VANCOUVER IN SUMMER

July 15-20, 2018

Summer is when Vancouver shines the brightest! It’s a city with magnetic natural beauty and a hip, vibrant culture at its energetic best during the long, sunny days of summer. It’s no wonder visitors flock here in droves during July and August. My six-day getaway is designed to you give a fun taste of Vancouver: mixing up guided tours with plenty of free time to enjoy the city your own way. Experience a tree-top adventure through the canopy of a coastal rainforest; walk a suspension bridge hundreds of feet up; walk historic cobblestone streets with a local guide; lunch at the famous Granville Island Market; take a sea journey through the breathtakingly beautiful Gulf Islands; meet local farmers; tour an organic apple orchard, and see one of the world’s most spectacular floral displays.   Staying at two luxurious hotels – in Vancouver, your world famous spa hotel is a special indulgence - this small-group getaway is perfect for busy working couples; sisters; girlfriends, or those wanting their own Pacific Northwest escape. There are bucket list moments to be had and I hope you join me to celebrate summer, Canadian style!


Guests make their own way to Vancouver and to the hotel. If you arrive before July 15 and need additional accommodation, please let me know as soon as possible. July is a peak month for Vancouver and accommodation is based on availability. I do not organize flights as I find people prefer to make their own arrangements. Please scroll down to Tour Information for more on flights, arriving in Vancouver and booking assistance.

DAY 1: SUNDAY JULY 15 - ARRIVAL IN VANCOUVER

Accommodation: Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver 

Flights arrive throughout the day and evening. I will meet you at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia for check in and orientation. I will make sure you have plenty of information and maps to explore Vancouver.

Your home for 3 nights is the very luxurious Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Rosewood Hotel Georgia combines the grandeur of the Roaring Twenties with contemporary design in the heart of Vancouver. The Forbes 5-Star hotel has been meticulously restored to its place as one of the most prominent hotels worldwide. First opened in 1927, the legendary Hotel Georgia quickly established itself as the city’s most fashionable retreat, a tradition that continues today as Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Constantly winning awards, the Rosewood has been recognized as the No. 5 Best City Hotel in Canada (Travel + Leisure’s World's Best Awards); Forbes Five Star Award (both hotel and spa); No. 2 Best Hotel in Canada & No. 1 Best Hotel in Vancouver and British Columbia (US News & World Report) & 2017 Andrew Harper Grand Award Winner. For those looking for a getaway with a little pampering, Sense, A Rosewood Spa is a must!

Your hotel is located on West Georgia Street, in the heart of downtown. Art lovers will appreciate the Vancouver Art Gallery and Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art are just steps away. The harbor is a few minutes’ walk down Howe St and around the corner is Robson St, Vancouver’s epicenter of shopping! Reach Stanley Park by walking down Robson St or around the harbor: or grab a bike and get cycling!

As guests are coming in at different times, tonight’s dinner is at your own discretion. Perhaps get together with other group members (not included) or find your own dinner spot such as Hawksworth, located in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia and considered one of Vancouver’s best; opposite the hotel is Yew Seafood, an upscale, modern seafood restaurant  with a fabulous cocktail bar; in walking distance is Nightingale, a sister restaurant to Hawksworth but with a more casual vibe; a taxi ride away is Farmer’s Apprentice, a sensational farm to table experience. Or simply walk and explore. The Asian food scene in Vancouver is exceptional. For a fun, casual meal, keep walking along Robson St towards Stanley Park and you will be completely spoiled for choice!

Tip: have a drink at the Rosewood’s Prohibition Cocktail Lounge which channels the Roaring Twenties with vintage cocktails and a speakeasy vibe


DAY 2: MONDAY JULY 16 - PRIVATE HIGHLIGHTS TOUR                                                                      

Accommodation: Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver 

Downtown Vancouver has terrific breakfast options – choose to breakfast at the hotel, or find your own spot.

This morning, our group meets together for a day of exploration and adventure! We are joined by a local guide who will show us some of Vancouver’s highlights, share their insiders’ know how and really get you oriented to the city. We start the day touring through historic Gastown. Named after "Gassy" Jack Deighton, a seaman from the UK, Gastown is Vancouver's most historic neighborhood and dates back to 1867. It's here that you'll find cobblestone streets and stunning architecture that set the stage for some of Vancouver's best shopping, restaurants and cafes. Look for the iconic steam powered clock!

