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Whistler Weekend Getaway, Crystal Lodge

Whistler is a town situated just a 2 hour drive North from Vancouver, nestled at the bottom of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. The area is famed for being one of the largest ski resorts in North America as well as a mecca for adventure!

Summer sees the ski resort transform into a mountain biking paradise with a whole host of summer adventure activities for the adrenaline junkies or visitors looking to enjoy British Columbia’s great outdoors.

Being so close to Vancouver, Whistler is perfect for a weekend or week long getaway. With Vancouver’s International Airport located on popular routes to and from Australasia and Europe, it is also a great opportunity for a stopover. When we flew back from New Zealand to the UK we stopped in Vancouver and had a 10 day holiday in Whistler, and it only cost us an extra $500! If you want tips on how best to do this, let me know in the comments below ( I used to be a travel agent so have all the travel hack secrets).

What can we do in a weekend in Whistler? 

Whistler has a huge selection of accommodation options and we were lucky enough to stay at The 4* Crystal Lodge & Suites located right in the heart of Whistler’s village district, with shops, bars, cafes and restaurants right on our doorstep. Being so close to all of the action means you have more time to fill your weekend with activities.

Our Crystal Queen Room had all the modern comforts you’d expect and felt more like an apartment than a hotel room, our huge comfy sofa (which pulls out to make an extra bed) was perfect to kick back with a glass of wine and enjoy a movie night on the flatscreen TV. After we checked in with the friendly hotel staff it was time to relax in our room before we headed out for the evening. The deep soaker tub and a glass of red wine hit the spot. If you are feeling active you can use their Fitness Centre and then relax in the Sauna afterwards.

The hotel also has weekly complimentary hosted receptions between 3.30 – 4.30pm that include BC’s finest Craft Beers, Crystal Cocktails, Signature Wines from Basalt Wine + Salumeria, Gelato or Hot Chocolate with Baileys or Self Serve Iced Tea.

Being just a 2 minute walk from the Gondola Hub it was a perfect base to access all of Whistler’s activities. Mountain Bikers and Skiers will have their Ski’s and Bikes valeted (complementary) and be on the slopes in no time at all. They even have a bike wash with a new Bike Tuning Station so you can mount your bike and rebuild using the tools attached from the comfort of your hotel.

In winter there is a games room for all the big kids and upon check in you receive a Crystal Advantage Card which offers discounts for dining, retail and salons in the village.

Dinner that evening was enjoyed at Basalt Wine + Salumeria which is conveniently accessed directly from The Crystal Lodge as well as from the Village Stroll.

Basalt has a cosy outdoor patio dining area in a fantastic space to watch people go by. Their charcuterie and cheese boards will have you’re inner foodie covered. We enjoyed some dishes from their 3 course prix fixe menu.

Get ready for your tastebuds to start watering because I have listed below what we ate – just because it was so damn delicious I just had to share.

Calamari with Lemon and Chilli Falafel with tahini mint yoghurt to start was just what the doctor ordered followed by a New York Strip Steak and Sumac Roasted Fish with apple caper tomato salsa, cured yam + chickpea hash, swiss chard and butter chicken sauce. For dessert I opted for the Coconut, Lemongrass and Ginger Popsicle with salty roasted peanuts, lemon raspberry kombucha granita and smoked coconut toffee. Phil had the Cheese Board with welsh cheddar, le gruyère classic, house made labneh and fig + caramelized onion jam. Isn’t that enough to make you start drooling.

After a couple of awesome Basalt cocktails and yummy Canadian craft beers we were ready to turn in for the evening so we were rested for our action packed next day!

We start our leisurely morning with breakfast in bed (OJ and pastries from the local market) and relax by the outdoor heated Swimming Pool and Hot Tub which is open 365 days a year. Plush pool towels are provided and it’s the perfect way to relax before our afternoon of adrenaline activities begin.

There are an abundance of adrenaline filled activities to choose from in Whistler and we decided to do the BC RZR Tour from The Adventure Group (TAG). These are 4WD Off Road buggies that will take two people up Cougar Mountain on an adventure of a lifetime. The TAG office is located in Whistler Village and after a short ride in the minibus out to Cougar Mountain, about 20 mins north of Whistler, we arrived at the TAG base camp.

We are introduced to our RZR Guides and supplied with our helmets and goggles. We pair up and get into our RZR’s (there was plenty of time to swap over drivers, so no fighting for the drivers seat haha) excited to see what lay ahead and set off into the Canadian Mountains with our guide.

