Review: Westin Whistler
I stayed at the Westin Whistler on a recent ski trip to the Whistler Blackcomb resort.
The Westin is one of the best options for using points and saving money on sky-high accommodation rates if you’re headed up to the Whistler area.
Here’s a full review of the property from my recent trips, including some additional thoughts from a separate stay I had in a Bi-Level Loft Suite.
Westin Whistler – Booking
No matter the season, a trip to Whistler rarely comes cheap. You can expect paid rates at the Westin to fluctuate from $300 (CAD) before taxes in shoulder season, to $500–600 (CAD) in the peak of summertime, all the way up to $1,000+ (CAD) during ski season, when the hotel is nearly fully booked.
With the Marriott Bonvoy program, the Westin Whistler is a Category 7 property that charges 50,000, 60,000, or 70,000 Bonvoy points per night at the off-peak, standard, or peak rates, respectively.
Given our target valuation of Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents per point, this means that it’ll likely be a better deal to pay cash at the Westin Whistler at off-peak times and to redeem points if you’re staying at the most popular times.
That’s exactly how I’ve booked my past two stays here. In the summer, I paid $300 (CAD) for a one-night stay on a relatively cheap rate that I had sought out far in advance. Meanwhile, I redeemed 70,000 points per night for a two-night stay during the winter holidays.
It was certainly somewhat painful to part ways with such a big sum of points for a stay that was relatively close to home, but that’s how Whistler’s winter prices have always tended to go.
For alternative hotels on points, consider the Delta Whistler Village Suites or the Hilton Whistler, although neither property appears to be as strong as the Westin. I may well give those hotels a go on my future visits to Whistler in order to offer you an apples-to-apples comparison.
Book a hotel stay with Prince of Travel through Marriott Luminous and enjoy exclusive additional benefits at no cost to you, including:
- Daily breakfast for two guests
- Room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
- Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
- Welcome amenity
- $100 (USD) property credit at select properties
- Third, Fourth, or Fifth Night Free at select properties
Westin Whistler – Location
The Whistler Blackcomb resort itself is located a two-hour drive north of Vancouver. If you aren’t driving, there’s a dedicated bus service that costs $35 (CAD) from Downtown Vancouver or $55 (CAD) from Vancouver International Airport that brings you right to the entrance of Whistler Village.
One major reason why the Westin Whistler is able to charge such a premium is due to its location. Nestled in the heart of Whistler Village, the Westin is merely steps around the corner from the main Whistler Gondola that takes you up the mountain.
That’s an invaluable benefit on ski days, when you’re trying to squeeze in those early-morning runs in fresh powder, as well as when it comes to participating in the après-ski and nightlife culture that Whistler has to offer.
Since the hotel building is situated on the mountainside, the Lobby floor plays host to the main driveway and the check-in desks, while Floor 1 leads out to Whistler Village by way of the ski shops, ski valet, and rental facilities.
Westin Whistler – Check-in
Our party of four pulled up to the Westin Whistler after a slow midday drive from Vancouver. When we took this trip, the region was experiencing some particularly frosty weather around –20˚C, so the road conditions weren’t great.
The Westin offers either self-parking for $34/night or a valet parking service for $38/night. Since it was only $4 extra, we decided to go for the valet parking to make it easier for ourselves.
(I imagine many guests don’t make much use of the valet parking besides the drop-off and pickup, since they’re mostly here to ski anyway.)
The hotel lobby was dressed up in Christmas decorations, including a cute Westin sleigh.
We had arrived on the property just after noon, before it became too busy, and we were helped pretty quickly. Like many staff members who work at Whistler, the check-in associate was an Aussie fellow.
He let us know that our One-Bedroom Suite with Queen Bed, which I had upgraded to using Suite Night Awards, had just become ready for our arrival.
