Which way to the beach?

Whether you’re looking for a stretch of sand to spread out and relax with a good book, an outdoor court to spike a volleyball, or a catwalk to strut your stuff, Vancouver’s got it. You’ll easily find a beach everywhere you turn.

The following is a list of some of the best beaches in the city.

Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach

If Vancouver is “Hollywood North,” then Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach – or “Kits Beach” to the locals – is our Venice Beach. Buff and bronzed bodies are sure to make their rounds but don’t be wary, you’re sure to fit in somewhere amidst the mix of joggers, stroller-pushing families, sun-worshippers, and everyday loungers. Grassy patches above the tide line are perfect for tossing the disc, the tennis courts are always popular, and the beach attracts volleyball players from all over the city. And don’t forget Kits Pool where kids and adults can splash away the day in an outdoor, heated salt-water pool with a wrap-around view of the city, ocean, and mountains. It’s almost three times the size of an Olympic pool.

Jericho Beach

Jericho Beach

When all the elements are right, fishing and a picnic at the Jericho Beach pier makes for a perfect evening. Enjoy the long, sandy stretch with stunning views of the North Shore Mountains and downtown core. It’s also a great spot for sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, and beach volleyball.

Spanish Banks

Spanish Banks

To commemorate the discovery of the Spanish explorers in 1792, the British named this particular shore Spanish Banks. The least crowded of Vancouver’s beaches, this stretch of sand is a wonderful retreat for those who wish to escape from the pace of city life. Skimmers alert: this is the perfect place for skim boarding once you learn the optimal tidal conditions.

English Bay

West End Beaches

The southern edge of the West End neighbourhood has two of the most attractive waterfront urban environments – English Bay and Sunset Beach. Amazingly, this large stretch of sand is no more than a 30-minute walk from Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre and an easy 10-minute walk from Sandman Suites Vancouver Davie – Street, with no commercial exploitation intruding on the peaceful environment. In summer, English Bay becomes a jumping off point for rollerblading adventures, strolling for ice cream, and picnics. Kids will love the floating slide and parents will appreciate the full time lifeguard. It’s also the place to lay down your blanket and look up to the sky during the Honda Celebration of Light international fireworks competition (2014 dates: July 26th, 30th & August 2nd)

Third Beach

Second & Third Beaches

Second Beach is a quick stroll north from English Bay into Stanley Park. Like Kitsilano Beach, Second Beach also has an immense, heated outdoor pool. Further along the seawall lies secluded Third Beach, which is due north of Stanley Park Drive. Locals tote grills and coolers to this spot, a popular place for summer evening barbecues and sunset watching.

Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach

This six-kilometre long, secluded beach is Canada’s first and largest, legal, clothing-optional beach. It’s located at the western tip of Vancouver, adjacent to the University of British Columbia campus, down a long flight of steep stairs. On a summer weekend, as many as 14,000 visitors flock to the beach which stretches from the Musqueam Reserve to Spanish Banks West. Vendors Row, located down the middle of the beach below Trail 6, offers snacks and refreshments. Note: Wreck Beach enthusiasts are a loyal and protective bunch who take their right to “bare” arms, legs and everything else pretty seriously.

Why Waste Time at the Beach?

Research shows that the sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain lulling you into a deeply relaxed state. Relaxing in this way can help rejuvenate the mind and body.

Also, floating in water means blood is diverted around from our lower limbs and pumped towards our abdominal region – the part of the body near the heart – because we are no longer standing upright. Fresh blood being pumped around the body brings more oxygen to our brain which makes us more alert and active.

Fresh air for sleep

If you’ve ever wondered why we always sleep more soundly after spending the day on the beach, it’s because of the sea air. Sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen. Negative ions also balance levels of seratonin, a body chemical linked with mood and stress. Which is why after a holiday you feel more alert, relaxed, and energized.

So next time you’re looking for an excuse to spend the day at the beach, the real question is, “Which beautiful Vancouver beach?”

 

SANDMAN SUITES ON DAVIE STREET HONOURS PRIDE WITH 55-FOOT RAINBOW

Rainbow

Sandman Suites Vancouver – Davie Street

Sandman Suites Vancouver – Davie Street was given a bold makeover last week when a vibrant 55-foot wide rainbow was painted on the roof of the hotel.

The hotel is not only located in the West End neighbourhood in Vancouver, but in the heart of the diverse Davie Street community. The hotel stands proud amongst a milieu of vibrant people, thriving shops and restaurants, and the colourful Davie Village.

“We are proud to call this community our home and want to illustrate our pride by painting the iconic rainbow crowned on-top of our hotel,” said Valentina Tang, General Manager of Sandman Suites Vancouver – Davie Street. “The concept behind the painting was: A heart of gold is where the rainbow begins. We are an inclusive organization and always like supporting our local communities.”

Join Sandman Hotel Group in celebrating the rainbow and its awareness by posting a photo on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #SandmanDavieRainbow.

