Five Things to Know About the Westin Whistler Resort

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Our big winter family vacation this year was a trip up north that included staying five nights at the perfectly located Westin Whistler. We have stayed here before so pretty much knew what to expect, but since it has been four years since I last covered this hotel, I’ll do an update of our impressions of the property this time around. If you are interested in this sort of trip, here are some other posts about our trip as well as a video on how to save money on a trip to Whistler with some shots inside the hotel!

Planning a Whistler Ski Trip Using Miles and Points

How to Save Money Skiing at Whistler Blackcomb

The Westin Whistler is just steps from the Whistler Gondola and Ski School

My absolutely favorite thing about this hotel is where it is located, literally just a couple hundred feet from the main Whistler Gondola and the ski school meeting points. When you are walking in ski boots and hauling gear for a family, trust me that location matters more than anything else when selecting your ski-friendly lodging.

Perfectly located Westin Whistler

Westin Whistler

In Whistler, since there is a village where everything is pretty much walkable, being located in a prime spot where you never need a car is also very special. Of course, it is still helpful to pick up a sled at the local village hardware store to haul your toddlers to dinner!

Westin Whistler is the building in the middle of the photo

Who needs a stroller when you can just use a sled. #toddlertraveler #familytravel #whistler #whistlerblackcomb #travelingtot

1. Using SPG points at the Westin Whistler during ski season will save you thousands

Since the Westin Whistler is in a five-star location, it gets very expensive to stay here around the holidays and peak ski times. Standard rooms can legitimately sell for $500 – $1000 per night during these peakest of dates, but you can keep that money in your savings account and instead spend your SPG points from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card and Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card, to the tune of 12,000 – 16,000 points per night as this is a Category 5 property. Even during ski season, if you book in advance I see the hotel at just 12,000 points per night far more frequently than 16,000 points per night.

If you stay five nights as we did, then with SPG you get the fifth award night free. This means your family can stay for five nights at the Westin Whistler for just 48,000 SPG points. If you and your partner each got a SPG credit card and the related sign-up bonus points you would have more than enough to make this winter dream a reality!

2. The Westin Whistler rooms are fine, but not special

The rooms at the Westin Whistler are totally fine and come with a small kitchen and a fireplace, but they are not special or nearly as luxurious as the peak season price may lead you to believe.

On our first trip to the property we were in a two-bedroom suite and this time around we were booked into the smallest studio category, but were able to upgrade to a room with two queen beds as opposed to the studio that had one bed and one pullout sofa. If you want a larger room category after you book a standard room with points the hotel is very receptive to those sort of upgrades, but the price to secure a larger room varies pretty wildly. On our first trip they wanted $25 extra per night to secure a suite and on this trip that number went as high as about $400 per night. Needless to say, we passed on a paid upgrade to a suite this time around.

The separate tub and shower in our room helped when bath time for the girls came around.

I do appreciate that the room has a fridge, microwave, and small kitchen area as food costs in the village are very high and even just making a few simple cold meals can save a family hundreds of dollars.

The rooms at the Westin Whistler aren’t in bad shape, but on the other hand, they haven’t noticeably changed since our trip four years ago, and do seem like they could be ready for a refresh. At the very least, don’t come here for luxurious rooms, because you won’t find any. Come here for the slopeside location and just use the rooms as a place to recharge before going back to the slopes.

3. Having SPG Platinum status helps keep food costs down

You can fly here on miles and stay on points, but food costs are a very real expense. A relatively modest dinner out in the area for the four of us was often close to $100 no matter what we did. Lunch was at least half that if we didn’t make it ourselves, and even the “free” breakfast can easily be close to $50 for a family of four if you aren’t careful. My SPG Platinum status got us complimentary continental breakfast in the hotel’s temporary Platinum Lounge or in the restaurant, Grill & Vine.

However, this only includes the “cold” items on the buffet and an upgrade to the full buffet in the Grill & Vine Restaurant was $16 per adult and $8 for our older daughter while the two-year-old ate for free. With tax, that meant $42 to upgrade all of us before tip. While the food is very good, $42 + tip is a long ways from free.

We did that full buffet experience the first morning, but after that, we retreated to the truly free Platinum Lounge for most of the rest of the mornings. The Platinum Lounge is something they seem to offer only during the peak winter holiday week, but it was very handy to ensure a truly free breakfast experience that was way faster than eating in the restaurant. Fast and free breakfasts are the best kind when you need to get on the mountain early in the morning.

While we are on the topic of eating at the Westin Whistler, we did enjoy two dinners in the hotel. One at the Grill & Vine Restaurant and one at the sushi restaurant, Ka-Ze. In both cases, a standard meal for four without alcohol came to about $100, and we had to make reservations at least several days in advance as everywhere in the area was booked up during this holiday week. Grill and Vine is on OpenTable.com, but we just walked into the sushi restaurant to make reservations there for a few days out.

