During the ski season, I actually made several trips to Whistler from Vancouver and I managed to snag a best rate guarantee for 2 separate stays at the Hilton Whistler. The Hilton and Westin Whistler are some of the largest ski hotels located close to the main Whistler Gondola and Blackcomb Excalibur Gondola, making them one of my favourite locations in Whistler but rates are usually expensive, which does not make them my regular choice. However a good deal from the best rate guarantee which reduces the rate further by 25% from a lower competing rate I found made the stay more worthwhile in both cases since my Hilton Diamond status gives me breakfast and additional points earning opportunity.
Guests arriving at the Hilton by car would arrive at the driveway from the back road that serves the Westin, Adara and Aava Hotels as well. Other guests arriving by bus or public transport can walk across the village to enter via the elevators from the shopping arcade by the totem pole landmark in the Village Square. The Hilton is quite easy to spot since signs are clearly visible and the large hotel is recognizable.
Check-in was located one floor below the village level and the elevators in the shopping mall that adjoins the hotel will also be next to the ski rental where guests staying at the Hilton can store their skis at. There is a hallway that leads to the reception desk from the lower level of the shopping mall, as seen from the photos below. Washrooms and the concierge desk can be found along the hallway.
For my first stay, the room I had booked (standard Queen room) was not ready. An upgrade of room to the next category, whenever available, is a perk for Diamond members and while it was not proactively offered, I asked about it since the room was not ready. The front desk agent did upgrade me to a Signature Spa room for my stay and I was fortunate to be able to get the room early in the day so I could check into the room before heading out to the slopes to ski.
Room No: 528 Category: Signature Spa Room (North Tower)
The Hilton Signature Spa rooms are located on the North Tower and is accessible by the elevators directly across the reception desk. Entrance foyer of the room has a full length mirror and a long console where the coffee maker, tea and kettle can be found. Coffee and tea provided was from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. There was also a set of hangers by the wall useful to hang ski jackets, pants and gloves.
Spa bathroom located on the right of the entryway was probably the highlight of this room. The bathroom was more spacious than standard hotel bathroom and features a double sink with a backlit wall mirror. Countertop offers plenty of space and was supplied with Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries, which is the brand standard in Hilton.
Much of the bathroom space was taken by the huge oval jacuzzi tub with a button that activates the water jets. A note stating the self cleaning function of the jacuzzi tub assures cleanliness for guests. Across from the tub was a toilet and a bidet making the bathroom feels European in style.
While the large bathroom exceeded my expectations, I had to note that there was no conditioner and shower gel in the bathroom. Bedroom had no slippers as well even though it was an advertised amenity. Other amenities that could be requested from housekeeping are vanity kits consisting of cotton pads and buds along with shower caps.
Moving back into the room, there was a large closet by the entryway and another sink in an alcove beside the bathroom.
A large desk is located by the entryway and there was a fridge beneath the desk to store groceries, juices and milk. A large fireplace next to the desk forms the centerpiece of the room. First fireplace log was included but additional ones are chargeable. Using the fireplace also requires guests to pull the damper to open the vent which is not very clear to guests. If not operated, the room gets smoke inside and triggers the fire alarm.
A King bed is placed in the room with a pair of armchairs by the window and a TV console in the corner. While the bed seems old and too soft for my preference, the flatscreen TV in the room was large and great to watch movies with. While the floor space in the room was large, the lack of a sofa bed and kitchenette does make it somewhat lacking as a ski hotel.
Other furnishings in the room includes a fixed luggage bench by the wall and a portable luggage bench in the closet. Another note was that the wifi in the room requires constant signing in and sometimes gives an error message, making it a hassle for guests staying longer.
The King Spa Suites have a balcony and the view from the balcony faces the swimming pool courtyard along with the back road that serves the Hilton and the Westin. The room also has views of the South Tower which is shorter along with bits of Whistler mountain.
Room No: 455 Category: King Room with Kitchenette (South Tower)
During my second stay, I had booked the standard and cheapest available room once again, this time a standard Hilton King room. Similarly I had to make a request for an upgrade, and because I needed a kitchenette, I was assigned a category higher which are their King Room with kitchenettes, all of which are located in the older South Tower. Access to the South Tower is via another set of elevators past the hallway from the restaurant and bar. Rooms in the South Tower are older and smaller in size, with the layout being more similar to standard hotel rooms. By the doorway, there is a closet on the right and a door leading to the bathroom on the left.
The bathroom here is more standard in size, with just a single countertop. Fittings in the bathroom was a standard toilet and a standard bathtub under the shower area, with the basic shower curtain acting as the partition for the shower. Bath amenities are
The shower consists of an adjustable shower head fitted to the wall which is common in most North American hotels, with a towel rack at the other end.
On my second stay as I wanted to prepare my own food in the room, I requested specifically for the room with a kitchenette, making this the highlight of the room. The kitchenette is quite complete with 2 induction heating elements on the countertop, a small bar fridge with a freezer compartment at the lower left, a dishwasher on the lower right and a microwave oven with vents above. A range of useful kitchen utensils and porcelain ware make this a usable kitchenette, and makes this room better for longer stays if guests wants to cook their own food during their stay.
Over by the wall there is desk and TV console which houses a similarly large flatscreen TV like the one in the Signature Spa Suite. There is also a circular table with 2 chairs that can function as a dining chair along with a luggage bench. The table and chairs does point to the functionality of this room as one for longer stays.
