Review: American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts – Four Seasons Whistler Stay
We woke up bright and early on Saturday with anxiety that plagues those who live in the Pacific Northwest: how to make the most of a sunny Saturday in October? We hadn’t had the chance to do a long hike yet or visit Whistler this summer and after a quick online search on the American Express’s Fine Hotels & Resorts website, we noticed the price of the Four Seasons Whistler had dropped significantly. We took it as a sign that it was meant to be and within one hour of waking up, we were booked for an overnight stay at one of Whistler’s best resorts and on the road to do the Garibaldi Lake hike. In this post, we will share information about the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts card benefit and a review of the Four Seasons Whistler to help you decide if you want to stay here.
American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts:
As American Express Platinum card members, we can access special offers at hotels booked via American Express travel website that are on the list of Fine Hotels & Resorts. When booked this way, members “receive an exclusive suite of benefits with each Fine Hotels & Resorts booking: room upgrade upon arrival when available, daily breakfast for two people, guaranteed 4pm late checkout, noon check-in, when available, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a unique property amenity, such as a spa or food and beverage credit”.
In addition to the Four Seasons Whistler, The Fairmont Chateau Whistler was on the list. In the end, we chose the Four Seasons because the property offered two things that were at the top of our wish-list: a room with a balcony and a fireplace. In addition, I was excited about the spa credit at the Four Seasons vs the food and beverage credit at the Fairmont since we don’t really like eating at the hotel all the time. From the photos and the reviews, the pool area and spa were also more to our liking at the Four Seasons than the Fairmont.
Arrival and Check-in:
We arrived to the Four Seasons around 15:30 feeling a little tired and grubby after hiking about 20 kms. Nonetheless, the staff were very welcoming, friendly and helpful. They were proactive in mentioning the benefits offered through the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts package and helped Maxine to book a spa treatment for the next day. We were also very surprised and appreciative when they informed us that we had been upgraded to a Deluxe Executive Suite on the 5th floor. Prior to going up to the room, we were offered a non-alcoholic warm cider welcome drink that was delicious as they told us about the hotel features and amenities.
The Room – Deluxe Executive Suite:
We entered the room and to the right was the 2nd bathroom, which is smaller and has a toilet and shower, adjacent to a closet. Then, you arrive to the living area which has a couch (sofa bed), a chair with a foot rest by the fireplace, a television on a desk, and 2 additional dining style chairs that seem awkwardly placed. There is a bar area that has 2 bottle of wines and water for purchase, wine glasses, regular glasses, an ice bucket, corkscrew, an ice bucket and a small fridge. Those wanting mini bar options can select from the menu and call to have liquors and other drinks and snacks delivered.
Beside the fireplace was the door that led out to the balcony that had a table and two chairs and a view of the courtyard, pools area and mountains in the distance.
The bedroom was quite large and included a king sized bed facing a television on a dresser. There was also a large closet near the second large bathroom.
The main and large bathroom had a shower, a soaker tub, dual sinks, and a separate toilet area. The shower gets bonus points for having a large shower head with strong water pressure. Since we were feeling a little wind burned from the hike, the L’Occitne en Provence toiletries with shea butter were great. Maxine also liked these toiletries because the scent was light compared to the strong scent of Le Labo Rose 31 offered by the Fairmont.
The suite was quite large and offered more space than we needed but we enjoyed it very much and used more of the space than we thought we would. The bed was very comfortable with more than enough pillows. It was also the type of bed that you don’t notice when the person sleeping beside you moves.
Most hotels and resorts in Whistler tend to me a little more traditional in style and the rooms at the Four Seasons are no exception. The room was very comfortable and well maintained, it’s just there was a lot of beige and browns, which is common. Unlike the photos, there are no blankets on the bed or the couch.
