The best hotels in North Vancouver, British Columbia, including which areas of North Vancouver to stay and which North Vancouver hotels we personally recommend.
I was born in North Vancouver, grew up in North Vancouver, and – after living abroad and having many overseas adventures – live in North Vancouver again, since 2020.
Despite spending most of my teen years desperate to leave, now that I have my own kid, I have a new appreciation for North Vancouver, and have trouble naming another place in the world that is so safe, and so naturally beautiful (although most of Norway probably qualifies).
I love it when friends and non-Vancouver family come to visit us here, and we can show them our favorite spots. Unfortunately, because of Vancouver’s housing prices (completely outrageous), those that come to visit us have to stay in a hotel. We simply don’t have any extra space for guests in our apartment.
Which brings me to this article. Anytime someone comes to visit us, we spend a fair amount of time helping them decide which North Vancouver hotel to stay in. I’ve written that email countless times over the last couple of years, laying out the different hotel options in relation to location, public transit, and budget.
Today, I’m sharing that info so that anyone else who is planning a trip to North Vancouver – or is planning to stay a few nights in North Van on a larger trip to Vancouver, Whistler, and Vancouver Island – can benefit from our local knowledge.
Is North Vancouver a Good Place to Stay When Visiting Vancouver? (Why Stay in North Vancouver)
North Vancouver is on what’s known as the North Shore, which includes the cities and districts of both North Vancouver and West Vancouver. The North Shore sits north of downtown Vancouver, across Vancouver Harbour / the Burrard Inlet.
Confusingly, North Vancouver is north of Vancouver, but West Vancouver is not west of Vancouver – West Vancouver is west of North Vancouver.
I told you it was confusing!
To add to it, “the West Side” is a totally different area – it’s the western area of Vancouver proper, south of Kitsilano and east of the University of British Columbia.
Adding one more point of confusion to the mix, “The West End” is the western side of downtown Vancouver, stretching between Stanley Park and English Bay.
To avoid getting confused, it’s fair to simply say you’ll be staying on or visiting the North Shore, as all locals will know exactly what you mean.
The North Shore is connected to Vancouver proper via two bridges (the Lions Gate Bridge and the Iron Workers Memorial, often referred to as the Second Narrows Bridge) and the Seabus, a passenger ferry that connects Vancouver’s Waterfront Station (on the downtown side of the water) with North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay (on the North Shore).
Depending on the type of trip you’re planning, there are a few reasons you might consider staying in North Vancouver as a tourist, instead of downtown.
North Vancouver is Home to a LOT of Natural Beauty
The North Shore, which includes North Vancouver and West Vancouver, is mostly known for its outdoor attractions and beauty.
The area is home Vancouver’s 3 local mountains (Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress), two suspension bridges set in temperate rain forests (Capilano Suspension Bridge and Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge), and some of the world’s best mountain biking.
We also have a beach (Ambleside), great hikes (Quarry Rock is probably one of the most famous), lots of quaint waterfront (Deep Cove, Lighthouse Park in West Van, Horseshoe Bay) and some great parks and playgrounds.
If you’re mostly interested in visiting Vancouver’s mountains and forests, staying in North Vancouver is a great bet. You’ll be close by, and you won’t have to worry about bridge traffic to get to the North Shore.
North Vancouver is Very Safe, and the Shipyards is a Great Location to Stay in Vancouver with Kids
North Vancouver is extremely safe and family friendly.
The Shipyards area around Lonsdale Quay is one of my top recommended areas to stay in Vancouver, BC if you’re traveling with young kids in particular, and don’t want to be overly concerned about safety.
The Shipyards consists of a large public plaza at North Vancouver’s waterfront, which has a covered area that is frequently filled with kids (in the summer it’s a spray park, in the winter it’s a public ice rink, and in between it’s great for kids to scooter, bike, and climb).
There’s also a waterfront walk and pier.
There are also a decent number of restaurants in the area, including Nook, an Italian restaurant which is a favorite in my family.
The Shipyards / Lonsdale Quay area is well connected by public transit. You can get to downtown in 15 minutes via the Seabus, where you can connect further via bus or Skytrain. You can also take the bus from this area to Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge easily.
Staying in North Van is Convenient if You’re Planning on Taking a Ferry from Horseshoe Bay
If you plan to visit Vancouver Island via BC Ferries, you’ll take either the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay ferry, or the Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo ferry.
The Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo ferry departs from the North Shore, in Horseshoe Bay, which is about a 20 minute drive from North Vancouver.
Staying in North Van is a Great Option if You’re Heading to Whistler Next
Likewise, basing yourself in a North Vancouver hotel for a night or two is a great choice if you’re heading to Whistler next.
Highway 1 runs through North Vancouver and West Vancouver, which then turns into Highway 99 – otherwise known as The Sea to Sky Highway – which is the road you take when driving up to Whistler.
