Story by Adrian Brijbassi
Vacay.ca Managing Editor
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — It runs 1,900 square feet, features an additional 1,700-square-foot wraparound terrace with mountain views, a full kitchen, a wood-burning fireplace, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a sofa bed, soaker tub, and offers the closest accommodation to Vancouver’s most beloved attraction, Stanley Park.
Oh, and Katharine Hepburn lived here for months at a time.
If you were to name your price, what would you say? $2,000 a night, or at least $1,000, right? Try $459. That’s the starting rate for what I think has to be the best hotel deal in Canada. Even when it rises to $799, it’s still a bargain, considering that it sleeps eight and if you fill it with that many people it works out to $100 per night.
“We’re not a luxury property, we make that very clear. What we offer are comfortable accommodations in a great location and at a reasonable price,” says general manager Ken Svejkovsky.
He’s right. The Hepburn Suite isn’t dripping with opulence. There is no pillow menu or TV in the bathroom mirror or Grohe faucets or linens listing the Egyptian thread count or a spa facility. Like the other 26 suites at Rosellen, the Hepburn Suite’s decor is more likely to resemble what you have at home than what you dream a penthouse named after a Hollywood icon would contain. It would have been luxurious for Hepburn’s day, but not for 2013. Still, the property offers what the vast majority of travellers are seeking: cleanliness and comfort without a hefty nightly rate. There’s also an abundance of space, even in the other units. The suites start at 600 square feet and all of them benefit from that great location, with Stanley Park just a block away.
The sensational penthouse suite and the hotel prove you shouldn’t judge a place by its curb appeal. Hidden away on pretty Barclay Street in the city’s West End, Rosellen Suites has a drab exterior. But inside it’s cozy and well maintained. The suites have names like Diva to cater to individual tastes and include flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, and free wireless Internet.
The Hepburn Suite takes up the entire top floor. A People Magazine cover featuring the four-time Academy Award-winning actress hangs on the wall when you enter. She spent time in Vancouver during the 1960s, soon after the property was built in 1959.
“We get a lot of weddings here, businesses will book the suite for cocktail parties, up to 40 people can fit in here for a dinner,” Svejkovsky says.
Although 2013 has been a slow year for Vancouver’s hotel market, Rosellen Suites is faring well thanks to return business. It’s occupancy rate is above 80%, Svejkovsky says, and that’s thanks in large part to return guests. Europeans and Americans — with an increasing amount of Brazilians, according to Svejkovsky — are among the clients who visit for extended periods while touring through British Columbia. The Hepburn Suite is booked about 60% of the time. It’s a unique and in many ways an outstanding space. Try dropping in for a look next time you’re in Vancouver’s West End, if not an overnight stay.
Two Other Affordable Hotels in Vancouver
Rosedale on Robson
Location: 838 Hamilton Street. Toll-free reservations: 1-800-661-8870.
At the northern edge of Yaletown, Rosedale on Robson has comfortable beds, spacious accommodations, and kitchens in some units. Nightly rates in the fall start at less than $140 per night, depending on the day of arrival. The hotel puts you on Robson Street, one of Vancouver’s primary shopping areas, and a short walk to BC Place, Rogers Arena, and the nightclubs of Yaletown.
Location: 1154 Gilford Street. Toll-free reservations: 1-877-681-9321.
Overlooking English Bay, the Sylvia is a Vancouver landmark with one of the most beloved patios in the city. Its beds are plush and its location is among the best in Vancouver. From November 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014, nightly rates are as low as $80. In high season, the starting rate is $149 per night.
More About Rosellen Suites
Location: 2030 Barclay Street, Vancouver, BC (see map below)
Nightly Rates: Other than the Hepburn Suite, room rates start at $58.50 per person per night.
Reservations: Telephone 1-888-317-6648 (toll free) or book online
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