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Sandman Suites Vancouver – Davie Street

Supporting the extraordinary efforts of two amazing boys

My Buddy BraydenQuinn Callander created the goal of raising $20,000 so his pal, Brayden Grozdanich, can get special surgery in New Jersey. Brayden, who is also seven, has cerebral palsy and the operation would try to relieve the pain from his muscles tightening as he grows. The two boys met in kindergarten, attend the same school in Maple Ridge, B.C., and belong to the same Beaver Scouts group.

In a note on an online fundraising page, Quinn explains: “Brayden has Cerebral Palsy, this makes it challenging for him to walk well because his muscles are very tight. Sometimes he can’t keep up with the rest of the other Beavers and he falls down a lot. Brayden gets daily physio therapy to keep him walking. Sometimes it really hurts him. When I was at his physio, I tried to keep Brayden calm when he was in pain.”

Brayden’s family plans to get the procedure called Percs Lengthening, reported Global News. A similar surgery is available in Canada, but it’s more invasive and takes longer to recover, said the news outlet.

“Please help me raise money to help my friend Brayden, he is a really good guy,” wrote Quinn.

The two boys set up a lemonade stand in front of the Pitt Meadows Superstore on Lougheed Highway on Sunday, July 6, and the quench thirsting drinks were a huge hit. Between the sale of the lemonade and online donations, they have raised over $48,000 which will go towards Brayden’s surgery, travel expenses, and physiotherapy sessions.

Sandman Hotel Group proudly supports the amazing efforts of both boys. You too can support their cause by donating online here.

Here’s a letter written by Quinn in support of his friend:

Hi my name is Quinn, and this is my buddy Brayden. We are both 7 years old. We go to the same school  and we are in Beaver Scouts together. Brayden has Cerebral Palsy, this makes it challenging for him to walk well because his muscles are very tight. Sometimes he can’t keep up with the rest of the other Beavers and he falls down a lot. Brayden gets daily physio therapy to keep him walking. Sometimes it really hurts him. When I was at his physio, I tried to keep Brayden calm when he was in pain. My Mom told me Brayden is going to have a special surgery to help release the muscle tightness and spastic action. The surgery is not done here in Canada, only in the USA. Brayden and his Mom will be travelling there in August for the operation. Since the surgery is not done in Canada, Braydens Mom and Dad have to pay for it. The surgery will cost $20,000. Please help me raise money to help my friend Brayden, he is a really good guy.

Thank you
Love Quinn

How to attend the Vancouver International Film Festival

VIFFMovies, popcorn, and premieres. Oh my. The Vancouver International Film Festival (September 26 – October 11) is fast approaching, and with numerous festival theatres downtown Vancouver, Sandman is very excited for this year’s festival.

Now it’s time to go to the movies. Let’s walk through some tips, in chronological order, beginning with the moment you enter the theatre and sit down.

theatre1) First things first: locate your favourite seat (after awhile, you will have one in every venue).

2) The smartest thing to do is visit the washroom about ten minutes before the start of the film. Experienced festival-goers also use this time as an opportunity to share feedback on movies they’ve seen.

3) Most events start on time. VIFF is particularly good about this as screenings are usually booked one after another in the same venue. Staffers use a terrific wireless audio system which really helps things go like clockwork. All festivals have volunteers, but the ones at VIFF are a breed apart. Most return year after year and work very hard, so take some time and acknowledge their presence.

4) “On time” doesn’t mean the lights go down. Almost all movies are preceded by an introduction. This is usually done by a festival programmer. Occasionally, the filmmaker(s) and/or cast members come up prior to the screening but their remarks are usually brief. Most directors say something along the lines of, “Let’s just watch the film and let it speak for itself.”

5) The festival rep will run through a series of announcements, including thanking the major sponsors. You’ll probably have this memorized after a few screenings and be able to recite them along with the staffer. At this point, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to turn off your cellphones, pagers, beepers, anything that makes noise, buzzes, or has a light.

movie trailer6) Once the lights go down, you’ll see a series of trailers. The primary one lists the various festival sponsors. It’s usually well done with snazzy graphics and cool music. It has to be because you might see it 30 times. Kudos to the festival for always making sure of this. You’ll be tapping along before you know it. You may be reminded to vote for the audience award and to thank the festival volunteers. It’s customary to applaud at this point. That’s always a lot of fun, especially if you’re the one who starts it.

7) By the way, there is a possibility that either during the intro or during the trailers there will be a note about anti-piracy measures being taken. You may then hear a loud “ahhhhrrrrr” emerge from the crowd. It is customary to join the cacophony.

