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very helpful poster named martincath; hasn't posted in awhile


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Very nice of you to inquire @Kellie in Texas - yes, I'm still alive!

 

Long story short - I never really used CC for socializing, so with cruising shut down then Canada specifically banning cruises folks weren't asking many questions so I stopped visiting the boards regularly. Quiet boards mean I get very few email alerts from CC, and most times I did see there was some new info requested answers had already been provided that were plenty good enough given the uncertain times. Pre-Covid I'd happily contribute extra tidbits and nitpick answers I didn't agree with, but with so many businesses going under, or staff/menu changes that mean the name might be the same but the experience is totally different than In The Before Times, I'm loathe to quibble until I actually get back and visit every place I used to recommend to make sure they're still worthy!

 

Assuming that the planned cruise season out of Vancouver happens (looks good with restrictions easing across the country, but then last Fall looked good too until Omicron spread like wildfire!!!) I'm sure I'll be back to posting more regularly.

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Glad you are still around.  Looks like our twice-Covid-postponed cruise now set for June on Serenade of the Seas is going to happen. It was originally for my youngest son's high school graduation; now it will be for his completion of sophomore year of college.  😄  I have booked our flights and pre- and post-hotels (one night each), so I hope in the next few months to research more on things to do and places to eat in Vancouver.  The Before Times, indeed. 

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I too was wondering where you were. And yes lot's of changes in the downtown core - many of the medium priced hotels have been brought by the government for social housing and the homeless.

Dennis

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On 2/16/2022 at 8:21 PM, Kellie in Texas said:

...  I have booked our flights and pre- and post-hotels (one night each), so I hope in the next few months to research more on things to do and places to eat in Vancouver.  The Before Times, indeed. 

And I'll be happy to offer some advice when you're looking Kellie.

 

12 hours ago, Urban trekker said:

I too was wondering where you were. And yes lot's of changes in the downtown core - many of the medium priced hotels have been brought by the government for social housing and the homeless.

Dennis

Thanks Dennis - yes indeed, I can't imagine those hotels returning to normal, yet more sites queued for demolition before becoming condos, so even fewer hotel rooms (and with many AirBnBs turning back to long-term rentals, and on the licensing side finally some court cases resolved to close down the cheaters, also fewer alternatives!) mean quite a different tourism landscape for this year at least.

 

Even without some other new, scarier 'Vid Variant arising this year really feels like a transition period on many fronts - fingers crossed this summer doesn't have any new restrictions needed and maybe 2023 will finally see a return to more normal life for locals and visitors as we all get over our assorted fears and traumas.

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Glad to see you are still around, Martincath! You have always provided such valuable insight and advice about Vancouver. Our 2020 cruise will be reborn in June 2022. Your observation regarding hotels in the Current Times is helpful.

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  • 3 months later...
Posted (edited)

Popping onto this post from Australia in May 2022. I'm tickled pink @martincathis posting. You were an absolute wealth of information when we travelled to Vancouver in September 2019, from a reasonable hotel in Seattle, to the Amtrak train to Vancouver, to the "Y", to a good brekkie spot up Robson St. Such great advice. We've been locked away in Oz, free now to travel and trying again to see Alaska but not until SEPT 17 2023 on Eclipse, then transferring to Enchantment-of-the-seas back to Sydney. Will be absolutely trolling this site for your words of wisdom.  Cheers, and regards from Australia. 

Edited by willsaway
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  • 4 months later...
On 5/25/2022 at 1:52 AM, martincath said:

Well thank you kindly @willsaway, high praise indeed. Now I must go find a large pin to pop my inflated ego ;-)

Good evening.  Hoping CC alerts you to my post.   The time has come (the Walrus said) to ask away.  A group of friends is flying into YVR on Saturday night, via Qantas, 10th September 2023.  I'm hoping you might be kind enough to suggest a clean budget hotel (Aussie dollar conversion is absolutely woeful). Previously we have stayed at the YWCA.  Looking at that again, or Hotel on Robson, or Blue Horizon. What I was really hoping to have insight on can wait until I hopefully hear from you.  We are staying in YVR for 4 nights, then doing a 4 day/3night Rocky Coach Tour with a company you have mentioned previously, then another night in YVR, then onto Eclipse for Alaska.  We will be using public transport when in town, are all in our 70's but still able to walk.   Cheers from Oz.

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6 hours ago, willsaway said:

... Previously we have stayed at the YWCA.  Looking at that again, or Hotel on Robson, or Blue Horizon. What I was really hoping to have insight on can wait until I hopefully hear from you.  We are staying in YVR for 4 nights, then doing a 4 day/3night Rocky Coach Tour....

