During my time in Whistler, at gay ski week, I stayed at the Westin which is one of the better properties there.
It’s got one of the best locations in the village, right next to the gondola up to Whistler mountain, and the Excalibur gondola up to Blackcomb mountain.
However it can be pricey – on the Starwood website, it was pricing up at over C$700/ni when I was looking at hotels during that week. However, I did actually find it on the British Airways Holidays website for a substantial discount, even when searching for accommodation only options.
Starwood has a best rate guarantee offer where if you find it at a better rate elsewhere, they will match it and either give you a further 20% off the rate, or 2,000 star points. However you have to make your booking on the Starwood website first, and then claim, with appropriate screenshots. Given it was a non-refundable, pre-paid rate, I gulped, and went for it, figuring if they didn’t accept it, I’d argue the toss later.
Well, about 24 hours later, I got an email from them saying it had been approved! I opted for the 20% discount given the length of my stay and this brought the rate down to C$217/ni (instead of C$613 booking direct), which for peak season was rather good value.
The hotel had already charged the full amount to my card at the higher rate (almost C$5,000), however they very promptly refunded it, and re-charged the new amount.
Fast forward 10 months and we arrived at the hotel. Given we checked in around 2pm, the room wasn’t ready, which was perfectly fine as it was a good two hours before the published check-in time. However they informed me at check-in that there would be a $9 a day charge for the “Ski Valet” in order to store my skis. I also couldn’t store them in my room.
There was no mention of this in my confirmation email listing the rate, the taxes and everything else. They claim this is the FAQ on the website. Well, it is, but buried two menus deep and at the bottom of a very long list. I politely asked for the contact details of the GM, which oddly they wouldn’t give me at all. Eventually the director of rooms popped out for a chat and agreed to waive the charge.
The room itself wasn’t bad, but also wasn’t great. Given this was normally going to be charged out at C$600/ni+ it wasn’t that impressive.
It was the standard very comfortable Westin Heavenly bed, plus there was a small sitting area, fire-place and big flat screen TV.
In addition there was a small kitchen area at the entrance to the room.
This had a fridge, oven, hob, microwave and dishwasher, as well a filter coffee machine. It allowed us to make breakfast most days even if it was just a bowl of cereal as well a store bits and pieces for a gin and tonic after skiing!
The most disappointing part of the room was the bathroom. It was pretty small, and just had a bathtub with built in shower, rather than the brand standard Westin Heavenly shower and wand.
The water pressure was decent, however the lack of a really good shower was most disappointing.
The hotel did have a good gym and spa area, however as it was pretty busy wasn’t appropriate to take photos.
There was a sauna, indoor jacuzzi, outdoor jacuzzi as well as a decent pool with both indoor and outdoor areas. There’s something quite magical about sitting in a steaming outdoor hot-tub with a G&T, as it snows around you. That said, it was always busy.
Overall, I felt it was a perfectly adequate 4* hotel. For the price I paid, I felt I got good value. For the price they were asking, I would have been very disappointed. At C$600/ni you’re firmly into 5* territory and the service and rooms are absolutely not there to justify that sort of rate.