The Westin Whistler: a No-Brainer for Bikes, Dogs, and People

The Westin Whistler: a No-Brainer for Bikes, Dogs, and People

The Westin Whistler: a No-Brainer for Bikes, Dogs, and People

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The Westin Whistler: a No-Brainer for Bikes, Dogs, and People

Whistler Resort, in British Columbia, has one of the biggest base villages of any mountain resort in North America. And because it’s popular year-round, with skiing in the winter and lift-serviced mountain biking and hiking in the summer, the hotels stay pretty pricey year-round. If you want a four- or five-star hotel in the village on a random midweek night in August, you should expect to pay $413 at the Four Seasons Whistler, just over $400 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, or more than $600 for the above-and-beyond Fairmont Gold Experience.

Those are beautiful hotels, but there’s no denying they’re pricey — which is what makes the Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler (also in the Whistler Village) such an appealing prospect.

On the same random midweek date (August 13), a basic room at the Westin Whistler is $306, including taxes. And there’s nothing “basic” about it, since every room has a fireplace and full kitchen. That means you can prep meals and snacks in your room — and have plenty of space to socialize without having to sit on your bed.

I recently stayed at the Westin Whistler with my dog and mountain bikes in tow to catch the season opening of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. It was one of the most dog-friendly hotels I’ve ever stayed in, and the useful bike valet service saved me from the hassle of wheeling my dirty mountain bike into the pristine rooms.

Here’s what to know if you’re thinking about a Whistler trip this summer, and why it seemed like the Westin Whistler hits the sweet spot between price, convenience, and luxury.

It’s super dog-friendly

westin whistler review - dog spying

Photo: Suzie Dundas

The Westin Whistler isn’t just a dog-friendly hotel — it’s wildly dog friendly. There’s no charge to bring a dog, and you can have up to two in a room with no limits on size. When we checked in, my dog was greeted with a generously sized dog bone, and the hotel’s location on the edge of the village means there are lots of green spaces and paths to take dogs outside without walking through the crowded village. And if my dog’s behavior is to believed, there are also plenty of interesting things to spy on through the windows.

Rooms: all suites, all the time

Westin Whistler review - dog friendly

Photo: Suzie Dundas

The rooms are slightly cheaper than comparable high-end resorts in the village, but it seems like you get a lot more bang for your buck. All rooms at the Westin Whistler are suites, with full kitchens (including fridges and stovetops) and fireplace. Many of the rooms, including my queen suite I stayed in, have private balconies or patios.

Obviously, having a kitchen in your room makes it easy to save money by cooking in your room, prepping snacks for a day of hiking or biking, or actually eating the leftovers you brought home from dinner the night before. But the nature of having a kitchen means the suites are bigger than most other hotel rooms, even in the cheapest rooms. Both my husband and I work remotely, and our room had plenty of space for us each to set up and work without feeling like we were too close.

The rooms also had other thoughtful details, like a calming lavender balm to use before bed, a big soaking bathtub, and super-fast Wi-Fi. We didn’t hear any noise from other guests, cars, or the lively bars in the village.

Westin Whistler review - doolie with pillows

Westin Heavenly beds: dog approved. Photo: Suzie Dundas

As a brand, Westin always touts its “Heavenly” bed, available to buy for at-home use and supposedly influenced by years of sleep research and studies. If you believe the hype, it’s supposed to be more comfortable, better at regulating temperature, and less likely to transfer movement to your partner.

And honestly: it mostly lived up to the hype! I did big mountain bike rides every day I was there, and during bike season, I usually wake up with back pain and stiffness. But I felt pretty good when I woke up each morning. While I can’t say that’s all because of one bed, it was nice to wake up feeling refreshed, which isn’t something that always happens while sleeping in new places. The bed also did a good job of absorbing movement, as my 45-pound dog managed to jump up and snuggle next to me every morning without waking me up.

