Where to Stay in Vancouver, Canada, for a Local Experience

The Douglas, Autograph Collection is where nature meets the city
The Douglas, Autograph Collection is where nature meets the city | Courtesy of The Douglas, Autograph Collection / Expedia
Photo of Debra Smith
14 January 2021

Wondering where to stay in Vancouver? These hotels offer a closer look at Canada’s west coast seaport city.

Known as Hollywood North, Vancouver’s captivating, historical streetscapes have been the Canadian stand-ins for New York City and Chicago in many movies. You may find yourself rubbing elbows with celebrities in these hotels or discovering secret local hangouts. Delve behind the scenes of Vancouver while staying at these top hotels.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Spa Hotel, Luxury, Hotel
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Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Courtesy of Fairmont Hotel Vancouver / Expedia

Hosting A-listers since 1939, this former Canadian Pacific Railway hotel underwent a five-year $75m renovation, completed in 2019. The lobby, the Heritage Suites and the Fairmont Gold floor sport new modern decor, with nods to the hotel’s historical roots. From here, walk to the Stanley Park Seawall and the trendy restaurants of Gastown. Back at the hotel, visit Ella and Elly, the hotel’s canine ambassadors, and explore the lower level boutiques for luxury goods such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton.

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The Listel Hotel

Hotel
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The Listel Hotel
Courtesy of The Listel Hotel / Expedia
Equal parts sophisticated hotel and art gallery – complete with interactive sculptures spinning in the lobby – the Listel has adorned each of its hallways and 129 rooms with original artwork by established and emerging artists. Each floor has a single artistic theme, and suites feature works curated by one individual. With an eco-friendly philosophy, the hotel has solar panels providing power and a 100 percent zero-waste policy, and it doesn’t have a pool, conserving water, chemicals and energy.
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Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Spa Hotel, Luxury, Hotel
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Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Courtesy of Rosewood Hotel Georgia / Expedia

Since its opening in the 1920s, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia has hosted many celebrities, including Marlene Dietrich, Sir Laurence Olivier and the Rolling Stones. Here, you’re surrounded by discreet service and old-world glam, from the warm, wood-paneled lobby to rooftop suites with private gardens, plunge pools and fireplaces. Explore the city from this central location or allow the concierge to arrange a Forbidden Vancouver walking tour, led by local actors and entertainers, for a deeper dive.

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Opus Vancouver

Boutique Hotel
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Opus Hotel Vancouver
Courtesy of Opus Vancouver / Expedia

Backdrops in refreshing shades of lime green, mustard yellow and mango orange energize the guest experience at Opus Vancouver. Fashionistas will appreciate the upscale Yaletown shops just outside the front door, while aspiring chefs can bob over to Granville Island Public Market in a tiny Aquabus to stock their modern kitchenettes with organic goodies. It’s dog-friendly to the max, with pups staying for a small fee and friendly staffers happy to take them for a walk.

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Loden Hotel

Hotel
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Loden Hotel
Courtesy of Loden Hotel / Expedia

Get your Greta Garbo on at this serene spot in a quieter part of Vancouver’s West End district. The Loden Hotel is where simplicity meets elegance. The Garden Terrace spaces having patios with reflecting pools and waterfalls to induce a Zen-like state of relaxation, and the sixth floor, which is pet- and feather-free, caters to sensitive souls. Past guests rave about the thoughtful and personalized service, especially when they want to be alone – no wonder it was voted the Top Hotel in Vancouver by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards in 2019.

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Skwachàys Lodge

Boutique Hotel
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Skwachàys Lodge
Courtesy of Skwachàys Lodge / Expedia

The First Nations people recognized the site of this hotel as a place of transformation centuries ago when it was still a salt marsh fed by fresh springs. Honoring that spirit, Skwachàys Lodge became Canada’s first Indigenous arts hotel in 2012. Each room features original artworks by a First Nations artist, many of whom are artists-in-residence in one of the 24 studios above the hotel. Crowning the historic building is a rooftop sweat lodge with a 40ft (12m) totem pole guarding the entrance. As a guest, you’re welcome to take part in a sweat or smudge ceremony for your own transformative experience.

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  • Level Vancouver – Yaletown Seymour

    Apartment
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    Level Vancouver
    Courtesy of Level Vancouver – Yaletown Seymour / Expedia

    Act like you’re putting down roots at this long-stay hotel with all the modern conveniences. Live like a Vancouverite with a private balcony, spotless full-service kitchen and in-suite laundry. Weekly housekeeping service and a 24-hour concierge will have your back. Pick up groceries from nearby Granville Island Public Market, or order something from the great Belgian waffle shop next door.

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    The Douglas, Autograph Collection

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    The Douglas, Autograph Collection
    Courtesy of The Douglas, Autograph Collection / Expedia

    If you’re looking for stars, you’ve come to the right place. With Rogers Arena and BC Place nearby, you may find yourself elbow to elbow with a Vancouver Canuck hockey player or a touring musician at one of the hotel’s several bars and restaurants. The decor is contemporary industrial, with marble, wood and leather accents, and rooms range from simple doubles to lavish, split-level suites. DJs turn the lobby into a dance floor on Friday and Saturday nights.

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    The Burrard

    Boutique Hotel
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    The Burrard
    Courtesy of The Burrard / Expedia

    Neon lights and palm trees set the stage at this former 1950s motor hotel. Renovated and ready for its close up, the low-slung, three-story building surrounds a lush garden courtyard that was once the parking lot. We give it a big thumbs up for value and its location in the heart of downtown. Cruise around on one of the hotel bikes, or sip local Four Winds Beer alongside Vancouverites in its sidewalk cafe.

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    Blue Horizon Hotel

    Independent Hotel
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    Blue Horizon Hotel
    Courtesy of Blue Horizon Hotel / Booking.com

    Panoramic views of English Bay, the North Shore Mountains and Vancouver await you at Blue Horizon. Each of the spacious rooms has corner windows – a rarity in the area – where you can watch the sunset or the twinkling lights of downtown. It’s close to the shops and restaurants of Robson Street and within walking distance of Stanley Park. Make sure you grab coffee and cake from Breka Bakery and Café across the street – it’s a local favorite.

    O Canada House Bed and Breakfast

    Bed and Breakfast
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    O Canada House Bed and Breakfast
    Courtesy of O Canada House Bed and Breakfast / Expedia

    Based on the way guests sing its praises, this tall, Queen Anne-style bed and breakfast should have its own musical. It has a lyrical past – it’s where Ewing Buchan wrote an early version of Canada’s national anthem. Amenities are modern, while the original fireplaces, antiques and replica period furniture put guests squarely into 1897. The Gastown Historic District is minutes away, as is the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a green sanctuary in the heart of Vancouver. Join time travelers from around the world for sherry at sunset.

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    These recommendations were updated on January 14, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.