Archive for the ‘Tour Operators’ Category

Springtime in Vancouver……Part 2 – Activities to explore.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

NORTH SHORE MOUNTAINS AND ACTIVITIES IN SPRING
Some of you may have heard that Vancouver just received a considerable amount of snowfall over the weekend although accumulations were at a premium in the downtown area, this was not the case for the rest of the greater Vancouver area. This comes as welcome relief for the Ski hills of Cypress mountain, Grouse mountain and Mount Seymour as the snow pack was looking a little thin up till this point, but with 3 days of constant snowfall it was the giddy up that the Ski hills sorely wanted.
This makes for excellent news for anyone who wants to see us in the Spring, and like we had mentioned in the first installment of this blog, in the Spring season you can get a few hours of Winter sports in – whether that be skiing, snowboarding or Snowshoeing, and then back down to sea level, you can enjoy a walk around the sea wall without feeling too cold, that sounds like a win win situation for us. It may also increase the chances of a late season for the hills, if we are to look at how last years season transpired, the hills were able to keep open until the first week of May, we are keeping everything crossed that this will happen again this year!

Grouse Mountain
This is one of the best seasons to visit Grouse and its not just for the Sporting activities which of course is the big draw up here. Grouse Mountain is home to many animals that cannot live in the wild due to injury or that fact that they were unable to learn the skills required to survive in their natural habitat. Grouse is home to many creatures who are now in a safe and comfortable environment where they are well looked after – you too can visit them when you are up there and as it is the spring season if they are the hibernating type of critter, they will be ready to wake up. The animals that you will get a chance to see are Grizzly Bears, Gray Wolves, Owls and the visiting Hummingbirds to name but a few.

Grouse Mountain endangered wildlife refuge: https://www.grousemountain.com/wildlife-refuge

Grouse Mountain Website: https://www.grousemountain.com/

Whale Watching
Whale watching season begins in March and typically runs till October. The Georgia Strait is in the direct path of these large mammals and have been wowing people for many many years. The various types of Whales that you can expect to see are Orca’s (Killer Whales), Gray Whales and various Dolphins which are the most common sightings. IOn some occasions we may even be treated to a visit from these amazing animals close to the Vancouver shoreline itself a very rare occurrence! A few years ago a single Gray Whale decided to meander its way up False Creek for a few days at a time, our guess is that there was a great deal on Fish at the Granville Island Market and the Whale wanted to see what was happening, and who can blame it?

There are various ways to watch the Whales with guided tours, we recommend Wild Whales Vancouver down at Granville Island, you can also make a reservation at the Front Desk at the Sunset Inn and Suites.

Wild Whales Vancouver: http://www.whalesvancouver.com/

VANCOUVER GARDENS
As you will have read in the previous Blog article before we wanted to share with you the sights that Vancouver has to offer when the plants and trees start their blooms. If you are into trees and plants then we highly recommend that you visit the local gardens in the area, and even take the trip over to Victoria to see what they have on show.
Queen Elizabeth Park – Van Dusen Gardens
Queen Elizabeth Park is located in the central area of Vancouver, its location is fantastic due to its elevation, you will find the park is on a hill that overlooks the entire city with unobstructed views of the Mountains and beyond. Van Dusen Gardens is such a delight for all plant lovers, the gardens are to be found among an abandoned quarry with some interesting geological features.

Van Dusen Gardens: http://vandusengarden.org/

Queen Elizabeth Park: https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/queen-elizabeth-park.aspx

In our next post we will inform you of all the major events that will be happening in Vancouver during March

How to see the very best of Vancouver in just a few short days.

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Its been a crazy Winter here in Vancouver as we have not seen this much Sun over the winter period for as long as anyone can remember – maybe, just maybe this is a sign of a good tourist season to come for 2014.
We are starting to notice a big upswing in reservation calls for people who are now looking ahead to the Spring and Summer season get away’s. We feel this will be a good time to give you advice on how to utilise your time in the city with the few days that you may be stopping over. So we will guide you on what to do if you are stopping by the city for just 1, 2 or 3 days…

1 DAY VISIT
One day in the city may seem like there is no time to see anything, but we feel you can actually see a fair bit of the city due to the size and geography of the area, so, if you are only making a whistle-stop tour and still want to catch some sights, here are the places to see for just one day.