A preemptive welcome back to Vancouver then @willsaway! I'm going to guess that your middle option of 'Hotel on Robson' was meant to be the Rosedale on Robson, from the name format? I can't say that I've heard anything recently, good or bad. Blue Horizon unfortunately seems to be suffering in terms of quality of service, perhaps just similar staffing issues that the entire hospitality industry is struggling with but it's still the first time I can recall hearing any complaints about BH. The Y seems to remain reigning supreme as the best of the budget bunch - and if your coach tour leaves from Pacific Central station, as many do, it's also the closest to there (~$12 in a cab if you're taking lots of luggage, also nearest to SkyTrain if you're just bringing a small bag on the bus trip) - plus of course you're familiar with it, although odds are high you haven't seen the new wing as construction was barely finished when Covid hit, so there are a bunch of shiny new rooms.

 

BH is the worst of the three for transit options - bus only nearby, although they still have the HOHO and Cap Shuttle stops right outside. Rosedale is closest to the Canada Line, if you're transiting in from the airport or back that way while staying here. YWCA is closest to the Expo line, for points east of downtown - but it and Rosie are only a short walk apart so location differences are marginal. Depending what you saw last time, what you want to do this time, there might be a slight win for one hotel over the others.

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Just delighted that CC alerted you to my post.  And you answered.  Great stuff, thank you.  We'll be flying in on Saturday night the 9th September, getting in latish about 5.30.  I'm supposing it will still be daylight but depending on how long it takes to clear customs, will no doubt cab it to either Rosedale (yes, you are correct.  Early senior's moment) or the Y, depending on our eventual decision.  Rosedale have been very helpful indeed with information, and no doubt the Y will get back to me shortly.  What might sway our decision, and here I would appreciate your imput, is the fact our coach trip leaves at 8.15 a.m. on Wed 13th from Hyatt Hotel, Melville Street Entrance, at Burrard Sky Train station.  We will all probably take a smallish bag, and leave the remaining luggage with whichever hotel.  We get back into Vancouver quite late on Saturday night, 16th, and will need to then get back to our accommodation.  Is the Sky Train doable from either? Safe in that area at 8.00 p.m. Or we cab it, assuming cabs would hang around a hotel like the Hyatt.   BH is out of contention, just that little bit too expensive for struggling seniors.  Rosedale and Y allow us the option to make a sandwich.

 

Last time we didnt get to see much at all, we only had the one day and we hoho'd all day.  This time we will have one day to recover, and two full days to sightsee.   Would love to visit the Capilano Bridge and I have emailed Stroll Buddy (after reading one of your comments).

Then off to do the inside passage for 7 days, before bringing the Brilliance back to Oz.  

Cheers

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On 10/17/2022 at 8:56 PM, willsaway said:

...  What might sway our decision, and here I would appreciate your imput, is the fact our coach trip leaves at 8.15 a.m. on Wed 13th from Hyatt Hotel, Melville Street Entrance, at Burrard Sky Train station.  We will all probably take a smallish bag, and leave the remaining luggage with whichever hotel.  We get back into Vancouver quite late on Saturday night, 16th, and will need to then get back to our accommodation.  Is the Sky Train doable from either? Safe in that area at 8.00 p.m. Or we cab it, assuming cabs would hang around a hotel like the Hyatt.   ... Would love to visit the Capilano Bridge and I have emailed Stroll Buddy (after reading one of your comments).

Burrard Station is on the Expo line - so you could get there from Stadium/Chinatown, close to the Y. But at the distances involved, with just small bags, it might be cheaper to take a cab! 4 bums on seats, 4 carry-on size bags in the trunk is viable even in a Prius cab - and the cost is the same whether there's one of you or four; a 1km ride would be about $7 (traffic getting to the bus with commuters on Wed morning, say $10 but probably including a tip within that; returning after 8pm on a Saturday could be just $6 on the meter). Transit fares are pretty much guaranteed to rise again on July 1st 2023 - given how much inflation is peaking these days, it might be the biggest rise in some time (although I'd guess the current $2.05 Senior fare won't go over $2.25; so that's $9 for the 4 of you...)

