When you rent a vacation home in a resort you don’t know, it is very important to find out as much as possible about the pros and cons of different locations within the resort. Take Whistler, BC, as an example. Whistler is one of the top ski resorts in the world, repeatedly voted #1 in North America. Some of the rental homes in it are spectacular, extremely convenient and desirable in every way. Others are less so. Before you book, educate yourself about the features of each possible location.
Many people want to be right in the Village in Whistler. This is understandable, since the Village is the center of shopping and restaurants, and the gondolas up both mountains leave from the top of the Village. It is also an attractive location, since it is car-free and nicely-designed. , with colorful low-rise buildings and an array of cafes and shops. The downside is that the Village is predominantly one and two-bedroom apartments, built fairly cheaply and generally small. They are very convenient, but with a few exceptions they are not spacious or luxurious and will not give you the feeling of being in a mountain cabin or a ski lodge. The same applies to most of the developments in Village North: convenient, but very small and generally built to a low budget. The major exception is Montebello, which are 3 and 4-bedroom townhomes built and decorated to a high standard, all with large private hot tubs and many with nice views over the mountains. Try Montebello for a quality modern home within a few minutes walk of the Village. However, don’t expect log construction and a mountain cabin feeling.
The Upper Village is an area on the lower slopes of Blackcomb Mountain on the upper side of Blackcomb Way. Some of these properties are true ski-in, ski-out (look for the Aspens, Cedar Creek, Cedar Hollow, Cedar Ridge, Pinnacle Ridge, Woodrun Lodge and Snowy Creek; others involve a short or short-ish walk to the slopes. At the north end of the Upper Village are several developments where you can ski back but have to take the shuttle bus to get to the lifts in the morning. These include The Woods, Treeline and Forest Creek. If you want true ski-in, ski-out make sure you understand exactly how far it is to the slopes. If you want to be near the Village as well as having true ski-in, ski-out then Snowy Creek is almost your only option, but its popularity means that you will pay a hefty premium for one of the 3-5 bedroom townhomes in this sought-after development.
This is an area of many very exclusive multi-$m homes half-way between the Village and Creekside. Most of the homes have great views over both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. You can get good value here if you don’t mind driving to both the Village and the lifts.
This is an area on the lower slopes of Whistler Mountain, consisting of several different sub-developments, namely Taluswood Phase 1, The Ridge, The Bluffs, The Heights and The Lookout. These are all high-quality properties, with some of the best being the original Taluswood Phase 1, where the homes have peeled log interiors, custom-built doors and everything is comfortingly heavy-duty. Go for the Bluffs for the best views and the Ridge if you want to be right on the slopes. Try the Heights and the Lookout for larger homes, some of which have great views. The only drawback here is that the ski-out now involves taking your skis off to cross the road.
Although the commercial area near the gondola is brand new, this is largely an older area for vacation properties, with a lot of cheap and fairly run-down units (avoid Gondola Village at all costs). However, there are some very upscale homes amid the dross, and some of the older properties have been nicely renovated. Caution is the watchword here.
The bottom line, if you don’t know the resort well, is to take advice from an expert. There are several agencies with a wide choice of properties where you can get information about the resort and its different locations.
Henry Schlee is a keen Whistler skier and the owner of Holiday Whistler. Whistler accommodation