8) Once the lights go down, the standard rules apply as for any movie. Watch it. Don’t talk. One thing you’ll notice is that, in most cases, festival audiences are extremely respectful of these rules and you’ll be spoiled in no time at all. Even at the venues where food and beverages are served throughout the films (not all allow it), patrons know enough to chew and imbibe so as not to distract. The next time you go to your local multiplex, you’ll wish you were back at a festival screening. There is nothing to compare to a festival audience when it comes to respect for the filmmakers.

movie credits9) The film ends. Here is where things become dicey. To leave during the credits or not to leave? Well, keep in mind that there will, in many cases, be a Q&A. Still, many can’t resist the urge to get up and head out as soon as the names start to roll. Keep in mind that someone mentioned on screen might actually be in the next seat. Literally. Of course, if you’ve scheduled your next event too close in time to and/or far away in distance from the current one, then you may have no choice.

10) Many screenings have a Q&A after the lights go up. This generally applies to what the festival calls “Regular” screenings, not Galas. The audience will usually be informed of this during the intro. Also, the likelihood of a Q&A decreases with successive showings of films later in the week depending on whether or not the folks connected with the production are still in town. It’s one of the main reasons to attend film festivals, Nowhere else do you have the opportunity to question the filmmakers, cast, and crew about what you just saw.

11) Usually the same person who did the introduction will call up whoever is present to represent the film. In most cases, these are the director and cast members. In any case, the Q&As are more than anything what distinguishes a festival screening from one at your local theatre and help make the experience a memorable one.

12) A Q&A doesn’t work without the Q. Be ready and don’t be intimidated. That’s what they’re there for. In most cases, it is considered impolite to ask more than one. The session will go on as long as people have questions to ask, and/or until cut off by a festival staffer in order to clear the house for the next film.

13) Depending on how long the session goes and/or if another screening is coming in, there may be an opportunity to meet the filmmakers and actors. This happens more often than most people think and you don’t have to be a VIP.

14) At times, the filmmakers and cast members are moved out to the lobby or on the street and greet the public there. They often will take pictures, sign autographs, etc. You don’t have to be a member of the press to rub elbows with the stars.

Whether this is your first film festival or your 50th, it is always a new experience. Enjoy the show!

film reel

Sandman Celebrates Dine Out Vancouver!

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The holidays are special to some, but in Vancouver ‘The most wonderful time of the year’ is arguably less about ‘Yuletide carols being sung by a choir’ and more about yummy food being savoured by a crowd of die-hard foodies.

What we’re talking about is Dine Out Vancouver – the annual, citywide restaurant festival that lets curious culinary connoisseurs discover all the best fare this city has to offer (at amazing prices too!). Slated to take place from January 18 – February 3, there will be throngs of hungry gastronomes heading to a wide range of restaurants to test out a variety of fixed-price menus ranging from approximately $18 – $ 38.

chopOur very own Chop Steakhouse & Bar will be participating in the exciting event, offering up sweet and savoury dishes that reflect the essence of the tasty cuisine. Guests heading to Chop Steakhouse & Bar can expect to find a delicious $38 menu with a great array of culinary picks such as: roasted butternut squash soup with lemon sour cream, prime rib (12 oz) slowly roasted in rock salt and fresh ground pepper, with hand shaved fresh horseradish and au jus served (with a choice of: infused mashed potatoes, wild rice pilaf, baked potato, Chop cut fries or fresh seasonal vegetables), mini raspberry crème brûlée white chocolate, raspberries and caramelized sugar and so much more.

Located in Richmond at the Sandman Signature Hotel & Resort Vancouver Airport, the Dine Out menu provides chop dine out menuan exciting montage of appies, mains and desserts that are sure to impress even the most seasoned Dine Out fanatic. Featuring a $28 menu as well, they are focused on providing a refined, enticing, yet relaxed steak experience that tantalizes the taste buds with only the best AAA Canadian beef, the freshest local ingredients, and a surprising variety of options. Plus, if you are looking for a place to stay after your experience, our cozy Sandman Signature beds are literally an elevator ride away.

DSC_0463In addition, for those who are testing out venues in the city or downtown, other Sandman Hotels in Vancouver, such as Vancouver City Centre and Vancouver Suites on Davie Street are also offering accommodation deals for the event which is expected to draw in thousands upon thousands of locals and international visitors alike!

Possibly the tastiest way to treat yourself to cozy accommodations, fine food and a good time all in one, do yourself a favour and head to Dine Out Vancouver this year!

To see Chop Steakhouse & Bar’s Dine Out menu, click here: http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Chop-Steakhouse-Bar/21096/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu

To view Dine Out hotel packages with Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre, click here: https://reservations.tourismvancouver.com/Hotels-Motels/Package.asp?Hotel_ID=SHV&AFL_ID=DOVF&Pkgc=DOVF

To view Dine Our hotel packages with Sandman Suites Vancouver Davie Street, click here: https://reservations.tourismvancouver.com/Hotels-Motels/Package.asp?Hotel_ID=SSV&AFL_ID=DOVF&Pkgc=DOVF

Please visit dineoutvancouver.com for complete festival details.