This resort is located at one of the top-ranked ski areas in the world, and site of the 2010 Winter Olympics: Whistler-Blackcomb (about 1-1/2 hours from Vancouver BC).
Background: Four Seasons Resorts & Families
Four Seasons is a five-star hotel chain with many loyal fans. Readers of TripAdvisor will often find this comment about other resorts: "It's not the Four Seasons", a sort of shorthand about the extra service and niceties Four Seasons habitués expect.
And Four Seasons resorts welcome kids, with a nice set of features available at many properties.
Complimentary items for families:
(on request, and subject to availability)
- items to childproof guest rooms
- cribs or rollaway beds
- use of bottle warmers, baby bathtubs, high chairs, strollers, infant carriers, night lights
- baby shampoo, lotion, powder, oil, soap, pacifier, bandages, diapers and disposable swimsuits
- colouring books and crayons
- DVD children's movies and board games
Four Seasons Resort Whistler
First point to note: the Four Seasons Resort Whistler is popular -- reserve well in advance, for holiday weeks-- and popular with families. During a visit with teens just after New Year's, we never stepped into the elevator without finding a Mom or Dad with a little kid all set to push the buttons.
What's to like:
- Service: three concierges stood side by side, speaking into phone headsets, and available to help any guest who approached; valets are at the ready, at the Resort entrance; immediate assistance was available whenever we needed it.
- Dining: Fifty Two 80 Bistro draws praise and has a children's menu
- Large guestrooms, huge bathrooms
- Three large free-form outdoor hot tubs (see photo); outdoor pool, too, right by the spa
- On-site gear rental: get set up at a shop right at the resort
- Ski concierge: pick up your skis and boards in the morning at Blackcomb Mountain, drop them off there at the end of the day. We didn't use the ski concierge -- because we did Whistler's early morning "Fresh Tracks" -- but a visitor describes it: "At the end of the day, the ski valet meets you at the base [of Blackcomb Mountain] to gather your skis, boards, poles. Then you walk about 50 feet to the valet building to drop off your boots and get your lotion, kleenex, and hot chocolate." Sounds good.
- Location: the Four Seasons is just a short walk from the lift at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.
In addition to the Four Seasons in-room perks noted above:
- teen concierge: someone who can give the scoop about best places to ski or board, or cool things to do in Whistler. Typically the Teen Concierge is stationed in the lobby at busy arrival times, and on Saturday, to greet teens and share info.
- S'Mores by the fire, outdoors - on select nights
- dog-friendly: as are many of the hotels/resorts at Whistler-Blackcomb
- "Kidding Around" evening program for kids, on select nights, with dinner, arts and crafts, movies, games
- kids 18 and under stay free in parents' room
Call the resort ahead of your visit, and tell them about the kids in your party. Kids will get a personalized newsletter, stuffed Whistler bear (in its own teddy-bear bed), child-sized bathrobes and slippers.
Keep in Mind about Four Seasons Whistler:
Location: the resort is at the Upper Village, a short walk from the foot of Blackcomb Mountain, but a 15-20 minute walk from the Lower Village with its many shops and restaurants. The Four Seasons has its own shuttle which makes frequent runs. Walking can be nice, too, but ask the concierge for directions to the short-cut that passes through a winter wonderland of lit-up trees.
If you're bringing a pooch, know that the doggy day-care is in the Lower Village; consult the Four Seasons concierge beforehand to figure out logistics, as you may need an in-room canine baby-sitter.
Guestrooms: I was surprised that our large suite had no microwave or sink which I consider de rigeur with kids, especially younger ones*; but others may differ. As our Guide for Honeymoons and Romantic Getaways says, "When I check into a top hotel, I don't want to see a microwave, a stove top, or a dining table." Those who do want these conveniences can book one of the Top 10 Suites with full kitchens, or stay at the adjacent Private Residences, where units have up to 4 bedrooms and 4000 feet of space.
Pluses about our suite included gas fireplace, two large bedrooms plus a sofa bed, two huge bathrooms with nice touches (L'Occitane toiletries; thoughtful layout.) But furniture could've used some updating; and no sign of iPod docks, CD players, or even clock-radio; internet instructions referred to Windows 95/98.*
Seasons at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler
Don't think you need to visit only in winter. The Whistler- Blackcomb area is just about as popular in summer, with golf, hiking, biking, mountain-biking, etc; also, the Blackcomb Base Adventure Zone has trapeze, bungee trampoline, climbing wall, Westcoaster Luge, minigolf, and more.
Meanwhile, ski season lasts 'til June, and a late-season trip in April or May can be lots of fun: slide the snow at the top of the mountain, then sit outdoors in the Village and enjoy the flowers.
-Check prices, at Kayak.com
-Check flights and car rentals
*Always check web site and recent comments for updates! Our visit was Jan. 2008.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.