See Vancouver Harbor & the majestic Olympic Cauldron: Vancouver hosted the Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games and excellent post-Olympic planning has seen much of the sport oriented construction repurposed into a thriving urban hub.

Visit the much loved Stanley Park, a green sanctuary in the middle of the city! Larger than New York’s Central Park, Stanley Park has 400 hectares (1,000 acres) of bucolic beauty and is one of the world’s greatest parks. Here we visit the Totem Poles and learn about Canada’s First Nations people. First Nations culture is an important part of the history of both Stanley Park and Vancouver. Parts of the park were the former site of a First Nations village. The totems and gateways at Brockton Point were carved in the late 1880s and replaced with lookalike versions in the 1980s to keep the originals preserved.

Lunch is at Granville Island, Vancouver’s most popular market and a food lover’s paradise! Home to over 100 vendors, the Public Market is packed-to-the-rafters with fresh seafood, produce, meats, sweets, and European specialty foods. Granville Island is a small island on False Creek and offers terrific views across the harbor and downtown Vancouver.

After lunch, we head to Vancouver’s highest vantage point, Vancouver Lookout, for elevated views across the city to the harbor and mountains.

Our day of exploration continues on Vancouver’s leafy North Shore. To get there, we cross the magnificent Lions Gate Bridge. A suspension bridge with a span comparable in length to the Brooklyn Bridge, the Lions Gate Bridge links Stanley Park across Burrard Inlet to the North Shore. The beauty of the bridge, which was named for the twin peaks in the North Shore Mountains, has made it an iconic symbol of Vancouver.

Our last stop for the day will take your breath away! The Capilano Suspension Bridge was originally built in 1889 and stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above the Capilano River. A walk along the wobbly bridge is definitely not for the faint –hearted: but standing mid-air on the Bridge looking down to the river is an experience you won’t want to miss! Cross the suspension bridge for a tree-top experience through the beautiful coastal rainforest. The seven suspension bridges through the tree canopy are so fun to do and puts you high amongst the towering forest giants.

Another adventure at Capilano Gorge is the Cliffwalk, a pathway of cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms which hug the granite cliff overlooking the Capilano River. Again, super fun and I just loved this, but you do need a good head for heights!

For those who prefer to stay on solid ground, there is much to see without crossing the bridge. Chat with First Nations staff and check out the world's largest private collection of totem pole; including early 1900's local Coast Salish poles. Haida, Tsimsian and Tlingit poles have been carved on-site over the past 20 years in Kia'palano. Take time to relax, have a coffee and enjoy the spectacular view!

A sweet tip - try the delicious fudge in the 100 year-old Trading Post!  

After our day of adventure and fun, the rest of the afternoon and evening is free. For those who wish to dine together, I will make dinner arrangements (at your own cost).


DAY 3: TUESDAY JULY 17 - FREE DAY IN VANCOUVER

Accommodation: Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver 

Well oriented after yesterday’s tour, today is yours to enjoy and explore Vancouver exactly as you wish. Perhaps you want to explore more of historic Gastown; foodies may wish to do a Food Truck Tour - Vancouver has embraced the food truck culture and there are hundreds of trucks offering up Korean tacos, Philly cheese steaks, and Vietnamese subs, among other treats.  The craft beer scene is also thriving in Vancouver and there’s no better way to find out what’s going on than on a Brewery Tour.

For those wanting a little more activity, I highly recommend hiring a mobi bike (a bike share initiative similar to NYC Citibikes) and going cycling along the Seawall. The 8.8kilometre (5.5mile) Seawall circles Stanley Park giving you fantastic views of downtown Vancouver, Burrard Inlet, the North Shore mountains and Lions Gate Bridge as you pedal. You’ll see some cool landmarks, too. Look for the seaworthy “Girl in a Wetsuit,” a modern-day mermaid sculpted by Elek Imredy and the 32-million-year-old Siwash Rock rising from the water. Stop for lunch at the historic Teahouse in Stanley Park. Yearning to go back to Granville Island or get out on the water? Catch a brightly colored Aquabus - these little ferries run from all major destinations in False Creek and are super fun to ride! 