It’s Convenient If You’re Taking a Cruise from Vancouver
Most cruise ship passengers taking a cruise out of Vancouver stay at Canada Place near the cruise ship terminal on the downtown side of the water, which makes sense!
There are some really nice hotels right by the Vancouver cruise ship terminal, so if you choose to stay there, don’t second guess yourself.
However, if you want to get slightly off the beaten track, or you can’t find a hotel you’re happy with by the Vancouver cruise terminal, staying in North Vancouver, at either The Pinnacle by the Pier, Seaside Hotel, or Lonsdale Quay Hotel, isn’t a bad option.
You’re 15 minutes from downtown via the seabus, and the seabus station (Waterfront station) is only a short, 5-minute walk to the cruise ship terminal at Canada Place.
Plus, you get the cross the harbour on the way to and from your ship.
Best Hotels in North Vancouver For Every Type of Trip and Traveler
It’s worth noting that there aren’t actually that many North Vancouver hotels to choose from.
Below, I go over the options that do exist, including those I recommend to friends and family, and have stayed in myself.
There are also some recommendations on this list that I haven’t stayed in, and are based on my personal knowledge of the location and research into reviews, instead.
Best North Vancouver Hotel for Most Travelers Visiting North Vancouver
Best for Almost Everyone: Pinnacle By the Pier Hotel at the Shipyards
North Vancouver’s Pinnacle at the Pier Hotel is my top choice out of all the hotels in North Vancouver.
It’s where my in-laws and my dad always stay when they come to visit us.
We’ve also stayed in it ourselves on several occasions, and can speak with personal experience about this North Vancouver hotel.
As far as the hotel itself goes, it’s a solid 4+ star hotel in my opinion.
The beds are extremely comfortable based on personal experience, the rooms are clean and modern, and there are some decent facilities, including a fitness center; a great indoor pool (and a hot tub, steam room, and sauna); free wi fi; and a decent on site restaurant, which is best known for good breakfast and brunches.
The rooms facing the water have nice views looking over the Shipyards and pier, and across the Vancouver harbour. Get one of these if they’re available and prices are within your budget.
While the hotel itself is nice, the location is also exceptional for adults or families traveling to Vancouver.
For families, the covered plaza at the Shipyards has a spray park in the summer, an ice skating rink in the winter, and a flat area for biking, scooting, running, and climbing in between. You’ll find many families there at all times of the year, enjoying the very family friendly atmosphere.
There’s also a tiny but fun playground along the “boardwalk” (we call it the Seawall in Vancouver), to the left of the pier, if you’re facing the ocean, and a seasonal “wading area” in between the Tap and Barrel and the Polygon Gallery, which kids seem to LOVE (mine included!).
For adults, there is a nice selection of restaurants in this area.
At the Shipyards itself, Nook is a great Italian restaurant; Joey’s is a local chain that has casual, North American fare; and Pier 7 is a great option for seafood. The Tap and Barrel is is known for their huge selection of wine and beer on tap, and has a good selection of pub grub. Both the Tap and Barrel and Joey’s have great views from their patios.
Nook and The Tap and Barrel in particular are family friendly as well. The Tap & Barrel has a kids menu, and Nook will happily do a kids pasta or pizza if you ask.
If none of these are to your liking, you can be downtown in 15 minutes on the Seabus, or walk a couple of blocks up Lonsdale to find a bigger selection of restaurants.
The stretch of Seawall at the Shipyards is also part of the Spirit Trail bike path, which connects a huge stretch of waterfront on the North Shore. If you want to check it out on two wheels, you can rent bikes from Reckless Bikes, just across the street from the front entrance of the Pinnacle Hotel.
Finally, the Pinnacle Hotel is a 5 minute walk from Lonsdale Quay, which has a market that’s currently being refurbished, and is home to a public transit hub, which will give you easy access to Grouse Mountain and Capilano Bridge via the bus system.
The Pinnacle charges $29.00 per night plus taxes for parking at the time of writing.
It has all of the same benefits in terms of location as the Pinnacle does, but it has a more upscale, boutique-hotel vibe.
Whereas the Pinnacle doesn’t have a spa, the Seaside does (however, no on-site pool or fitness). The rooms are also a bit more design-forward.
The restaurant is known for its oysters and cocktail program, but the menu is fairly well rounded with something for most eaters – although less so for pickier kids.
Whereas the Pinnacle is a “something for everyone” kind of hotel, in my opinion the Seaside skews more adult and couples, and it’s usually pricier than the Pinnacle as well.
Best for a Central Location on a Budget: Lonsdale Quay Hotel
The Lonsdale Quay hotel sits on the top floor of North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay (“quay” is pronounced the same as “key” FYI).
Known simply as “the Quay”, Lonsdale Quay is a collection of market, artisan and food stalls on the main floor, with shops on the second floor.
The entire Quay is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, and I think it’s fair to say it was much needed. Once the new Quay launches, there will be a new Kings Taps restaurant, plus revitalized merchants throughout the building.