BIG BUS CITY TOUR – HOP ON HOP OFF Big Bus will be the very best way to see the sights of the city while having the freedom to get around at different stops so you can experience some pretty decent areas that Vancouver has to offer. The bus stop is quite literally a 1 minute walk from the hotel on Thurlow St – we suggest that you do a full circle tour on the bus, and then once back around, its time to use the Hop on Hop off option to good use.
Granville Island is a must see area in the city, it is our own version of Seattle’s Pike Place market There are some amazing boutique shops to browse and shop in, the wonderful Granville Island Market whic is open from 9am till 7pm seven days a week. There are also some really excellent restaurants to choose from too, our suggestion is to visit The Sandbar Restaurant, this really showcases the very best Pub style dishes, Seafood and an Asian infusion twist which is very very Vancouver.

Granville Island Website: http://granvilleisland.com/

After spending some time on Granville Island we highly recommend that you take a walk inStanley Park A diamond in the rough – Stanley Park is one of the largest public parks that shows you what the area once looked like before the rapid expansion of the city. The Park is located at the Western end of the downtown peninsula and at 1,001-acres there is plenty to see. Here you are in the heart of an ‘urban Rainforest’ so to speak, there is no shortage of spectacular scenery with the various species of Plants, trees and wildlife, it is a must see area of the city, just like Granville Island.

We also recommend that you purchase your Big Bus tickets with us at the front desk as it will be a cheaper deal for you – as opposed to buying a ticket directly from their website. We will send you their link below so you know what to expect when you get here.

BIG BUS Website http://bigbus.ca/home/

Sandbar Restaurant http://www.vancouverdine.com/sandbar

2 DAY VISIT
Now that you have gotten some of the downtown area out of the way, you can now start to explore a little deeper, if you have purchased a ticket with Big Bus you will have seen that they have a 2 day Pass – this will help get you to explore some of the older areas of the city.
Gastown and Chinatown are also a must see area of Vancouver, here you will step back in time and get to see where the original and oldest areas of the city began, you can check out the famous cobble-stoned Streets, incredibly stunning architecture and historical landmarks such as The Steam Clock, the Chinatown district (which is one of the oldest in North America and Canada – including the majestic and beautiful DR SUN YAT SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDENS website http://vancouverchinesegarden.com/

Gastown Website:http://www.gastown.org/

GROUSE MOUNTAIN & CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE can be visited after spending some time in Chinatown and Gastown, you can head over to Waterfront Station where you can catch the Seabus over to North Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay (which is North Vancouver’s version of our own Granville Island, its smaller but very cute and offers some great views of the Burrard Inlet, Downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.

Grouse Mountain overlooks Vancouver and can be easily spotted as the middle of the three North Shore mountains that overlook the city, it is nestled in between Cypress Mountain to the West and Mount Seymour to the east. Grouse is excellent for Winter sporting activities for all the family – and in the summer it has great hiking trails, the famous Grouse Grind if you are up for a steep walking challenge and entertainment at the top for all the family to enjoy, this includes a lumberjack show which is funny and breath taking and a Bird Sanctuary and Grizzly Bear enclosure.
Just one stop down from Grouse is the world famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, here you will get to experience one of the worlds largest suspended Suspension Bridges, high above the Capilano river and canyon, there is also a daring cliff walk and glass paths for the especially daring – its a stunning sight to be so high among the trees in this amazing rain-forest canopy.

Grouse Mountain – The Peak of Vancouver https://www.grousemountain.com/

Capilano Suspension Bridge Website: http://www.capbridge.com/

3 DAY VISIT
if you happen to be here for 3 days or more, then we absolutely encourage you to start to explore further out to areas like Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Island is a pretty big place – many believe that it is a fairly small place but don’t be fooled it is actually close in size to the UK!
Victoria which is the capital of BC is a very quaint and beautiful town, much smaller than Vancouver and certainly steeped in rich history of its colonial past – it too has a decent China town to explore.
We recommend that you use a Tour Operator to visit Victoria, the one way trip itself take roughly 3 to 4 hours to get from Vancouver to Victoria – this includes the stunning Ferry ride that meanders through the Georgia Strait and the Gulf island, if you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of some travelling Whales…..when you are in Victoria, take a visit to the Empress hotel for some High Tea!

We really like LANDSEA TOURS, they have an excellent package that will take you directly from the hotel to Victoria, they will also ship you around the town so you can get to enjoy the world famous Butchart Gardens, The Museum of Victoria and some time to walk around the downtown area, they will also bring you back to the hotel too – its an awesome tour where you can sit back, learn about the area and not have to think! We like that very much!

Victoria BC Website: http://www.victoria.ca/

High Tea at the Empress Hotel Victoria http://www.fairmont.com/empress-victoria/dining/afternoontea/

Landsea Tours http://www.vancouvertours.com/

Halloween Events during October!

