Savvy travelers know the value of stretching their vacation budget dollars. When we save money on accommodation or airfare, we get to spend more on fun things like museum visits, restaurants, even scenic helicopter rides. It’s a total win-win. When visiting the family-friendly west coast city of Vancouver, travel smarter and save money with a stay at the YWCA Hotel Vancouver.
Why Stay at the YWCA Hotel Vancouver
The YWCA Hotel Vancouver has been in the social enterprise and hospitality business for over one hundred years. Today’s YWCA Hotel Vancouver is a 155-room, non-smoking facility, well-located in the eastern section of downtown Vancouver, close to attractions and restaurants in Gastown, Chinatown and Yaletown. The hotel provides affordable accommodation for all travelers, including short-term rentals and residency stays. The hotel maintains an affordable room rate for travelers, so that the savings you enjoy from budgeting on your travel accommodation can be channeled into the many fun things to do in Vancouver.
In addition to saving money on great hotel accommodation, conscientious travelers help to give back to local community services. Your guest stay dollars go to programming that reaches more than 50,000 people every year. The YWCA operates more than 40 programs and services that help the community, including social housing, youth programs and community kitchens. Your stay makes a difference at the local level.
Inside the YWCA Hotel Vancouver
The YWCA Hotel Vancouver has a variety of room types that will suit many travelers, including single, twin, double, double/double, triple, and quint rooms with five beds. The larger rooms are great for families or students bunking up together. Each room features its own bathroom (or a shared bathroom), mini-fridge, flat screen television, AC and reliable, free WiFi. Several floors of the hotel host small kitchenettes guests can boil water for tea, or make a quick meal on the cooktop or microwave. The full kitchen and dining area on the fourth floor is perfect for preparing family meals or breakfasts. The hotel has a small fitness centre, but if you want more workout options, guests have free access to the large YWCA Health + Fitness Centre, just a 15-minute walk away.
Depending on the season, two adults can enjoy a cozy room for less than $100 CAD, a family of four for not much more than that. These are excellent prices for a clean and safe hotel stay right in downtown Vancouver. To keep costs low, guests should book directly on the YWCA Hotel’s website. It reduces costs to the YWCA, saves you money, and provides more community program revenue.
WHAT TO DO IN VANCOUVER
Frugal travel budgeting means there’s more money left over for fun Vancouver activities in the city. From art galleries to museums, virtual reality rides to a flight in a real helicopter, here are a few suggestions on what to do in Vancouver.
DR. SUN YAT-SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDEN
One of National Geographic’s top city gardens, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a hidden gem in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. Take a self-guided walk through the scholarly garden-home, completed by master artisans without nails or glue. The enclosed landscapes, temple structure, mosaic tiles, and magnificent gardens embody the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang. If kids are in your party, ask for a children’s Creature Quest Scavenger Hunt card. There are koi to be spotted!
If you’ve been on the Soarin’ over California ride at Disneyland, you’ll love Flyover Canada. It’s a virtual flight-simulation that lifts off for an 8-minute, breathtaking ride over the vast nation that is Canada. It’s a beautiful 3D experience of visiting the entire country, without ever leaving Vancouver.
VANCOUVER ART GALLERY
The Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) is located right in the middle of downtown. It’s a calm oasis of First Nations sculpture, Emily Carr landscapes, and rotating visiting exhibitions. The Gallery Store is a hidden treasure – the perfect place to find unique gifts and non-kitschy souvenirs of your west coast holiday.
WALK OR RIDE IN STANLEY PARK
One of the world’s best and largest urban parks, Stanley Park is a free and easy must visit. Walking the sea wall (usually with a latte in hand) is a favorite local activity. Or rent a bicycle and ride the entire park peninsula in under one hour.
See it all from way up high at Vancouver Lookout. Just a 10-minute walk from the YWCA Hotel Vancouver, the Lookout offers 360 degree views of the city. Its elevator takes just 40 seconds to reach a height of 550 feet, allowing guests a birds-eye panorama of the cityscape and mountains of Metro Vancouver. (Tip: Just around the the corner you’ll find some of the tastiest poke in town at The Poke Guy).
TAKE A RIDE WITH HELIJET
Fancy a quick trip over to Victoria or Nanaimo on Vancouver Island? Climb aboard a Helijet helicopter, leaving from its downtown helipad frequently through the day. Helijet flights showcase premium views of its destination cities, the waters of Georgia Straight, and the Gulf Islands. The waiting rooms offer complimentary beverages and snacks, and best of all, kids under 12 fly for free when traveling with a paying adult. It’s the fastest way to get to and from the Island, allowing for more visit time in each destination.
Disclosure: The writer was a guest of the YWCA Hotel Vancouver, and thanks the YWCA, Tourism Vancouver and Helijet for their hospitality. As always, her opinions are honest and her own.
Photo Credits: Claudia Laroye, Tourism Vancouver