Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Vancouver

  • Shangri-la Hotel Vancouver city view

  • Shangri-la Hotel Vancouver dining

  • The Four Seasons Vancouver bedroom

  • Four Seasons Vancouver exterior

Vancouver is a wonderfully divergent city; lush and verdant forest is just a few minutes away from stunning luxury family hotels and one can find a Gucci diaper bag as easily as stroller-friendly hiking trails. Families are often seen taking in Vancouver’s outdoor beauty and, with so much to do outside, there’s no shortage of free entertainment for little explorers. It may be urban but Vancouver shines: on a week-day afternoon some downtown coffee shops resemble stroller parking lots and families will find shopping, a trip to the art gallery and many kid-centric points of interest to be easily manageable with even the largest of broods.  

The Sutton Place Vancouver

Just off busy Robson Street, The Sutton Place, Vancouver is a boutique-style hotel with European touches.

The Sutton Place Vancouver is in the hub of the city’s shopping district (Robson Street, Alberni Street and Pacific Centre are just a few minutes away on foot). In a city dominated by airy West Coast design, many guests love the French Provençal style of the hotel (the plush couches, large flower arrangements and...

Baby-friendly / Pre-Teen friendly / Summer Sun / See this Hotel & Book »
Shangri-la Hotel Vancouver outdoor pool

Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver

Stretching 61 stories high, the Shangri-la Hotel, Vancouver is a serene oasis in Vancouver’s bustling financial district.

There’s something so intangibly relaxing about the Shangri-la Hotel Vancouver (even kids seem to be tamer). Perhaps it is the discreet and attentive staff in their Asian-inspired uniforms, or the fresh orchids in the lobby. Or is it the soothing rainfall wall, or the Shangri-la scent (yes, the hotel has its own...

Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Four Seasons Vancouver exterior

Four Seasons Vancouver

The Four Seasons hotel, Vancouver is a prime example of why these hotels standout in luxury family travel.

The Four Seasons Vancouver is a landmark in the city: the warm and modern restaurant, Yew, is popular with the downtown suits and, come evening, a great spot for family dinner (and a glass of wine from the extensive list). Mums might consider an appointment with the in-house Blo Blow Dry Bar for a wash and blow-dry....

Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »

Kirin

1172 Alberni St., Vancouver

Vancouver has a stellar dim sum reputation (in fact, it’s Chinese food is regularly rvoted the best outside of China). Kirin Restaurant has a large location on Alberni Street in the heart of downtown Vancouver, it takes reservations, and has plenty of high chairs. First time to dim sum? Steaming bamboo containers filled with dumplings travel through the dining room with great fan fare and the staff are always happy to explain each piping hot dish (there is also a menu for ordering). Chicken feet may be a bit adventurous for a novice, but start with the shrimp dumplings – always a crowd favourite – and save room for the Chinese desserts with fresh fruit, custard and condensed milk – they are as delicious as they are eye-catching.

Via Tevere

1190 Victoria Drive, Vancouver

Vancouver’s restaurant scene is exploding with Neapolitan pizza: delicious, authentic and family-friendly fare. One of the best in the city is Via Tevere on the east side of town, about a 12-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. The trek (and no reservation policy) is worth it. Cooked in an authentic wood oven heated to 900 degrees (the pizza cooks in 90 seconds) and made with proper Italian flour and San Marzano tomatoes, the pizza is thin, with a crispy crust and comes perfectly soft and hot in the middle. Top notch ingredients like anchovies, prosciutto and artichokes go a long away, or stick with the classic Margherita. Family-style antipasti are great for the table (cold cuts, olives, pickles and cheeses are just some of the delights on offer) and will stave off hungry little ones while you have a glass of house red. While the restaurant is on a quiet residential block, walk west about five minutes to reach Commercial Drive, one of the most eclectic neighborhoods in Canada.

Joe Forte’s Vancouver

777 Thurlow St., Vancouver

Joe Forte’s is a Vancouver institution – and it is one of the few restaurants around Robson Street that is worth a sit-down meal. The adults will love the premium steaks and raw oyster bar managed by master shuckers, while the entire table will love the chilled seafood towers on ice (lobster, crab, jumbo prawns and scallop ceviche). There is no set kids’ menu, but the daily menu has loads of simply prepared fishes, as well as fun sides like onion rings and truffle parmesan fries. The room is spacious and buzzing, so a loud toddler will hardly cause a stir.

Stanley Park and Vancouver Aquarium

Children (and adults) of all ages will be absolutely awed by Stanley Park, a 404 hectare green space right in the city. There’s a paved 22 km seawall (easy to navigate with stroller and novice bike riders,) several playgrounds (including one with a climb-able red fire truck,) concession stands, public bathrooms, lawn bowling, public pools, trolley tours, beaches, and even authentic Totem Poles. Inside the park is the Vancouver Aquarium, a popular and quite awesome exhibit of aquatic life that merges displays of rare animals (like African penguins) with loads of easily digestible education info on the hundreds of species it houses. Beluga whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins, as well as an Amazon rainforest section, make for great exploration.

Skiing and galleries

Active kids will love a ski lesson at a local mountain like Cypress or Seymour (kids as young as four can strap on skis, although adult supervision is a must,) and for a more cultural endeavor, the Vancouver Art Gallery hosts weekly family programs for kids age 5-12 that includes crafts and age-appropriate tours.

Science World

For the elementary school set (6-12 years,) the “big ball” on Vancouver’s skyline is home to Science World; the exhibits change regularly but with over 350 hands-on and interactive exhibits, entertainment is guaranteed for at least a few hours.

Granville Island

Granville Island is an amazing way to spend the day: a food market bursting with fresh produce and artisanal treats, and the frenetic Kids Market, housed in an old warehouse, has shops stocked with cool retro toys, a ball room, train and loads of indoor and outdoor play space.

About

Dial 911 for emergencies. BC Children’s Hospital is an excellent facility with emergency service (up to 18 years of age) in Vancouver about a 10-minute drive from the downtown core, so a trip there requires a car (public transport is not readily available). Every drugstore and many major grocery stores have pharmacists and there are many walk-in clinics around the city (the concierge should have the one closest to your hotel). Downtown also has St. Paul’s Hospital as well as the nearby Vancouver General Hospital. Public transport is easily accessible with strollers, particularly the fairly new Canada Line (built for the 2010 Winter Games, with service to Vancouver International Airport). Save your receipts for tax reimbursement (look for kiosks all around downtown).

When to go

There’s no two ways around it – Vancouver is a rainy city (but the rain does bring plenty of fresh air and a green landscape). Upscale hotels stock umbrellas in every room (or simply ask the doorman). Check the weather report before leaving your room, even on the sunniest summer day. Late spring and early summer bring plenty of showers, but the nice weather begins in earnest in July and continues through to late September, and sometimes even October. Fall is crisp, dry and absolutely gorgeous; winter is mild (yes it’s Canada, but it rarely snows in Vancouver); spring is rainy (but beautiful, particularly April cherry blossom season) and summer, when it arrives, is quite warm and pretty, with temps usually topping up at 30 degrees (that’s a scorcher in Vancouver).

Currency

Canadian Dollar

Language

English and French