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Reviewed on 8 Jul 2020
Reviewed on 7 Jul 2020
Reviewed on 8 Jul 2020
Skiers, hikers, culture vultures, shoppers, art lovers and foodies – all sorts come to the big hub of British Columbia for a different adventure. Thankfully, there's such a wealth of hostels in Vancouver that it's possible to check off this happening metropolis on the Pacific for less, no matter what you're after. There are backpacker pads big and small, stylish and down-to-earth. Some have private rooms, while others tout traditional dorm stays that are sure to leave oodles of dollars for those Whistler ski adventures or hockey tickets. They pepper the Victorian walks of enthralling Gastown and dot the vibrant blocks of West End, where LGBTQ bars mingle with sizzling ramen kitchens.
There was a time when the humble hostel was just a place to drop the bags and rest the head. No longer. You won't need to look far in Vancouver to find an establishment that's sure to indulge your more creative side. Perhaps you'll be greeted by an oversized moose statue in the lobby or discover cosy common spaces that are infused with just a touch of Japanese and East Asian elegance. It's possible to get so-called "poshtels" – posh hostels – with crackling wood fires for the winter months and pod-style beds with their own light fittings and electrical outlets. Hostels in Vancouver can also be akin to hotels, putting double rooms for couples in the middle of vibrant backpacker lounges and shared kitchens.
One of the great treats of hostels in Vancouver is the low-key, laid-back-yet-lively atmosphere they manage to nurture. That may be down to the young and adventurous demographic that walks through their doors. It may be because the abundance of communal facilities helps to get everyone together. Or, it may be because hostel staff are so often passionate about making your stay in BC a memorable one. In fact, all you need to do to get in-the-know recommendations on the top sports bars, Canadian eateries and taste-bud-tingling spots in Chinatown is to hit reception and ask whoever's working.
Nowhere says boutique like the Cambie Hostel. It looks every inch the Victorian-chic hostel you'd expect of somewhere in Vancouver's main heritage district. That's Gastown, which unfolds all around the rollicking hostel bar of Cambie in a patchwork of kitschy eateries, fair-trade coffee roasters, Chinese teashops and soy-scented Canton cookhouses. It's the place to be for souvenir shopping, great oriental food and a glimpse of the iconic Gastown Steam Clock – Vancouver's vapour-spouting timekeeper. Samesun Vancouver is set amid the skyscrapers of Downtown. It channels something of the Far East, with its wood-panelled interiors and feng shui plant displays, but mainly offers a good springboard for visits to the Museum of Vancouver, home to First Nations relics and the tale of the city, and English Bay Beach, where you can hit some volleyballs and gaze out across the Strait of Georgia – keep your eyes peeled for whales.