Monday, September 30th, 2013

October is here and that can mean only one thing………..HALLOWEEN!!!

This is a great time of year for kids and adults alike as it is the best time of year for fun dress up! If any of you will be in the area during the festivities and you want to find a good costume, we recommend that you visit DRESSEW on Hastings St, this fabric shop is amazing and will be a great place to find a fab costume for a Halloween Dress-up party. Please get there early as this place will have a huge line up closer to the event!
http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2012/09/halloween-costumes-vancouver-dressew-supply/

HALLOWEEN TOURS

HAUNTED VANCOUVER TROLLEY TOUR
2.5 Hrs of Vancouver Ghost Stories featuring stops at Vancouver Police Museum and Mountain View Cemetery
When: OCTOBER 18th – OCTOBER 31st, 2013 – excluding Sundays and Mondays
http://www.vancouvertrolley.com/tours/seasonal/haunted-halloween

FORBIDDEN VANCOUVER – THE LOST SOULS OF GASTOWN
Take a journey into the cobbled stone streets of Gastown and venture through some of the back alleys on the scary Macabre Journey that will be sure to make your hair stand on end….
http://forbiddenvancouver.ca/home/the-lost-souls-of-gastown/

HALLOWEEN GHOST TRAIN IN STANLEY PARK
Travel through the silver screen into the world of classic horror movies! Take your velvet seat on the Halloween Ghost Train and journey back to a time when moving pictures unearthed the shadows that lay sleeping in the dark recesses of our minds. Awake Dracula! Awake Wolfman, the Mummy, and the Phantom of the Opera. Crawl out from your coffins, slither from your slabs, and ooze out from your tombs! These October nights summon you from darkness.

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/ghost-train.aspx

Friday, October 11 – Saturday, November 2, 2013
Closed Thanksgiving Monday, October 14
Afternoon matinees
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00am – 6:00pm (train only)
Nights
6:00pm – 10:00 pm seven days a week (closed Thanksgiving Monday)

FRIGHT NIGHTS AT THE PNE
Western Canada’s Scariest Haunt – Face your fears. Fright Nights possesses Playland, featuring 6 fright houses, 12 rides, and the freaky sideshow, The Monsters of Schlock.
October 11th to November 2nd
http://www.frightnights.ca/

NIGHTCLUBS-HALLOWEEN PARTIES & EVENTS
For the younger crowd out who are looking for an awesome Nightclub party Halloween Style, click on this link for all the big parties to choose from: http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2013/09/halloween-parties-vancouver-2013/

Sunset Inn Newsletter: http://www.hebsmarketing.com/Sunset_Inn/07_July_2013/index.html
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In Vancouver for just a couple of days? That is plenty of time to explore the downtown core neighborhoods!

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Many of our guests that breeze through the hotel find that they are short on time to explore the area, so we want to explain to you about the districts that make up the downtown core of Vancouver and how you can maximize your time and still get to visit plenty of amazing places.

We will breakdown the local districts that make up the downtown peninsula that is nestled neatly in between Stanley Park and East Vancouver and the water ways that are the Burrard Inlet, False Creek and English Bay, for each district that is mentioned we will highlight some of the must see areas within them.

WEST END/DAVIE VILLAGE
This is the area that the Sunset Inn and Suites calls home and is one of the most vibrant and colourful of all the districts that the city has to offer.
Davie Village is a 3 block area that spans Davie Street, between the cross sections of Jervis St and Burrard St and is more commonly known as the Gay district of Vancouver. The streets here are awash with colour such as the Rainbow Painted Cross walks of Bute and Davie, bright pink bus stops and an enormous amount of restaurants to satisfy your bellies.

Once you have gotten yourself orientated around our local neighborhood the next place to visit should be Granville Island.

GRANVILLE ISLAND
The jewel in the crown and a must see place to visit when you are in Vancouver, by not coming to Granville Island is like going to New York and not bothering to see the Statue of Liberty, so there you have it – get on down there.
Like Pikes Place Market in Seattle, Granville Island has plenty of wonderful boutique shops, so many market stalls, restaurants and entertainment to keep you occupied for quite some time.
The area is famous for its Buskers, it has a few Theatres for you to enjoy such as The Backstage Lounge which is an excellent venue for Live music and plenty of Comedy and Live Improve at the Vancouver TheatreSports League.