You have lots of options and I will make sure you have everything you need to make this a great summer day in Vancouver. For guests who wish to do an activity or dine together, I will make the necessary arrangements (these activities are not included and at your own cost).


DAY 4: WEDNESDAY JULY 18 - FERRY TO VANCOUVER ISLAND

Accommodation: Grand Pacific Hotel, Victoria

This morning, we say goodbye to Vancouver and catch the ferry to Vancouver Island. Travel across the Strait of Georgia, through narrow channels between Gulf Islands to Vancouver Island: this must be the most scenic ferry ride ever – its bucket list stuff and a phenomenal experience.

On arrival in Victoria, check into our hotel and have the rest of the afternoon to explore this scenic harbor city. The capital of British Columbia, Victoria is located at the southern end of Vancouver Island and is a visitor’s delight!  A picturesque city of restored 19th century buildings, Victoria is also a great walking city: it’s flat, laid out on a grid and small enough to walk all the harbor area and still have time for shopping, galleries, and a meal!

Dinner recommendations are provided. For those who wish to dine together, I will make dinner arrangements (at your own cost).  After dinner, stroll the waterfront and enjoy the sight of the Inner Harbor, Parliament Buildings and Empress Hotel all lit up – it’s especially lovely when the lights are reflecting off the water!

The Grand Pacific Hotel is our home for 2 nights. The Grand Pacific is an award winning waterfront hotel with views across Inner Harbor. It’s an unbeatable location, next to the landmark British Columbia Legislature and Parliament Buildings and just blocks from Victoria’s downtown restaurant and shopping district.


DAY 5: THURSDAY JULY 19 - BUTCHART GARDENS & SEA CIDER TASTING TOUR                                 

Accommodation: Grand Pacific Hotel, Victoria    Included meals: Breakfast & Dinner  

After breakfast in the hotel, we visit one of the finest display gardens in the world - Butchart Gardens. Once a limestone quarry, Butchart Gardens today is a National Historic Site with a world-wide reputation for stunning floral displays. The 55 acres are privately owned and feature highlights including the Sunken Garden (pictured left), a Japanese Garden, Italian Garden and Rose Carousel earning. Butchart Gardens is a must for every garden aficionado! Spend the morning exploring the gardens at your leisure.

Butchart Gardens are located on the Saanich Peninsula, north of Victoria. In addition to the famous garden, it’s also home to a thriving farming community! For a taste of local produce, we head to Sea Cider Ciderhouse, an award winning family-owned, organic orchard and ciderhouse. Here we take a tour of the heritage apple orchard and taste some handcrafted hard cider paired with local savories. Sea Cider is such a fun place - their ciders are smooth and delicious; I’m excited to share this local find with you! 

Back in Victoria, the rest of the afternoon is free. Perhaps do more exploring, take a tour of the Parliament Buildings, or visit the Royal BC Museum. Tea lovers may opt for Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress, a very delicious English tradition!

Tonight we have a dinner together at a local restaurant (included).


DAY 6: FRIDAY JULY 20 - DEPART VICTORIA

Included meals: Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel then we say good bye to the Pacific North West. Take a flight home from Victoria’s international airport.

You may wish to stay on in Victoria! Vancouver Island is one of the top spots for whale watching in all of North America. The waters around the island are home to orcas (killer whales), gray, humpback and minke whales. Plus there are sea lions, seals, and porpoises, too. If you decide to stay on in Victoria and need additional accommodation or assistance with organizing activities, please let me know.