It’s loaded with bike- and ski-friendly perks

westin whistler review - bike valet

Let the valet deal with your muddy, dirty, or wet bike (or skis). Photo: Suzie Dundas

Whistler’s summer bike park is one of the best in the world, and Whistler-Blackcomb is literally the biggest ski resort in North America. So obviously, all hotels in the area cater to skiers and bikers. But I found this one especially bike-friendly for a few reasons.

For starters, it has a bike valet. Think of it as a car valet, but for mountain bikes. When you arrive or get back from a ride, you give your bike to a valet, who takes it to a secure storage area. There’s no need to carry your bike through the hotel or have a dirty bike in your room, and when you’re ready to head out the next morning, just give your bike tag to the valet. The bikes are stored very close to reception, so retrieving your bike is super quick. Each bike is only $6 to valet — a pretty reasonably fee compared to most services in Whistler.

The location is also ideal for mountain bike trips. The Westin Whistler is about a two-minute walk (or 30-second pedal) to the Fitzsimmons Lift, the bike park’s primary uphill bike lift. That makes it easy to maximize your riding time, take breaks, or run back up to the room if it turns out you do need that rain jacket you left in the closet. And because the Westin has on-site covered parking, with an elevator directly from parking to the lobby, loading and unloading all your bike gear from the car is a very quick process. It’s also very easy to get in and out of the resort without sitting in village traffic.

For skiers, the perks are entirely the same, as the bike valet turns into a ski valet. If you hate making multiple trips to lug sports gear back and forth, the Westin Whistler is a great pick.

There are plenty of convenient on-site amenities

westin whistler review - fire rock lounge

FireRock Lounge looked like a perfect place for winter après-ski. Photo: Westin Whistler

The Westin Whistler is huge, and the first floor is part of the Whistler Village. That means you’ll find plenty of conveniences on site, including a gift shop and sundry store, several art galleries (including one that offers daily soapstone-carving classes), a sushi and sake bar, and a grab-and-go coffee shop. There’s also the highly ranked Grill and Vine Restaurant and FireRock Lounge, the latter of which looked like an inviting, cozy, and comfortable spot for an après-ski cocktail or two.

But the best amenity to me was the spa and pool area, which we had almost entirely to ourselves during our stay. I got a sports massage, and my masseuse was able to figure out exactly what muscles were tight and needed extra focus work right away. It seemed like she was used to dealing with athletes and common muscle issues, which is pretty impressive, as the Westin’s massage prices were relatively low compared to other spas in the village.

After my massage, I spent some time relaxing in the indoor and outdoor hot tubs and using the big outdoor pool. It’s raised one level above the street, so it looks out on mountain views, not people and cars. There’s also a massive sun deck between the pool and restaurant, making an ideal spot for a summer cocktail after a day of playing outside.

Why not stay somewhere cheaper than the Westin Whistler?

westin whistler review - dog in village

Photo: Suzie Dundas

On most dates, the Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler is going to be the cheapest of the luxurious, ski-in, ski-out hotels in the Whistler Village. But there are cheaper places to stay with easy access to the lifts, restaurants, and shops. There’s the Pangea Pod Hotel (a hostel-style concept with curtain-separated “pods”) starting around $89 per night for midweek summer stays, and plenty of hotels priced along the lines of the Pinnacle Hotel Whistler, a three-star hotel with midweek summer rates starting around $170 a night (plus taxes and fees).

But if pod the size of a car backseat costs close to $100, and a basic hotel room is close to $200, paying around $300 for a larger, more luxurious room with a full kitchen and access to relaxing amenities doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch. Whistler is usually a pricey destination, but if you’re already planning to go there, you may find the price difference between a basic hotel and a swankier space to stay isn’t as big as you’d think. And when you add in the chance to relax by your private fireplace, access to a huge indoor and outdoor spa area, close access to ski lifts, and services like a bike valet, it’s fair to say you get a lot of bang for your buck.

whistler westin pool

Photo: Suzie Dundas

And if you’re in Whistler on a mountain bike-specific summer trip, don’t bother looking anywhere else. Between the bike valet, the super-quick access to the Fitzsimmons Lift, and the outdoor pool and huge pool deck, it’s a comfortable, high-end place for a bike trip that won’t break the bank.

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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.

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