Are you a snow bunny in search of ultimate pampering? Look no further than these Whistler resorts.
I’m at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler when my 8-year old daughter looks at me in despair. “Oh no, I left my ski goggles on the mountain!” She’s crushed. I make a call downstairs. Within half an hour, voila, the goggles are delivered from 3,000 feet into the hands of my smiling little girl. It’s the kind of magic this resort works every day, clearly the most exceptional resort/hotel service I have experienced in my wide travels. It’s the life of luxury in Whistler, Canada’s west coast playground.
The Four Seasons Resort Whistler is the only resort in Canada to receive AAA’s Five-Diamond Award for exceeding the expectations of even “the most refined travelers.” The resort’s rustic modern design blends in with the surroundings and does not seem forced. Each room or suite has a fireplace and most have carved wood balconies giving a sense of chalet life. For the ultimate luxury for families, the resort offers private residences with up to four bedrooms, gourmet kitchens and dining areas for 12.
The atmosphere is unmatched, but it’s the service that strikes me most, going above and beyond. Desire private ski or snowboard lessons? The resort’s handpicked instructors wear transmitters to give you instant feedback as you tackle that mogul, followed by video feedback. And should you want to travel light, the resort stocks a line of Prada skiwear so you can “leave home without it.” I ask for my rental skis on the day of departure to return them. “Oh, Ms. Wilcox, we’ve already done that for you,” I’m politely informed.
In summer, the resort creates a guest’s personal adventure profile based on a questionnaire, taking into account age, fitness level, enjoyment of speed, heights and the like to help arrange a perfect program of activities. They’ll know exactly whether you might need their “Golfer’s Massage” at the spa, or should be heading down a trail in search of bears and wildflowers. So what will they think of next at the Four Seasons? Don’t bother … they’ve already thought of that, too.
But the Four Seasons is not the only luxury game in town. Practically next door is the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Each Fairmont resort in Canada resembles a castle of sorts, and the chain is among my favorite in the world. The hotel’s location in Whistler is almost unmatched, right at the base of Blackcomb Mountain with ski-in, ski-out access (or hike-in, hike-out access in summer). The kid’s ski school is a stone’s throw away. Hand your family’s gear to the ski valet at day’s end, and in return they’ll hand you homemade apple cider. Outside the hotel’s huge back doors is a gentle slope sprinkled with colorful plastic sleds in winter, courtesy of the hotel for children’s delight. Inside is an elegant lounge, its fireplaces providing a hot-spot for lively après ski conversation and libations.
During one visit to the Fairmont Chateau, my family stayed in the prime penthouse, two-stories in height with floor-to-ceiling windows, grander-than-life panoramic views of the mountain and French doors to a viewing balcony. Wow. My kids spent hours by the windows watching the mountain action. On other visits, I’ve stayed in mere mortal rooms, but they’re pleasant. The walls of each hotel floor are colorfully painted with swirling flowers reminiscent of a Swiss chalet. And, if you visit around Christmas, the Fairmont will even arrange for a decorated Christmas tree in your room to bring your family’s celebration to where you are. That’s the spirit at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
But don’t discount the Fairmont in summer, with its 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Canada’s first David Leadbetter Academy, which are considered among the best golf academies in the world.
The services and facilities between the Four Seasons and Fairmont all add up to a life of luxury in Whistler. So look to be pampered and leave your worries behind.