Vancouver, BC – Accomodations

Everyone has been making reservations in Vancouver’s hotels. motels, hostels, the YMCA and B & Bs as the Winter Olympics 2010 arrives shortly. I am afraid that it sounds like a replay of Expo ’86. Here’s what happened then.

The situation became desperate when we unexpectedly decided to visit Vancouver 23 years ago when it hosted the World’s Fair, and at that time, there was not enough space to accommodate everyone. The venues were all confined to Vancouver itself, unlike the Olympics, but with a handicapped person in our group, our needs were even more stringent, and were not satisfactorily addressed.

Being that Vancouver will also host the Paralympic Games right after the Olympic Games, I hope the city has raised the amount of handicapped rooms available for those spectators who are handicapped. I imagine the Paralympic athletes will be housed properly in the Olympic Village.

In 1986, we also found that the residence facilities grossly raised the tariffs. I do not know if anyone has put “control” caps on the room fees this time, but they were “gouging” last time, and the rates are very high normally, to begin with now.

In 1986 we paid an arm and a leg for very poor accommodations in a downtown motel, whose staff said we could make it work with a wheelchair — really only barely. It was a bad scene all round, and it left a bad taste in my mouth after several previously enjoyable visits to stay in the city. So much of a bad taste, that we haven’t stayed IN downtown Vancouver since; I’ve just passed through on the way to somewhere else. My sister does that too when she lands there on cruises.

Now, recently reading a report in the New York Time’s Frugal Traveler blog, Matt Gross said that even some of the faded ladies in the hotel biz are raising their fees incredibly, this time. One older, trying-to-be-rehabbed, Victorian hotel, on the border of the DTES (Down Town East Side) is raising rates from $70 Canadian to $300 Canadian a night during the Olympic Games!

By the way, avoid the DTES at all costs. Many people say its the worst area in urban Canada. There are murders there (21 prostitutes disappeared before anyone investigated), but ‘mostly it is crimes against other down-and-out residents. It’s an area of high, open drug-use and homelessness. Some tourist areas do border it.

There is scuttlebutt that the Canadian and Provincial Governments plan to harass the inhabitants and round-them-up before the Olympics, to save embarrassment and just where will they take this human flotsam and jetsam?

Vancouver tops the list of the world’s “Best Cities”, but every city has its problems. Be sensible at all times. Learn the turf. Read lots before-hand and ask questions once there. Stay safe.

As far as Vancouver at Olympics and Paralympics time, as well as in Whistler, BC and nearby suburbs and towns, get right to it if you are going to the Games. Do serious research as it seems like there is not a lot of middle-ground. It’s the faded lady group or the ritzy group. Competition for residence hotels and apartment short-stay rentals will be fierce, too. Whistler is traditionally very expensive. There are smaller towns north of there and south of it which are more reasonable, but there’s just not lots of options.

Vancouver is not an inexpensive city. In other posts I will add some details of hotels and restaurants.

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