As soon as you pull up to the Four Seasons Resort at Whistler you know you are in for an unusual experience. The skis and snowboards are whisked away to the ski concierge facility at the base of the Wizard lift, a five minute walk away, already waiting for your first run before you’ve even entered the stone and timbered lobby of the hotel. Inside, the huge spaces and dramatic artworks remind you that you are in Whistler’s iconic accommodation. But the big surprise is how comfortable it all feels, how easy going, without a trace of the stiffness you might find in an urban setting.
I’ve had the opportunity to live at the Four Seasons on my last few trips to Canada’s world class ski and snowboard resort, and each time I find something new to like about it. While suites and private residences will attract the well heeled and demanding, as a business traveler I find the typical rooms here to be more than luxurious. The rooms all have balconies, the better to take in the autumn air or check out the snow conditions in the morning before planning your day. And I’m always well rested because somehow the rooms are virtually sound proof, providing a sense of privacy and comfort and well-being that is rare for a hotel this size. Because, as an adventure journalist, I’m often working rather than playing on my trips to Whistler, the serenity is a quality I hold dear.
At a conference at Whistler Village last year, I purposefully chose the Four Seasons to be at a slight and pleasant remove from all the action. There’s a sense of peace and quiet one gets living in the Upper Village, especially at the Four Seasons, that appeals to me, especially since the center of the action down in the middle of town is just a short stroll away. Thinking I was the only one with such reclusive tendencies, I was surprised to run into an old friend, National Geographic Adventure columnists Costas Christ, who was doing exactly the same thing I was. We laughed, and noted that great minds think alike, before sitting down to the kind of casual yet incomparably prepared regional dishes at the Fifty Two 80 Bistro, named for the number of vertical feet that can be skied on Blackcomb. It’s an ambience that is unique to Whistler.
On my last trip to the Four Seasons I needed to catch up on email and file a couple of stories after the drive up from Seattle. Sitting by the fire in the bar, with snow falling and a stiff breeze blowing beyond the soaring windows, I enjoyed a lightning fast internet connection, an outstanding pinot grigio, and a remarkable cheese platter as I attended to my work. Simple things, to be sure, but when enjoyed in such a dignified yet comfortable setting the effect is calming, and that makes one more productive. For me, it is the essence of a world-class accommodation.
I know that most visitors to the Four Seasons at Whistler will come here for the five star service, the big suites, the outrageously large stone-floored bathrooms. They will come for the ski concierge service, the spa, the healing massages after a long day on the slopes. They will come for perfect meals in the Fifty Two 80, or a room service breakfast with a view of the wind plumes off Blackcomb. And I can’t blame them. But I’ll be back for the dignified setting, the quiet, the comfort, the friendly service--and now, even the friends--and the sheer pleasure of staying in one of North America’s premier resorts.