Sitting in the raised Jacuzzi bathtub for two, in the middle of The Cyprus suite at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites, I look out on snow capped mountains and one of the most picturesque cities in the world.
The 180 degree view from my terrace is inspiring; fluffy clouds and mist hang low; torrential rain gives in to afternoon sun; I look down on ambitious rooftop gardens ablaze in color; a ferry moves slowly up the river; a seaplane flies low, perhaps its passengers are on their way to Victoria; several bridges beckon with the promise of reaching the other side; handsome yachts are berthed in marinas that circle the city. This friendly neighborhood hotel which caters to short and long term stays, is conveniently located within walking distance of Stanley Park and the restaurants that line Denman Street.
First day, I board a Gray Line double decker hop on/hop off bus for a two hour city tour; a deluge of rain prevents too much hopping off so I relax and absorb the driver’s informative dialogue as we traverse the city: The Vancouver Library resembles the Coliseum; Yaletown, once a ware house district is being turned into a hip new neighborhood of loft condos, waterfront parks, diversified shopping and dining, ( much like Soho or Tribeca in New York City); Ronson Street, the Rodeo Drive of Vancouver, is known as “ Hollywood North” as many films and TV shows are being shot here. We pass the Vancouver Space Center, neighborhoods with 1940’s and 1950’s character houses; glass skyscrapers and condo towers that rise along the waterfront. This is a city rich in cultural attractions and museums; the Monet to Dali Exhibit is at The Vancouver Art Gallery. Unlike other cities, Vancouver has a large downtown population of 600,000; real estate remains fairly affordable, half the cost of New York per square foot.
I take a horse pulled open trolley ride through Stanley Park, a 1,000 acre rain forest. There is much to see and do in this immaculately manicured and maintained city treasure: from the elaborate Rose gardens to a children’s petting zoo, an aquarium, a 100 year old lawn bowling club, three restaurants . . . and hiking, biking and walking trails I stop for a gelato then continue my walk along the 6 mile sea wall.
I head back to the Coast Plaza hungry and ready to explore Vancouver’s food scene, as my three day visit unfolds.
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