He also confirmed our breakfast benefit as a Titanium Elite member: complimentary buffet breakfast in the restaurant for two. I was delighted that the breakfast buffet was back (we had a boxed in-room breakfast when we stayed in the summer), but when I asked if it was possible to extend the benefit to our party of four, I was swiftly shot down.
Finally, the associate confirmed the parking rate of $38/night for valet parking, valid until 4pm on the day of checkout. While the parking rates at the hotel aren’t cheap, I’m at least happy to see that the Westin does not stoop to the level of charging an arbitrary resort fee.
Westin Whistler – One-Bedroom Suite with Queen Bed
I stayed in the One-Bedroom Suite with Queen Bed on two of our visits to the hotel in the summer and winter.
During the summer, I had “suite-talked” my way to the upgrade on account of my Titanium Elite status, whereas I used Suite Night Awards to give myself better odds of the upgrade on our recent winter trip due to our larger party.
The rooms and suites at the Westin Whistler very much come with the coziness that you’d expect from a ski resort. They aren’t very large at all, and the One-Bedroom Suite gave the four of us just barely enough space to comfortable live, dine, and play.
To its credit, the suite offers a kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave, stove, sink, and dishwasher, which comes in very handy on longer stays when you don’t want to eat out every night.
There’s also a simple coffee maker in every room.
Then there’s a four-person dining table, plus a living area with a couch, television, and fireplace.
Jessy’s parents took the master bedroom, which doesn’t offer much space for anything besides the bed itself.
Meanwhile, Jessy and I took the sofa bed, which occupies most of the living area when deployed. Combine that with our ski boots and poles (which are brought upstairs to your room while your skis and snowboards are kept at the ski valet downstairs), and the room can certainly feel a little cramped at times.
The bathroom consists of a shower, bathtub, sink, and toilet. An all-powerful blast of piping-hot water is a must-have at any ski resort, and I’m pleased to say that the Westin Whistler’s shower did a great job of soothing the muscles after a long day on the mountain.
Lastly, the One-Bedroom Suites offer a small balcony from which you can catch a breath of fresh mountain air. Back in the summer, we had a view overlooking the hotel pool below, whereas our view in the winter was close-up against the mountainside.
Overall, the guest rooms at the Westin Whistler are cozy and functional, though by no means overly luxurious.
The rooms are great for playing some board games in the evening and crashing before hitting the slopes in the morning. But otherwise, unlike some other ski resorts around the world, there’s no reason to spend too much time indoors.
Westin Whistler – Bi-Level Loft Suite
On a subsequent visit to the area, I had a chance to stay in a Bi-Level Loft Suite.
The Bi-Level Loft Suite is a chic two-level suite with a fully equipped kitchenette on the first level and floor-to-ceiling views of Whistler below.
As you step inside, you’re greeted by a well-appointed kitchenette, complete with all the essentials to prepare a quick bite.
There’s an oven, stovetop, microwave and full-sized fridge. Additionally, the cabinets are fully stocked with any dishes you might need on hand.
A coffee maker sits atop the counter, and a kettle can be found inside the cabinets.
Midway into the suite is a small dining table with seating for three.
Then, positioned near the towering floor-to-ceiling windows is a seating area comprised of a couch, armchair, and wooden coffee table. From the windows, you have a great view of Whistler Village below.
On the opposite wall are a wall-mounted flat-screen TV and a toasty in-suite fireplace.
Adjacent is a small desk, which was quite small and had limited surface space, but nevertheless serves as a functional workspace.
Proceeding around the corner and up the stairs, you’ll arrive at the loft, which plays host to a comfortable king bed that faces out towards the windows.
In the left-hand corner, a small TV is housed atop a small armoire within an alcove. From here, you can look down at the rest of the suite for an aerial perspective.
To the right of the king bed is the entrance to the bathroom featuring a standalone vanity, adjacent bathtub and walk-in shower. Despite being a bit small, it offered excellent water pressure.
I found the Bi-Level Loft Suite to be a quaint hideaway, affording pleasant views of Whistler Village below. Though not the most modern in design, the Bi-Level Loft Suite still affords excellent functionality and comfort.