But in the meantime, it’s all a bit tired and dated, and isn’t a destination I’d go out of my way for.
So where does that leave the Lonsdale Quay Hotel?
It’s still not a bad option. Location-wise it’s next door to the Shipyards, and within a stone’s throw of the Seabus and the bus hub where you can catch buses to visit different spots around the North Shore.
It also tends to be a bit less expensive than the Pinnacle Hotel, making it a good option if you want a central North Vancouver hotel on a tighter budget.
Personally, I’d rather stay at the Lonsdale Quay hotel over the options below (the Capilano Road motels, and the Holiday Inn Suites North), but that’s based on location alone. I prefer busy, vibrant areas, and The Shipyards/Quay area fits that bill.
North Vancouver Hotels Near Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge
Another option, location wise, is staying closer to Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension bridge: two of the biggest reasons tourists come to North Van.
Both are truly spectacular destinations, and are absolutely worth crossing Vancouver Harbour from downtown Vancouver to the North Shore to visit.
If you plan on doing Grouse and the Suspension Bridge in a day, you can stay in downtown Vancouver and catch a bus to both.
However, if you’d prefer to have a slightly more relaxed day, break up your visit over two days, or see some of North Vancouver’s other attractions, as well, it’s worth thinking about basing yourself in North Vancouver.
There are 3 motel-style accommodations just down the road from both attractions at the bottom of Capilano Road.
I haven’t stayed at any of these, and would almost always recommend someone stay at the Shipyards over this location, due to the fact there’s just not a lot going on in this area in terms of restaurants and entertainment. However, this area is safe and fine, and it’s extremely convenient for getting an early start or staying late at either the Suspension Bridge or Grouse.
This area is also fairly convenient in terms of getting to and from the Highway. If you’re arriving in North Vancouver late at night, or plan on leaving early in the morning for Whistler, these aren’t a bad option.
All 3 of these hotels also offer free parking; parking is costly at the Shipyards, so if you have a car and are on a budget, then these might be a better bet for you.
At the time of writing, they all had around the same ratings from past guests, although the Econolodge was rated lowest, and the SureStay and North Vancouver Hotel were tied as the highest rated hotels in this area (true at the time of writing, but this may have changed by the time you are reading this: best to click through on the properties to check the current ratings and reviews on Booking.com).
All three have free parking on site and free wi fi. Beyond that, there are a few key differences.
SureStay by Best Western Capilano
This is probably my top choice of the three motels in this area, given it has the most amenities. There’s a seasonal heated outdoor pool, which is fun if you visit in warm weather. There’s also an on-site restaurant (De Dutch Pannekoek House) which is open for breakfast and lunch. The Best Western also has basic kitchenettes available in some rooms, which is a bonus for packing lunches and simple breakfasts.
While the North Vancouver Hotel doesn’t have a restaurant or pool, it does have an on-site laundry, making it a great option if you’re on a longer trip, and expect you’ll need to wash and dry your clothes.
The EconoLodge has an outdoor pool (seasonal), free parking, and kitchenettes available. No laundry that I could tell, and no on-site restaurant like the Best Western.
Best North Vancouver Hotel for Mountain Biking, Capilano University, and Visiting Mount Seymour and Lynn Canyon Park
The Capilano Road motels – SureStay by Best Western Capilano Inn, the EconoLodge, and the North Vancouver Hotel – are on the western border of North Vancouver, before the start of West Vancouver. They’re well located for visiting Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge.
But what if you’re visiting Capilano University? Or are in North Vancouver for the world-famous mountain biking on Mount Fromme or to visit Lynn Canyon Park in Lynn Valley?
The Holiday Inn Suites North Vancouver is a great option for all of these.
It’s located just across the Second Narrows Bridge on the North Vancouver side, close to Mount Seymour, Mount Fromme and Lynn Canyon (about a 10-minute drive for all of these).
This is also a great location if you need to stop for the night, en route to Whistler, or if you’re going to catch an early ferry from Horseshoe Bay in the morning. It’s right off the highway, and if you get going before rush hour, it’s only a 15- to 20-minute drive from here to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal.
In terms of amenities, it has an indoor pool, sauna and fitness centre, and an on-site restaurant and on-site pub.
My Summary on Choosing from the Best Hotels in North Vancouver
- Best Overall and My Top Choice: Pinnacle Hotel North Vancouver
- Best for Couples and Friend Getaways: Seaside Hotel
- Best Central Location on a Budget: Lonsdale Quay Hotel
- Best for Visiting Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge: SureStay by Best Western Capilano
- Best if You Need to Do Laundry: North Vancouver Hotel
- Best for Capilano University, Mount Seymour, and Lynn Canyon: Holiday Inn North Vancouver
- Best for an Overnight Stop on the Way to Whistler: Holiday Inn North Vancouver
- Best for Free Parking: SureStay by Best Western Capilano, North Vancouver Hotel, EconoLodge, or Holiday Inn North Van