Whistler has always been applauded for being one of British Columbia's most picturesque destinations. Home to its biggest and best snowy slopes, its stunning beauty and status as a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts are no longer an in-crowd secret. Just a two-hour drive from Vancouver across the stunning Sea to Sky Highway, it seemed like the perfect choice for a long weekend getaway — and also meant we weren't under pressure to find a last-minute flight — instead, hiring a rental car which cost just over $100 for the two days.
When we first arrived at the hotel, we all breathed a sigh of relief — not just at the sight of the hotel's exterior — but at the realization that we had finally made it. One of the friends I was traveling with was from the UK (like myself) and had never driven an automatic before. There was also the small issue of having to train her brain to ditch many of the road rules she already knew — driving on the opposite side being one.
On entering the hotel lobby, the puzzled receptionist informed me we were in fact in the wrong location. This was Pan Pacific Whistler Village, and we were staying in Pan Pacific Mountainside. Thankfully my Google Maps hiccup didn't set us too far back in our journey since we were only a two-minute drive from our hotel.
Despite arriving at 12 pm, the helpful staff offered to let us check in, which meant we didn't have to lug around our bags or keep them in the car. Looking around I noticed the hotel lobby was clean and spacious, with various wood accents, giving a lodge-style ambiance to the whole place. The guy at the front desk also offered us valet parking for $4 which saved us the effort of driving around in the hope of finding a parking space and allowed us to take our bags straight up to our room.
My first impressions of the room were that of utter appreciation — first and foremost for the large ceiling to floor windows giving us with the most incredible mountain views. I highly recommend booking a room with a mountainside view (you can either book a studio suite, one bedroom suite, or two bedroom suite). Although it's a little extra in terms of cost, it's definitely worth it. Since we were in town on a weekend with highs of two degrees celsius, I was also delighted at the prospect of having a gas fireplace in the living room to warm us up — the perfect cozy set-up for lounging with a coffee in hand while looking out onto our surroundings.
Location, Location, Location
Situated in the thick of Whistler Village, there are tonnes of shops and restaurants just a few minutes walk from the Pan Pacific Mountainside — the closest of which is the Salomon store — Whistler’s largest provider of mountain sports goods and equipment, conveniently located inside the hotel.
If you're hoping to go a little further afield to explore and don't fancy driving or catching a cab, the hotel also has a complimentary shuttle bus service. Having said that, we enquired about catching a ride over to the start of the Train Wreck Trail but were told it didn't go out that way — so I wouldn't rely on solely on the shuttle if you can help it.
If you're visiting Whistler for skiing, the location really couldn't be any better. Situated at the base of beautiful Whistler Mountain, you can literally ski in and out of this hotel. Ski lockers are located on the main floor just steps from the lift, and they also provide complimentary ski valet storage if you so desire. Once you're feeling tired, head back to the hotel to relax in the eucalyptus steam room or one of the hot tubs — the perfect spot to relax and take in your surroundings after a day at the slopes. If you decide to book your trip during summer for mountain biking season, this hotel is also a bike-friendly choice, with both secure storage and a tuning station available.
Anyone that lives in BC will know that November weather is a mix of dark clouds and stormy skies — so unsurprisingly we were greeted with rainy weather on arrival. As a result, we were extremely grateful for the cozy fireplace and drying rack for our sopping wet clothes.
The Pan Pacific team undoubtedly have home comforts in mind when equipping each room — ensuring guests can enjoy luxuries like a spacious bathroom with oversized bathtub, their own private balcony, and of course, complimentary high-speed WiFi. There was also a fully-equipped kitchen, well-stocked with coffee and tea making facilities, and a dining area if you decide you want to save money and cook food in the comfort of your suite.
Other amenities in the room included two LCD televisions with cable — one in the bedroom and one in the living area, an iPod docking station with audio speakers, a personal digital safe, and clock radio. Guests also have the option of accessing a daily electronic newspaper via the hotel app.
Time For a Bite
After settling in and admiring the view once more, we headed into the village for some food. We decided on Whistler Crystal Lounge — mainly because it was the first bar we came across — and had a quick bite and a drink, before browsing the surrounding stores. If you love shopping, you'll be happy in the knowledge that Whistler has everything — from Canadian favorites like Roots — to world famous brands like Arc'teryx and lululemon.
Of course, there are also a range of restaurants dotted throughout the village — a few popular spots including Bar Oso, which serves some of the west coast's finest Spanish tapas, and the Bearfoot Bistro — which is home to coldest vodka tasting room in the world, Ketel One. This is something we considered doing — but at $48 plus tax, plus gratuity for a 15-minute tour you'd better set aside a chunk of your budget for the excursion. We went to The Brewhouse for dinner, which served tasty pub food — although the atmosphere seemed to hit a bit of a lull not long after we arrived.
Soon after, we headed back to the hotel for a drink at the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub. Located on the ground floor of our hotel, it had an upbeat and fun atmosphere with great live music, which I'd thoroughly recommend. We also returned the following morning for a traditional Irish breakfast — where we indulged on a delicious plate of sausage, bacon, egg, and potatoes — not forgetting the side of soda bread and jam.
As expected in a luxury hotel, the bedroom offered the most comfortable king bed imaginable. Piled high with a mountain of soft pillows and neatly dressed with a warm feather comforter, it was just the ticket on a cold winter's night. The large LCD screen with cable was a nice extra luxury to really echo that home away from home feeling.
Waking up to a glorious mountain view in quiet comfort was also a welcomed novelty from my typical morning surroundings in my ground floor suite back in Vancouver.
Bye For Now
Suffice to say I was very sad I had to leave this beautiful resort come Monday morning. Luckily, I had the perfect pick me up planned — a visit to Whistler's highly-acclaimed Scandinave Spa. Other nearby attractions include Brandywine Falls, and the Whistler Train Wreck, which I mentioned previously. If you're driving (and willing to travel a little further) Garibaldi Provincial Park and Joffre Lakes are both just under an hour's drive — something I would have endeavored to do had we stayed a little longer.
Overall, the staff at Pan Pacific went out of their way to please us during our visit. As well as providing us with everything we needed for the perfect stay, they went the extra mile by offering us additional services, including a turn down for our bedroom — which although we felt we didn't need — was a nice extra touch and echoed the attentiveness of staff at the hotel.
If you are interested in booking a stay at the Pan Pacific Mountainside, their Birthday Bundle Package is now open for bookings as a celebration for their 20th anniversary.