Four Seasons Whistler and Fairmont Chateau Whistler are the two best luxury hotels in Whistler. Whether you are staying in winter for skiing or in the summer to take in the mountain air and bike or hike outdoors, whether you are traveling with your family or on a romantic couples break, you need to know which luxury hotel is the best: Four Seasons Whistler vs. Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
Whistler is conveniently located just an hour and a half away from the international destination of Vancouver. I have been fortunate enough to stay in both luxury hotels on numerous occasions, and you cannot go wrong with either hotel. They both offer a five-star experience and are nestled at the base of Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, framed by evergreen forests.
Both have great spas, warm outdoor pools, luxury rooms, and excellent restaurants and bars. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler has the advantage of the Gold club level, but overall, we feel the Four Seasons has the edge on luxury. The decor is beautiful, and the bar and restaurant are atmospheric and romantic. They are superb with kids with lots of clubs and amenities. Four Seasons Whistler ticks all the boxes and is our number-one choice.
Below, we review each hotel in detail, considering the most important features so you know what you are getting in whichever property you choose. We summarise which hotel feature is best so that you can make a quick decision. To get the cheapest possible deal and offers as well as free perks at both these hotels, book via our luxury travel concierge because we offer great extras and upgrades at no extra cost.
Get To Four Seasons Whistler
Fly into Vancouver International Airport and Four Seasons Resort Whistler is around a 2-hour transfer by car from Vancouver. Both hotels are just 15 15-minute walk away from Whistler Upper Village, which has coffee shops like Starbucks, bars, restaurants, and an array of shops. The walk is through a terribly pretty tree-filled area with a rushing mountain stream running through the center. If you prefer, a free Four Seasons or Fairmont shuttle will pick you up and drop you off.
Best Time To Visit
Ski in the winter or enjoy the wilds of the mountains in the summer sunshine. Golf, mountain biking, and hiking are all popular, or you can relax in the spa and pool if you prefer.
Best For Rooms?
The best hotel option in Whistler for rooms has to be the Four Seasons Whistler, which is also one of the best Four Seasons hotels in the world in our opinion. The rooms are stunning and recently renovated (see picture above), with a newly updated take on the classic mountain lodge. After renovations that began in the spring of 2019, the Resort is debuting the property’s 273 rooms and suites in anticipation of the 2019/2020 ski season.
Nodding to the mountain’s globetrotting guests, Four Seasons Resort Whistler blends modern interiors with alpine style. Rooms combine elements of the classic lodge, paying homage to the nostalgia of winter chalets while looking forward to new memories to be made.
Inside, the sweeping updates include all new furnishings, fixtures, and bespoke additions in guest rooms and suites. Clean, mid-century-inspired furnishings are featured prominently. Sleek, iron-frame leather chairs and ashwood credenzas are contrasted with warm, raw-edged coffee tables. Foregoing more traditional bed frames, beds are complemented with plush wallcovering in a rustic yet refined woven textile.
Each room at Four Seasons Resort Whistler features a balcony where guests can seize every moment of the outdoors. Inside, the view is highlighted with expansive windows opening up to forest-lined mountain vistas, a view that can be taken in perched on the window seats in each room.
This stunning setting luxuriates through unfussy details such as floating brass bedside light fixtures and sculptural ceiling light features, allowing the grandeur of the mountains to be center stage. Modern granite fireplaces in every room at Four Seasons Resort Whistler mean guests can cozy up fireside long after the sun goes down.
In contrast, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler has been concentrating on renovating its Suites, with the installation of fireplaces (perfect for those cozy winter months), modern spa bathrooms with soaker tub, and updated modern alpine decor, plus a generous built-in wet bar in the larger suites.
The rooms at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler are less impressive. Most have decent-sized windows, but few are floor-to-ceiling. The majority of rooms do not have balconies, which is a real disadvantage. After all, there is nothing like swinging open your balcony doors to take in the summer air or stepping out barefoot onto a balcony covered in snow as the flakes are falling, only to return immediately to the warmth of your room so you can cozy up at your own private fireplace.
You can do this at the Four Seasons, whichever room you choose, but at the Fairmont Chateau, rooms are more generic mid-range 5 Star, and although very pleasant, they are not special in the same way. There is no balcony in most of the rooms, and the ones with a balcony only offer Romeo and Juliette style, so you can’t step out or sit out. Only the suites offer fireplaces in the rooms, and the size of the base room is 37m2 compared to the base “Premier Room” at the Four Seasons, which is 53.8 m² (580 ft²). This lowest-category room at the Four Seasons also features both a fireplace and a balcony.
