Hotel-style housing for international students opens in Vancouver

The story is all too familiar – international students arriving to Vancouver for homestays only to find their rooms located under a stairway, or in a far removed suburb hours from their school.

But this is now changing with the help of companies like CIBT Education Group. Last week, CIBT announced they were buying the Viva Suites, a luxury 17-storey building at the intersection of Howe and Drake with plans to convert it into student housing.

CEO Toby Chu notes how the rental vacancy rate in Vancouver is less than 1%, so the demand for this type of housing will be great. There are approximately 100,000 foreign students living in the Greater Vancouver area, and many of these students can benefit from quality housing located downtown and minutes from their schools.

Over the next six months CIBT will renovate the Viva Suites to provide over 200 beds for international students. Rents will range from $900 – $2500 depending on the suite and its amenities.

Even though renovations are still underway, Viva Suites has already reached 50% occupancy. A strong draw for students is that they can rent rooms on a short- or long-term basis.

Chu says more developments such as this one are in the planning stages in Richmond and Vancouver. His company plans to build housing for up to 5000 students over the coming years.

More about Viva Suites

Viva Suites is centrally located downtown, close to shopping, nightlife, and some of Vancouver’s best restaurants. It formerly catered to business travelers, but CIBT is remodeling the suites to include “student-centric design items” such as bunk beds. Other services provided by the company will include airport pickup and shuttle bus service, private tutoring, daily hot meal service, weekend social activities, IT support and academic counselling.

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