Surprisingly, this hotel doesn’t charge a resort fee and yet seems to offer more than hotels that do. In the afternoon, there is a S’mores station at the fire put and hot chocolate (seasonal) from 16:00-18:00ish and a daily complimentary wine tasting featuring BC wines at SideCut from 16:00-16:00. When we were there, they were featuring a Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc from Penticton’s Pentâge.
There was also an art gallery on site and a games room that had a ping-pong table. For those traveling with children, they offer items to childproof the room and things to keep children entertained (stuffed toy on arrival, children’s newsletter, etc.).
Breakfast at SideCut:
The daily breakfast for 2 if offered at SideCut, the only restaurant onsite and you can choose from the buffet which includes coffee and juice or you can choose a-la-carte to a maximum of $42 per person. Gratuities are an out-of-pocket expense of course. We both opted for the buffet which had a lot of options at a decent quality for a North American hotel buffet. We went for breakfast around 09:30 and it wasn’t too busy but busy enough for me not to take any photos of the spread. They had a made-to-order egg station that featured an omelet of the day, cured fish and meats, a selection of cheeses, fruit, vegetables, a daily feature which was a breakfast burrito, a bread pudding of the day which was apple caramel, pastries and breads, a potato of the day which was lemon roasted, oatmeal, cereal, and a selection of fruit juices and a juice of the day which was pina colada. Overall, we enjoyed breakfast, especially the made-to-order egg white omelets and appreciated the attentive service, including the hostess who made an effort to ask how our stay was going and to seat us away from the section with all the children. The bill for the buffet breakfast for 2 came up to $81CAD + that gratuity we added.
As part of the rate we booked, we had a $100USD spa credit to use. Maxine used the credit to get a shellac manicure, which she really enjoyed and used up the spa credit as it cost $110 with tax. Manicures and pedicures are about the only services that are below $100, so if you want a facial, massages, or other services, you’ll need to pay $50-$200 more out of your own pocket.
The Fitness Centre:
Because our hike was so intense the previous day, Maxine took Sunday off as a rest day but was very impressed with the gym as it had a number of cardio machines, including a spin bike with video screen and a separate studio with spin bikes in it.
The Pool Area:
Since we were tired and sore from hiking Garibaldi Lake, we spent a lot of time enjoying one of the 3 outdoor whirlpools, the heated pool, the small sauna, and the eucalyptus steam room in the spa change room area. The pool area is open from 07:30-22:00 at the spa facilities from 08:00-22:00. The sauna looks super cute but wasn’t warm enough for us and we were not encouraged to use it after seeing other guests dump pool water on the rocks inside. As we had late checkout, we enjoyed Sunday afternoon at the pool which we mostly had to ourselves after everyone checked out. The eucalyptus steam room was quite large and the alpine shower with cold water beside it gave you a chance to re-create the hot-cold process like at the Scandinave Spa Whistler (costs $65 to just use the pools, whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms for the day).
We really enjoyed our stay at the Four Seasons Whistler and the added bonus of the perks associated with the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts made it that much more enjoyable due to the tremendous value we got out of it.
If there is one thing that really stood out, it’s the service: the staff are well-trained, professional, and seem to care about your comfort and enjoyment during your stay.
For a fancy place, it is rustic too and pretty casual: it is very common for people to walk around with the bathrobes and slippers provided by the hotel.
As far as the room, we got to experience a nice large suite but would enjoy a basic room too because it has that comfortable bed, fireplace, the shower, and L’Occitane toiletries.
As the Four Seasons is located in the Upper Village area, its farther area from the main Whistler area and the hotel offers a shuttle every 12 minutes to transport guests back and forth but it’s also a nice easy walk due to the trails and how pedestrian friendly Whistler is. It can be a little loud in Whistler village, so we preferred to be farther.
Tip: If you don’t like valet parking or paying for parking, there is a free lot a 5 minute walk away from the hotel. E-mail us to find out more.
What was the best last-minute deal you founds for a weekend getaway? Have you ever stayed at the Four Seasons Whistler? Would you feel comfortable walking around in a bathrobe at such a fancy place?
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