Ka – Ze

Grill & Vine

4. There are many great amenities in the Westin Whistler…and one that isn’t so great

In addition to be very close to the mountain, inside the Westin Whistler there are some other great conveniences. You can rent your skis without leaving the building, and at the end of the day you can drop them off at the base of the mountain via the ski valet.

The next morning they will be waiting for you inside the hotel, though the line can get long if you don’t go a little early or late.

There is also a Westin Kids program inside the hotel where those 18 – 48 months who are not yet ready for ski school can play from 8AM – 3:30PM for $99 per day, which is a great price as far as ski resort daycares go.

Our daughter had a blast here and even got to go on a wagon ride in the snow and go up the gondola with her new friends. She was begging to go back the second day which is always a great sign. Space is very limited, so you absolutely want to make reservations in advance. There are other locations, but if you are staying at the Westin then obviously nothing beats this convenience.

In the evenings, we adored going to this big conference room within the Westin that had been converted to a huge play area for all the kids to enjoy. The Westin hosts some more structured kid activities such as movie nights, but really all my kids needed and wanted in the evenings was a big spot to run around and play with other kids who would drop in to do the same.

The one amenity at the Westin Whistler that I did not enjoy four years ago and still did not enjoy today was the pool. On first glance, it looks fine, but I am not a fan. The pool has an indoor entrance and then expands into the outdoors. That seems like a great idea since it is quite cold to get in, but the indoor portion has standing water everywhere, is very crowded, very steamy/musty, and the pool water itself is far too cold for this Texas girl. The indoor hot tub portion (not shown) would be full at about 4 – 6 people, but it consistently has at least double that number making it way too full to be enjoyable.

Maybe I’m just too picky, but I think the pool area could be greatly improved. At the very least having better air circulation, slightly warmer water, and a lack of standing water on the indoor portion would be great. I do appreciate that they seem to enforce pool hours as the pool was directly below our room and it was pretty loud at times until it closed promptly at 9PM each evening.

There’s no resort fee, but there is a $30+  parking fee

Unlike most similar properties, the Westin Whistler thankfully does not charge a resort fee. In comparison, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek charges a $50 daily winter resort fee. However, there is a daily parking fee at the Westin Whistler if you bring your own car that is $30 for self-parking and $34 for valet parking. That is a very small price difference in the two forms of parking, but it is probably because virtually no one gets their car out during the trip as most things in the area are walkable. We just paid the charge and pretended it was a resort fee, but if you want to minimize the parking costs you can reportedly park at the Whistler Conference Center for just $10 per day, which would save you a bunch over a multi-night stay.

While the Westin Whistler isn’t perfect and probably is probably approaching a need for a renovation, I would not hesitate to return during ski season using SPG points. Staying here makes the logistics of a family ski trip very simple so you can just focus on having fun.

If you have stayed at the Westin Whistler, I’d love to hear more about your experience and tips!

Head here to learn more about available credit cards and their bonuses.

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. I stayed at the Westin Whistler in December 2016. Loved the location. They sometimes have hot chocolate and cookies in the afternoon. I prefer the outdoor hot tub – something special about sitting in a hot tub with snow falling around us.

  2. We stayed here between Xmas and New Year’s this year as well. I agree that it is a great points value at 12k/night (or 9.6k/night). I had a less positive experience overall. As SPG Gold, I was not able to upgrade to the 2 Queen room, so the 1 King + Sofabed was tight for family of 4. Can’t really complain though as that is what I booked. The hotel was disappointing to me from a service perspective. 1) We arrived at 3:15pm for check-in, waited in line for 20 minutes, so at 3:35pm checking in (after being in airports and shuttle buses for 12 hours at this point), they tell me “sorry, your room isn’t available, we don’t guarantee check in until 4:00”. I get it, but really? 2) The forced $9 charge for ski valet per pair of skis. 3) Called upon arrival for extra set of sheets, waited an hour, had to call back and request a second time before they delivered. 4) One day both room keys were disabled as we came back from skiing (in ski boots of course). Traversed 5 minutes to lobby (were were in the far wing). They gave me new keys. Back to room, they still don’t work. Go to phone in hallway, call the service line, explain the situation, they said they’ll send someone straight up with new keys. 15 minutes later, still no one arriving with keys. So (fuming!) I traverse back down to lobby a second time, who look at me like i have 3 heads when I express my frustration (admittedly at this point I lost my cool). I then made it back to the room before anyone ever showed up.
    I think, on the other hand, the bell hops and housekeeping were all great. We had our skis and luggage delayed for 5 days by Air Canada, so I felt like I got chummy with the bell hops, constantly checking whether my bags had arrived overnight. And housekeeping got to rooms quickly each day after leaving, which I appreciate.

