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“excellent value” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pacific Spirit Hostel at UBC

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Pacific Spirit Hostel at UBC
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1935 Lower Mall | Place Vanier Residence, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1X1, Canada   |  
Hotel amenities
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“excellent value”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2009

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.

Stayed July 2009, traveled on business
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27 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    3 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Las Vegas USA
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2008

I stayed at:
Pacific Spirit Hostel
Place Vanier Residence
1935 Lower Mall

University of British Columbia (UBC) campus in Vancouver The hostel consists of several multi-story buildings which are dorm rooms during the winter and are rented to travelers during the Summer

Accommodations: Some folks will be disappointed because they think that this is a hotel. It is not. This is only a dorm rented out as single and double rooms when the students are gone. During my stay, I met with an acquaintance in the West End. He was paying over $200 a night for a fancy hotel in Vancouver's downtown core. Including parking and all the taxes, I paid about $42 a night. He got what he paid for, I got what I paid for, it all depends upon what you need and what your expectations are. You can read the other reviews here to get an idea of what these accommodations are like. If all you need is a basic inexpensive place to stay, consider this place. One probably needs to be either young or young at heart because out-of- shape folks will find the stairs difficult to negotiate. My room was very quiet, but your experience might be different if you are located on a different floor/building/floor-location. The front desk staff is fine provided your expectations are reasonable.

Reservations: If you are coming for a weekend or staying over a weekend, reservations are a necessity.

Web access: Ask at the front desk. I used the free internet several times during my stay and nobody asked if I was a student. Free internet access also available at many public libraries around town. Nearest public library branch is 4480 West Tenth Avenue (cross is Sasamat).

Post Office: Postes Canada and several places to eat are located in the UBC Student Union

Laundry: You can buy a plastic card which pays for several washes at the laundry in the basement of each of the dorm buildings. But I only needed to wash one load, so the multi-wash card did not work for me. I went to Great West Coin Laundromat at 2955 4th Avenue West (near Bayswater Street). Great West is a good coin laundry; the public laundromats near campus are not acceptable.

Beaches - Park: From the dorms, you are a 5 minute walk to the Straight of Georgia (Pacific Ocean). You are just minutes from beaches and bicycling along NW Marine Drive and the Pacific Spirit Regional Park. You can easily forget that you are in an urban area, because UBC is located inside a park. You will see all sorts of non-city birds (like Heron) and small forest animals like wild skunks, owls, squirrels of all varieties (etc.). Note: Signs indicate which beaches are clothing optional.

Safety: I am from Las Vegas, USA where the gambling attracts an endless variety of bad guys and criminal activity. I rate Vegas as moderately dangerous for tourists (the city pretends otherwise). I rate the UBC campus as very safe.

Parking: In terms of parking, this place compares to Manhattan or San Francisco. You can do on-street parking along NW Marine Drive, but only during the daytime hours, so that is only practical for daytime visitors to the beaches. If you are staying here over-night, there is no on-street parking (because it is a 30 minute walk to get to city streets, and street parking on-campus is not possible). So, I bought a parking pass, which cost about $7 a day (prices can vary, depending upon how full the campus is). You can avoid all this if you use public transportation or bicycle. 15 minute walk to public transit. Lots of folks use bicycles in BC, visitors and residents alike. Note: helmet required. There are lots of places to rent bikes in town, several of them located close to Stanley Park in the West End. For more info, buy a guide from one of the travel stores listed below.

Stores: Closest supermarket: Pointgray Safeway, 4575 West 10 Avenue (cross: Tolmie Street). There are dozens of fruit stands with good prices in Kitsilano (particularly around Broadway and MacDonald Streets).

For maps and guides, visit:
The Travel Bug, 3065 West Broadway (cross: Balaclava)
Wanderlust, 929 W. 4th Ave. (cross: Cypress)

I think you will like Vancouver (I absolutely recommend it). During the summer, the climate and feel is kind of like San Francisco (not exactly, but it is close). Arrive with reasonable expectations that the hostel is not a fancy hotel. I think that you will like staying on the UBC campus.