 

Capilano - if you feel the spend is worthwhile, which I do not personally, you may as well get your money's worth and use their shuttles (no extra charge). With 4 though, Transit over to the North Shore and a visit to the free Lynn Canyon park will save you around $150 even if you spring for a cab to avoid walking the last leg (fastest bus stop on the #228 is a 15min walk away; taking the #229 instead with a second transfer to the #227 at Lynn Centre gets you right to the main entrance, but the 227 is a tiny community shuttle that does fill all seats at busy times so it's slightly to very time-inefficient compared to the 228 and a walk).

 

I'd double-check what you did on Stroll Buddy, as I haven't seen any requests appear recently for next September - if you emailed the reply might take a while (minimal staff) and they'll just direct you to complete the form for a stroll request here anyway. If you filled out the booking form already, you should have received an auto-reply with a copy of your request - check your Spam folder if you haven't already, no confirmation email means you have no request in the system.

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Thank you so much, @martincath.    Agree a cab is the way to go, more getting a feel for which hotel might be the more convenient for the early "Coach Trip Day" start, and the late arrival back to town. I received no such confirmation from Stroll Buddy, and nothing in the Junk folder either, so will use the link you have provided.   If you recommend Lynn Canyon Park in lieu of the suspension bridge, will certainly have a look see.   There's actually going to be 7 Aussies in this little group (it grew somewhat) so there's no hope of pleasing everyone.   Saw a previous suggestion of yours which I have cut and paste in a note to my friends  -  check out Trip Advisor or Viator and see what suits you -  and put them all in the hat.  There was the odd muttering about the gardens in Victoria but equally, I have a previous comment that it simply doesnt work.   But there may be a daytime ferry that we could take, out on the water, to get a feel of the harbour?   Perhaps A to B, with lunch somewhere nice, then back to A.

 

 

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Rosedale is a few blocks closer to the coach pickup - but if that's your only differential criteria, a dollar per cab ride isn't much of a reason to sway opinion! Google Maps works well in Vancouver - all transit routes are fully integrated, as well as walking & biking (which generates an altitude profile of the route, so you can choose longer but less steep routes if e.g. you are schlepping big bag).

 

Ferry-wise, with 7 people you could consider a charter to Bowen Island from downtown - they stopped running their daily commuter trips, problems securing a regular dock, but still own the boat I believe. It's a nice run on the water, and the main town on Bowen has galleries, pubs, cafes etc. that can easily fill a few hours even if you don't feel like hiking around the island. The only regular water taxi services run a very short route (~45mins to take the entire loop around False Creek) - or the Seabus over to North Van for lunch around Lonsdale Quay on the other side of downtown. This is basically a floating bus though, a very short route <15mins each way, predominantly for commuters - few window seats as the boats are very wide. But Seabus and water taxis would let you float in local waters for a bit, then enjoy a vast array of lunch options!

 

Getting to Butchart Gardens/Victoria and back in a day means either $kaching$ (fly both ways, cut the travel time to about 90mins total) or a looooooong day (coach & ferry day trips take 12-14 hours, with very little discretionary free time). Butchart is a very nice garden - and if you are on the Island, absolute worth a visit - but you can find many tremendous gardens, many of them free, in Vancouver itself. Even if you zipped around in a couple of cabs you'd be spending a fraction of both the time and the money of a Butchart day trip - and a day pass on transit would still be fairly efficient timewise if you did the gardens in a sensible order, for less than $10pp for Seniors.

 

For example - the Botanic Gardens out at UBC have a Treewalk and the Japanese garden there offers traditional tea ceremonies (Butchart has neither); the Rose Garden is tiny but with incredible scenic views and you'd be mad not to visit a couple of the museums if you were at UBC - MoA is huge, worth at least a half-day on its own if you're the kind of folks who read all the little plaques; the Beaty has a whale skeleton displayed in the entry and thousands of other biological samples in jars and drawers; PMoE isn't as big but might be of interest if any of you are keen on geology.

 

Stanley Park has another free Rose garden which is huge and very well kept, as well as a rhododendron garden and a huge expanse of native trees, Beaver Lake, public art all over, scenic views etc.; Queen Elizabeth park has 2 quarry gardens - not as big as the Butchart one, but free, with a tropical indoor garden for dirt-cheap that's also full of birds; combo tickets for this and the VanDusen Botanical save an extra buck or so, are only a few blocks walk apart, and you can see a traditional English Hedge Maze as well as many pretty flowers.

 

Downtown Vancouver has the finest traditional Chinese garden in the world outside Suzhou - guided tours included with entry to explain the ridiculous details of the process to build such a thing, well under $20pp (and a free city park next door that replicates it in cheaper, mass-produced materials to give you the vibe in case you have no idea if you'd enjoy such a garden).

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