Long considered one of Canada’s top getaways, the resort town of Whistler, British Columbia is the ultimate outdoor escape. Best known as the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the village welcomes millions of visitors from around the world each year, who come to enjoy its epic ski hills in the winter and activities like mountain biking, hiking and rafting during warmer months. Its proximity to Vancouver, mesmerizing views, luxurious chalets and culinary scene have combined to make Whistler one of the country’s ritzier spots, making it the perfect place for a glam getaway.
Where to stay
When it comes to luxe lodging, it’s hard to beat the hand-picked villas curated by Luxury Retreats. Their Whistler cabin rentals include cozy log chalets nestled in alpine forests, modern estate homes with floor-to-ceiling windows offering unobstructed views of the mountains and glistening Nita Lake, and private lodges which include a champagne welcome and private hot tub. The palatial Stonebridge Retreat is particularly impressive, boasting five bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, a wine cellar, piano and sun loungers. Tucked in to a grove of thick trees in an exclusive neighbourhood, it has easy access to the village and ski hills, and even comes with a private chef and housekeepers.
Don’t need quite that much space? Then book in at the elegant Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler, and enjoy perks like a private balcony, L’Occitane bath products and even amenities for your pet.
What to do
No trip to Whistler (at least during winter) is complete without hitting the ski hill, so head to Whistler Blackcomb which is often crowned as one of North America’s top ski resorts. With more than eight-thousand acres spread over two mountains, the varied terrain offers something for skiiers of all levels. Enjoy a premium experience by hiring a private guide to tip you off about where to find the best champagne powder and viewpoints, and get you priority access at the chairlifts. For a bucket list-worthy experience, book a cat-skiing or heli-skiing experience to spend the day making fresh tracks on a glacier.
The Whistler and Blackcomb peaks are linked by the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which operates year round and is used to shuttle hikers in the summer months. Granting panoramic views of Whistler Village, alpine meadows, craggy peaks and glaciers, it’s the ultimate way to soak in the scenery.
Travel like a one-percenter by exploring from the air. There are a few different options for flight-seeing tours in Whistler by both float plane and helicopter, which offer a birds-eye vantage point of the piercing turquoise lakes, snow-covered peaks, lush valleys and winding rivers that British Columbia is famous for. Up the ante by arranging to be dropped off right on a glacier for a picnic lunch, or enjoy a heli-hiking, heli-snowmobiling, snowbiking or ice caving expedition.
Boasting a handful of championship golf courses, Whistler is one of Canada’s premiere golf destinations. In fact, the Whistler Golf Club and the Nicklaus North Golf Club were designed by Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, respectively. Golfers tee off in the shade of the towering mountain peaks, spending the day on fairways and greens lined by the likes of granite rock faces, babbling brooks and old-growth forests.
There are few luxuries greater than enjoying some R&R, so pamper yourself at one of Whistler’s top spas. A memorable option is Scandinave, which is based around the Scandinavian tradition of hydrotherapy which sees guests alternate between hot and cold treatments to increase circulation and energy. For the ultimate indulgence, book a full spa package which includes treatments like a deep tissue massage, before relaxing under the Nordic waterfall, inside the Finnish sauna or around one of the outdoor fireplaces.
Another luxe option is The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge, which is found inside the gorgeous lakeside wellness resort. It offers yoga, roof top hot tubs, a eucalyptus-infused steam room and naturopathic services alongside treatments like rejuvenating body scrubs and hot stone massages.
No ski day is complete without some apres, and Whistler has plenty of spots to please the palate. One standout is Bearfoot Bistro, which serves up champagne in illuminated ice, as well as vodka flights in the sub-zero Ketel One Ice Room. Guests are outfitted with chic Canada Goose parkas, before sipping on a global array of spirits in the world’s coldest vodka taste room. Other crowd-pleasers include Araxi Restaurant + Bar which is known for its seasonal menus curated with locally-sourced ingredients, and the Mallard Lounge found in the iconic Fairmont Chateau Whistler at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.
Treat yourself to a shopping spree in Whistler’s village, which has plenty of great shops. ARC’TERYX and Eddie Bauer will get you geared up, L’Occitane En Provence and Lush are great for pampering, and Aritzia and Lululemon are Canadian brands popular with fashionistas.
How to get there
Most people arrive in Whistler via Seattle, Bellingham or Vancouver, which are the nearest airports. Shuttles regularly travel the scenic Sea to Sky Highway between the Vancouver airport and Whistler which takes two hours, but if you’re looking to arrive in style there are a few other options:
- Private driver: A number of executive car services operate out of the Vancouver airport, which will whisk you straight from the arrivals area to the mountains in a stretch limo—fully stocked with champagne if you’d like!
- Rental car: In the mood for a road trip? Sea to Sky Exotic offers luxury car rentals in both Calgary and Vancouver, and their high-end fleet includes Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Maseratis, Range Rovers and Jaguars.
- Helicopter: The spectacular mountain views are best seen from the air, so hop in a helicopter for a luxe transfer. The scenic flight takes about 30 minutes, and pick-ups are also available at the Vancouver Harbour.
- Float plane: Seasonal float plane transfers are available from May through September, which will see you soar over mountain peaks and shimmering lakes en route to the alpine town. Float plane transfers are available from both Vancouver and Victoria.
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