I know how you feel about scary hotel reviews. But I did notice that the hotel is located right in the heart of Vancouver. You can request a room located facing the street and also located near the elevator so you don't have to walk a long hallway. The higher you are the more view you have of the city. I have fun taking the local buses for only $2.50 Canadian coins and they give you a transfer so you can take another bus. I have been several times to Vancouver. You must take a bus to the West side of Vancover on Robson st. which is considered the rich side of the city. It is very beautiful and the bus can take you all the way to Standley Park and the University. The buses are very spacious and fun to watch the people. I once had a bus driver take me everywhere on his bus and then he gave me a transfer to go back to my hotel.
There is a very large Mall named the Metro-Town in the community of Burnaby. They have a Holiday Inn located there too. The Holiday Inn shuttle may be able to take you to that Holiday Inn hotel and then you can find your way back to your hotel by bus.
If you plan to rent a car.... then you can just drive everywhere.
You must go eat at TIM HORTON'S coffee shop. They are located everywhere and they have great coffee and great donuts and pastries and great sandwiches and other foods. Affordable prices too.
They have them in the airport too.... when you fly home you can stop there to pack some snacks for your trip home.
I am going to be in Vancouver on Sept. 23rd to take the NCL STAR ship cruise down the coast to Los Angeles which is my home port. They are repositoning the ship.
One more thing... they say that Vancouver is getting ready for the Olympics so the streets are being improved and I noticed some of the Malls are being expanded. So you will notice a lot of street work being worked on and buildings being built.
The east side of town after you pass Main street is considered the poor side of Vancouver. I passed through that area on the bus. It was interesting seeing the street people. All cities have their homeless people.
I think my city of Los Angeles isn't any better.
Gas Town was no big deal. Just a bunch of expensive gift shops.
The best place to buy Canadian gifts is at the "Dollar Store or More". That is the name of the store. I bought some beautiful Canadian caps for $2.50 that were embroidered. I bought me a well made cap that said "Drama Queen".
I love Canada and I am so happy that I live in the west coast where it is so easy to visit Vancouver and Victoria.
Have lots of fun on your cruise and your visit to Vancouver. Luci