Ski in the morning, sail in the afternoon and everything else in between in sublime Vancouver.
This section of the Seawall curves around the first, second and third beaches, and English Bay, where missing a stunning sunset is almost criminal.
Breathtaking from sea to sky peaks, Vancouver is the west coast’s quintessential scenic gem. This growing hub offers a lush green rainforest, Pacific Sea air, city skyline and glorious coast and mountains – combining a cosmopolitan ambience with natural beauty. Culture and location are key highlights, with its friendly, laidback vibe and choice destinations within easy reach.
All the comforts and luxurious surroundings of Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver make it the perfect place to relax and indulge while discovering the city. Situated in the heart of town at 197 metres high, this plush 61-storey landmark is the tallest building in British Columbia, featuring Italian chandeliers, gold and silver leaf ceilings and gorgeous city views with the Olympic cauldron visible from some suites.
Highlights also include signature restaurant, MARKET by Jean-Georges, the renowned three-star Michelin chef’s first Canadian eatery. Other must-tries are Xi Shi Lounge for afternoon tea, and CHI, The Spa for the splendid West Coast Wave Massage. These indulgences are the perfect way to prep for a day of exploration.
The Seawall should be the first stop during your stay. Measuring 22 kilometres, it surrounds the city, meandering downtown via iconic sights like historic Gastown, upmarket Yaletown, atmospheric Granville Island and the Olympian accommodations in the Athlete’s Village. Another personal favourite is the view from Coal Harbour, where you can watch floatplanes take off and land against a backdrop of city skyline and mountains.
One of the most premium hotspots is the 1,000-acre Stanley Park, the perfect place to while away an afternoon picnicking, walking, jogging or biking. This section of the Seawall curves around the first, second and third beaches, and English Bay, where missing a stunning sunset is almost criminal.
The unique city is one of the few places where a morning ski can be followed by an afternoon on the water. Grouse Mountain is another must-see sight. Located on the North Shore, skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter sports, while the infamous Grouse Grind ¬– a challenging vertical hike up the mountain – remains a summer favourite.
Alternatively, you can ride the gondola up to the restaurant and take in the magnificent view there. Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge while you’re in the area. The 450-foot bridge hangs amongst 1,300-year-old Douglas firs, spanning a 230-foot canyon. While one of the best-loved attractions in Vancouver, it’s perhaps not for the acrophobic.
A Stone’s Throw
Those keen to explore the surrounding areas should head to Whistler – a picturesque 90-minute trip along the sea-to-sky highway providing sights that appear lifted from scenic paintings with world-class skiing and beautiful lakes. The finest way to appreciate the Coast Mountains of British Columbia and the spectacular wilderness from the air is by floatplane.
Victoria B.C.’s capital on Vancouver Island, offering historic and architectural charm, is also a short boat or floatplane ride away. Further north are the tranquil Queen Charlotte Islands, where Savary Island is a particular treasure known for unusually warm waters and sandy beaches, a pilgrimage for summer visitors. For wine connoisseurs, B.C.’s renowned vineyards, wineries and glorious sunshine are merely an hour-long flight away.
Meanwhile, there is gastronomy aplenty with foodie excellence entwined into Gastown’s cobbles. Wildebeest offers unabashedly adventurous cuisine, while L’Abattoir’s traditional French food and cocktails are second to none. Vancouver prides itself on locally farmed, creative food, so be sure to check out Fable (http://fablekitchen.ca), a sustainable eatery with Top Chef Canada finalist Trevor Bird at the helm. Granville Island is also known for charming the taste buds, while local restaurant, Edible Canada, hosts a culinary walking tour. Be sure to visit Improv Comedy Centre for a giggle afterwards.
Complete the sojourn with a visit to Spanish Banks and Jericho beaches west of young and fun Kitsilano. Aside from Wreck Beach– a brave choice for its “optional” clothing policy– these are undoubtedly Vancouver’s most beautiful beaches. Rent paddleboards for a different perspective of the shore, or leave the city altogether for lush Lynn Canyon or Lighthouse Park on the North Shore. If weather isn’t on your side, a Canucks hockey game at Roger’s Arena is a favourite local pastime. Whether you long for refreshing rain after a sunny spell, snow-topped mountains or a coastline cruise, this city has it all.