The Island is also famous for its more quirky stores to visit such as The Granville Island Broom co, and you have guessed it they make lots and lots of Brooms, and it is all done there and then at the Store before your eyes, its pretty impressive to see these Brooms, Dust pans and other items be handcrafted from scratch using the very best local materials from the area.

Broom Co website http://www.broomcompany.com/

Granville Island is home to the very first Sake maker in Canada to open a store, and like the Broom shop, all the Sake produced is being made from within the store there are tours are available too.

Sake Website http://artisansakemaker.dreamhosters.com/

For dining on the Island we highly recommend The Sandbar Restaurant. This is a huge hit in the area and everyone we recommend there has not been disappointed. It is a very Vancouver style establishment too, with a menu that is sure to satisfy everyone, if you are looking for Pub style food – you got it, fancy trying something that is more Asian fusion like Sushi – you got it, you are craving some excellent Pacific Northwest Seafood – well guess what? You got that here too – oh and ask to be sat at the very top, the views from the upper level balcony is fantastic!

Sandbar Website http://www.vancouverdine.com/sandbar

GASTOWN-CHINATOWN
From Granville Island you can then make your way to the older and most popular areas of Vancouver which is the districts of Gastown and Chinatown. Here you are entering the more historical side of the city which is full of character. From the Cobbled stone streets of Gastown to the hustle and bustle of the Chinatown district which is one of the oldest in North America – during the summer months it boasts a great Night market from 6 till 11 on the weekends, its full of excellent food and amazing craft stalls at a very affordable price.

The Gastown district has no shortage of great restaurants to dine in and lots of souvenir shops so you can buy gifts for friends and family to remember the trip.
The most notable places to see when you are in this area is the world famous Gastown Steam Clock, amazing array of restaurants and gorgeous boutique shops, in this area you are spoiled for choice when it comes to fashion as there are so many with really cute and trendy styles of all genres, whether you are into Pin Up, hipster, punk or designer it is all here for your pleasure.

For further information on these districts: Gastown http://www.gastown.org/

Chinatown: http://www.vancouver-chinatown.com/

VANCOUVER ART GALLERY
The VAG is a very popular destination to visit and has some amazing Art work to delight anyone who is creative and love to see new works of Art. They boast a collection of 10,000 pieces of their own permanent personal collection of Art.
The grounds outside the gallery are a popular assembly point for protests and some events such as Canada Day, so go check it out.

Vancouver Art Gallery: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/

Many of these places are very easy to reach via Public transport, and whats even better is the BIG BUS Tours as these guys will transport you all through the downtown core and the places that we have listed, and they have special deals set up with the hotel so it is always best to speak to the Front Desk and purchase your ticket here.

For further information on Big bus click here: http://bigbus.ca/home/

Please click on the following link to read the Sunset Inn’s latest Newsletter http://www.hebsmarketing.com/Sunset_Inn/07_July_2013/index.html

Visiting the capital of BC Victoria.

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

While you are enjoying your visit in the area of Vancouver it is worth it to check out the Capital of BC which is Victoria. Ideally spending a few days in our area and then a quick overnight stay will work, however, there are excellent day tour options to get you over to Vancouver Island as well as the Seaplanes.

HOW MUCH TIME DO WE NEED?
A day trip to Victoria is feasible but you must plan this trip carefully to ensure that you get to see the very best of what Victoria has to offer, so we suggest that you get up early and leave as late as possible. Public transportation is available, so here are the best options for getting there by yourself.

GETTING TO VICTORIA VIA PACIFIC COACH-LINES)
We can book you an early morning excursion with Pacific Coaches, picking up at (8.30am) at The Sandman Hotel entrance on Davie St which is directly behind us.
These reservations can be made via the Front Desk with further information from the staff if required.

Alternatively you can head down to MAIN ST STATION and get the next available bus to Victoria if you wish to depart later in the day. Order a Cab via the front desk at the hotel, it will then be a short 10 minute Cab ride to the Station costing roughly $12.
Proceed to the Pacific Coach line desk and here you can purchase your ticket and jump on the Bus. The Bus will transport you directly to Victoria town center. The trip includes the Ferry Journey.

Pacific Coach lines Website: http://www.pacificcoach.com/

FINDING YOUR OWN WAY TO VICTORIA via TSAWWASSEN FERRY TERMINAL
PLEASE NOTE The Journey to Victoria from Vancouver takes roughly 3.5 hours in total travel time even if that is by public transport or if you are driving by yourself.