Next to the kitchenette is the King sized bed with 2 nightstands on each end. An armchair is located by the window with another standing light. The limited space in the room does not permit for an extra bed to be placed, meaning this room does make it suitable only for 2 adults occupants.
Located in the South Tower, this room faces the interior courtyard and the North Tower. This is definitely quieter than the room facing the swimming pool and it has a nice view as well especially as it snowed during my stay.
As I mentioned, the rooms with a kitchenette are mainly located in the South Tower, and these rooms tend to be smaller. Had I not needed a kitchenette, the Signature Spa Suite would definitely be a better choice for the Hilton Diamond upgrade, but the ability to cook dinner after a long day at the slopes and chill in the room in the evening makes the King Room with Kitchenette a good choice if one does not need the extra space and the in-room jacuzzi.
The Hilton Resort has only one restaurant which is the Cinnamon Bear Bar & Grill (CBBG), and it has a separate bar which has more casual food and a more vibrant atmosphere. Breakfast is served at the main restaurant daily from 7-11am while the bar will open for lunch until 12:30 late at night. I would post details about dining at the hotel on a separate post since it would be too long to include the details here. Amongst other North American hotels, the complimentary breakfast buffet at Hilton Whistler is considered quite good and fills me up nicely every morning before I hit the slopes. Even the dinner at the restaurant offers good value for money by Whistler standards.
Spa and Fitness Facilities
As one of the larger full service hotels in Whistler village, the hotel has a full suite of spa and fitness area. The Indonesian-themed Taman Sari Spa offers a range of paid massages and facials for guests. All the spa and fitness facilities are to be found past the hallway to the spa.
The spa and pool facilities is split into an indoor section and an outdoor one. Outside, guests will find a semi-circular jetted hot tub at the end with a sheltered bench where guests can hang their bathrobes at. There is also a decently large heated outdoor pool.
Inside there is a separate room containing another jetted hot tub and a dry sauna. Both are great facilities to have and use in the snowy weather or if it is too crowded outside. There are separate male and female shower rooms inside this area as well, making it convenient for guests on their last day to shower and use the hot tubs after skiing even after they have checked out of their hotel rooms.
Towels are provided in the indoor section and there is another separate room housing the fitness centre. The fitness centre in the Hilton is fairly well equipped with several exercise machines, and a weight bench. While the pool and hot tubs are only open from 8am to 10pm, the fitness centre is accessible 24 hours using the keycard.
Another venue to exercise here is the outdoor tennis court. But because it was winter/spring, the court is covered in snow and thus is closed. Its location in the interior courtyard would make it a nice spot to play tennis in the summer.
Laundry and Vending Facilities
Both the North and South Towers have their own laundry, ice dispensers and vending machines and the larger North Tower have guest laundry and dispensers at every floors from the 2nd to the 8th floor. Meanwhile in the South Tower, laundry was only available on the 3rd floor and ice dispensers and vending machines on the 1st floor and 4th (for ice) and 3rd floor (for vending)
Guests can obtained ice freely using the bucket provided in their room while the vending machines retail a range of ice cold beverages, chocolates and snacks along with laundry detergents and fabric softeners. There is also a charge to use the washers and dryers in the hotel, with guests being able to use coins to operate them manually.
Being a large hotel, there was several lounge to sit in the lobby, with the main lounge across the reception having a fireplace. The hotel also houses several large meeting rooms that can hosts business events and the lounge seats spread across the hotel makes it suitable for social gatherings. Another fireplace lounge is located in the hallway towards the South Tower.
Aside from the indoor lounges, the hotel has a nice outdoor patio beside the bar and the swimming pool that is great to hang out in when the sun is out as they can order drinks from the Cinnamon Bear bar and consume it here. This is especially suitable for skiers who want a quieter place to drink after skiing, making this a viable venue compared to the après-ski bars in the village
In addition to the outdoor patio, there is another interior courtyard for hotel guests only that is enclosed by both the North and South Towers. This courtyard has several deck chairs around a large fireplace. This space is perfect for guests making their own smores over the fire
The Hilton actually has a shuttle service that is not advertised but guests could request for a shuttle to the bus stop or anywhere within Whistler village on the hotel’s SUV.
Normally room rates in the Hilton is around C$250-300++ excluding taxes for most days, with rates even hovering around C$400-500++ during the peak ski season. Thus for days when the room rates are C$200++, it is a good value due to the proximity to the ski lifts. On my particular stay, I paid between C$190-C$220++ (~$146-170++) on a per night basis. On top of that, guests staying here have the option of declining housekeeping for a C$20 room credit daily. With the complimentary breakfast for Diamond members, I was able to save a bit on food as the room credit could be utilized for dinners at the hotel.
Service at the hotel can be inconsistent due to the staff shortage and the large number of seasonal workers in ski resorts. As such guests should not expect high standards of service here. Aside from that, the range of services and facilities available to guests in this hotel is only matched by some of the upscale hotels like the Westin, Fairmont, Four Seasons, Pan Pacific and Delta in Whistler. Most of the other hotels have prices higher than the Hilton during my stay and I did not have the highest tier membership in other hotel chains which would have provided upgrades and complimentary breakfast. While the Hilton would not be my first choice if the prices at the other hotels I mentioned were similar, I would readily recommend the Hilton if room rates were at the lower end of C$200.