If you love to ski or snowboard but hate hauling around all your gear, a ski-in, ski-out lodging is the ultimate luxury. At Whistler, North America’s largest snowsports resort, you can’t get much closer to the lifts than the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside Hotel.
You can literally stumble out the hotel doors and onto the Excaliber gondola, which takes you up Blackcomb Mountain. Just a few steps further is the Whistler Village gondola, which travels up Whistler Mountain.
The Pan Pacific is so close to the lifts that when my husband Alan and I stayed at the hotel for some early season skiing, I was almost sad that we were renting gear!
Inside, this 121-unit all-suite property feels like an upscale mountain lodge, with cherry-hued Craftsman-style furnishings and plenty of make-yourself-at-home amenities, including gas fireplaces, flat-screen TVs, and DVD players.
All units have full kitchens with granite countertops. They’re stocked with dishes, pots, and pans, as well as a coffeemaker, microwave, refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher.
Rooms come in three general categories: studios and one- or two-bedroom units. The studios can nominally sleep four, with a queen-sized Murphy bed and a sleep sofa, but they’re not going to feel spacious.
The one-bedroom suites would be more comfortable for a family, with a king bed in the bedroom and a separate living room with a sleep sofa. The one-bedroom unit where we stayed was more than ample for the two of us.
The two-bedroom suites — with two full bathrooms — would work well for two couples or a family. One bedroom has a king bed, a second has a queen bed, and the living room sofa could also sleep two.
Facilities and Amenities
The hotel has an outdoor heated saltwater pool and two hot tubs, facing the slopes. Both are open year-round.
On the main floor is a convenient gear room where you can leave your skis and boards, staffed by a ski valet who’ll help you store your stuff. You can rent gear, too, from a rental shop on the premises.
Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the building. Local phone calls are also free.
Self-parking in the hotel’s underground garage with unlimited entries and exits is CAD$28 per day; valet service is $32.
Room rates can vary significantly depending on your travel dates, with winter rates for a studio unit ranging from CAD$279 to more than $689 (during the Christmas/New Year’s peak). In the quiet spring season, though, after the snow is gone, rates can dip down to $139 — a great deal for an off-season getaway.
Restaurant and Pub
Located on the main level of the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, the convivial Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub serves Irish pub fare and other ski-lodge classics at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and into the evening. They stock 25 draft beers, with lots of BC microbrews alongside Irish standards.
The patio, which faces the lifts, gets packed for après ski, and live music most evenings makes the Dubh Linn Gate a fun place to hang out.
And since you’re right in the Village, you can easily walk to other eateries, from casual to fine.
And when you’re carrying skis, boots, poles, and assorted other gear, that central location is a wonderful luxury.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario and Living Abroad in Canada. Room photo © Carolyn B. Heller. Crystal Ridge Express Chair photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler. Other photos courtesy of Pan Pacific Whistler. The Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside hosted my stay for review purposes.