When mixing up your daily walking route feels like a huge adventure (just me?), staycationing during pandemic times feels like a grand journey. It not only supports the mega-struggling hotel industry—a handful of Vancouver’s top hotels have temporarily shuttered due to the pandemic—but after what could be 250-ish nights in your own bed, it’s pretty refreshing. What’s better than ordering cheeky room service, surfing cable TV and pouring billowy bubble baths in the coziness of a cute suite? Come morning, throwing open the curtains on a new view is the icing on the staycation cake.
Read on for the best hotels in Vancouver that will make you forget you’re in your home and native land.
Fairmont Pacific Rim
Find it: 1038 Canada Place, fairmont.com
The vibe: Steps from the waterfront, the ultramodern “PacRim” could be Vancouver’s ultimate luxury staycation and honestly, given the year you’ve had, you deserve it. For those wishing to WFH (work from hotel), it goes all out, removing beds from rooms to create a super-spacious “office” that is available for a day, a week or more. The Canadian Residents’ Rate Package (from $399) includes self-parking, a complimentary upgrade and a late check-out time of 5 p.m.
Average cost: From $422 to $999 per night
What to do: To make the most of the stunning locale, book a harbourview suite then plan for a fancy night out. (Remember those?) Snag a fireside seat in the see-and-be-seen Lobby Lounge and order Patron blanco margaritas with a couple of sushi tacos from the RawBar. Next, head up to Botanist for excellent sablefish, steak and lobster entrees—and a full vegan menu, too. As for COVID precautions, expect staffers taking your temperature from the wrist before entering each establishment and well-distanced seating arrangements inside. Don’t head home without first indulging in a massage at the Willow Stream Spa, or in-suite via the Suite Spa Experience, a new package that includes pool access, sparkling wine and a bento box lunch.
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Find it: 1100 Burrard St., theburrard.com
The vibe: This snazzy converted 1956 motel has a lockdown—err, upper hand—on all the retro Miami Beach feels in town. The hotel also has a natural upper-hand during the pandemic: Every room is accessible by open-air corridors. Bonus: pets allowed.
Average cost: From $109 to $119 per night (Some special added discounts currently apply: 20% off when booked within 14 days; 20% off three nights or more when booked more than 14 days ahead; and 15% off two nights when booked anytime)
What to do: Hop on one of the hotel’s complimentary Brodie cruiser bikes and work up an appetite by zipping along scenic English Bay before dining on comfort food at Burgoo, located just downstairs from the hotel (three words: chicken pot pie). Don’t check out before snapping tourist pics—this could be your biggest trip of 2020, after all—in the palm-laden inner courtyard.
Find it: 130-125 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver, seasidehotelvancouver.com
The vibe: Open since fall of 2019 and situated in the heart of North Van’s Shipyards district, the minimalist-chic Seaside feels even more like an adventurous vacation because you have to drive over a bridge—or take a 12-minute SeaBus ride—to get to it. Rooms echo the natural vibe of the North Shore and boast reclaimed wood accents, marble bathrooms and jaw-dropping views of Burrard Harbour and downtown Vancouver.
Average cost: From $114 to $444 per night (Current deals include 20% off for local residents, or “buy one night, get one free”)
What to do: Hit up the hotel’s Waterfront Spa for a treatment with a view (and rest assured the spa leaves a half-hour between each appointment to thoroughly sanitize the space) then check out what art exhibit is showing at the state-of-the-art Polygon Gallery nearby. There are countless dining options on the bustling pier at the hotel’s doorstep, including the gargantuan, high-ceiling-ed Tap & Barrel, which is great for social distancing. Come mid-December (hopefully—pandemic rules will dictate), the annual outdoor ice rink will open up at Shipyards Commons skate plaza, just steps away from the Seaside.
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JW Marriott Parq Vancouver
Find it: 39 Smithe St., marriott.com
The vibe: The adjoining Parq Casino may be temporarily closed, but there are still lots of COVID-safe things to do at this modern hotel hotspot near the water. Rolling with the times, the JW is now offering a new Work Anywhere Stay Pass which provides an overnight stay, a private workspace, and a full 36 hours in the room.
Average cost: From $208 to $999 per night
What to do: Grab a safely bubbled pal (when pandemic restrictions allow) and treat yourselves to the Girlfriends Getaway Package (from $299). It provides a bottle of bubbly upon arrival, a late 4 p.m. check out, a 20% discount at the hotel’s Honey Salt restaurant, and a daily credit toward a treatment at the Spa at JW. (Try the Mask Recovery Facial if your skin gets stressed wearing your mask.) Hit up the rooftop Aqua Lounge for a late-night hot tub sesh before watching a gal-pal classic—Thelma & Louise, anyone?
Find it: 654 Nelson St., hotelbelmont.ca
The vibe: Normally celebrated for its heart-of-the-entertainment district location, the retro-modern Belmont has undergone a pandemic pivot to offer work-from-hotel rooms—with complimentary coffee and tea, and meeting rooms for small groups—along with its usual boutique-y overnight escapes.
Average cost: From $106 to $219 per night. WFH is $90+ per day.
What to do: While its nightlife spot, The Basement, has been temporarily shuttered due to COVID, The Living Room resto—think vintage vibes with rotary telephones decorating the walls, flamingo accents and a fireplace—is very safely open for happy hour and dinner with distanced tables and plexiglass dividers galore. Order up a few signature Bourbon Buck cocktails, a charcuterie board and truffle fries before chilling in your room to your heart’s content.
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Wedgewood Hotel & Spa
Find it: 845 Hornby St., wedgewoodhotel.com
The vibe: A haven in the heart of downtown, The Wedgewood is a Vancouver institution. The city’s only Relais & Châteaux property, it has been family-owned for over three generations, which is becoming a real rarity in our corporate world. Original owner Eleni Skalbania personally decorated the property with antique art and Murano chandeliers from her world travels, and her two daughters (the current owners) keep the aesthetic updated for a 21st-century crowd. The result: classic opulence rather than bougie stuffiness, and no two guestrooms are the same.
Average cost: From $189 to $1,027 per night (Current offer: Book three nights and get the third for free)
What to do: Though their eucalyptus steam room is temporarily closed, the Spa at the Wedgewood is very much open. Book a detoxifying body scrub to slough off the stresses of isolation, then throw on some lipstick and take to the hotel’s beloved Bacchus for an elegant meal—slow-roasted rack of Australian lamb, anyone? A School of Rubens painting depicting the god of wine is hanging over the dining room, encouraging you to order a bottle—or two.
Read for a staycation? Shop these items that will elevate your stay
Shop stuff to level up your next staycation
The Weekend Bag
Away The Large Everywhere Bag (Limited Edition), $365, awaytravel.com
This limited edition carryall is the larger version of the brand's beloved weekender, made extra-special by the clamshell opening (!) of the large main compartment. That means you get the blessing of accessing your stuff like you would in a suitcase, in the compact convenience of a weekender. No more digging blindly for that other sock! It's also crafted out of water-resistant nylon with leather panelling and features a padded 15" laptop pocket.