It was unbelievable what terrain we were able to drive up, over and through in these 4 wheelers. Novice and adventurous drivers alike will have no problems piloting these through anything the Canadian wilds throw at you. Watch out for the big puddles though, you will get wet if you go full speed ahead as demonstrated in the first 10 minutes by a driver on our tour who got very muddy.

We climbed up Cougar Mountain to some fabulous views over the adjoining mountain ranges, great photo opportunities await and plenty of time to experience the old tracks of the mountains.  Driving through the Hemlock, Fir and Red Cedar forests you feel like you are a million miles away from civilisation.

RZR Tour Views Whistler

Our off road tour lasted approximately 2.5 hours and after that a hot shower was needed. Wear old clothes if you are visiting over the summer months as the terrain is very dry and dusty. Queue hilarious dust beard photos when removing your helmet at the end.

We head back onto the minibus heading for Whistler and say farewell to the base camp…for now! Later that evening we also planned to come back and visit the spectacular Vallea Lumina which is also hosted in the evening by The Adventure Group.

We first saw a video online for Vallea Lumina last year and have wanted to go ever since, they have tours running from sundown via a complementary shuttle from Whistler Village during the summer months.

Once the sun has set and you arrive back at Cougar Mountain the whole place is transformed into an immersive ranger camp complete with campfires and songs set amongst the festoon lanterns and log cabins.

Ranger guides will send you on your way into the dark forest guided by lit walkways – soon after we began we were greeted by the most amazing light shows and visual effects amongst the giant forest.

Vallea Lumina, Whistler

Sound and lighting effects galore will have you feeling like you stepped straight into an enchanted forest Disney movie and have the magical feels all around. When exploring the sights and wonders of the forest make sure to stop and wait at the installations for their surprises.

Vallea Lumina Whistler

Our walk took approximately 1 hour from start to finishing back at the basecamp, where buses are waiting to take you back to Whistler -that is if you are done enjoying the campfires at basecamp of course.

Thank You to Crystal Lodge, The Adventure Group and Basalt Wine + Salumeria for hosting us, our stay was gifted and all opinions are our own. We truly only recommend places that we absolutely love.

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Canadas First Pod Hotel – Pangea Pod Hotel

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to stay in a Pod Hotel? Well Japan is not the only place you can experience this unique style of accommodation. Canadas first ever Pod Hotel opened in Whistler last year and we spent two nights enjoying the boutique delights that Pangea Pod Hotel offers.

Designed to be the perfect mix of Hotel and Hostel, Pangea Pod offers everything you need when travelling on a budget to get your mountain adventure fix but still seek little luxuries – A rare find in Whistler.

Located in Whistler village, the adventure capital of British Columbia and only a short 2 hour drive from Vancouver, Pangea Pod Hotel is perfectly situated. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon and walked into the building located directly in the centre surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants. The Whistler Bike Park and Ski Lifts are a short stroll from the front door. The outside the building fits in nicely with the mountain village vibe but as soon as you walk in you are met with an incredible arty, modern decor.

Check in is done through a computer and you are given a room key on a wristband that also acts as a tab for your drinks and food if you wish. It’s all very efficient and I love how quick it is.

We walk up one flight of stairs to our Suite and find our Pod which is located on the top “bunk”. Each Suite has several Pods, including an upstairs level and a balcony overlooking the village. Our Pod is spacious and includes all the amenities you might need for your stay including power sockets, a fan to cool you down, shelving, clothes hangers, hooks, mirror and a locker for your valuables. There is plenty of space for your luggage and the bed is very spacious. If you need any extras ( ear plugs, hair dryer etc) you can simply text reception and they will deliver these to you. A curtain pulls across to give you privacy and makes the Pod feel very cosy.

The Suites have several showers which are modern with rain shower heads and come kitted out with shower gel and shampoo (perfect for me as I forgot to pack these items!) The toilets are separate from the showers and there’s a changing room and separate sink to save people waiting in line when it gets busy. Music plays so you can sing in the shower if you fancy.

Pangea Pod Hotel Suite Whistler
Pangea Pod Budget Hotel Whistler Canada

We spent our first evening relaxing in our Pod and enjoying a Happy Hour drink in the Living Room, Pangea Pods communal dining area which is so stylishly decorated. If the weather is nice you can head to their rooftop patio and enjoy uninterrupted village views. Afterwards we explored the village sights, ready to have a day filled with adventure the next morning.

