Hotel Intel: Rock and relax at Vancouver’s hip Belmont

The indie resort has a vending machine that dispenses roll paper and an evening menu of coconut shrimp and s’mores sundaes.

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“Belmont’s appeal is not about age,” said Jeff Leung, general manager of Hotel Belmont, a new boutique hotel in downtown Vancouver. “We’re all about the mindset. It’s informal and fun, an insider’s kind of place.”

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Leung calls all urban adventurers the heart of Vancouver’s entertainment district. Funky Granville St. pulsating with day tourists and night lights and is filled with coffee shops and clubs, pubs and terraces and plenty of shops. Imagine Vancouver’s version of St-Laurent Blvd. or Toronto Queen or King St. W., but just as busy with walkers as Times Square.

Scenes: The pandemic took its toll on Vancouver’s venues, but Hotel Belmont is still a stage for music, drinks and delicious comfort food.

Maybe you want to enjoy the Belmonteroni pasta, which is a riff on ravioli, followed by key lime pie pavlova. Or maybe your taste buds run into a Belmont Boozy frozen treat with flavors like a jalapeño-mango margarita.

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“The hotel attracts people looking for a good time culturally,” Leung said. “We are proud to know the scene so we can guide you to a true in-the-know experience.”

Basically, you are supposed to relax. Hotel Belmont is an indie getaway with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe, a vending machine dispensing roll paper and if you get snacks at midnight, an evening menu of coconut shrimp and s’mores sundaes.

Hotel Belmont is located in the heart of Vancouver's entertainment district.
Hotel Belmont is located in the heart of Vancouver’s entertainment district. Photo of Hotel Belmont

The look: Hotel Belmont’s décor is a fun pastiche of retro furniture. Designed by CHIL Interior Design in Vancouver, it’s a kind of kitsch, certainly cool and far from traditional.

The outside is painted warm pink and is plastered with posters announcing performances, past and future.

The entrance to the Living Room resto bar is spray-painted with graffiti, but once you step inside, the look relaxes in an inviting rainbow of colors on high-clad tables, bar stools and booths. For more intimate gatherings, there are cozy corners with sofas around the gas fireplace.

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The 82 rooms and bathrooms are clean and fresh. Skoah toiletries from Vancouver are mixed with peppermint oil, so they have an energizing, refreshing feel. And most rooms have mini-refrigerators built to look like 1960s Marshall amps, so you’re never far from musical inspiration.

Eat / drink: The Living Room is a casual resto bar where “unlike with your parents, you are allowed to eat in front of the television,” said Ted Wilkie, director of food and drink.

You can start with cocktails like Sloe Sipper or try sangria, sake, mezcal or bourbon, and then eat barbid like wings, poutine or pulled pork tacos or main courses like veggiesowls, burgers, pasta or chicken satay. Desserts, a sweet tooth highlight, include cookies and cream cheesecake or hot double chocolate cookies.

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In the basement, Belmont’s neon-lit club, DJs play house music and the top 40, including hits by Justin Bieber, Drake and the Weeknd and a mix of hip-hop producer DJ Khaled. The dance parties in the evening – some of the best in Van City – have been put on hold due to the COVID rules.

The basement has a bowling alley and arcade games from that time, so you can have a drink and play a game of five-pin or tackle pinball, skee-ball and video games.

Rooms and suites at Vancouver's Belmont Hotel are modern with retro accents.
Rooms and suites at Vancouver’s Belmont Hotel are modern with retro accents. Photo by Henry Low

Nearby: You will need breakfast and lunch. Railtown Café has large portions and moderate prices. So far, it is only open for takeaway and delivery. Breakfast includes smoothies, egg sandwiches or quiches; for lunch there are salads and club sandwiches. (968 Howe St .; 604-428-8255, railtowncafe.ca; closed weekends and holidays; vegan available.)

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At the Rogers Arena, the Vancouver Canucks’ home games include the Toronto Maple Leafs (December 18), the Ottawa Senators (January 8) and the Montreal Canadiens (March 9). Bryan Adams New Year’s Eve Extravaganza will rock the arena on December 31st.

BC Place is hosting mega-events like Canada Sevens men’s rugby, returning on February 26th and 27th. Do not forget the “fancy dress” costume tradition – the crazier, the better. And tickets sell out quickly for Elton John’s farewell tour, which stops at the venue on October 21, 2022.

At the legendary Commodore Ballroom, the lineup includes the indie rock band Mother Mother (December 2-5) and the electronic duo Thievery Corporation (December 6 and 7).

Belmont borrows bikes, and a bike path right outside the door brings you to the stylish Yaletown district and its waterfront bike path along the False Creek beach embankment.

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The living room at Hotel Belmont.
The living room at Hotel Belmont. Photo of Hotel Belmont

If you go

Hotel Belmont: 604-605-4333, hotelbelmont.ca; 654 Nelson St., Vancouver. Pet friendly.

Prices fluctuate; rooms start at $ 169, including bikes, guest computer, Wi-Fi, premium movie channels, business services, in-room coffee, PressReader, interactive concierge. Extras: Fitness World, a few blocks away.

The Living Room resto-bar: 16.00 to 03.00 Wed.-Sun. (Belmont guests receive a 15 percent discount on food); Basement: DJs at 21.00 to 03.00, Fri.-Sat.

Vancouver Tourism: 604-682-2222, destinationvancouver.com. British Columbia Tourism: hellobc.com.

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