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July 14, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 28
 
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Vancouver Gay Pride 2006: Our guide to cocktailing, eating, sleeping and fun-seeking
Vancouver Gay Pride 2006: Our guide to cocktailing, eating, sleeping and fun-seeking
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Our coverage of Vancouver Gay Pride 2006, now just three weeks away, begins with hotel and Amtrak recommendations. Next week, Beau Burriola and I will provide you with suggestions for places to cocktail, eat, shop, and be merry. For more information on the list of Pride activities, visit www.vancouvergaypride.ca. Seattle Gay News is proud to once again join our friends and neighbors up north for their annual Gay Pride festivities. If you have any questions, email us at albert@sgn.org or beau@sgn.org.

HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS



"Prices are in Canadian currency. It is strongly suggested to double-up on rooms to reduce costs."



Pacific Palisades Hotel (1277 Robson Street, www.pacificpalisadeshotel.com)



"South Beach meets Stanley Park" is the motto for Pacific Palisades Hotel in downtown Vancouver. Rooms are splashed in bright colors and the d├ęcor is eye dazzling, giving it a fun, fun, fun feel. The property is currently offering an "Over the Rainbow" pride package, which comes complete with a two-night stay, welcome goodie bag, information packets on Vancouver Gay Pride festivities and neighborhood maps, feathered boas and beads, T-shirts, rainbow martinis in the hotel's lounge, and a "feet retreat" at their on-premise cabana to relax those tired out muscles from standing all afternoon at the parade. I love the location of Pacific Palisades. The entry of the hotel is on a side street, perfect for late night visitors (if you know what I mean), and I love its overall lively ambiance. The property is pet friendly, so feel free to bring your furry little one along on the trip. Package price is $725.00. Split the cost in half with a friend or companion, and you'll have a fabulous stay. At press time, the hotel was nearly sold out for Pride weekend. Call (604) 688-0461 for reservations, individual room prices and additional information.



Sandman Suites on Davie (1160 Davie Street, www.sandmanhotels.com)



Luxury isn't what Sandman Suites on Davie is known for. Affordability and prime location is more like it. Gay bars and restaurants are so close to this high-rise hotel that you can literally cartwheel back to your room after an eventful night of cocktailing. Each room is a suite at the Sandman and comes equipped with a stove, microwave, refrigerator, stackable washer/dryer, pots and pans, plates, and eating utensils. I love packing less clothes by being able to do laundry in my own room. Take detergent, or buy some at a nearby drug store or Laundromat. Moxie's Classic Grill, located on Sandman's main floor, is a terrific spot to have lunch or dinner with a menu that features burgers, steaks, salads, soups, pastas, and regional wines. The newly designed Phresh Spa and Wellness Club on the hotel's third floor is a godsend for tense muscles or for some well-deserved indulgence. My favorite thing about Sandman Suites on Davie, aside from its large balconies to take in the ocean and city views, is that I feel I'm in the center of everything when I stay there. The gay action is just footsteps away from the front entrance. At press time, the hotel was nearly sold out for Pride weekend. Call (604) 681-7263 for reservations, individual room prices and additional information.





Opus Hotel (322 Davie Street, www.opushotel.com)



Gwen Stefani, Nine Inch Nails, Jessica Alba, John Cusack, Ryan Reynolds, Selma Blair, and Lenny Kravitz are just some of the A-list celebrities and musicians recently seen at Opus Hotel, a seven-floor boutique property found at the east end of Davie Street, in Yaletown. For the gay traveler wanting to splurge or in need of star treatment, Opus Hotel is sophisticated right down to its L'Occitaine bath soaps. Rooms are fashioned after "personalities", each representing a specific type of guest. Among them is "Billy", a professional gay party boy with impeccable taste in food and entertainment, and always open to new social encounters. After he's thrown back a few cocktails at the hotel's popular, swanky lounge on the main floor, he's ready to go. The friendly and considerably helpful Opus Hotel staff is one of the reasons I recommend it highly. Many of the employees have been there throughout the four years I've been staying at the hotel, and there's something to be said about that. They really go out of their way for you and are always on top of their game. Complimentary Internet access in the business center, in-room Starbucks coffee and Tazo tea products, evening turn down service, and a uniquely cool experience are other reasons to consider this pricey-yet-amazing place for your Pride weekend stay, commitment ceremony or next trip to Vancouver. At press time, the hotel was nearly sold out for Pride weekend. Call (604) 642-6787 for reservations, individual room prices and additional information.



The Listel Hotel (1300 Robson Street, www.thelistelhotel.com)



On the very happening Robson Street in downtown Vancouver, you'll discover The Listel Hotel. At least, I hope you discover it. Catering heavily to the art aficionado, this property features marvelous galleries on almost every floor with works by artists all over Canada, but primarily from British Columbia. The Listel Hotel is a more traditional place to stay, with soft wood drawers and cabinets, magazine racks, goose down comforters, self-adjustable heating systems, fair amount of space, and room colors that accent the rich natural scenery of the Pacific Northwest. O'Doul's Restaurant & Bar, on the street level, is a hotspot for jazz followers. In fact, The Listel is the host hotel of the annual Vancouver Jazz Festival, and several performing artists often end up at the restaurant for late night jam sessions. The food at the restaurant is reasonably priced and yummy. You can't help shifting into art-mode from the minute you walk into The Listel Hotel's lobby. It's their thing, and they do it well. At press time, the hotel was nearly sold out for Pride weekend. Call (604) 684-8461 for reservations, individual room prices and additional information.



GO AMTRAK



For non-drivers, like myself, Amtrak is an inexpensive and no-hassle way to travel in and out of Canada. Station to station time between Seattle and Vancouver is about three and a half hours, providing there aren't any backups. On-board service includes bistro and full-dining cars, electric outlets to plug in laptops or personal CD players, daily newspapers, current movie, and space for your bicycle (for an extra charge). Travel business class and enjoy more room and comfort, plus it's usually the section of the train that distances you from families with small children. Crossing the border is headache-free. You deal with Canadian Customs upon arrival, and on the return trip you deal with Canadian Customs at the station and then with US Customs in Blaine who rapidly go through each car to check passports and collect declaration forms. Business class travelers are allowed to board and de-board first in Vancouver, putting you at the front of the line at Customs. Summer roundtrip fares are $106.00 (US dollars) for business class and $80.00 (US dollars) for coach seating. Note that Alaska Airlines rewards members receive mileage points from Amtrak travel. Call (800) USA-RAIL for reservations, availability and additional information.

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