See, I knew it. What you need is a getaway. An emergency pre-holiday getaway.
I know, I know. Who has time? The key is to just drop everything, right now, and book it. A special boutique hotel room, I mean. Then, step away from the not-quite-perfect-yet Christmas Tree, leave behind the holiday baking books, and pack your bag. Don’t forget a bottle of champagne, some mistletoe, and your sweetie! Because, the point isn’t to forget the holidays, its to actually enjoy them.
Here’s where to go.
Where to Stay: The Moda Hotel is in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the north edge of Yaletown, and walking distance to simply… everything. Set in a vintage building with contemporary interior design, the rooms are comfortable and modern, with amenities that truly anticipate your every need (including free wifi!). What you really cannot miss, however, are their incredible internet specials, with rooms as low as $89 a night through December 27. Secure parking is around $20 a night (which you’ll want to take – don’t street park downtown Vancouver.)
Festive Fun: Christmas is a big deal in Vancouver, so consult this guide for all the festivities. (To be truthful, if I didn’t have family plans already, I’d spend Christmas itself in Vancouver!) Visit the Vancouver Christmas Market, through December 24 on the plaza in front of the Queen Elizabeth theatre on South Cambie Street. It’s an authentic “Christkindlmarkt” featuring festive merchandise, food, and a number of cultural activities and events. A special children’s area known as the Kinderweihnacht gives kids the chance to make their own Christmas gifts and visit with Santa Claus. $5 for adults and $2 for kids over 6 (6 and under are free). Also, don’t miss the Bright Lights in Stanley Park, which runs through January 2. You can ride a Christmas train with your hot chocolate and popcorn while enjoying the illuminated forest and holiday music. And of course, downtown Vancouver is a shopper’s paradise.
Where to Stay: Hotel Lucia I have not stayed here, but I hope to soon. I did stop in to see the rooms on my most recent trip to PDX, and they are gorgeous. The Hotel Lucia is a beautifully restored classic hotel in the heart of downtown Portland. It’s stylish, it’s hip, it’s chock full of art. Oh, and they regularly post exclusive deals on social media, like their current deal – Stay with us and enjoy TAX-FREE shopping in downtown Portland. We’ll give you a $50 gift card to shop anywhere your heart desires, & complimentary overnight valet parking with unlimited in-and-out privileges. Plus, you’ll receive two mimosas at check-in to drink as you get settled.
Festive Fun: Shop! There’s no sales tax in Oregon. Stick to downtown for the department and name-brand stores, or venture to Nob Hill, the Pearl, Alberta or Hawthorne for unique and independent shops and boutiques. When you’re all shopped put, check out the holiday zoolights at the Oregon Zoo, or visit with Santa Claus at Pioneer Place.
Where to Stay: Hotel Andra
It used to be the Claremont Hotel, at Fourth and Virginia–reliable, servicable, affordable. Now the Hotel Andra, this boutique hotel is a bit more expensive, but you’ll love the sleek, modern upgrades in design, and you’ll really love that Tom Douglas’s Lola restaurant is right downstairs. Before you book, check their Facebook page for current specials (they recently ran a $99/night one). Skip the valet parking at $39 a day unless its included with your room – street parking is usually not that hard to find in this neighborhood, especially just to the east a block or two.
Festive Tips: Check out WinterFest, free and fun at Seattle Center on the north end of downtown. WinterFest includes a winter train, jazz, ice rink, caroling and more. If you have time, be sure to check out the Luminous exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum.