Week-long Stay in British Columbia and Seattle
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
While many summer travelers head across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe, or in the opposite direction to Asia, a trip to the Pacific Northwest is a solid option, especially if your plan is to explore the outdoors in milder temperatures. Start at the adventure mecca that is Whistler, where activities are plentiful throughout the year. Vancouver offers just the right blend of natural beauty and the conveniences that come with a modern city. Lastly, Washington State's versions of mountain peaks, lakes and islets are not to be missed.
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Where to stay
Four Seasons Resort Whistler
High-end mountain resort featuring luxury suites and an in-house ski concierge.
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Fairmont Pacific Rim
The Fairmont Pacific Rim is designed to exceed the highest standards and services, offering all-around luxury in downtown Vancouver accommodations.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Luxury boutique hotel in a sleek glass building close to Pike Place Market with dramatic views of the Puget Sound.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out, whenever possible.
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Day 1: Four words: Sea to Sky Highway - perfectly named and just so…*sighs*… breathtaking
A direct flight from Hawai’i, cooler summer temperatures, and the chance to cross the northern border for the first time were all the reasons we chose to visit British Columbia and Seattle as the kids’ end-of-summer-hurrah. With a travel party of eight, including four adults and four children ages ranging from 8-18, the mission was to see as many sights as possible and include some downtime at the pools.
The two-hour drive from Vancouver to Whistler passes through this scenic byway. A pit stop at Shannon Falls Provincial Park would be the best place to stretch your legs and to see the towering cascades.
Check in to the Four Seasons Whistler and if your room isn’t ready when you arrive, enlist the services of the hotel shuttle to take you to Whistler Village for lunch. A good ol’ hearty Aussie meat pie from Peaked Pies would easily tie you over for dinner. The Audain Museum is home to artifacts of the First Nations as well as contemporary art and pop-up exhibits. When you receive a text message from Four Seasons that your room is ready, head over to the nearest shuttle stop for a lift back to the property. The hotel has one of the better steak dinner options in Whistler, but we decided to pass and went back to the village in search of poutine – the Canadian staple we’ve heard lots about.
Day 2: Scenic views & adventure
Start your day with breakfast at Braidwood Tavern, the on-property restaurant. With offerings ranging from cured meats, pot pies, an omelet station, a donut wall (made fresh in-house, by the way), what we all agreed to be the best oatmeal we ever had, and more, you’ll be ready to take on the day’s excursions after a hearty meal. The top attraction, and one that should not be missed, is the Peak2Peak Gondola. The hotel shuttle will drop you off at the base of Blackcomb, where you can pick-up or purchase tickets. The lifts take you up Blackcomb Mountain, which has its own trails and restaurants. Hop over to Whistler Mountain by taking the gondola and don’t miss out on the Cloudraker Skybridge. Restrooms, restaurants and gift shops are available in the mountains. When you’re ready to head back down, you can take a lift down Whistler or work your way back to Blackcomb. Once off the mountain, await the Four Seasons shuttle to take you to Whistler Village for ice cream from Cows. Don’t let the line that wraps around the storefront intimidate you. It moves fairly quickly, and besides, the Wowie Cowie that’s loaded with toffee marble and chocolate flakes is surely worth the wait. Head back to the hotel for a nap or some downtime at the resort’s pool and hot tubs. End the Whistler portion of your trip with an upscale dinner at Rimrock Café located about 10 minutes from the hotel. If you don’t have a vehicle, the House car at Four Seasons can transport you. From the gravel parking lot, the façade of the building is no indication of the meal ahead. We dined on the patio, which, by the way, felt like a private dining area with its placement next to the restaurant's garden. Service was friendly and not at all intrusive, and everything we ate – ceviche, lamb rack, duck… *chef’s kiss*!
Day 3: Relaxing at Stanley Park
Make your way back to Vancouver, and if you’re like us, stocking up on Old Dutch ketchup chips and Coffee Crisps is a must. With all the walking from the day before, a relaxing day at Stanley Park may just be what you need. The towering cedars and firs in this urban park make you forget you’re in the city. There is so much to do there– take a leisure stroll along the seawall, learn about the First Nations people at the Totem Poles or visit the Vancouver Aquarium. You can easily spend a few hours at Stanley Park. If that’s too mellow of a day, rent a bike from the vendors just outside the entrance of the park. And of course, end your park visit with ice cream at Prospect Point.
When it comes to dining, Vancouver offers some of the best Asian eateries. Anh and Chi, a Vietnamese restaurant with a modern flair, is bold in flavors and has an aesthetic befitting of LA. Two of our favorite dishes, the DIY Street Side Platter and the Hanoi’s Deconstructed Vermicelli, require you to put in some work to assemble them. The flavor explosion of these dishes makes the effort well worth it.
Had I not booked a hotel stay on points at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, I would have considered The Fairmont Pacific Rim for their blend of luxury and style. The hotel is modern with a happening lobby bar, and from its prime location along the water, it offers unforgettable views of the harbor and the downtown skyscrapers.
Day 4: Travel to Seattle
Bid farewell to British Columbia and take the Amtrak Cascades line from Vancouver to Seattle. If you’re able to muster an early wake-up call, take the first train out. The journey across the border, even in the economy cabin, is comfortable. Also, be sure to sit on the right side of the train for up-front views of the coast.
Check in to The Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle’s Southport for a relaxing stay on the waterfront. I consider the rooms to be on the minimalist end of the design spectrum, but it was warm, comfortable and thoughtfully done. During the warmer months, the bar on the deck level is open and is a great way to spend the afternoon with live music while watching the sea planes glide by.
Day 5: Mount Rainier National Park
Today is all about Mount Rainier National Park. The Hyatt’s location was strategic as it saved us 25 minutes of drive time each way compared to a hotel in downtown Seattle. From the Nisqually Entrance of the park, it’s another 30 minutes to get to the parking area and visitor center. The wildflowers were in full bloom, and the kids loved listening to the rangers talk about the wildlife in the park. Trails are plentiful and vary in difficulty – so there will be options for people of all hiking levels.
Day 6: Explore, Market, Hospitality
Make the short trek from Lake Washington to downtown Seattle to explore some of the city's most prominent sights. Pike Place Market is one of them. The market operates daily and is one of the nation’s oldest farmer’s markets. You’re sure to find something for everyone: flowers, fresh produce, seafood, leather goods, and trinkets. If you’re the grab-and-go type of eater and traveling with a group, my best tip is to divide and conquer – send someone to pick up clam chowder, while someone else picks up piroshki. Or if you’d rather sit an enjoy a meal, you’ll find Italian, Moroccan, Filipino and even Greek restaurants as options.
Also booked on points, we stayed at the Grand Hyatt Seattle, located about a 10-minute leisurely stroll from the market. It’s the typical downtown business hotel, clear by the suites and the conference attendees that filled the lobby and massive banquet spaces. The rooms are comfortable, and the large marble bathroom with separate shower and tub being the Mrs'’ favorite feature of the room. We did not have our fill of Asian cuisine, so we were delighted to find piping hot soup dumplings and dan-dan noodles nearby at Dough Zone Dumpling House.
If you want to be closer to where all the action is, the Thompson Seattle would be a better alternative with Pike Place Market being steps away and views that extend from Puget Sound to the mountains beyond. The hotel's rooftop bar, The Nest, is the perfect place to make a toast to an unforgettable trip to the Pacific Northwest.
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