End of Summer Getaway to Whistler BC
Summer just might be the best time of year to take a family vacation or in this case with the worlds currently pandemic happening, “staycation” to Whistler, better known as the ultimate-Canadian ski town. Roughly two hours north of Vancouver this isn’t just a winter lovers’ destination or paradise.
The crowds are much thinner, the weather is gorgeous and the hotel rates are generally a lot lower then they would be throughout the rest of the year. Plus, there is plenty of things to do (minus skiing and all your snow sports, of course) from escape rooms to scavenger hunts in the Village, ziplining, good places to dine, and of course, shopping – the activities are endless.
Before the family and I made the trek to Whistler we had to make a quick stop in Squamish. More so for a pee break for the little one, but I had also heard of this super cute bakery and coffee shop thanks to a few friends called, Sunflower Bakery & Cafe. Thankfully for me, they had just introduced their gluten-free donuts so I was still able to indulge with the rest of the fam.
Four Seasons Whistler
The Four Seasons Resort and Residences is a gorgeous luxury getaway in the heart of Whistler’s Upper Village. When it came to deciding where we wanted to stay I definitely called around for the best rates and what the hotel had currently operating. A big deciding factor for us was the pool and fitness center. Most places including the Four Seasons had restrictions on the pool time and the gym area. However out of all the ones I called the FS had a 3-hour limit which was plenty of time for us. I also loved the fact that between 4-6 pm there is a snowcone stand on-site where the kids (and adults) can grab an icy treat, and a complimentary wine tasting daily from 4-5 pm at Sidecut Lounge. I think that alone sold Rick on wanting to stay here.
Upon arrival, and for the duration of your stay at any point in time that you are on the Four Seasons property – guests must be wearing a mask at all times. Once you’re inside the pool area and your room you are free to take them off.
We were fortunate enough to be upgraded by three-room categories during our stay. The room was generously sized, with a large, five-piece bathroom that had the toilet area separate and tons of closet space. Fortunately for us, we had our own walk-in closet that was honestly the perfect size for all three of us to put our stuff in without cluttering the room. It was extremely sweet of the staff to have arranged the pull-out couch for Ry so it was one less thing for us to have to set up.
Day 1 – Wednesday
The family and I headed out to Whistler from the Fraser Valley mid-day and it took us exactly two hours to get there (with a quick stop in Squamish). We knew Wednesday we wanted it to be about exploring the Village, maybe taking a dip in the pool and then heading out for night-time fun at Vallea Lumina, created by Montreal-based Moment Factory, and brought to life by the Adventure Group. If you’re not familiar with Vallea Lumina, this is a multimedia experience that takes place outdoors in which it invites guests into an enchanting universe, inspired by Whistler’s unparalleled natural beauty and local culture. Make sure to bring comfortable footwear aka runners as some girls I saw were in heals – a big no-no! And lots of layers. As we go into the winter months and since you’re in the mountains it gets quite chilly in the evenings.
The Story Behind Vallea Lumina
Magical nights await visitors to Whistler at Vallea Lumina, a ground-breaking experience that brings Cougar Mountain’s old-growth forest to life. Old stories tell of the wondrous things that happen near Whistler. Between the trees, in the shadow of mountains, legends say there’s a hidden valley where stardust falls from the sky, filling all living things with its pure light. It’s a place that’s filled with unexpected enchantment. There’s a way to get there, but few know how to find it. Those who visit and witness their secrets remember it long after they leave. Join an evening excursion and follow cryptic radio transmissions and the lingering traces of two long-ago hikers to find the scenic trailhead where the real journey begins… This pathway leads toward a place filled with beauty, and proof that the legends of Whistler are true.
Day 2 – Thursday
Our Thursday was a pretty go-go-go day from the get go. Rick and Ry went for a walk in the morning to grab coffees so I could get a few more restful minutes and get ready in peace. Up first for our days adventures was the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola Sightseeing Tour. This world record setting transforms the high alpine experience with new, awe-inspiring vistas as it bridges the gap between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. I’m not a big one for heights so this definitely took me a bit out of my comfort zone. The views were absolutely stunning and we were on the lookout for Black Bears below, but had no such luck.
PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola
After opening on December 12, 2008 the massive gondola revolutionized the way skiers, riders and hikers experienced the mountains. The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, as part of the world’s longest continuous lift system, introduces summer guests to unprecedented access to Whistler Blackcomb’s high alpine for sightseeing, hiking and mountain-top dining.The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola travels a span of 4.4 kilometres/2.73 miles giving sightseers and hikers a serene aerial flight showcasing flora and fauna, including black bears in their protected habitats, inhabiting the flanks of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains; the Coast Mountain Range’s many glaciers and peaks; and Whistler Village, surrounded by gem-like lakes.
Next up on the agenda was an escape room – Escape! Whistler. I have been dying to try one of these so when I saw that Whistler offered 4 different versions (one of which they recommended was suitable to do with Ry) we were all for it. I love mystery and solving puzzles so this was a must.
The room that was highly suggested to us, being the easiest of the four and the most child friendly was the pirate ship. The three of us were taken prisoners (we legit were in handcuffs starting out) and had been taken prisoner aboard a ship of ruthless Pirates. We had to escape from the jail, find the clues to ultimately get us to finding the treasure and exiting safely. I am happy to announce our family made it out with 10+ minutes to spare – woo!
We definitely want to come back (maybe just myself and Rick the next time to try out the other three rooms. The Buried Cabin, The Pinball Machine and The Rabbit Hole. These experiences can be played with groups of 2 to 6 people. Your group will be presented with puzzles, riddles, and clues which you must work together to solve within 45 minutes in order to “Escape” from the situation you are in. Be prepared for fun, creative, and interactive obstacles. How far you make it will depend on your group’s ability to solve the challenges laid out for you. If you get stumped along the way, you will have the opportunity to receive 2 clues to help you advance. But don’t waste time…you only have 45 minutes to Escape!
Dinner at 21 Steps Kitchen & Bar
Established in 2004, 21 Steps Kitchen + Bar is a locally owned and operated restaurant located in the heart of Whistler Village. A casual restaurant committed to great modern comfort food and generous portions at modest prices, Whistler locals have voted 21 Steps Kitchen + Bar as one of the best restaurants for appetizers, value, atmosphere and romantic dining experiences.
The family and I were fortunate enough to be hosted by 21 Steps for a delicious meal or should I say multiple meals. Stacey, the manager ensured we had the best service possible and our waitress was honestly so amazing. Known for their small plates Rick and I opted to try their goat cheese balls, bacon-wrapped sirloin, a pesto covered shrimp, mussels and then we also had the chance to try their salmon and a bean dip. Ry also had his very own steak and french fries which was adorable. Although he mainly ate the fries and Rick ate the steak. The food here was really well done and gave off that refined yet cozy comfy classic vibe that I think is always good to have.
Day 3 – Friday
On the last day of our trip, we really wanted it to be relaxed and not rushed. Since we had a busy day on Thursday anything we wanted to do, see or shop we wanted to leave for Friday and then make our way home. Fortunately for us, Tourism Whistler and the Four Seasons graciously arranged for us to have a stunning and delicious Balcony Breakfast. Head over to this post where I talk all about it. Honestly, this had to have been one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time. I really like having a nice mix of sweet and savoury items to nibble on and this did just that. From fresh pancakes with warm maple syrup to fresh fruit and the most perfect poached eggs on avocado toast – we definitely had full and happy bellies.
Not long after breakfast did we realized we were about to head home on a Friday of a long weekend – queue the anxiety and anticipation of not hitting a tone of traffic! Shortly after breakfast we packed up our stuff and headed out to avoid any delays.
Our family was super grateful for the opportunity to visit Whistler as our last trip before Ryerson headed off to Kindergarten. It definitely was the icing on the cake and the perfect way to end summer!
Disclosure – All activities and mentioned meals were sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own and images taken. Thank you Tourism Whistler for hosting me and the family.