Say ‘Whistler/Blackcomb’ to a skier and see watch for the reaction.
Picture this: You are having a conversation with a skier. Watch what happens when you say ‘Whistler/Blackcomb…’ If that person has been to Whistler, you’ll see ‘Yeah, that’s it!’ in the person’s eyes. If not, you’ll see someone dreaming of a powder skiing Shangri-La. This place has been voted the best skiing resort in North America about ten times in the last decade. It may be the best in the world. It has the vertical feet, it has the relaxed feel you’re looking for when the lifts close and above all; it has The Snow.
The Chateau is as grand as it gets.
Staying in Whistler means staying at the Chateau, if you want to stay somewhere grand. The service level is almost too high. An army of bell boys are ready to grab your skis and put them in your private rack when you return to the hotel. You have a locker of your own for your ski boots, and thus you’re able to change into something more comfortable for your feet, before having a cup of (free) coffee and some (free) candy next to the kindergarten. Yes, that’s right. At the entrance there’s a room full of toys where the little ones can go bananas when they don’t feel like skiing anymore. This is typical for the entire hotel. Things are well thought out and smart. Add to that the fact that it’s approximately zero meters from the hotel to the high speed quad chair ‘Wizard’ that will take you half way up the Blackcomb Mountain in no time. Whistler/Blackcomb is way larger than the rest of Canada’s ski areas with 38 lifts and more than 200 groomed slopes. And of course it’s the skiing that draws people here.
A great hotel. Had it only been smaller…
The Chateau Whistler is a very good and well managed hotel. Location is super but it’s a tad too big and too modern to earn a lot of points for cosiness. That’s why it’s getting four stars and not five. On the other hand, I’m not the kind of person who would want to spend time in a ‘cosy’ hotel when there’s an annual snowfall of more than five meters, but the scale of it all takes away a little from the experience.
Now, a final warning: My bank’s private equity advisor would need some extra oxygen if he saw the amount on the hotel bill at checkout. This is especially true if you’re booking yourself in around New Year’s. Yes, that’s what I did.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler
4599 Chateau Boulevard
Whistler, British Columbia
PS. The night after the pictures above was taken, an incoming snow blizzard brought 70 centimeters of the white fluffy stuff. Since this is Canada, they know how to plan the lift layout on the mountain – chairs go to the ridge and then there’s one groomed run, so that everybody will be able to ski down. The rest is left for us addicted to deep and steep. Before lunch that day, I had three of my best five runs ever. Yes, it was incredible.