    • Eeek. I believe that standard room would be tight for a family of four. I was very grateful when Plat status helped confirm the room with two queens. We got out of the ski valet fee by renting the skis there, but good job mentioning that. Housekeeping was also phenomenal for us too, always cleaning the second we left for the day, which was great since with the littlest we weren’t always gone too long.

      Sounds like you did have some service gaps for sure. That key deactivation would have made my head spin, too!

    • Stacy, there is also a spa onsite. We didn’t go last time. Those in our group that went four years ago didn’t love it, but maybe something has changed since then. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best!

  3. Great view and an interesting perspective.

    From my perspective, the best hotel pool and hot tub is the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, followed closely by the Four Seasons Whistler. The Westin Pool is pretty much on par with the Hilton and the Delta Mountain Suites; all of these are too small for their own good are fully at capacity at rush hour.

    The valley (so far) is Resort Fee Free. Most of the long stay condos do not charge them and I think hotels are following as the environment can be quite competitive. Many hotels just offer a pool and no other resort items. Given staffing challenges in Whistler, it’s harder to offer the other items (4×6 photo keepsake?).

    From the perspective of an non resident home owner in Whistler, many of the properties have recently under gone refurbishment (Delta Suites, Hilton). Having said that, the wear and tear on rooms is much more than a city hotel. There have also been several hotels that have de-flagged in whistler so the number of franchised hotels is going down (instead of up). The Sheraton (departed early 2000’s), Marriott Residence Inn (departed 2009), Holiday Inn and Suites (departed 2013) have all been converted into independent brands. This is in contrast to Mont Tremblant in Quebec which has seen a stable level of franchised hotels (Marriott, Westin, Holiday Inn) since inception. My point being, there is less pressure in the market to keep rooms up to a franchised standard as there are less franchises in Whistler. The independent brands don’t have to maintain the same brand standards and the international guests they are marketing too (United Kingdom and Australia) don’t seem to mind. They stay for longer and hotels are able to charge a higher average daily rate. Either way, the local weekend warrior or shorter week visitor from North America (or points redeemer) gets squeezed out for these more lucrative guests.

    It just makes the game more challenging.

    • Thanks for that local’s perspective, makes sense for sure. I actually think that Mont Tremblant is our next Canadian ski destination!

  4. What about eating at El Furniture Warehouse in the village? ALL food on the menu is $4.95 CAD. Appetizers, burgers, salads, deserts…I can go on but you get the idea. The place does get pretty full and often has a line outside because all the kids on the mountain eat there because it’s cheap. The Crepe restaurant is great and heres a little secret. Just off the hill is an amazing little cafe that the locals eat at. Wild Wood Cafe and Catering. Look it up. Great food, great prices, great portions.

    http://www.warehousegroup.ca/el-furniture-warehouse-whistler

    https://www.wildwoodcafe.ca

    • I’ve taken the family to the El Furniture Warehouse. Is it enjoyable? Not really — it’s usually way too loud (in the summer, I escape that problem by eating outdoors, but that’s not going to work in winter). But the food is more than edible and the prices are astonishingly low (except for drinks, of course — that’s how they make their money). From a budget perspective, the place is a lifesaver, especially if you’ve got several mouths to feed.

  5. Great post! I love reading about your adventures with your family. Since we started bringing our almost 4 y.o. on her 1st trip at 7 months old, your tips are well received. Question for you, do you ever call directly into the SPG Platinum line to inquire about room availability? Ever since I can remember I have used this approach to find out what rooms are available as well as suites. The reps can see availability and quote me the cost in points for various suites. Huge advantage when I want to book a suite as opposed to hoping for a suite upgrade (Plat status) or using my suite certificates. I’ve been fortunate to book nice suites over the years when traveling with the family to ensure more space. Booked a giant suite in Langkawi in Malaysia at the Andaman using points for a trip in March. Keep up the great work!

  6. I stay at the Westin Whistler semi-frequently. I used to do valet parking but we now park at the Whistler conference centre. It isn’t a far walk and we generally found we didn’t use our car the whole stay, so the convenience isn’t really worth it over the course of multiple nights.

  7. Summer, I am inspired by this series to make a trip to Whistler with my family of 4 next year. I think we’re in the same school district and next year’s schedule was just released giving us extra time after New Year 2019. I’ve been faithfully banking my SPG points to do something extra special and this is it! What do you think of the Marriott property in Whistler? It appears to be 40K points per night so that would translate to about 13-14K, within the range of the SPG property. If Marriott matched SPG gold status would that score us lounge access? Location-wise, how does this compare to the Westin? I do love a heavenly bed but just looking for the best fit for our family. And thank you!!

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