Stepping into the bright new lobby of the Steveston Hotel, it feels like you’re walking into a swish boutique property. But while the freshly painted walls and shiny new artworks are part of a large-scale, contemporary-cool renovation, this heart-of-the-village accommodation is still one of BC’s most historic hotels.

The refurbishment has certainly elevated the property. But the hotel’s colourful, even gritty past hasn’t been forgotten. We recently dropped by and discovered six great reasons to stay.

Steveston Hotel Room Interior
The new room design has a smart, contemporary feel. | Photo: ​Steveston Hotel

Unique Heritage

Built in 1895 when Steveston was at the height of its fishing industry and salmon-canning heyday, the property was originally named the Sockeye Hotel. At that time, the village was a bustling, tough-as-nails community with lots of locals and seasonal workers from around the world. The hotel was at the heart of all the action.

Steveston Hotel Exterior
The historic hotel is one of the oldest in the region. | Photo: ​Steveston Hotel

But that action also had a darker side. During a 1900 fishing strike, troops sent to keep order were stationed at the Sockeye. And when Steveston­­—like many wood-built BC settlements—faced a village-wide fire in 1918, the hotel was badly damaged. It survived, though, and eventually evolved from being a fishing industry hangout to a well-located inn for visitors. It even became a TV show star in recent years, when its exterior was transformed into the Storybrooke Hotel for Once Upon A Time.

New Look

With its 125th anniversary approaching in 2020, the Steveston Hotel had nevertheless become a little frayed around the edges over the decades. In particular, some of its comfy guestrooms had a yesteryear feel that cried out for an upgrade. And that’s exactly what the owners have been doing recently, via a three-phase renovation program that’s making the property look far better than it ever has.

Steveston Hotel Lobby
The new lobby shows how the renovations are transforming the property. | Photo: ​Steveston Hotel

Alongside its transformed lobby, the corridors have new carpets, lighting and wood-paneled white walls. A new laundry room and TV lounge are also being added. But it’s the guestrooms—including some that have been knocked together to create a new, lower room count of 19—that have seen the biggest changes. If you’ve stayed here before, you’ll likely be shocked at the way these particular rooms have been improved.

Steveston Hotel Room Bed
The new look is a complete transformation. | Photo: ​Steveston Hotel

New Rooms

Eight of the Steveston Hotel's guestrooms have now been fully renovated, complete with all-new furnishings, flat screen TVs, and totally transformed bathrooms, which now have a modern look. There’s a bright, fresh feel to each of these rooms: white-painted walls, brand new lamps, and upgraded carpets, curtains, and bed linens. Additional amenities and services also include air conditioning, free wi-fi, free guest parking, and free phone calls across North America. The Steveston Hotel is also a pet-friendly property.

Even those rooms still to be renovated are perfectly clean and comfortable, of course; and renovations are set to resume in January. The remaining rooms and public spaces are expected to be completed by May 2020.

Steveston Hotel Faucet
New bathrooms are also part of the upgrade. | Photo: ​Steveston Hotel

Great Value

Rooms at the Steveston Hotel include Economy Doubles, Standard Doubles, Superior Queens, and more. But it’s not just about how your room looks: price is also a key deciding factor. And that’s where this place really stands out. This hotel offers some of the region’s best deals. Rates run from $115 to $220 per room, depending on type and the time of year—which can mean considerable savings on your trip’s overall budget.

Brilliant Location

Beyond price, location is also a vital consideration for most travellers—and this hotel couldn't be closer to the heart of the village. It’s situated right alongside the Moncton Street main drag, which means you’re just steps from top attractions including the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, Steveston Museum, and Steveston Tram.

Fisherman’s Wharf is also just around the corner. And waterfront Garry Point Park is a five-minute stroll away, complete with its scenic trails and birding opportunities. Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site is also just a 20-minute shoreline walk from the hotel. And there are dozens of great independent stores to check out along Moncton Street and beyond. 

Steveston Boardwalk & Wharf View
The Steveston Hotel is very close to Fisherman's Wharf and the boardwalk. | Photo: Tourism Richmond

Steveston is also studded with great restaurants, including several top-rated places to enjoy fish and chips. And don't forget that the recently opened Anar Persian Cuisine is just down the street from the hotel, located in its own charming heritage building. And Richmond’s city centre is just a 15-minute drive or 25-minute transit bus ride away.

Popular Pub

But you don’t even need to leave the property if you’re hungry. The Steveston Hotel's onsite Steveston Cafe is great for breakfast and lunch (go for the bargain $7 Early Bird Breakfast), while the lobby level Buck & Ear Pub is a favourite Steveston hangout. Starting life as a gritty fishing industry bar, it has become a welcoming neighbourhood watering hole in recent years.

Steveston Hotel Sign
There are plenty of onsite amenities. | Photo: John Lee

Check out the pub’s craft beers and comfort food menu, ranging from burgers to steak and Guinness pies. But don’t miss their happy hour. One of Richmond’s best, it runs daily from 3:00pm to 6:00pm (and from 9:00pm to closing time between Thursday and Sunday). Its $5, $8, and $10 deals include everything from perogies to fish tacos, but we especially love the chicken wings.

Hand Pie at the Buck & Ear
A Hand Pie from the Buck & Ear. | Photo: John Lee