  • Liked — price and value
  • Disliked — parking
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
119 helpful votes 119 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2008

If you are travelling to Vancouver,keep in mind that this is a very popular destination, and that even a run-down hotel can cost well over $100 a night.Hostels are an alternative to hotel accomodation,but most,if not all,are dorm style,meaning you will be sharing a room with people you have never met.Then there is the Pacific Spirit at UBC.I went with a friend and we shared a private room with twin beds.The sheets are changed once a week,the bedspread and blankets were clean.The room itself was in the basement,which meant it was nice and cool.The windows were large looking out to huge trees and landscaped gardens.I did ask for a quiet location,and for the most part it was.The only thing that really happened was on the third day of our week's stay.The compressor room was across the hall and they were having problems with it.It made alot of noise on and off throughout the night which was irritating,but we wore earplugs the last night of our stay to get a good night's sleep.
You will not find a better deal anywhere in the Vancouver area.The rooms are private and feature nice closets,clothes drawers,lamps,and desks.It is only open a few months during the summer when the students are out of classes.The campus is full of great places to eat at reasonable prices.Our favorite was The Pendulum restaurant in the basement of the Student's Union Building.They make the best omelettes we have ever tasted ($6.00).They also have a wide selection of salads,etc., all at very reasonable prices.There is an excellent pizza place on the main floor of the Student's Union Building (SUB).Had a big slice of gourmet pizza for $2.75.Lots of other food outlets too,all in one location,and scattered throughout the campus.Parking is right beside the building for $5.00 a day.It is about a 15 minute walk if you are taking the transit to and from the hostel.Each floor of the complex has a kitchen and lounge area with television,fridge and microwave and double sinks.All very clean.They will even hook up an internet connection in your room for a $10 flat fee.
I really enjoyed the location,the staff are very nice and helpful.I'll be back someday!

Stayed July 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2008

After checkout, I asked the guy at the desk if he knew where I could rent a tandem bike in town. He then spent 15 minutes finding a place for me! He ended up finding the name of a place by calling some other place and getting a referral, and then he got directions and prices for me! He went completely out of his way, and it was awesome. Great service.

Before you book a night thinking it's just $30, keep in mind that parking often costs $12 a day at the parkade.


  • Stayed July 2008
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2007

This "hostel" is a great option for solo travellers, or anyone that want s their own room, or a more quiet atmosphere than a hostel or backpackers. It is run in the dorms of the University of British Columbia. Bedding is provided, laundry facilities are in the basement. There is a kitchen (with a sink and microwave) on each floor.
The downside is that it's more expensive than other hostels in Vancouver, and internet access is $10 extra. Parking is $5 a day.
It takes about 30 mins to get into the city by bus ($2.25 for 90 mins).
The campus is lovely, and the beach is nearby. There are several restaurants, cafes and fast food places within 5-15 mins walk on the campus.
Something to note: It takes a good 10 minutes to walk from the bus stop across the campus to the hostel. Not great if you have lots of luggage, and make sure you print out a campus map the first time you go!

  • Liked — Single room for a great price
  • Disliked — Bit far from the city
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2006

July of 2005, we were attending the 3 day vancouver folk music festival. The pacific spirit hostel, set us up in the UBC dorms, for what felt like pennys per night. $25.00 per single room. comfy bed, bathroom w/ shower down the hall. very warm room. in fact maybe a bit too warm. AND, a common room that had a microwave and refridg to store our food in, also down the hall. and a table to sit and eat our breakfast. incredible! We were up on the 3rd floor which was a little hike each time. so may not be good for elder folks.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2004

We probably expected too much of Pacific Spirit Hostel, which is, after all, just a student dorm converted into a hostel over the summer. The University of British Columbia website made it look like we were going to stay in the most modern and lovely dorm room and although it is a 15 minute drive into Vancouver, we felt it was well worth the low price. We were somewhat disappointed with how very dormish the whole place was, from the man eating ramen down the hall to migrating up the stairs every time I wanted to use the bathroom (women and men's restrooms alternate floors). The room was not the same one we saw online and the blankets smelled like unwashed college boys. The hostel ran out of parking pucks for the garage closest to it, so instead we had to park across campus, 10 minutes or so away, and pay $10 extra. Still, the price was very low and the accommodations were fine- nothing more and nothing less. It was certainly a step above camping or staying in a hostel bedroom with 20 other folks (Pacific Spirit is all private rooms). You get what you pay for.

Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pacific Spirit Hostel at UBC

Address: 1935 Lower Mall | Place Vanier Residence, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1X1, Canada
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver
Beach Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #22 of 38 Specialty Lodging in Vancouver
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 50
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

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