Pacific Spirit is a seasonal hostel open May through the middle of August. The rooms are either with one bed or two, complete with bedding, desk and chair, solid doors with excellent locks, big mirrors, lots of closets, and they each have an opening window with a view. The common spaces on each floor have televisions, fridge, and microwave, and there are washers and dryers. Central toilets and showers have quality fixtures and are well lit. The layouts vary from building to building, and from one complex to the next, but the same amenities are found in all those we visited. High speed internet can be switched on for additional cost in the room, but it is also available in the lobbies.
This hostel is clean and quiet -- it is definitely not what would be called a party hostel. There are pubs, a liquor store, coffee places, and a Café Crepe within walking distance, but probably the bigger draws nearby are short walks to the Museum of Anthropology, the Nitobe Japanese Garden, and the Rose Garden. For enthusiastic walkers, there are many miles of forest paths in Pacific Spirit Park. Also a steep trail leads down to Wreck Beach, a nudist-type venue beneath the cliffs. For something different, the University Bookstore offers a variety of souvenirs as well as a good selection of books.
Getting there from downtown Vancouver takes more than thirty minutes, but there are many buses to choose from (usually they have a number and the letters UBC). That part is easy. Here is the catch -- the loop where they arrive is fifteen or twenty minutes' walk from the hostel, and a University map would be useful. They will give you one at the desk -- a little late after your arrival -- or you could get it before on the internet. Otherwise just keep going west, the hostel is at the edge of that cliff above the nude beach, at the very end. If you arrive at the wrong complex, another six blocks south gets you to your correct lobby.
Best picks for food nearby are hamburger specials at the Pit Pub in the Student Union Building cellar, Chinese food, or groceries at the Village on University Boulevard. Going further out by bus, shopping areas in Kerrisdale and Kitsilano are twenty minutes away, Granville Island a little further. Downtown is across the bridge from Granville Island, or else a mini ferry ride away. A scenic, easygoing walk would take four hours all the way -- also a good choice. Bicycling is an option, and it's not bad all the way downtown. Parking cars is expensive and the overnight lot is distant.
A tip about the room locks -- they can be set that they lock automatically, so it is a good idea to always take the key along, even for a short trip to the commons.