After a comfortable night in our pod we head down to the Living Room for breakfast. We choose a window seat because I love to people watch with the village located directly below. The breakfast menu has everything I could want to order including Bacon Eggs Benedict, Avocado on Toast, Smoothie Bowls and Pastries. Non hotel guests are welcome for breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening (or day time) drinks.

Pangea Pod Hotel Whistler Canada
Breakfast at Pangea Pod Hotel Whistler
Coffee at Pangea Pod Hotel Whistler

After breakfast we start our day by exploring Whistler on the Gondola and head up the mountain. On our way up we see three bears in the bike park, two cubs and their momma. (unfortunately I don’t get my camera out quick enough so have no photos) It’s a beautiful day and at the top we head to the Inukshuk. Placed here to commemorate the 2010 Winter Olympics it has become a must see, especially due to the stunning mountain backdrop. The alpine hiking trails are closed at the moment so it’s a quick visit and we head back down to the village.

We grab a quick bite to eat in town and head to Lost Lake – about 20 minutes walk from the Village and the perfect place to relax and cool down on a warm summers day. The beach here gets pretty busy so we walk around the lake to a dock that is far quieter (this may have something to do with it being clothing optional…)

Lost Lake Dock Whistler Canada

After a leisurely walk through Lost Lake Park we head back to Pangea to relax before dinner. There is free WIFI throughout the property so you can catch up on all your social needs or even kick back and watch some videos.

Pangea Pod Hotel

Dinner is served in the Living Room and we opt for the tasty flat bread pizzas and a cocktail. The staff here were great, they mixed me my own custom cocktail not on the menu, thanks to me and my Margarita craving. The food is so delicious – I recommend the Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Flat Bread. You will also find charcuterie boards, soups and sandwiches for everyones taste on the menu. To allow us to further enjoy our evening we loved watching the live music. All week there is a comprehensive entertainment schedule so you will always find a reason to come back.

Flatbread Pizza Pangea Pod
Live Music Pangea Pod Hotel Whistler

To end the evening we played a game of chess which Phil won, much to his delight as it was his first ever win at playing chess. There is a huge selection of board games which they encourage you to play, even if you don’t want to order anything from the bar which I think is the perfect hostel attitude yet you are located in a far classier atmosphere.

Board Games Pangea Pod Hotel Whistler

If you want to bring your toys – mountain bikes for the summer and skis/boards for the winter then you can lock them up in their spacious Toy Box. There is also a bike wash and repair station located outside.

Bike Storage Pangea Pod
Bike Wash and Bike Service at Pangea Pod

We can’t wait to explore more of Whistler this summer , keep an eye out for more awesome posts of our trip in beautiful British Columbia. Check us out on Instagram for daily photo updates here

Thank You to Pangea Pod Hotel for hosting us, our stay was gifted and all opinions are our own. We truly only recommend places that we absolutely love.

Pangea Pod Whistler, Canada

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Soaring Through The Snow Capped Rainforests of British Columbia

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I never thought that I would be standing in a rainforest in British Columbia and be surrounded by of all things-snow!

We are currently in Whistler, British Columbia and it is one of very few areas in the world where you can experience a coastal temperate rainforest. Being only 80km away from the coast and located on a mountain where high precipitation is encountered annually creates this very rare and beautiful wonderland.
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One of the most exhilarating ways to experience the environment here is by seeing it from a different perspective. We chose to do this by jumping out of alpine treehouses and soaring above the snowy canyons between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain.

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Zip lining-an extreme sports enthusiasts dream where you are connected by a harness to wires that start at one tree house on Whistler Mountain and send you soaring over the Fitzsimmons River towards Blackcomb Mountain. An eco-friendly activity where they power their radios from solar panels and donate proceeds to almost 20 charities annually, Zip Trek were a company with a feel good factor and environmentally sound attributes.
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With snow falling all around us, one of the most beautiful rainforests in the world and trails only accessible via the tour, we experienced a once in a lifetime activity that will leave us with memories for life.
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Zip lining in Whistler is also enjoyable in the summer months without the frosty temperatures, but we feel that the ability to taste this adventure in winter adds an alpine twist enabling you to view a quieter, more serene winter wonderland.