How often do you get to go to a fancy hotel with your kids and wine & dine with your dog? Yes! I said dog! Last week, my wife and I along with our three kids (ages 7,4 & 3 weeks) as well as our dog Freckles, took off for a fabulous weekend getaway at the Westin Whistler Resort & Spa.
The Westin hosted an event called the Woof Weekend, which was truly fun for the entire family, and we can’t wait to go again in the fall of 2015! When we travel, one of our challenges is finding a hotel that is pet-friendly with reasonable rates. Not only does the Westin Whistler welcome dogs with open arms (sometimes literally), they put on an event that allows you to enjoy a little vacation while bringing along your four-legged family member. Packed with activities and events including a welcome reception, trade show, agility demonstrations, educational sessions, a hike through Whistler’s beautiful trails, a doggy talent show, a black-tie gala dinner, and more!
Whistler is only a short 2 hour drive from Vancouver which tends to go by quickly because the scenery is amazing along the way and our kids were busy with activities we had prepared for them. We decided to head out right after picking up our kids from school on Friday at 3:00pm and because the traffic was great were able to arrive at 4:45pm, making great time…without speeding! After checking in, we went to our room where we found a welcome platter with cheese, chocolate, strawberries and dried fruit, which was quickly devoured! There was a bag full of goodies for Freckles as well as a welcome card for our family and one written to Freckles welcoming her to the Woof Weekend. Freckles even got her very own “Heavenly” bed and dishes, which she just loved.
The rooms at The Westin are extremely comfortable and perfect for families! We were in a one-bedroom suite which had a pull-out couch for the kids, a fireplace, and a small kitchen complete with dishes, cutlery, a fridge, oven, and stove. This is a must for families, especially when travelling with young children or a baby! The soaker tub was such a hit with our kids that my son asked if we could take it home. I told him that I think the Westin might notice us taking the tub out of the hotel. haha
After getting settled, we attended the first Woof Weekend event, a fancy welcome reception which was included in our weekend package. This was great because we didn’t have to make any dinner plans and we were able to meet other Woof Weekend attendees and their dogs. The reception had a fantastic spread for humans and their dogs, which was far superior than a lot of corporate event receptions I’ve attended, and so much fun bringing Freckles too!
Saturday began with breakfast in bed! As part of the Woof Weekend package, we received a continental breakfast delivered to our room. After a night with baby, some in-room dining was very welcomed, and fun for the kids too. Starting at 10:00am, my daughter and I joined other guests on a fun hike through the trails of Whistler Mountain, while my wife with our younger two stayed at the hotel to check out the dog trade show and watch an Agility Show by The K9 Incredibles. Half-way through the hike the group stopped for a nice picnic lunch in a patio area in the woods. The dogs got a lunch too! We got to chat with some great people along the way including a wonderful 85 year old lady who rocked that hike, as well as Vanessa Choot from modernmixvancouver.com who spent some time listening to my daughter’s stories, and Darcy Wintonyk from CTV Vancouver. Freckles also had a great time meeting other dogs and enjoying the fresh air and new smells.
When we returned from the hike, we met up with the rest of the family and checked out the trade show, took in a seminar, and gave Freckles some well deserved pampering at The Shampooch Mobile Dog Spa. At this point, the kids couldn’t contain themselves anymore, and convinced me to take them to the pool! The Westin Whistler has a great pool that is half inside and half outside. The kids loved being able to swim underneath the plastic curtain from indoors to outdoors, which provided all of the entertainment we needed for the afternoon. After a full day of exercise and fun, it was time to retreat to our room and wind down our kids for the night. We ordered room service and just relaxed next to the fireplace as I prepared to leave for the evening’s function. With a newborn, my wife decided to stay in the room with our kids for the evening while I went on a date with Freckles to an incredibly fancy black-tie gala! (Yes, I owe my wife for this! Haha)
The Whistler Animals Galor (WAG) K9 Wine & Dine annual fundraising gala, was nothing short of spectacular! I wasn’t sure what to expect taking my dog to a gala. I was told to dress up, so I did, which was a bit unusual because usually when I take the dog out, I’m in jeans and a sweatshirt. When I arrived, I was blown away at the extravagance of the affair! We were greeted like celebrities, walking in on a red carpet at the entrance. Inside, there were tables and tables of fantastic silent auction items, a bar for humans and dogs, and tables decorated in nothing but gold! Dinner was an incredible three-course meal for dogs as well as their human companions. The evening was really great fun and something that you and your dog don’t get to experience very often.
On Sunday, we spent the morning relaxing with an in-room breakfast and getting ready for the day. The kids were happy because we let them watch cartoons with the fireplace on in the morning, right from their bed. They don’t have a TV or fireplace in their room at home, so this was a nice treat for them. After getting ready, we went back to the ballroom to watch another agility performance as well as “Whistler’s Next Top Dog” talent show & competition where guests signed their dogs up to show off their tricks and talents. The show had quite a few participants, with some great dogs, amazing tricks and a bit of hilarity that can only happen when trying to get dogs to perform in front of an audience. It was a really fun way to end the weekend for everyone!
We then finished up our weekend with a walk around Whistler Village, going to a few unique shops and having lunch at an outdoor patio before our drive back.
Overall, the Woof Weekend is a fantastic weekend for families, kids and dog lovers! We had such a great time that our kids cried as we packed up and did not want to leave. My daughter even asked if we could stay at the Westin Whistler for a month! I told her I’d ask. So maybe next time Westin? 😉 The customer service was well above and beyond fantastic. All the staff at the Westin Whistler were extremely friendly and really treat their guests like family. (The good kind. Haha) The best part is that the Westin never charges additional fees for dogs and is always this welcoming to having your furry family member stay with you. It isn’t limited to the Woof Weekend.
Having experienced the Westin Whistler a few times, I would highly recommend them as a fantastic place to stay at anytime of the year. However, if you’re looking for a fun and quick weekend getaway, with events and activities for yourself, your family and your dog, don't miss out on the Woof Weekend next year! The event is scheduled to take place on October 2-4, 2015 and it’s definitely going to be a hit! Make sure to check out woofweekend.com for more information. Registration should begin as early as November 2014.