The fully equipped kitchenette is indeed convenient as you can easily whip-up your own meals or snacks as you wish. Additionally, the in-suite fireplace adds a touch of coziness in between milling around Whistler Village, and the strong water pressure is indeed appreciated after a demanding day on the slopes.
Westin Whistler – Breakfast
Breakfast is served in the hotel’s main restaurant, Grill & Vine. I was delighted to see that the full breakfast buffet had been restored by the time of our stay in December 2021.
While guests can take breakfast in the restaurant, they’re also offered take-out boxes to fill up at the buffet if they need to get breakfast to-go. This meant that even though the hotel denied my request to extend breakfast to our party of four, we could still all enjoy breakfast simply by filling up our sizeable take-out boxes with enough breakfast for four.
The buffet consists of your typical hot and cold breakfast items, along with separate stations for fruits, pastries, and cereals. While most of the items were fairly standard, I did appreciate certain extra touches like guacamole, which you don’t see everywhere.
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Coffee and juice are also included in the breakfast benefit for elite members.
Overall, I thought the Westin Whistler’s elite breakfast offering was fairly good, especially in these current times when many hotels (particularly in North America) like to skimp out on breakfast benefits.
Westin Whistler – Ski Valet
The ski valet or “mountain concierge” service is a hallmark of any ski resort, and the Westin Whistler is no exception. The hotel’s ski valet is found at the in-house Can-Ski Performance store, which is also where you’d go to rent or purchase equipment.
The ski valet costs $7/day, although this fee is waived for Westin guests who are staying in a suite (including Suite Night Award upgrades). Therefore, I didn’t have to pay for our usage of the ski valet on this particular stay.
Simply drop off your equipment when you’re done in the afternoon, and then come back in the morning to pick them up before heading up the mountain. I found the ski valet to be an incredibly convenient service, especially with the Westin being mere steps away from the gondolas.
Westin Whistler – Other Facilities
In addition to the Grill & Vine restaurant, there’s also a Japanese restaurant called Kaze onsite, which is open for dinner. They operate independently rather than part of the hotel, though, so you can’t bill your meal to the room.
There’s also a variety of retail shops, many of which specialize in ski & snowboard gear, on the first-floor level.
The mezzanine floor plays host to The Mountain Club, which, alas, is not an executive lounge that Marriott elite members get access to. Instead, it’s a private members’ club operated by Gibbons Whistler, so you’d need to have a membership to gain access.
Finally, the second floor of the hotel plays host to the spa, pool, and fitness facilities.
There is a connected indoor/outdoor pool that seems like a very nice place to unwind after a long ski day, if not for the fact that it’s likely to be very busy down here in the afternoons. Certainly, it seems like a better fit for members of your party who might not be skiing to come relax during the daytime.
There are also indoor and outdoor hot tubs, which I would’ve liked to make use of, if not for the fact that we had already paid a visit to the nearby Scandinave Spa as part of this trip.
The fitness centre was closed at the time of our stay due to provincial health restrictions. It’s not a very big gym, although there’s at least a good variety of exercise equipment packed into the small space.
For the rooms, amenities, décor, and the overall product of the hotel alone, it must be said that the Westin Whistler delivers relatively little even while charging a small fortune.
But that’s simply the lay of the land up here in Whistler during the winters, when avid skiers and riders from all over the world flock to Whistler Blackcomb’s twin peaks for an action-packed escape.
Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points here at the Westin Whistler can at least save you a significant out-of-pocket amount on your accommodations. Considering the hotel’s strengths, like a bountiful elite breakfast and a prime location steps from the gondolas, the Westin Whistler is about as good as it gets when it comes to redeeming points for hotels around these parts.
If you ask me, this place is calling out for W Hotels to make an entrance somewhere in Whistler Village… but until then, the Westin is likely to remain my resort of choice for a weekend ski getaway.
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