Whether you’re looking to ski or snowboard in winter, or get your thrills from mountain biking, zip lining, or a host of other adventures in the summer, Whistler, British Columbia, just two hours north of Vancouver, is a hub of outdoor activities. And when you want to stay in the middle of it all, close to the lifts, restaurants, pubs, museums, and shops, the Crystal Lodge — a village stalwart — has an excellent location.
The property recently completed renovations to many of its guest rooms, too, giving it a more up-to-date feel.
Here’s the scoop:
Facilities and Services
Built in the 1980s, the Crystal Lodge stretches across two buildings along the Village Stroll, the pedestrian walkway through the center of Whistler Village. The property itself has more than 20 shops and restaurants, with 158 guest rooms on the upper floors.
Its most interesting restaurants include the Beacon Pub & Eatery, with a prime people-watching location and a spacious outdoor patio, serving craft beer and updated pub fare (try the roasted butternut squash salad with edamame and pumpkin seeds), and the more upscale Basalt Wine & Salumeria, which emphasizes charcuterie, cheeses, and wines from across BC and around the world.
Among the hotel’s other facilities are a narrow year-round outdoor pool, a hot tub, a sauna, and a fitness room that’s well stocked with cardio equipment.
In the winter, the hotel offers a complimentary ski valet service to store your gear overnight. In summer, there’s a similar bike valet service.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The Crystal Lodge guest rooms occupy two different wings and come in a variety of types and configurations.
In the recently updated south wing, rooms have turquoise headboards, grey accents, and original artwork, like this unique ski sculpture.
South wing rooms range from a petite single room (210 square feet, with a double bed), a standard double (220 square feet with two double beds), or a king-bedded room (also 220 square feet), to a spacious queen unit (440 square feet with two queen beds and a pullout sofa).
All have flat-screen TVs, refrigerators, coffeemakers, and tea kettles. The south wing units also have contemporary bathrooms with soaker tubs.
In the north wing, last updated in 2008, rooms have a more traditional ski lodge feel with dark wood furnishings. They start with several different studio units, varying in size from 440 to 535 square feet, equipped with microwaves in the smaller rooms and kitchen facilities in the larger ones. Even more spacious one-, two-, and three-bedrooms units are also available.
From the Crystal Lodge, you can easily walk to the gondolas that whisk you up both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. You can head up the mountain to check out the new Whistler Sky Walk and the recently opened Cloudraker Skybridge, a suspension bridge at the top of Whistler Peak. Back in the village, make sure you visit Whistler’s excellent Audain Art Museum.
Directly opposite the Crystal Lodge is the relaunched Il Caminetto restaurant, for fine Italian fare, and you’re a short stroll from two of Whistler’s other top dining destinations: Araxi and the Bearfoot Bistro. More casual dining options like the vegan Green Moustache and Fifi’s Bistro — a breakfast and lunch spot with a lovely patio at the base of Blackcomb Mountain — are also within easy walking distance.
No matter what you’re planning to do at Whistler, the Crystal Lodge is conveniently located. While it’s not the most posh hotel in town (consider the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, or Nita Lake Lodge if you’re looking for luxury), this comfortable, updated accommodation is set in the middle of it all.
Nightly summer-season double room rates at the Crystal Lodge start at CAD$235-295. Rates include Wi-Fi, but not breakfast. Parking is available in the lodge’s underground garage for $24/night. You can also compare rates and make a reservation with Expedia or other booking site.
Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. The Crystal Lodge arranged my stay for review purposes.