and yes, there are deals both with AAA and AARP. The day you leave it's neat. The bellboy deliveers your bags to the pier and you just go downstairs and check in. We asked for a room overlooking the Lion's Gate bridge and got up early in the morning and watched our ship (Galaxy) and all the others sailing in. Really spectacular.
I like the Hyatt Regency. I have been there twice before and I am staying there for 2 nights this August before a cruise. It's central to downtown and right next to a SkyTrain station. Easy walks to many restaurants, shopping etc. They have some very good rates too. Ask for a AAA rate if it's availbale. Canada Place is nice, but it can be a real zoo. Lots of convention traffic, looky loos etc. I personally like a quieter area.
We too stayed at the Hyatt. With the US vs. Candian dollar, I would say a rate less than $150 per night would be good. Our stay also included breakfast. Check out the hotel rate by calling directly too and asking for their lowest rate.
A walking tour as well as a trolley tour is a great way to experience this metropolitan city including Stanley Park. If you have time on the return, take the ferry to Victoria as I have heard it is beautiful.
If you plan to go to Victoria thoough, extend your trip by a full day. The ferry to Victoria is 1 1/2 hours south of Vancouver. In the summer there is always a wait and sometimes you can't get on the first ferry but need to wait. there is a lot to see in victoria and then you will have the same wait going back to Vancouver. Definitely worth it though. Victoria is very beautiful.
Canada Place is nice but expensive. Sutton Place regularly has Internet specials at excellent prices. We have taken advantage of those specials on two occasions. Last time we stayed at the Wedgewood which is probably the best of all. Really can't go wrong with any of the above.
I would also recommend the Hotel Vancouver downtown. It is one of the old grand dame hotels of the canadian railways. It was very nice. Good buffet breakfast too. They are online through Expedia and others.
Well, to round out the recommendations, we like the Wall Sheraton very much. About a 7-minute cab ride from Canada Place, in a much quieter, but still very central part of town.
On the Victoria issue, we found it convenient to take the seaplane to Victoria from Canada Place, then on the day we were leaving for home, to take the bus/ferry that takes you directly to the airport. Saves a ton of time. You get on the bus in downtown Victoria and drive to and onto the ferry. After a leisurely two hour run through the Islands, you go down and get back on the bus (where your bags are securely locked in the belly), drive off the ferry and directly to the airport (about 20 minutes).
What's more, there's a fly-over, ferry-back package ticket available. Great way to do it. If you can, plan to stay over at least one night in Victoria. Get a whale watching ride if available. And do not miss Bouchart Gardens, even if you don't fancy yourself a flower person. Overwhelming.
Th last time I visited Victoria and Vancouver I took a sea-plane. In Victoria the plane lands about 300 yards form the Empress Hotel. In Vancouver it lands about 5 or 6 minutes taxi ride from Canada place. It's more expensive, but a great ride.
Thanks to all who offered suggestions. I am investigating downtown Vancouver hotels, especially all the ones mentioned. Does anyone know if the entire downtown area is safe? Is there a section that is preferrable because it is more convenient? Thanks again.
I've spent time there twice and never felt the least bit unsafe, day or night. Obviously, the vicinity around Canada Place is considered the most "central" (although it isn't geographically). But you can't really go wrong at any of the places mentioned in the responses. They're all good. And it's really quite a compact town when you get right down to it.
Special dining suggestion: The Fish House in Stanley Park. Absolutely delightful. Get a table on the balcony if the weather's good. Yum!