TOUR INFORMATION

$2199 per person double/twin occupancy            

$899 per person single supplement

A maximum of 14 guests will be accepted

Inclusions:

  • Accompanied by Kirsty Dougherty for the entire trip
  • 5 nights accommodation at luxury hotels. If you prefer a higher room category in any of the hotels, this can be arranged but is subject to availability and price adjustment. 
  • Day tours are in coaches provided by Landsea Tours in Vancouver & Regent Limousines in Victoria
  • Private guides for day tours on Vancouver & Victoria
  • Entrance fees & tours where indicated to Vancouver Lookout, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Capilano Fish Hatchery, Butchart Gardens, Sea Cider Ciderhouse
  • Tickets to BC Connector for ferry crossing to Victoria
  • Visits to Gas Town, Olympic Cauldron, Stanley Park, Granville Island & Public Market, Lion Gate Bridge, Saanichton Peninsula
  • 2 breakfasts at the Grand Pacific hotel & 1 farewell dinner
  • Alcohol is not included at group meals
  • Gratuities for guides, coach driver and included meals

Not included in the tour price are airfares and all related fees; airport transfers; transfers or transport costs made outside of the group arrangements in Canada; emergency medical and trip cancellation insurance, excess baggage charges, personal items at the hotels (such as beverages, laundry, room service, & communication services); alcoholic beverages; meals not listed as ‘included’; and everything else not expressly mentioned under ‘included’.


AIRFARES Please note airfares are not included in the tour price. This allows you the flexibility to make arrangements that best your own plans, to use points or a preferred airline. You are responsible for your own airfare. If you require assistance with flight reservations, please contact my travel agent Paige Bouzaglou on paige@wanderinggosling.com (or 347-834-6818). I need to know your arrival and departure times as soon as you have your reservations. However, please do not make reservations until you have been confirmed as a trip participant. Email flight information to Kirsty. Please talk to Kirsty about flight options to and from Vancouver.


BOOKING To guarantee your reservation, a deposit of $1000 (of which $500 is non-refundable) per person is due at the time of booking. This is used for hotel reservations, transport and other deposits. Final payment is due by April 15, 2018. A reminder will be set out on March 15. Late payment will incur a fee of $100 per person. Payment of the deposit is an acceptance of the Terms and Conditions. Please ensure you have read these policies. 

Please contact Kirsty Dougherty on 908.512.0600 or kirsty@noblegardentours.com to book.

PAYMENT Please pay by either

  • check made out to ‘Noble Garden Tours’ and sent to PO Box 73, Highlands NJ 07732  or
  • credit card online via Paypal. Credit card payment incurs a 2.9% fee.

Please let Kirsty know your preferred payment method.


TRAVEL INSURANCE Things happen and at times unforeseen circumstances make it impossible to travel. For your personal safety and peace of mind, guests are required to purchase travel insurance including emergency medical and trip cancellation. This is a condition of booking.  Travel insurance is not included in the tour price and is your responsibility. You must enroll within a limited time (usually 10-21days) after paying your initial deposit. For assistance in organizing travel insurance, please contact travel agent Paige Bouzaglou (E: paige@wanderinggosling.com or T: 347-834-6818)

CANCELLATIONS A refund of monies paid, minus the nonrefundable deposit of $500 will be made when written notice of cancellation is received by Noble Garden Tours LLC on or before April 15.  Notice of cancellation received after May 15 but on or before June 15, will incur a cancellation fee of 75% of the total tour price. Cancellations made after June 15 or a no show will forfeit 100% of the tour price. Once the tour has commenced there can be no refunds on unused portions. You must take out trip cancellation insurance when making your reservation and forward me the policy details.

FITNESS You must be able to walk an entire day without a problem. We’ll be walking on cobbled streets, through private farms and gardens, through parks and forest. Walking the suspension bridges is optional. If you do this, it is at your own risk and not accessible for those with physical injuries or impairments. This is a trip for active people. Please bear all of this in mind when considering this tour. If you have an injury or impairment and are not sure whether this tour is right for you, please call me to discuss – 908.512.0600

CURRENCY IN CANADA Currency is Canadian Dollars.  You may get dollars at the airport on arrival or change some before leaving the US.

ARRIVING IN VANCOUVER There are many taxis at Vancouver International airport. Taxis charge a flat rate of $31 to downtown hotels. Both Canadian & US dollars are accepted. Alternatively, a private car service is available through Rosewood Hotel Georgia for $157 from the airport.

Please note there is a time difference – Vancouver is 3 hours behind the US.

PRE-TOUR & POST TOUR Paige can assist you with booking pre & post-tour activities. For advice and help, please contact her on E: paige@wanderinggosling.com or T: 347-834-6818