During my trip to Canada and the USA I was in and out of Vancouver a few times, which gave me the opportunity to stay in some of the different hostels in downtown Vancouver. Here are my Vancouver hostel reviews, including which I think are the best hostels in Vancouver, BC.
For all the hostels we stayed in, we wanted a private room (I travel with my husband). Our first choice is a double room with ensuite, but not everywhere has them or had them available. I also prefer to book a place that supplies breakfast. Decent wifi is important to me so that I can work while I travel and I generally shy away from party hostels.
All the hostels I have included here are located in Downtown Vancouver. They all have good public transport links and are not too far from the Skytrain stations to allow easy access from the airport.
Over all I have to say that these hostels in Vancouver were not up to the standard of many of the European hostels I have stayed in, but they were all relatively clean and tidy and all provided a safe and comfortable place to sleep. So long as you are not expecting pristine conditions in a new building then all of these are all decent choices.
HI Vancouver Central
This was the first HI hostel we stayed at and the one we stayed at the longest. The location is fantastic, right in the middle of everything in downtown Vancouver, on Granville Street. The hostel is in an old building which overall could do with a bit of a makeover, but it’s more dated than dirty. There is a lift so you don’t have to carry your bags upstairs since the building is about five stories tall. Taking our luggage up and down was the only time we used the lift though because it was very slow.
Our room was a really good size, as was our ensuite bathroom. Both were clean but very basic. The bed was comfortable and the water hot. While not kept in the room, I was able to borrow a hairdryer from the front desk.
Wifi was great and worked throughout the building.
The hostel has many public areas on the first floor. The kitchen and dining room was quite small, but functional. I was surprised to see that there was no stovetop to cook meals on. There were a couple of microwaves though, aand I guess that is all most people need.
Breakfast was included in the room rate and pretty typical with cereals, bread and pastries, fruit, yoghurt, coffee etc. There was plenty of food available so no one would go hungry.
The hostel offered all sorts of services including lots of tours organised especially for residents. This is a large hostel so there were always people at the front desk arranging tours or further travel.
Location: 1025 Granville Street, V6Z1L4 Vancouver, Canada
St Clair Hotel Hostel
We stayed at St Clair Hotel Hostel for two nights. It’s located between Granville Street and Gastown, a good location for visitors to Vancouver. The first thing we saw when we opened the door was stairs. Yes, you will need to be able to carry your luggage up a flight of stairs before you even get to the reception desk. Be ready for more stairs too as the hostel is spread over a few floors. The hostel is again in an old building that could do with a bit of a spruce up and paint job.
Our room here was very basic. We had a twin room with shared bathroom. There was a small hanging space in the room and a hand basin and mirror. We found the space a little tight and had to store our luggage under the beds to have room to move around. The room was also surprisingly hot, but a fan was supplied and we could also open the windows. We were right at the front of the building facing the street so there was a lot of noise if the windows were open.
The public areas of the hostel were quite small and we found we preferred to stay in our room for what little time we were there rather than use them. I am quite sensitive to smell and found there was an unusual smell throughout the building that was not noticeable in our room.
Our floor had two showers for probably about ten rooms, and we had no issue using them when we wanted to. They weren’t too bad, but weren’t perfect either. At the end of the floor was an area set up as a kitchen. It was not much though, just a kettle and microwave. I would have been hard pushed to cook anything here but pot noodles. There was a fridge to use for storage if required. There was no sink, so washing up had to be done in the sink that was also used for hand washing near the bathrooms. Breakfast was not provided as part of the room rate.
I didn’t notice too any tours or activities organised by the hostel. In fact, this really did seem to be more of a budget hotel than a hostel, with little socialising going on and, from the few guests we saw, an older clientele.
One thing that was good was the wifi. It was quick and there were no disconnection issues.
Overall this was a cheaper option that the HI hostels and it showed, but if you really are just looking for a bed, it was an okay choice.
