Posted by: Feet Banks
Whistler’s roots as a skiing epicentre may have started with a bunch of 1960s hippies living in shacks and vans but these days the sky is the limit for luxurious accommodation.
As Whistler has evolved the hot tubs have gotten hotter, the fine wine finer and the good life better. These days Whistler can (and does) offer truly high-end experiences and accommodations so this week The Insider is putting on our good shirt and taking a look at some of Whistler’s high-end, exclusive and most luxurious places to stay.
First Tracks Lodge
The first thing to know about First Tracks Lodge is that there is no place in town where your pillow will be closer to the gondola— this is real-deal slopeside accommodation with the front entrance less than 50 feet (15 metres) from the Whistler Creekside Gondola.
Heavy timber, classy stonework and finely detailed suites immediately set the tone tone at First Tracks Lodge but the true upper-level luxury comes from their willingness to serve your every need.
“A lot of our guests these days want a private chef to come cook right in their suite so we arrange that,” says Jaime Dunn, Director of Sales Marketing and a 12-year Sea to Sky local. “It’s not like we have a room full of chefs in the basement or anything but we work with local companies who do it and do it well. Personalized, in-room service is a big focus for us, everything can be arranged.”
Nita Lake Lodge
The only hotel in Whistler situated on a lake, this Creekside hideaway exudes so much calming peace and solitude that most of your needs can be attended to without ever leaving the premises. Nita Lake Lodge offers on-location spa, lounge, restaurant, café, yoga, fitness, art gallery, pool and hot tubs, as well as a shuttle to Whistler Village for shopping or exploring.
“For us, luxury is offering a boutique experience with a personal touch,” says Nancy Steward, Marketing and Communications manager at Nita Lake Lodge. “Each weekend we offer a complimentary s’mores station and we feature live music three times a week.” She adds that the hotel also has brand new complimentary snowshoes available and an incredible ever-burning fire pit to sit around whilst staring out at the lake and mountains beyond.
Westin Resort Spa Whistler
The Westin is tucked into the forest beside the Whistler Village Gondola (which means it’s also very close to the Blackcomb Excalibur Gondola) and offers some of the swankiest accommodation in the Village proper. Best known for their ridiculously comfortable “Heavenly” beds, the Westin also recently launched the luxurious “Westin Well-Being” movement. “We want to help our guests pursue their well-being before, during, and after their stay,” explains Tony Cary-Barnard, Westin General Manager. “We’ve introduced programs to ensure guests move, eat, sleep, feel, work, and play well.”
The programs include everything from nutrition-conscious menus to upgraded Wi-Fi capable of video conferencing (or running Netflix on 8 devices simultaneously). The indoor/outdoor pool and hot tubs offer the uniquely amazing experience of comfortably sitting in a hot tub outdoors in a snowstorm. The Westin also has a lending program in place for guests who forgot workout gear (or didn’t have room in their luggage for size 12 running shoes).
“Guests come to Whistler to experience an escape,” Tony says. “We want them to leave feeling better than when they arrived.”
Hilton Whistler Resort Spa
Exclusivity always adds to the luxury and there’s only one hotel in Whistler where you can have a real wood-burning fireplace in your room. Whistler municipal bylaws don’t allow real fireplaces but The Hilton is an exception.
“This building opened in 1982 and was one of the first built in Whistler Village so the fireplaces are grandfathered in,” explains Lisa St-Amand, Director of Sales Marketing, adding that you need not be handy with an axe to enjoy this amenity. “Our Bell staff come open the flue and start the fire for you, we make sure everything is safe.”
The Hilton bought and heavily renovated their building in the mid-2000s but being a Whistler Village original means they enjoy truly centralized access to Whistler, Blackcomb, the Whistler Golf Club and everything the Village has to offer, including Art Gallery Row right in their own building.
“We also have Taman Sari, a traditional Javanese spa as well as a tennis court,” Lisa explains. “Our pool gets the last light of the day and there’s an electric car charging station in our parkade.”
And with the Hilton’s perfect Village location, once you park the car, you won’t need it again.
Upper Village/Blackcomb Base
Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort
Built slopeside at the base of Blackcomb Mountain in the late 1980s, ‘The Chateau’ boasts some of the most majestic architecture in town— with its high ceilings, huge beams, and grandiose mountain chalet feel, the Fairmont lobby is an experience all on its own. The real luxury, at least according to Gold Supervisor/Concierge Daniel Havens, exists in “the hotel within the hotel.”
The très exclusive “Fairmont Gold” experience is made up of 57 of the nicest rooms in the hotel (including the penthouses) and includes a private lounge and private concierge.
“The Gold experience starts as soon as you walk through the door,” Daniel explains. “You are whisked up to the top floor for a private check-in. Once you go Gold, you never go back.”
Daniel is part of a concierge team that is one of Whistler’s best recognized. “Every member on both our Gold and regular concierge desk is a wealth of knowledge,” Daniel says. “One of our colleagues has been there 21 years and the ‘newest’ member has 11 years behind them. This year we’ve added a Whistler Experience Guide to engage and guide our guests through certain Whistler activities with an added local’s perspective.”
You won’t need a guide to enjoy après in The Mallard Lounge however. The crackling fire, large murals and mountain views make it one of Whistler’s favourite après spots. Great food and handcrafted cocktails don’t hurt either, not to mention the Fairmont Chateau Golf Course course across the street.
The Four Seasons Resort Whistler
When it comes to luxury the Four Seasons doesn’t mess around. Their residences are about as high-end as Whistler accommodation gets. “You get a residential manager who interviews you about what you need and don’t need,” explains Brian Dye, Four Seasons Director of Marketing. “If you want a butler, a private chef, your kids’ names written in bubble bath or a bottle of wine that is only distributed in Europe we make sure it is all waiting as soon as you arrive.”
Or if you want to heli-jet off to sleep in a private igloo on the Pemberton ice cap, Brian can arrange that too. “We partner with local companies who are doing the best destination experiences,” Brian says. “Everything from backcountry ice palaces to hitting golf balls off the top of Mount Currie, we make sure there is a Four Seasons pro up there to help with your swing and a bartender for afterwards.”
That Four Seasons touch is also apparent in their ski concierge program. Guests are set up with ski gear at the hotel but then it’s magically whisked to an exclusive ski concierge lounge at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, where staff will grab your equipment (and help buckle your boots) while you sip hot chocolate and eat cookies. At the end of the day, you drop your gear off, slip on the comfy shoes and you’re instantly après ready.
“It’s one less thing to worry about when you are herding the family out the door,” Brian explains. And yeah, they really do have hot chocolate and cookies because true luxury can be as simple as providing the perfect thing at the right time.
Learn more about the any of the above hotels or discover more of Whistler’s luxurious side at Whistler.com