I stayed at the Place Vanier Residence UBC (Pacific Spirit Hostel) in Summer 2008 and 2009 in total about 12 days off and on. I booked several weeks in advance online (strongly recommended to avoid disappointment). These rooms are normally occupied by students in term time. Most visitors who have been undergraduates staying in reasonably modern halls of residence at mainstream universities in North America and the UK will find them familiar. Basic, plainly decorated, no frills at all and plenty of storage space.
There are several almost identical buildings and I don't believe it will make much difference where you stay, but you can state a preference which they will try to meet. In July 2008 I was allocated a room on the ground floor facing Marine Drive just opposite the Wreck Beach access point. I was quite happy with the room and enjoyed my stay, but be aware that facing this direction - opposite the stairs to the beach - can be noisy well into the evening with beach visitors talking and yelling, but this occurs mainly at weekends in good weather. I think most buildings would be largely unaffected by this. There are groups of kids doing summer schools here who sometimes play ball games in the attractive grounds, but again this is not a problem unless you are hypersensitive to noise.
You can use the laundry facilities in the building after purchasing a smart card. You get this from the main Place Vanier reception counter and you leave a small deposit. You then go to a smart card machine round the corner and pay several dollars to cover your washing and drying. I had no problems at all with this card system or the washing and drying machines. Washrooms are single sex and are kept clean. Again, no major problems - have as many showers as you like as it is covered in your accommodation fee.
The great thing about staying on campus is that the facilities are at your disposal. UBC has some wonderful buildings and an exceptional position. In July 2008 I could find a range hot food easily at different prices (the pizza counter in the Student Union Building is good value but six days of pizza was enough for me). In this building there is a long table of PCs with free internet access paid for by alumni. Very useful for checking your emails and Translink bus timetable info. I found a Starbucks open at 06:00 on campus which is handy if your sleeping patterns are screwed up by jetlag and you need an early breakfast. In 2009 I found that there was a period in August when a lot of the cafe's and bars were shut for several days so there is no guarantee everything will be open. Incidentally, if you need to find some gifts to take home try the UBC bookshop. It sells more than books and you can find some very attractive presents.
I found the Vancouver bus system very efficient and there are two main bus stop areas on campus which are quite close together. The 99 'B' line bus will get you close to downtown in about 20 minutes. You can take a bus from UBC with more stops (so a longer journey) but taking you to the centre of downtown Vancouver. Be aware you need exact change.
All in all, if you are not too fussy about your accommodation and don’t mind sharing washing facilities then I can heartily recommend it. I found it a safe, attractive and practical place to be. And of course it's relatively pretty cheap. I would certainly stay there again. In fact for budget accommodation I would prefer it to staying off campus.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- From May 15-August 15, Pacific Spirit Hostel is the perfect location for backpackers visiting Vancouver. Rooms are quiet and clean and, unlike other hostels, you only have one or two people to one of our private single or twin rooms. The hostel is on the beautiful UBC campus, with easy access to campus amenities, affordable food, pubs and entertainment and Vancouver's many attractions. It's a safe, secure environment surrounded by hiking and biking trails and Vancouver's most popular beaches. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Pacific Spirit Hostel At Ubc Hotel Vancouver