I personally prefer the look of the Four Seasons rooms vs. Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Four Seasons rooms feel like a mountain chalet, whereas the Fairmont rooms feel more generic. If you close the curtains, you could be anywhere.
Finally, the base “Premier Rooms” at the Four Seasons are great, large, with almost all of the mod cons of the other rooms in this hotel. The standard rooms at the Fairmont face backward, towards the car park rather than over the pool and the slopes. While they remain luxury rooms, they are nothing special, and if you are a luxury traveler, you may be disappointed by what you get.
Best For In Room Amenities
The Fairmont offers small 40 mL bottles of Le Labo Rose 31 bath amenities, which is standard for the Fairmont brand, and there is no shelf in the shower for storing them. These amenities smell nice but are not my favorites. The Four Seasons offers 50 mL sized bottles of L’Occitane products, one of my favorite amenity brands. You get more, and they smell nicer at the Four Seasons.
The Fairmont offers a Keurig coffee machine, and the Four Seasons has Nespresso machines, which I also think are better. So for Amenities, the Four Seasons wins vs. Fairmont Chateau Whistler on both counts.
Best For Sleep
Four Seasons hotel beds are fabulous across the brand and almost guarantee a good night’s sleep. Book a room facing the mountains and forest, and you will not find a quieter hotel room in the world. Four Seasons wins!
Best For Location
This Four Seasons Whistler is just a short walk from the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Both hotels are located in the Upper Village at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and about a 10-15 walk from the main village along a windy path through a small thicket of pine trees and over a gushing mountain river. The walk is lovely, well-lit, feels safe, and brings you out into the center of Whistler village with all its shops (clothes shops, bars, Starbucks (x2), Supermarket, fast food places, etc.). There is nothing to differentiate between the Four Seasons vs. Fairmont Chateau Whistler when judged by the walk into Whistler Village Center.
Best Fot Getting To Ski Slopes
The Fairmont is located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain by the Wizard Express ski lift. This means you walk out of the hotel and onto the slopes. They have a ski concierge room to store your skis/boards/boots overnight, so you don’t have to carry everything back to the hotel. Sometimes hot chocolate is available in this ski concierge room, but it often seems to run out.
The Four Seasons is about a 5-minute walk away from the base of Blackcomb Mountain, which is a real pain in ski boots. Instead of walking, you will probably take the very regular Four Seasons complimentary shuttle from the entrance of the hotel to the entrance of the ski room. Their heated and stylish Four Seasons ski room has complimentary hot chocolate cookies, apple cider, and boot heaters, along with a member of staff to help you store your skis and boots. From the ski room, you step straight onto the slopes.
While the Four Seasons ski room is super nice and stylish, the fact you have to shuttle to the slopes is less convenient, so the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is marginally better for getting to the slopes.
Conversely, if you are worried about getting your boots on and carrying your skis, the Four Seasons ski concierge staff are amazing and will do everything for you, from helping you get your boots on and off to carrying your skis out to the snow.
The concierge even delivers your skis from your room or car to the ski room, dries them, and heats your boots up before you put them on again! They offer true ski luxury.
As the short minibus ride is no hassle and the staff and free snacks in the Four Seasons ski concierge are so much better, the Four Seasons makes it easier to get out onto the slopes than the Fairmont, and so the Four Seasons wins on this front too.
I love a hotel pool. There is little better than swimming in a warm pool or sitting in a hot tub with snow falling onto your hair. The pool at both of these hotels is heated. In the winter, both are so warm that the steam rises up from the pool as the snow falls, so you will be swimming through a cloud of warmth as the warm, humid air from the pool hits the cold mountain air.
The Fairmont pool is much larger vs. the Four Seasons, and although it has an indoor and outdoor section, it feels more traditional and lacks the boutique feel and interesting design of the pool at the Four Seasons.
The Four Seasons pool is fully heated year-round and offers panoramic vistas of Whistler and the Blackcomb Mountains. The spacious pool deck features chaise loungers, patio tables, and chairs for those looking to dine poolside. In the winter, you will find plenty of fresh towels and a poolside service.
I love that the Four Seasons pool deck is heated (underfloor), too, so you don’t have to run from the indoors to the pool like an idiot to avoid frozen toes (this also avoids any icy slippiness). There are also three therapeutic hot spring-style whirlpools and a fully equipped gym with personal trainers.
In the summer, you get all mod cons that typify a Four Seasons pool, including Sunglasses cleaning, daily treats, complimentary sunscreen and aloe gel, complimentary amenity every hour, Evian spritz, cold towels, and cooling cucumber eye slices.
