We’re celebrating Vancouver, BC with a week’s worth of Vancouver- and BC-centered posts. I’ll give you the skinny on my favorite kid-friendly hotels, restaurants and activities.
Our family always stays in the downtown core or in the West End. The downtown core is convenient for catching the SkyTrain to Science World and walking along Vancouver’s “high street” – Robson Street. Downside: Very expensive parking, often starting at around $20/day. The West End is convenient to Stanley Park (which will soon become your kids’ favorite park in the whole world) and offers a U.N.-worthy selection of inexpensive, international eateries. I personally avoid staying anywhere along upper Granville street (before you hit Robson) or too near the Gastown neighborhood; both are too noisy and crazy at night for my taste. However, those areas are just fine for young people who like to party.
Here are my top recommendations. We’ve stayed at many more Vancouver hotels over the years. If you’d like my opinion on a possible hotel, e-mail me at lora AT cascadiakids.com and I’ll let you know what I think. I’m sure there are additional hotels that could be added to our list here – add your recommendation if you like. You’ll also find more recs in my book, Northwest Kid Trips: Portland, Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver.
Favorite Kid-Friendly Hotels in Vancouver, British Columbia:
The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver This bright hotel sits right on the edge of Stanley Park and offers expansive views of Coal Harbor. There’s a pedestrian path right in front of the Bayshore Westin – go northwest toward the park’s Vancouver aquarium and water playgrounds, or east toward the Coal Harbour Community playground and gelaterias. You can’t lose! This 511-room upscale hotel is a family favorite; kids love the children’s pack with toy treats and a free in-room movie. An incredible outdoor pool for sunny, warm days and an indoor pool for cloudy, cool days. It’s not cheap, however, and when we’ve stayed, we’ve stayed with Priceline (but the hotel doesn’t come up often). Posh.
Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel. This hotel often comes up on Priceline. Thank goodness. Despite being part of a large chain, this Marriott quickly feels homey – we’ve seen the same staff working the front door for years. Guest rooms with two doubles work well for young families, and the location places you right down the street from the Coal Harbour seawall, movie theaters and Robson Street. Kids are welcome in the 52-foot indoor lap pool. For a splurge, try the morning breakfast buffet or pick up one of the online booking packages with breakfast included. The hearty spread is worth the expense. Posh.
Times Square Suites. I’ll come out with it – this is my hands-down favorite spot in Vancouver. I love the location (right next to Stanley Park), the suite amenities (full kitchen, washer/dryer, separate sleeping area for grownups or kids) and the affordable parking. I love popping over to either a community or Granville Island market and picking up seasonal vegetables, locally made sauces and fresh pasta to cook right in my room. It is the place I always recommend to vacationing families, and you can often score a great deal by booking through their online site. The only downside: This aparthotel is right at a busy corner, so windows facing the street can get noisy, particularly on summer weekend evenings. Ask for a quieter room if you’re sensitive to noise (I am). It’s not the most luxe or fashionably appointed building, but it’s got everything a family needs to have a fantastic Vancouver stay. Cheap to midrange, depending upon season.
Rosellen Suites. If the Times Square is too expensive for my weekend or I want a quiet place to stay, I opt for the Rosellen Suites. This hotel offers very spacious, family-friendly rooms that were once apartments; some rooms have been updated, others are a bit more worn. If a low price is your primary concern, go with the older “classic” suites, which are just fine if you’re not super picky. If you’re on the pickier side, go with the Personality Suites. Either way, you’ll find TVs, kitchens, free WiFi, and one- or two-bedroom options. The Katharine Hepburn Penthouse Suite is super-swank with over 1900 square feet of room, lovely contemporary furniture, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Cheap.
Granville Island Hotel. The upside: Wonderful location, right in the heart of Granville Island, where you’ll find a children’s market, a children’s theater, fresh and inexpensive restaurants, a playground and waterpark. Downside: Very small quarters for a family. Plan accordingly (as in, plan to be outside, enjoying your wonderful location). Families who are planning to make Vancouver their big-city, big-ticket vacation can request a luxurious Penthouse room, which comes with a Jacuzzi that looks out over False Creek. Niiice! Posh.
Bonus rec: If you’re going with teens who enjoy vintage style or a stroller- or sling-carried baby — or even if you’re going on a parents-only holiday weekend — you may want to look into the character-rich Sylvia Hotel, located on English Bay. It’s a lovely, historic property, but the location makes it more of a haul for little legs. Cheap.