Vancouver Weekend Getaway Guide: Three Holiday Staycation Itineraries

There's no shortage of opportunities to wine and dine your darling during a weekend in the city

Credit: Flickr/Paolo Macorig

Vancouver’s mild winter makes it a great time to take advantage of off-season rates

With Metro Vancouver’s array of activities, world-class culinary scene and luxury hotels, you don’t need to venture far for a dazzling weekend

Stay close to home for your holidays and enjoy all that Vancouver has to offer.

Shopping Sprees, Luxury Lounging and Foodie Fun in Downtown Vancouver

The winter months offer brilliant savings on Vancouver hotels, so why not splurge and lap up the luxury at the Four Seasons Vancouver, with rooms starting at $204 per night. Shopaholics will delight in the Four Season’s immediate and umbrella-free access to Pacific Centre Mall’s more than 100 stores. After a day at the shops, relax by the indoor/outdoor heated pool, or pamper yourself with a massage at the spa.  

The hotel’s Yew Restaurant features a three-course scrumptious brunch for $27 with tempting dishes such as Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and Alderwood Smoked Mashed Potatoes. Other fantastic deals at Yew include a $35 three-course prix fix menu that changes monthly, and ‘Wine Down’ Sundays, when all bottles of wine are half-price.  

While in Vancouver, sharpen your chopping skills and embrace your inner gourmand at The Dirty Apron Cooking School. Opened by the owners and former sous-chef of Chambar Restaurant, Dirty Apron delivers an evening of entertainment, education and exceptional gastronomy in a casual, elegant space.

Classes include chef demonstrations and hands-on practical experience using state-of-the-art equipment. After you’ve masterfully prepared a mouth-watering menu, you’ll move to the communal dining room to savour and celebrate your success. A variety of lessons to suit all tastes are available, including the essential party-prepping Cocktails and Canapes class, featuring bite-sized delights including smoked salmon and herb blinis and mini pork wellingtons.    

Whip up a mouth-watering meal. Photo courtesy The Dirty Apron Cooking School

Take in the View on Vancouver’s North Shore

Luxury waterfront accommodations with panoramic city views are standard fare at the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier in North Vancouver. Steps from the specialty shops at Lonsdale Quay Market, this boutique hotel on the water’s edge offers a peaceful retreat starting at $109 per night. Spend your time exploring the area on the hotel’s complimentary bikes, wandering through Lower Lonsdale’s galleries and boutiques, or taking a stroll along the historic 700-foot pier to admire the 360-degree city, mountain and water views.

A trip to North Vancouver is not complete without a visit to Grouse Mountain. A majestic winter-wonderland, Grouse offers myriad romantic and heart-racing activities, including horse-drawn sleigh rides, an outdoor skating rink and a year-round mountain zip-line.

After working up an appetite, take in the stunning views of Vancouver’s skyline at The Observatory, Grouse Mountain’s intimate fine-dining restaurant. Ingredients for the sustainable menu are seasonal and sourced within 100 miles of the restaurant. Seared Qualicum Bay scallops with house smoked octopus carpaccio and chardonnay cream, and Fraser Valley duck breast with spätzle, wild mushrooms, cauliflower and cocoa nib jus are current highlights at The Observatory.    

Another celebrated North Shore dining experience offering sweeping city views is Fraiche in West Vancouver. Named one of Canada’s Top Ten Best New Restaurants by enRoute Magazine, Fraiche features regionally inspired cuisine in a cozy, romantic setting. Creative dishes that are rich in flavour and flawless in presentation, such as the braised berkshire ham hock crostini, and roast loin and lasagne of rabbit, will tantalize your taste buds.

Enjoy the view of Vancouver from the North Shore

Experience Vancouver’s mini-Las Vegas

A BC alternative to the shows, casinos and buffets for which Las Vegas is famous is Richmond’s River Rock Casino Resort. Seven minutes from Vancouver International Airport, and only 18 minutes from downtown Vancouver on the Canada Line, this urban playground offers endless entertainment, a luxury-spa, five-star accommodations and award-winning dining.  

Start your day at the all-you-can-eat gourmet breakfast extravaganza, complete with eggs benedict, bagels topped with smoked salmon and cream cheese, waffles, pastries, cheese plates and so much more. Work off breakfast by strolling along the marina boardwalk, taking a dip in the tropical indoor pool and soaking in the oversized jacuzzi. Complete your day of indulgence with a romantic couples massage at the River Rock’s Absolute Spa.

After the sun sets, enjoy a romantic meal at Tramonto, the resort’s authentic Italian restaurant featuring exceptional cuisine, generous wine list and outstanding service. House specialties at this hidden culinary gem include the antipasto platter of grilled prawns and scallops, marinated clams and mussels, house-smoked BC wild salmon, grilled vegetables and cured meats, and the amazing Veal Osso Bucco.

End the day with cocktails at Lulu’s Lounge, or catch a live performance at the Show Theatre – famous for its world-class acts and entertainment.  

Roll the dice at the River Rock Casino. Photo: Flickr/superwebdeveloper

Mhairri Cuthbert is a travel writer at Arrivals. Visit their blog for additional links, information and photos on this destination.