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TPG’s COO Leigh Rowan recently attended the TEDActive conference in Whistler, British Columbia. While at the conference, he stayed at the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa; and here’s his experience.
The Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa is located in Whistler Village among the town’s other resort properties. It’s close to the convention center, which was perfect for me, since that’s where I attended the TEDActive conference, but everything in Whistler is within a 15-minute walking distance.
The resort has 287 rooms that include Hilton Rooms, Queen and King Junior Suites, Signature Spa Suites, Whistler Junior Suites, and various one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites. Prices during ski season start at $186 CAD (~$146 USD at the time of writing) for an advance purchase Hilton Room, or 80,000 HHonors points, but the base rate can get as high as $399 CAD per night for a Hilton Room during busy ski times like Holiday weeks and Spring Break.
Booking and Check-In Experience
This was my first visit to Whistler, and the conference was scheduled during Spring Break for many US colleges and high schools. Because of that, I was a bit worried about room rates going up as the conference approached, so I booked the room as part of the conference package, paying $278 USD/night for my Junior Suite room. I kept an eye on the rates over the 8 weeks before the conference as the rate fluctuated from $369 CAD to $429 CAD for my room, but it never made sense to rebook at the higher CAD rate. I could have maximized my return by using the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card or one of the other co-branded Hilton cards, but I was content with the 2x Ultimate Rewards points I earned by paying for the reservation with my Ink Plus Business Card.
I was able to check in around 9:15 am, and I was guaranteed a late 4 pm check-out on a Saturday. As a Hilton Gold member, I was given breakfast buffet vouchers for two people even though I was at the hotel alone. After a long trip including connecting flights and an early morning shuttle ride to Whistler, I appreciated that the entire check-in process took less than 3 minutes from front desk to room!
I was given a King Junior Suite, which featured a built-in kitchenette. The room itself was a pretty nice size, about 400 square feet. They placed me on the second floor near the elevator, even though my Hilton profile specifically requests high floors away from elevators. The view wasn’t anything special, looking out on the neighboring Westin, with the mountains out of sight. There are trade-offs for early check-in — no other (higher, away from elevator, nicer view) room was available until much later in the day, and I wanted sleep / rest. C’est la vie!
The room itself was pretty standard: a small kitchenette with two burners, a fridge, a dishwasher, and the basics in terms of plates and silverware. There was also a small desk and a separate dining area. It had Peter Thomas Roth bath and body products, a Cuisinart coffee maker, an alarm clock radio, and a 37” flat screen television.
The dining option at the resort is the Cinnamon Bear Bar & Grille. The bar is a popular place in town, so it can get really crowded with the après-ski crowd. The Grille’s breakfast and dinner menus are pretty standard American fare; the breakfast buffet (included as a Gold member) has a build-your-own omelette option, and dinner can be ordered prix-fixe or à la carte.
The pool is open year-round, and seems kind of small for the size of the resort, but there’s a lot of lounge space around it, including both indoor and outdoor hot tubs.
There’s a decent-sized gym, and the Indonesian-themed Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa with all the usual treatments.
As this was my first time in Whistler, I was taken aback by the village’s easy access to everything — restaurants, the slopes, the conference center, astounding natural beauty, and more. The Hilton is well situated right in the middle of all that, and makes for an excellent place to hang your hat (and skis / board) for a nice Winter stay.