OK. Finding a decently priced place to stay in Vancouver can be tough. You’re in P.E.I. after all, 6,018 kilometres away, according to the Google Map thingie on my laptop.
It’s not like you can pick up the phone, or go online, and hunt for the best deal. You have to take what you can get.
So if you’re on Summerside council, for example, you might have to rough it wherever you can find a place to rest your head.
Guess that explains why four Summerside councillors had to drop their bags for six nights at the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver while travelling on taxpayers’ business.
After all, the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities was on from May 31 to June 3 and duty called.
Yes, there were 1,800 delegates there representing the 2,000 municipalities that are members of the federation. That’s 0.9 delegates per community. And the two Island cities sent slightly more people than that. But hey, if you’re going to make a big impression, you need to spend some money.
And the Summerside mayor’s office reportedly did do what it could to save money, running down the list of hotels provided by the Canadian Federation of Municipalities. The Pacific Rim was just the first one with rooms available.
I wonder why?
Well, the Fairmont did come in at $360 a night — plus taxes and fees. But normally it charges $500 a night, so it was really sort of a deal.
(Summerside Coun. Frank Costa, by the way, reportedly stayed at the Delta for $130 a night. He also saved money by staying with family for a night. Talk about a deal.)
The Charlottetown contingent, meanwhile, stayed at the Executive Hotel Le Soleil Vancouver, a few blocks from the conference centre, for the duration. It was a steal at $215 nightly, plus taxes and fees.
The total bill? Charlottetown’s came in at $25,297.00 for its seven delegates — an average of $3,613.86. Summerside’s bill was $24,589.84 for five people — an average of $4,917.97.
Think you could have done better? Well then, go ahead and try. I did, going online to do what I do when I travel. Here’s what I found on hotels.com, one of many sites offering help finding a place while saving money:
• The Best Western Plus Downtown Vancouver is 2.0 k away from the Fairmont and last Thursday night you could get a room two weeks from now for $98, down
from the usual $108. Customers gave it an average review of 4.2 out of 5.0.
A customer who gave it 5.0 out of 5.0 said in a review, “We really appreciated having the use of bikes for our stay and got to ride through Stanley Park on a beautiful morning.”
Too far away?
• The Howard Johnson Hotel Downtown Vancouver is 1.8 k away and costs $86, down from $185. Reviewers gave it 3.5 out of 5.0.
A customer who gave it a 4.0 out of 5.0 said, “Outside the room like at the hallway kinda smells stink maybe because of the carpet or whatever . . . also the tissue at the bathroom is already been used when we first got there.”
OK, we can do better.
The Riviera Hotel is 1.2 k away and costs $92, down from $244. Reviews averaged 3.6 out of 5.0
“Sure it wasn’t luxurious but it was very close to shopping and dining. The room was big and had a small balcony. You won’t find a better deal for the money,” said a customer who gave it 4.0 out of 5.0.
Rick MacLean is an instructor in the journalism program at Holland College