Vancouver is one of my very favourite places in the world. Certainly the nicest new-world city of my experience.It’s no coincidence that the city finds itself regularly voted amongst the most attractive cities in the globe. With its enviable situation by the ocean and a mountainous backdrop it’s striking appearance is easily recognised the world over. From the delightful Granville Island, along Robson Street to the jewel in Vancouver’s crown, Stanley Park, it’s truly a spectacular city. Here’s a few corners of it that find favour with me on my visits.
Somewhere to stay… Allow me to let you into one of the cities best-kept little secrets, The Sylvia Hotel on English Bay. Something of an institution in the city, The Sylvia is by no means the most luxurious or well fitted of hotels particularly by North American standards but its great advantage is in its location. Sat a few yards away from the water of English Bay and adjacent the magnificent Stanley Park, Robson Street and downtown is but a short walk away too. Directly across a quiet road outside the hotel are lawns and the beach. The nearby sea wall is ideal for strolling, cycling, rollerblading etc. Especially that holiday morning constitutional which is great for people watching The hotel has an attractive lounge with large windows ideal for having a ‘sundowner’, watching the sun set over the water. Prices at the Sylvia are always competitive, particularly for a downtown location.
The Sylvia Hotel
Somewhere to eat…
The Boat House (seafood) 8331 River Road 604-273-7014 A series of five restaurants and it’s the Richmond version near Vancouver International Airport that I’ve talk of here. The choice in this predominantly seafood restaurant is immense and after several visits I couldn’t fault anything I tried. The atmosphere is lively though there are plenty of quieter areas to get away from the main crowd. An ideal choice when flying into Vancouver and wanting some great food sooner rather than later after your journey.
Tojo’s Restaurant (Japanese) 202 – 777 W. Broadway, Vancouver (604) 872-8050/51 In something of an unassuming location tucked away in a second floor office building on a commercial street in Vancouver, Tojo’s offers great views over the city from it’s vantage point on W. Broadway.
Perhaps the first thing one notices is the huge collection of signed photographs of well-known visitors the restaurant attracts adorning the walls. Tojo’s is something of an institution and this reflected in it’s clientele. The food is fabulous – this really is the place to try something different. In some reviews I’ve heard of a rather ‘businesslike’ attitude from the staff but this was not my experience. If you ever get to try Japanese food just the once try it here, you’ll be hooked forever!
Seasons Hill Top Bistro Queen Elizabeth Park
A really classy and genteel place to eat yet not in the least uncomfortable or starchy in its atmosphere. Huge plate glass windows offer a memorable panoramic view over the city of Vancouver. The restaurant sits in the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park which features grounds crafted and landscaped from former quarries. The park is a triumph and so is the restaurant. Slightly expensive by Canadian prices but perhaps still less than one would pay in the UK.
The bistro is know for the summit dinner held there by Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin and their signed letters of thank you for the restaurants hospitality are displayed proudly on the wall. A truly memorable visit for the Vancouver visitor.
View from the Seasons Hilltop Bistro