Of Vancouver's three bathhouses, F212 Steam Vancouver (1048 Davie St., 2nd floor, 604-689-9719) has the best location in terms of the West End gay scene - it's right on Davie Street, a mere stone's throw from several gay bars and a short walk from a number of hotels and gay-friendly B&Bs. This is a large and nicely maintained gay sauna, always drawing a substantial - and diverse - crowd. The 6,500-space on the second floor of a building along busy Davie Street, and it has private rooms in three configurations, a 12-man hot tub, a pair of steam rooms, a very playful maze, and a quite cushy lounge with a TV, leather sofas, and a fireplace.
It's 20- to 30-minute walk or 10-minute cab ride to the city's other very popular gay sauna, Steamworks Vancouver.
Part of the enormously popular Steamworks brand, which also has gay bathhouses in Berkeley, Chicago, Toronto, and Seattle, this beautiful and very popular gay sauna on the edge of downtown and just a few blocks from Gastown and Chinatown is a bit of a walk from the Davie Street Gay Village. However, if it's a good mix of attractive guys - from college students to silver foxes - it's worth making the trip over to this facility, which is one of the nicest in Canada. Steamworks Vancouver (123 W. Pender St., 604-974-0602) is open 24/7 and has lockers starting at quite low prices during day, all the way up to extra large rooms that run up for up to $55 on weekends. Theme nights - such as Bulge (jocks, latex, underwear, etc., the third Saturday of each month) and Lights Out Night (a nearly pitch-black, sensual experience that takes place on Thursdays from 4 pm until 4 am) bring in especially good crowds, and - as is typical of saunas - Steamworks really packs them in on Friday and Saturday nights.
The other bathhouse in metro area is Steam1 (430 Columbia St., New Westminster, 604-540-2117), which is actually out in the suburbs in the city of New Westminster, a 35- to 45-minute drive southeast of Vancouver's West End. While this is a nice, clean, well-cared-for venue, it tends not to be of much interest to tourists because of its suburban off-the-beaten-path location.
That said, if you're without a car, you can still easily get here via the handy Vancouver Sky Train metro, as the Columbia station is just a few steps away from Steam1.