Spent a few days away at wonderful Whistler Blackcomb! Nestled in British Columbia's coastal mountains, it's one of the most popular mountain destinations in North America.
We came prepared for three action packed days of snowboarding, but instead of falling snow we found rain instead :( Despite the less than ideal snow conditions we did manage to get one ski day in, and decided to pack the rest of our trip with a few non-skiing activities and a little exploring.
We stayed just outside the heart of Whistler Village at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler. Grand in scale, intimate by nature, this lavish hotel epitomizes the mountain spirit. The resort, rests at the base of Blackcomb mountain, with cozy wood interiors, fireplaces, terraces and balconies in every room, this is one of the finest luxury mountain resort hotels in the area.
Dennis and I have stayed at this hotel on three separate occasions - once in the summer and twice in winter - and have always had a wonderful experience. Although this time was a bit different because we decided to bring our dog Rypien! He had such a great time with us in Whistler and was able to stay free of charge! Most hotels charge extra fees for pets which can vary in cost but the Four Seasons charges no additional fee so be sure to bring your furry friend along!
There certainly is no shortage of things to love about this hotel - comfortable rooms with huge bathrooms, an amazing breakfast menu, ski valet, fitness centre, spa and outdoor heated pool and hot tubs.
There really aren't any negatives except for the fact that the hotel doesn't really have any chill space. The bar is good but it gets very busy and noisy. The rooms, although lovely and well appointed, aren't always the best if you want to hang out in a group. Sometimes you just want to relax by a fire in a cozy area.
No snow? No problem! Consistently rated one of Whistler’s top restaurants, the Rimrock Cafe exudes that appealing rustic elegance. This cozy cafe was the perfect ambiance in which to partake in the delectable menu which stars fresh seafood and wild game. Wine is also taken seriously, but there’s nothing pretentious about the 300-plus-label wine list or those selecting and serving the wines.
One of BC’s most celebrated chefs, James Walt, helms the kitchen at Araxi, which is arguably the most recognized fine dining restaurants in Whistler and certainly one of my favourites. We started out with half a dozen fresh oysters and a couple ice cold vodka martinis. We then preceded to enter the realm of such contemporary fare as hamachi sashimi, dungeness crab sushi roll and beef tenderloin steak. The wine list is to die for and consists of over 11,000 bottles of wine and over 1,000 different labels, this restaurant is a wine lovers dream! This is a dressy spot by Whistler standards, which means you’ll look fine in nice jeans and a collard shirt, but the gracious service and snazzy digs remind you that you’re someplace special.
Hip and intimate Alta Bistro sources from local area farmers and ranches. The menu here is small but everything we ordered was well prepared with great flavours and excellent service. A well curated drinks menu features local artisan beers and biodynamic wines, largely French :). A top notch gastro-bistro mountain experience.
Skiing and/or snowboarding is the obvious choice activity when visiting Whistler. February is usually a great time for skiing at most resorts, unfortunately, this was not the case for us. We arrived in Whistler during the middle of a warm weather spell so we decided to only ski one day of our 3-day trip. Thankfully for us we picked the right day, as it started raining the very next day and didn't let up for the remainder of our trip.
Although it was nice to be out skiing, the snow conditions were less than ideal - think cement, mashed potatoes, sticky, thick, heavy, wet sloppy snow! As anyone who's ever booked a ski holiday before you can only hope and pray that the snow gods will bless you with epic conditions as Mother Nature is impossible to predict. We made the most of it nonetheless and the good news is that if the skiing sucks there are lots of other things to do in Whistler.
Of course, we had no shame spending a non-ski day lazing on a massage bed. Although our beautiful hotel boasted a cushy spa of its own, we decided to head a few kilometers north of Whistler Village to the most stunningly situated of the bunch, Scandinave. Located on a spruce-studded hillside, the Scandinave Spa is an open-air compound that is best appreciated on a rainy day or starlit evening. You can book Thai yoga, hot stone, deep tissue and Swedish massages, or soak in the outdoor hot tubs, Finnish sauna, and eucalyptus steam room, set on terraces with outdoor fireplaces and solariums.
A brand new art gallery filled with an extensive collection of First Nations art and one of the best collections of BC artists - Emily Carr, E. J. Hughes, Takao Tanabe, and Bill Reid to name a few. The collection and building were donated by Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa. The building itself is elegant yet retrained and provides a quiet minimal backdrop to the art it houses and the surrounding natural landscape. Nestled amongst the trees at the bottom of Blackcomb mountain, it's an angular dark-metal clad structure raised several meters above the ground (due to a flood plan). The building blends perfectly into the forrest and only one tree had to be removed to build it! This museum is definitely worth a visit when in Whistler! A world worthy collection of irreplaceable historical artifacts.