Best For Families With Kids
Four Seasons Whistler is extremely kid-friendly (and is also pet-friendly in certain rooms). Four Seasons hotels are always a brilliant choice if you are traveling with children. The restaurants at the Four Seasons Whistler have kids and teen menus. Rooms offer children’s bathrobes and slippers and babysitting services. There is also a children’s program offering evening entertainment. The resort offers fantastic winter and summer programs, providing loads to do for kids of all ages.
The most exclusive accommodation at the Four Seasons is the Private Residences. Perfect for family holidays in Whistler. Set apart from the main hotel, the Residences are beautifully designed and decorated, with views of the surrounding forest, valley, or mountains from private furnished terraces accessed by enormous French windows. They feature kitchens, spacious living areas, state-of-the-art home entertainment systems, and pampering bathrooms with deep-soak tubs.
So the Four Seasons Whistler is undoubtedly the best choice for families with children (and dogs and cats!).
Best Restaurant And Bar
Four Seasons has a daily free wine tasting, and if that doesn’t win you over, you can also enjoy excellent food at this Four Seasons in a more atmospheric setting than the Fairmont.
The Four Seasons Whistler’s main restaurant is Fifty Two 80 Bistro. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guests can enjoy the fabulous views of the surrounding mountains. The Four Seasons Sidecut is a sleek steakhouse featuring an open fireplace and a 1,800-degree infrared grill that cooks Canadian prime beef to juicy perfection. Right outside is the heated patio, which has its own fireplace where kids (and kids at heart) roast marshmallows after dinner. For après cocktails and live music, guests stop at the swanky Fifty Two 80 lounge.
The Fairmont also has lounges and restaurants, but the overall feel is less intimate and more like a large lobby lounge and traditional hotel restaurant(s). While the Fairmont restaurants and bars are very good, those at the Four Seasons are great, so in the Four Seasons vs. Fairmont battle, the Four Seasons once again wins.
Best Club Lounge
Only the Fairmont offers a club lounge that you get access to by booking their Gold rooms. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Gold floor accommodations offer jetted tubs and gas fireplaces in every room, along with upgraded hotel amenities and Bose sound systems.
The Fairmont Gold accommodations are located on the 9-12th Floor, with some Fairmont Gold rooms on the 8th floor. Privileges include:
- Private check-in and check-out
- Exclusive Fairmont Gold Lounge for Fairmont Gold guests
- Deluxe Continental Breakfast in the Fairmont Gold Lounge
- All day coffee & tea service in the Fairmont Gold Lounge
- Afternoon canapés & honour bar in the Fairmont Gold Lounge
- Complimentary newspapers and personalized wake-up calls
- Fairmont Gold privileges include exclusive access to the Fairmont Gold Lounge. Relax fireside while enjoying complimentary Deluxe Continental Breakfast, local newspapers, magazines, catching up on email with our complimentary laptop computer, or simply unwinding after a day on Whistler Mountain
As Four Seasons does not have a club lounge, the Fairmont wins for best executive lounge in Whistler.
I reviewed the best way to get deals and special offers at Four Seasons Whistler separately. The key is to book your next Four Seasons stay via our concierge, and we can give you free loyalty-style benefits, room upgrades, and perks at the same cheapest rates.
The same goes for the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Book your next Fairmont stay via our concierge, and we can give you free loyalty-style benefits. Our free benefits at Fairmont Chateau Whistler are very similar to those offered at the Four Seasons and include an upgrade on arrival, early check-in / late check-out (both subject to availability), daily full breakfast, for up to two guests per bedroom served in the restaurant, welcome amenity, $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full) and complimentary Wi-Fi.
The Best Overall: Four Seasons vs. Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Four Seasons Resort Whistler is best, hands down. The only factor where the Fairmont comes close is their Gold Level with their club lounge. This Gold level offers better-than-average accommodation within the Fairmont and club lounge access. On more or less every other factor, Four Seasons Whistler wins as it is a brilliant ski hotel for both couples and families.
Other luxury hotel options include the two Pan Pacific hotels, Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre and Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, which are on a similar level to the Fairmont and a step below the Four Seasons, followed by the Delta Marriott Whistler Village, The Blackcomb Lodge, Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel and The Listel Hotel Whistler.
COPYRIGHT 2014 - 2023 LUXURY TRAVEL DIARY. DUPLICATION OUTSIDE OF LUXURYTRAVELDIARY.COM IS EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN.
Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.