Public Route
BUS NUMBER 6 (Davie St Bus) ……Catch @Denny’s Restaurant on Davie and Thurlow St. Transfer @Yaletown Station – Catch the RICHMOND SKYTRAIN Southbound to BRIDGEPORT STATION….Transfer to the BUS NUMBER 620 Bus (Tsawwassen Ferry Bus) to the Ferry Terminal Station (Final Stop)
THIS ROUTE IS $5.50 ADULTS $3.75 CONCESSION

FLOATPLANE
A fantastic way to get to Victoria in no time (roughly 30 mins) and a great way to check out the scenery from above.
You can either go there one way, return, or if you are feeling adventurous you can even do a tour of the local skies in the area. It will be a memorable trip that you won’t forget.

Harbour Air who operate from Coal Harbour are your best bet for this kind of excursion.

http://www.harbourair.com/

LANDSEA TOURS
We believe that the most efficient and practical way to visit the main attractions that Victoria has to offer is by using Landsea Tours.
They have a great package deal that picks you up from the hotel, takes you all around Victoria while you get to spend time at the world famous and stunning Butchart Gardens, Museum of Victoria and some time to wander down the downtown core – while you are at it, you should drop by at the empress and experience their famous High Tea.

The tours are a 13 hour day, and will drop you back off at the hotel by around 9pm. Reservations can be made via the front desk at the hotel.

www.vancouvertours.com/victoria-tour‎

Bike, Bus and other Tour Operators…

Monday, March 4th, 2013

One of the regular questions we receive at the hotel is “What is the best way to get around Vancouver?” We have decided to explain how it all works and what are the best options are for you to see the city with the least amount of effort while being informative and as fun as possible.

Using the vehicle may not be the best option within the downtown core, however, we do recommend using the vehicle to go further afield if you are feeling adventurous and will like to go your own way, please make sure that you ask us at the Front Desk for advice and pointers on how to get from A to B.

We will like to introduce you to Tour Operators that will do the hard work for you and really make a day trip work, so you don’t have to get lost and figure it for yourself.

Vancouver has multiple options for you to get around the city, the most obvious being the Public Transportation of either Bus, Skytrain and of course Taxis. The bus and the Skytrain are run by Translink (who also run the Seabus from Vancouver to the city of North Vancouver at Lonsdale Quay). Taxis are everywhere, so when ordering they are usually at the hotel in under 5 minutes.

http://www.translink.ca/

What is so good about the Translink company running the bulk of the public transport is its efficiency, one ticket will last you 90 mins which means you are able to transfer on any mode of transport they offer within that hour and a half, and with Vancouver being a smaller city in consideration, that ticket will get you quite far at a very small cost.

TOUR OPERATORS

BIG BUS SIGHTSEEING TOURS.
As for sightseeing and a tour that will be fun and engaging, you will need to look no further than Big Bus. We have been recommending Big Bus for many many years, we strongly feel that they are one of the best ways to get yourself around Vancouver, they have great knowledge of the city, they are fun, engaging and above all very experienced within this industry. Their routes pretty much hit every major attraction within the city, such as Granville Island, Gastown and Stanley Park.

http://bigbus.ca/home/

There are various tours that they have on offer, the most popular being their Hop on Hop off excursions, you have an option of 1 day or 2 day passes, the best thing about Big Bus is that you can Purchase your ticket directly with us at the Front Desk as the stop is literally just around the corner from us, no more than a 30 second stroll on Thurlow Street. Perfect!

LANDSEA TOURS AND ADVENTURES.
For travelling further afield such as Whistler and Victoria, we will recommend Landsea Tours & Adventures. Landsea Tours are perfect if you have a limited amount of time, and are looking for a day trip to Whistler or Victoria or even the North Shore of Vancouver. The tours will come directly to the Hotel and from here, they will whisk you away to your destination where they will set the agenda that you get to see the major hotspots and have time to sight-see and explore the destination for a few hours.

The Victoria trip also includes the Famous Butchart Botanical Gardens, we highly recommend that if you need to visit Victoria and the Gardens, please consider this tour option, as it will be more productive to let Landsea tours set up your trip, whisk you away from your doorstep with less fuss and more to see!

http://www.vancouvertours.com/

ENGLISH BAY BIKE RENTALS
Located close to English bay on Davie St (a wee 10 minute walk down the hill) You will find these guys! They have a large stock of different bikes to suit your needs that you can use to get around the city, ask the Front Desk so you can get a discount voucher.

http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

Just remember, you can purchase your Big Bus and Landsea Tours at the front desk, we can also point you in the right direction for Limo Services if there are 5 or more that would like to travel together…