In Vancouver and Victoria you have a choice of luxury hotels; moderately priced modern properties; bed-and-breakfasts, both simple and luxurious; and smaller older hotels with perhaps fewer conveniences but more charm. Options in smaller towns and in the country include large, full-service resorts; remote wilderness lodges; small, privately owned hotels; roadside motels; and B&Bs. Even here you need to make reservations at least on the day on which you plan to pull into town.
In addition to Canada's national star-rating system, Canada Select, you can look for a blue Approved Accommodation decal on the window or door of a hotel or motel. Both indicate that the property has met industry association standards for courtesy, comfort, and cleanliness.
Expect accommodations to cost more in summer (except for ski resorts, where winter and spring break are high season). If you're planning to visit in high season, book well in advance. As a rule, hotels in downtown Vancouver are substantially pricier than those located 10 or 15 minutes outside the downtown core. Be aware of any special events or festivals that may coincide with your visit and fill every room for miles around. Note also that many out-of-the-way lodgings are closed during the winter.
The lodgings we list are the cream of the crop in each price category. When pricing accommodations, always ask what's included and what costs extra. Properties are assigned price categories based on the range between their least and most expensive standard double rooms at high season (excluding holidays).
Most hotels and lodgings require you to give your credit-card details before they will confirm your reservation. If you don't feel comfortable emailing this information, ask whether you can fax it (some places even prefer faxes). However you book, get confirmation in writing and have a copy of it handy when you check in.
Be sure you understand the hotel's cancellation policy. Some places allow you to cancel without any kind of penalty—even if you prepaid to secure a discounted rate—if you cancel at least 24 hours in advance. Others require you to cancel a week in advance or penalize you the cost of one night. Small inns and B&Bs are most likely to require you to cancel far in advance. Most hotels allow children under a certain age to stay in their parents' room at no extra charge, but others charge for them as extra adults; find out the cutoff age for discounts.
Apartment and House Rentals
Rental houses, apartments, and cottages are popular in British Columbia, particularly on the coast and the islands, and in Whistler. Whistler condos are usually time-share or consortium arrangements and can be booked directly through Tourism Whistler. Vacation rentals elsewhere are usually privately owned and range from simple summer cottages to luxurious waterfront homes. Rates range from C$800 per week to several thousand; popular places book up as much as a year in advance.
Chalet Select (800/741–1617 or 800/741–1617. www.chaletselect.com.)
Sojourn Vacation Properties (250/479–8600 or 888/479–8600. www.bcacc.com.)
Tourism Whistler (604/664–5625 or 800/944–7853. www.tourismwhistler.com.)
B&Bs are found in the country and the cities. In Vancouver, many of the top B&Bs are scattered throughout the West End, between Stanley Park and downtown. In Victoria, try in the historic neighborhoods of Oak Bay and Rockland or in James Bay near the Inner Harbour. For assistance in booking these and other B&B lodgings, contact Tourism British Columbia. Room quality varies from house to house as well, so you should ask to see a room before making a choice. Note that many B&Bs require you stay at least a certain number of nights in high season.
Reservation Services (U.S.-based)
Bed and Breakfast.com (800/462–2632. www.bedandbreakfast.com.)
Bed & Breakfast Inns Online (800/215–7365. www.bbonline.com.)
BnB Finder.com (888/469–6663. www.bnbfinder.com.)
Reservation Services (Canada-based)
Hello BC (800/435–5622. www.hellobc.com.)
Victoria Bed and Breakfast Guide (www.bestinnsofvictoria.com.)