This was our fifth time to Whistler; fourth staying at the PanPac, first time at the PanPac Village Centre.
First let me say we love PanPac mountainside. I begrudge every single step taken in ski boots, and the Mountainside property is so close you could throw a skiboot from the back door and hit the Blackcomb gondy. Bliss. Plus, ski rental on the ground floor and a great hot tub with a view of the fireworks. What's not to love?
But we left our booking a bit late this year and were unable to secure a two bedroom apartment for the dates we wanted, so with our hearts in our mouths, we agreed to stay at the Village Centre instead.
First, the bad -- it is a couple of hundred metres from the lifts. Well, maybe 150.
Now the good - you can store your gear at the Panpac mountainside, so really there's no need to clump around in skiboots and certainly no need to carry skis.
Also good - much less nighttime noise from the grooming machinery. This has been a constant feature of our previous stays mountainside, so either the grooming people have found a less noisy way to groom the lower slopes, or being a few buildings back makes all the difference. Big plus.
Also, the rooms at the Village Centre, while essentially the same as Mountainside, are appreciably bigger. Not twice as big or anything like that, but the living area is substantially larger and we certainly appreciated that over the course of our ten days.
But the thing we found we really liked, surprisingly, was the difference being in the middle of the village. We'd always thought the mountainside property to be conveniently located, but at the Village centre there's any number of restaurants you could literally hold your breath and run to - they're that close. Several nights I didn't even bother putting on a jacket as we'd only be outside for less an a minute. It more than made up for a 4 minute walk each morning.
As for the thing we thought we'd miss most (sitting in the hot tub watching late skiers come down the hill), Village Centre has something you really need to know about. Every day between 4 and 5pm, your first drink at the bar is free (or milk & cookie). Hardly a big deal, right? Well, the thing that makes it work is the hot tubs just outside the bar.
Now, normally I feel somewhat self-conscious walking around a hotel wearing a bathrobe. But at PanPac Village Centre, this is where the action is. The cognoscenti pull on their togs, put on their bathrobe and wander down to the bar to grab a free drink and go sit in the hot tubs. Most of the people you see in reception are wearing bath towels. Most of the people you catch in the elevator are wearing bath towels. People actually sit in the bar in their bath towels. If you smile sweetly enough, the waitress might even bring your drink out and hand it to you while you're sitting in the hot tub. Now, I know you can (and people do) take drinks to the Mountainside hot tub, but it's kinda inconvenient. At Village Centre, the whole thing has pretty much become an *institution*. And I approve :)
One other thing - Village Centre includes breakfast. The breakfasts are serviceable but not great. In fact, for 8 of our ten mornings we choose to make pancakes in our room rather than troop down to breaky. It's not that the breakfasts are bad, just not worth the inconvenience and extra time compared to our usual habit of pancakes interleaved with getting ready.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre is an intimate, family-friendly oasis located in the heart of the Village stroll, yet a 5 minute walk from the Gondolas to both mountains. Complimentary perks include a daily breakfast buffet, wireless Internet, local calls, in-resort shuttle and slope-side valet ski/bike/golf storage. Spacious suites feature full kitchens, bathrooms and balconies and range in size from Studios to Three Bedrooms with Den. Enjoy spectacular mountain views from the sunny deck with salt-water pool and two hot tubs and sauna. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre Hotel Whistler
- Whistler Pan Pacific