Location: 577 Richards St., V6B 2Z5 Vancouver, Canada
HI Vancouver Downtown
When we stayed at HI Vancouver Downtown it was the briefest of stays. We arrived at around 9pm and left about 7:30am the next morning. This is another large hostel. It is in a more modern building than the others, and this one is the furthest away from the main tourist areas out of all the hostels. There is plenty around it though, so the area is still a good one to stay in.
We had a double room with shared bathroom, and this was probably the nicest room of the hostels in Vancouver we stayed at. The room was a good size and the bed was nice and comfy. Although we were sharing a bathroom, we had a sink and mirror in our room for our use.
The hostel had great public areas. Once we got settled we went and checked them out, from the huge library of books to a games room, tv room, the kitchen and dining area, even a rooftop terrace area. Unfortunately we weren’t there long enough to really enjoy any of them, but I think this would be a great hostel for solo travellers to socialise with others, but there were also enough areas if you needed some alone time too.
The kitchen was large with multiple areas to prepare food, cook and clean up. Breakfast was included in the room rate and had a great range of breads and pastries, cereals, fruit, yoghurt, juice, coffee and tea.
The hostel offered a wide range of activities and tours, and a limited amount of free parking in the street behind the building. More secure paid parking was also available in an underground carpark directly below the building. Wifi was again fast and reliable.
While our stay was brief and we barely used any of the services, this would be my favourite of the hostels in Vancouver that we stayed at.
Location: 1114 Burnaby Street, West End, V6E 1P1 Vancouver, Canada
The Cambie Hostel Seymour
The Cambie Hostel Seymour is located just off Granville Street and towards Gastown. This is probably the best area in Vancouver for a hostel and only about a block from the Skytrain station. There were plenty of places to eat right outside the doors, and wihle the hostel didn’t have a bar of it’s own, it was right above one.
This was a hostel I was a little bit worried about. Many of the reviews I had read before we stayed talked about the amount of noise and I am a light sleeper. We had a room on the second floor facing the street and stayed on a Friday night and I was happily not bothered by any noise.
Our room here was the most basic of all of the Vancouver hostels we stayed in. There was literally just the bed and two metal stacking stools in the corner that could be used to sit on. While I wouldn’t call the room large, there was enough space to move around without tripping over each other. I would have preferred to not have the bunk style bed, but overall, it was comfortable enough.
The hostel looked like a bit of a party hostel, and had plenty of activities, pub crawls and tours to take advantage of. There were a few different public areas and this was the one place we spent time chatting to some of the other guests.
The kitchen was small but had all the amenities that are needed. We saw other people cooking meals in there but we didn’t actually use it ourselves for more than making coffee.
Breakfast is sort of provided by the hostel. There are two options, both require a voucher from the front desk. First we could have walked to their sister hostel, the Cambie Gastown Hostel, and had breakfast there, or we could have a $4CAD voucher to use at a cafe nearby. In the end we chose neither option since the hostel was in the opposite direction to where we were going and the cafe didn’t open until 9am on Saturdays and we needed to leave earlier. Instead we visited a nearby Starbucks to grab something on the run.
One bonus that this hostel had over the others was that it has a hostel cat. Ding Dong roamed freely through the common areas of the hostel, and loved getting affection from the residents. She would happily jump up on a spare lap for a cuddle. While this is great for cat-lovers like us, it could also be an issue for those allergic to cats.
Like everywhere else, wifi here was fast and reliable.
This was the cheapest of the hostels in Vancouver we stayed at. It’s a decent budget option if you are just looking for a place to sleep for the night or are really watching your pennies.
Location: 515 Seymour Street, V6B 3H6 Vancouver, Canada
Now I didn’t stay in this one, but that was because every time I looked for a room it was sold out! It’s clearly very popular, and has the highest ratings on most of the booking sites I checked, so I thought I should include it here as another option. Samesun is located in the heart of the entertainment district of Granville Street so is convenient to all the attractions and public transport. I did walk past it a few times, and it was always busy with a great-looking bar on the ground floor that everyone was welcome to go to.
Location: 1018 Granville Street, V6Z 1L5 Vancouver, Canada
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Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.