Living in Victoria, BC, has its perks. First of all, we’ve got the mildest weather in the country, so take that, rest of Canada! It’s a lovely environment full of beaches, hiking trails, and mild-mannered folk. Every so often though, a city-girl like me gets the urge to venture back into the urban jungle for the excitement, the culture, and TBH, the food. I love to spend a couple days at a hotel in Vancouver and explore the city now and again. How do I get there and where do I stay, you ask? Read on to find out.
Getting to Vancouver
Luckily, Vancouver is a just skip and a hop away from Victoria. Well, not really. It seems like it is so close, but while it is a beautiful ride through the gulf islands, taking the ferry to the mainland can be a very long commute with long bus rides on either end (around 4 hours total). There’s a general consensus on the island that the ferry situation is a bit of a pain. To be fair, I did see a pod of orcas from the ferry once, and that was nice.
Nevertheless, I was very excited to take a helicopter ride to downtown Vancouver with Helijet. On a summer afternoon, I showed up at the Victoria harbour heliport 20 minutes before my ride to check in. I was delighted to find complementary snacks, coffee and drinks. While everyone else on board seemed disenchanted like they’d done this helicopter ride thousands of times, I had my nose glued to the window. Staring out at the beautiful green islands in awe, I noticed snow-capped Mount Baker was especially breath-taking from that altitude. 25 minutes flew by, and next thing I knew we were in Vancouver. I was even a little sorry the ride was over.
Upon arrival I joked around with the pilots and snapped a few photos with them. I chatted with an off-duty pilot running the shuttle service as he helped me with my bag and drove me up the road to my hotel. I had a great experience with the Helijet staff and would definitely book a trip with them again.
The Burrard, A Boutique Hotel in Vancouver
Each time I visit the city, I ask myself, should I crash on a friend’s couch? Book an Air BnB? Grab a hotel in Vancouver for the night? Of course, there are perks of each, but if you’re looking to go the hotel route, you can’t go wrong with The Burrard. The Burrard is a wonderful boutique hotel that’s been renovated and revamped since its time as an iconic motor-hotel in the 50s.
You can’t miss The Burrard’s flashy neon light signs. Their aesthetic reminded me of a retro diner with a parking lot full of muscle cars from some distant past. Don’t let the exterior fool you though, the rooms are modern and chic, with tasteful splashes of bright colours on white, and the beds are ultra comfy. For me, the icing on the cake was the ironic Disney princess artwork. In my room, they had Cinderella drowning her sorrows at a dive bar. The millennial in me just loved it.
I appreciated the Nespresso machine in my room as I had an early morning planned. I was also excited to try local goodies such as Parallel 49 Brews Brothers Coffee Stout (that’s right, coffee AND beer in one). Each room is overlooking a charming court-yard with a lounge area, fireplace, and palm trees wrapped with string lights. It’s basically a hipster-haven. They include complimentary fixed-gear bikes to rent out for the day. They even give you access to the Steve Nash gym down the road. This simple-yet-stylish hotel in Vancouver had everything I needed and the location couldn’t have been more ideal.
The Downtown Area
Traveling alone, I decided to have a “treat yo’self” kind of day, and walked for 10 minutes into Yaletown to get an eyebrow wax at Frilly Lilly who always do a great job at cleaning up my unruly brows. I also got my nails done at a different salon which shall remain nameless, because of the way they slathered my wet painted nails with hairspray and forced ziplock baggies onto my feet before shoving my newly pedicured toes into my socks and converse sneakers. Was my pedicure ruined you ask? Yes, of course it was! There was nail polish everywhere. So, that happened. Anyways, exploring Granville Street and Davie Street were both interesting, there were so many restaurants, pubs and thrift shops to poke my head into. I especially enjoyed the downtown sass, such as “Kanye Not for President” on a marquee.
After an invigorating hot yoga class at Yyoga, which is a two minute walk from The Burrard, I headed over to the vegan pub MeeT to try their legendary mac and cheese. My next post will be about top five vegan restaurants in Vancouver, similar to the post I did about Montreal a while back. [Spoiler alert, in Vancouver, MeeT is number one!]
The next morning, I walked to a nearby skytrain station that took me directly to the airport en route to my next destination.
I found myself thinking: “I love this city and I can’t wait to return”.
If you would like to ride in a helicopter from Victoria to Vancouver and back, you can book online or check out their flash sales on Twitter @helijet.
Find out more about this wonderful hotel in Vancouver, visit The Burrard’s website.
Bonus: The Burrard is pet-friendly!
What are your favourite activities to do in Vancouver? Leave a comment below: