Whistler and Vancouver -- just two hours of beautiful British Columbia scenery between them -- have much to offer those seeking a wide range of travel experiences: good food and wine, museums and, now that winter is approaching, a multitude of snowy activities. Vancouver is recognized for its fine restaurants, cultural diversity, beautiful parks, shopping opportunities and (like Toronto to the east) lower filmmaking costs. If you don't want to go as far as Whistler for skiing, Grouse, Cypress and Seymour Mountains are located within 20 minutes of downtown Vancouver. In 2010, the city and Whistler will host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (www.vancouver2010.com). We've rounded up some deals for these two cities for coming months.
Cheapo Air (tel. 212/478-0335; www.cheapoair.com) has a system-wide sale running that includes many destinations in Canada. Sample fares for its wholesale discount sale show that you can fly roundtrip from New York to Vancouver for $372, Seattle for $229, and $442 from Boston. Fares require a 21-day advance purchase and reflect travel on off-peak days such as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. You must book by November 13 -- so get going. The deal is valid for travel through December 10 and ticket prices do not include taxes.
United (tel. 800/UNITED-1; www.united.com) is running a special holiday-related fare sale that you must book by November 22 to take advantage of. Vancouver is included in this sale -- the sample fare shown is from Washington, D.C., to Vancouver, for $188 one way. A seven-day advance purchase is required, and you must travel on select dates between November 23 and December 25; the low rates reflect travel on off-peak dates.
For starters, head to Tourism Vancouver (tel. 800/435-5622; www.tourismvancouver.com), where you can book a room, order a visitor's guide, get news on events, specials, and other activities. There are dozens of packages available in a variety of categories, including the NHL Hockey Package, which starts at CAN$179 per person per night (about USD$148), and includes complimentary parking, continental breakfast, and two lower bowl tickets to the Canucks, based on availability. The special is offered by the Comfort Inn Downtown, which is styled after a European boutique hotel, not a generic, off-the-interstate chain hotel. Or check out the Westin Grand, Vancouver's special "Take Part in Art" which grants guests admission for two to the Vancouver Art Gallery, with rooms available from CAN$239 per night (about USD$206).
The Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver (tel. 604/689-9333; www.fourseasons.com/vancouver) is offering a Shopping for All Seasons package. Teaming up with the Canadian department store Holt Renfrew, the package offers guests CAN$100 gift certificate and rooms start at CAN$205 (approximately $182 USD). There is even a private entrance from the hotel lobby into the shop. One gift certificate is provided per room, and the package is subject to availability.
The AAA five-diamond Pan Pacific Vancouver (tel. 800/937-1515; http://vancouver.panpacific.com) is running a special offer for rooms for USD$99 has a special that's valid through January 15 for stay any day of the week. You can upgrade to a harbor view room for a mere $25 more, and also enjoy a late checkout and a $10 credit. There are, however, several blackout dates: November 25, December 2, 9, 16, 31. Be sure to mention "special internet promotion" when you book.
Since 2003, Dine Out Vancouver has given visitors and residents alike plenty of reason to get out of the house in the winter. From January 17 through February 4, you can enjoy special three-course diners at 161 restaurants, for CAN$15, $25 or $35 per person. Right now, the list of participating restaurants is not available, but stay tuned to Vancouver's tourism site for an announcement, slated for the first week of January.
Located about 75 miles north of Vancouver (two hours by car on the Sea-to-Sky Highway 99), the compact, walkable city of Whistler has two mountains -- one has the same name as the town, the other is Blackcomb. Together, these mountains offer more than 200 marked runs and plenty of opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, sleigh riding, heli-skiing, cross and back country skiing, among other activities. You can start your search by visiting the city's tourism site (tel. 800/WHISTLER; www.tourismwhistler.com) which is trying to get visitors to book winter packages early (by November 15) and save. Promotions start at CAN$416 for five-night packages valid November 23-December 22; prices jump to CAN$713 for Christmas and New Year's, and then drop to CAN$518 for January 2-26. The packages included a free lesson for each adult, lodging and lift tickets; you can also opt for a ski-in, ski-out package, which enables you to ski to and from your accommodations at the base of the mountain, from CAN$469 per person for the first set of dates quoted. Prices reflect double occupancy. The site itself does not list specific property names, but they're all standard rooms in three-star accommodations, located directly in Whistler Village.
Expedia's (tel. 800/EXPEDIA; www.expedia.com) early-bird ski deals offer savings at Whistler that bundle flights and four-nights from USD$773, based on roundtrip travel from Los Angeles. Expedia lists about a dozen participating hotels, including Pan Pacific Mountainside and Westin Resort and Spa Whistler. You can save up to 20 percent for stays January 1-March 15, 2007 and savings on lift tickets as long as you book by November 15.
Travelocity (tel. 888/872-8356; www.travelocity.com) has a deal for the Whistler Village Inn and Suites, whose rooms are styled like condos, priced from USD$93.52 starting November 8. It is located within walking distance of gondola access to either Blackcomb or Whistler mountains and shopping and restaurants, too.
Ski.com offers packages, lift tickets, and even 3D maps for many North American skiing resorts and destinations, with a section of featured deals to Whistler/Blackcomb Mountains (tel. 800/778-8589; http://whistler.ski.com), including the Westin Resort and Spa, with four nights in a junior suite from USD$654, starting November 24, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite for six nights from USD$674 for the Aspens, also starting November 24, and five nights with two bedrooms and two bathrooms at Delta Whistler Village Suites, starting from USD$826 on January 1, 2007.
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