Affordable Urban Accommodation in BC

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Taking a city break doesn’t have to break the bank. Hostels, universities, and budget hotels all offer affordable options for urbanites looking for a place to stay in BC’s biggest cities.

Vancouver: Budget beach breaks and hidden hotels

A private room at HI Vancouver Jericho Beach.

A private room at HI Vancouver Jericho Beach. Photo: Hostelling International

Seek out bargains like the Buchan Hotel, which is hidden in Vancouver’s leafy West End, just a few blocks from Stanley Park and English Bay. Rooms here come with private bathrooms, or guests can choose to share a bathroom and save some bucks.

Take a budget-friendly summer break (May to September) at Hostelling International’s HI Vancouver Jericho Beach, a converted military barracks close to the beach that offers dorms, private bedrooms with shared bathrooms, and private ensuite rooms. In nearby Point Grey, the University of British Columbia (UBC) has short-term housing rentals from mid-May until late August, including Pacific Spirit Hostel and shared apartments. Year-round budget accommodation can be found at UBC’s hotel-style West Coast Suites and the boutique TRIUMF House.

Victoria: Historic hostels and funky motels

Vintage affordability at Hotel Zed in Victoria.

Vintage affordability. Photo: Hotel Zed

HI Victoria on Yates Street is the perfect base for discovering the boutiques, historic buildings, and the Inner Harbour of BC’s capital city. Private rooms (sleeping up to three) and ensuite family rooms mean visitors can enjoy the romance of Victoria, or bring the kids for a family-friendly trip to local attractions like the Royal BC Museum.

Fun and funky Hotel Zed is an offbeat motel in the north end of the city, complete with in-room comic books, rotary phones, and a rainbow colour scheme. From June 1st the new Zedstream, a converted Airstream trailer, can be rented out for a special stay.

Fifteen minutes from downtown, the University of Victoria (UVic) and its rolling, park-like setting is home to the Craigdarroch Guesthouse, which is open year-round for visitors. In the summer months, there are other budget options from private apartments to dorm rooms at UVic.

Whistler and Squamish: Mountainside lodges and riverside cabins

Exterior of the Logger's Shack at Sunwolf in Squamish.

Exterior of the Logger’s Shack at Sunwolf. Photo: Sunwolf

Whistler’s world-class snowsports and summer activities make it popular year-round, but money-conscious visitors can still score a great deal. The Fireside Lodge, 10 minutes’ drive from Whistler Village, is a family-friendly facility that sleeps up to 64 people in a combination of shared and private rooms. HI Whistler, just beyond Creekside, was built as part of the 2010 Olympic Athlete’s Village—quad dorms and private rooms offer an affordable base for exploring.

Further along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway, Squamish is booming as a place for adventure activities, from kitesurfing to climbing. HI Squamish, a waterfront adventure inn, has dorm and private rooms, as well as “inn” style rooms for budget travellers. In nearby Brackendale (the bald eagle capital of North America), the cabins at Sunwolf can be found at the convergence of the Cheakamus and Cheekeye rivers. Families and groups can rent Fisherman’s Cottage (sleeps up to eight) or Logger’s Shack (four), and up to four adults can stay in the smaller riverside cabins as a base for rafting tours, or eagle-viewing tours in winter.

Kelowna: Cheap and cheerful wine country options

Kelowna’s downtown Hotel Zed is a funky take on the budget experience (grab a free pair of roller skates to explore the lake area). Enjoy the sunny climate at Samesun Backpackers Hostel, where a private patio and hot tub are the perfect end to a day of wine tasting. Communal-minded travellers can rest their heads in one of 100 beds in the hostel’s private rooms or dorm-style accommodation. UBC’s Okanagan Campus has four-bedroom apartments, suites, and private rooms available.

Featured Image: Vancouver. Photo: Tourism Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic