I typically try to avoid chain hotels if I can but on my first visit, because it was for a conference, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver (http://vancouver.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html) which was lovely, centrally located to the convention center and shopping, and the staff sincerely went out of their way to help any time it was needed.
The Fairmont Pacific Rim (http://www.fairmont.com/pacific-rim-vancouver/) is absolutely stunning and I will be staying here on my next visit. I was fortunate enough to see a room – with a water view and it was outstanding! – and it looks pretty close to spectacular.
And if money is no object, The Loden (http://theloden.com/) is your place to go! It ain’t cheap, and I couldn’t justify the expense, but the pictures on their website make me drool and want to stay here.
The restaurant scene in Vancouver is hopping and I definitely need more time so that I can share more finds. But if your time is short, these few options should hold you over.
The Royal Dinette (http://royaldinette.ca/) was probably my second favourite restaurant and if I had two nights in Vancouver, this would definitely be on my return list. The drinks were phenomenal, the wine list outstanding, and the food exquisite! And as a farm to table restaurant, I couldn’t help but fall in love.
So why, you ask, did I start with my second favourite and not my favourite restaurant? My favourite restaurant was a vegetarian restaurant that is not in the center of the city so it might not be the easiest to reach (you need a taxi) nor the most appealing for everyone. The Acorn (http://www.theacornrestaurant.ca/) was outstanding and I sit here drooling just thinking of the food. The restaurant is small, and the bar even smaller, but the food was out of this world and the staff were so gracious and kind that I didn’t want to leave! The food is seasonal, as it should be, so be sure to put this on your agenda. But reader beware: the Acorn doesn’t take reservations – something troubling to this traveler who doesn’t queue for anything – but the wait was short and the old fashioned that I sipped a little too quickly as we waited made up for everything.
I’m also going to add the Wallflower (http://www.thewallflowermoderndiner.com/) to my list even though I didn’t have the time to go here. I’ve read a lot about it and it sounds scrumptious so I’m adding this to my list!
And last but certainly not least is Preston’s (http://www.prestonsrestaurant.ca/vancouver/), a short walk from the convention center if you’re in that neighborhood. I went here once for lunch and then again for dinner and really enjoyed it. The food was fairly traditional and certainly not overpriced and the drinks were affordable so it’s definitely worth a try!
And for you breakfast buffs, you must go to De Dutch (http://dedutch.com/). It’s unpretentious and wonderful food to start your day! I had breakfast here and didn’t need to eat again until dinner!
Sadly, I didn’t have time to see anything except the inside of the convention center (stunning, as far as convention centers go!) and hotels but everyone I know raved about renting bikes and riding around Vancouver Island so I’m adding this in even though I didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy this play time.
So hop on that plane and get yourself to Vancouver! And if you’re coming from the East Coast of the US as I did, you’ll probably need to stop over somewhere so maybe consider stopping over in Seattle – one of my favourite US cities – and make it a two-fer! Enjoy and safe travels!