Saturday, 22 March 2014

To Whistler, BC on Rocky Mountaineer's Dome Service

One of my aim when deciding my travel itinerary in BC was to include all that BC has to offer; city, beach, island and mountain. So, since Canadian Rockies would be a little too far to travel, I decided on Whistler, a resort town located at the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia, 2 hours drive from Vancouver. Whistler features the two spectacular mountains, Whistler-Blackcomb and one of the largest ski resort in North America. For those who are not familiar, Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. I was contemplating hard on whether I should spend the extra bucks on the Rocky Mountaineer Dome Service to Whistler or to just a get tour bus there. I wanted my mum to experience one of the greatest train rides in the world, and I was so happy I  made the right choice. The day started with us meeting up with some other passengers in Holiday Inn Downtown Vancouver, where then a shuttle bus brought us to the Rocky Mountaineer station in North Vancouver. 
The day started with us meeting up with some other passengers in Holiday Inn Downtown Vancouver, where then a shuttle bus brought us to the Rocky Mountaineer station in North Vancouver. 
Red carpet to welcome passengers riding on the Dome service. **Excited !! We went in August so the train was pretty full even for the Dome service. Staff was nice enough to snap a couple of photos for us when we arrived !
Train was elegantly decorated at the Dome service. Chairs were comfy and huge ! 
For those who have not much idea on this train, this is what you get for the Dome Service. Basically ( as of 2013), there are 2 different services; the Whistler service with large picture windows or Dome service ( in picture above). 
Beverages were offered all throughout the journey. Service was definitely top-notch !
A fresh breakfast appetizer of yoghurt and berries. 
Hot breakfast ( omelette, sausage, bacon, potatoes, grilled tomatoes and mushroom) for Dome service. Whistler service will offer a chilled-prepacked breakfast.
Awesome view and sceneries throughout the journey to Whistler. 
Look at how spacious and how huge were the windows !
There is an observation deck one level below which is open for all passengers in both Dome and Whistler service. The deck is not big but I did not have any crowded issues. Basically, its a deck for those who would want to capture photos of the amazing view. I occasionally went down to the deck, especially right before when we were informed something amazing is approaching.
Train was parallel to the highway which leads to Whistler !
Right beside the observation deck is the dining room where I believe was to cater for passengers of other routes that the train is used for. 
Complimentary postcards and candies from Rocky Mountaineer !
Arriving in Whistler, a shuttle bus brought us to our choice of hotels. I stopped at Delta Whistler, which is just beside the Pinnacles Whistler where we stayed. I got an absolutely superb deal from the Pinnacles website itself ( yup, even better than all the hotel booking websites). A suite with two queen-sized bed, a jacuzzi pool, kitchenette and a balcony. The hotel is not new but it definitely met all my requirements !
Whistler on a chilly, sunny afternoon ! Whistler also feature one of the best mountain bike park and the Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival was being held during the time when we were there.
We had our lunch at Thai In the Village. Wings for appetiser ( I didn't realise I didn't take a photo of that though !), green curry with rice and Thai mango dessert. Green curry was good apart from it having the bamboo shoots ( a normal ingredient in green curry which I hate it so much!). Dessert was n all-time favourite for me and my mum ! Food was just ok, not the best Thai meal but at least there's even Asian food at the Mountain !
Address :4293 Mountain Sq Whistler, BC 
Thai in the Village on Urbanspoon 
After lunch, we walked around the ski village which is specifically only for pedestrians; so no vehicles or fumes around ! Before coming, I was trying hard to convince my mum to take the Peak 2 Peak gondola ride with me. Upon reaching the base station, she totally changed her mind seeing the height of the mountain and lifts ! So since I came all the way, I totally had to try it even though I  was alone. Mum hang around the village while I took the gondola ride; which was an unforgettable experience! Ticket price was $ 48.95 and can be purchased on the spot. Discounted pricing for online purchase. So, from base station, you will take a ride from a small gondola to Whistler Mountain top. From there then you will take the Peak 2 Peak gondola which links the Whistler and Blackcomb mountain. Not for the faint-hearted, the view and sceneries were absolutely amazing ! You have a choice to ride in a glass-floor gondola however, there are less of these gondolas hence the queue would be longer. My advice is to go up with the normal gondola and come down with the glass-floor gondola or just skip it, you wouldn't miss much !

I met my Saskatoon friends who were on holiday here ! Also, don't forget to visit the Olympic Park at the newer end of the village.
Not to be missed; the Olympic Village !
I'm glad Pacific Coach screwed up our bus itinerary because then it gave us the chance to explore the CUTEST shop in Whistler COWS ! Until today, my mum (yeap…my mum @__@) constantly mention how awesome was the ice cream ( she had the one with a tinge of sea salt…making it a salty sweetish ice cream!). I had the one with oozing caramel and it was heavenly delicious. Not to be missed on a summers day in Whistler !
One of the best ice cream I've ever had !
Address : 102-4295 Blackcomb Way Whistler, BC 
Website : Cows
Facebook : Cows Inc.
COWS Whistler on Urbanspoon

It was nice waking up to a fresh mountain air and view. We had breakfast at the nearest restaurant BG Urban Grill with outdoor seating. It was nice to see the village so serene early in the morning before the tour busses arrived. I had the eggs benedict ($10.99) while mum had the 'two eggs any style' ($9.99).
Breakfast was not spectacular but as a whole it was alright. The hash brown and fruits serving can be improved as it looks miserable on that huge plate. Servers were attentive and friendly. Nothing beats enjoying your meal and coffee outdoor with fresh air and mountain view. This grill house also serves during lunch and dinner. Be prepared for a jam-packed restaurant throughout the day!
Address : BR Urban Grill, 4314 Main St #8 Whistler, BC 
BG Urban Grill on Urbanspoon
For those who plan to visit, most tourist would make Whistler a day-trip but I would suggest to stay at least one night here. Plenty of choices for accommodation, shopping and food. Get a train ride there and come back by bus. As of this year ( 2014), I realised that Rocky Mountaineer had stopped the Dome service to Whistler; hence only the Whistler service is offered. I might just probably be one of the last passengers for the Dome service since the train only runs during the few months in summer ! We took a bus ride to Vancouver airport, where from there, we took another bus ride to the ferry terminal which brought us to Victoria island. 
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