Actually, we’ve now spent a week at First Tracks Lodge two years in a row. In a few months, I’ll book a week there for our Whistler ski vacation next year.
Yup, I love First Tracks Lodge. And yes, I know what I’m talking about. First Tracks Lodge is not the only hotel I’ve stayed in at Whistler. In fact, I’ve stayed at several preeminent Whistler hotels. Here’s the list:
- Four Seasons
- Whistler Fairmont
Just as luxurious as the finest Whistler hotels but won’t cost you nearly as much
The Four Seasons and Fairmont are arguably the two preeminent hotels in Whistler and yet we prefer to stay at First Tracks Lodge. Why is that? After all, First Tracks Lodge is not a globally recognized luxury hotel. Not even close. There’s only one First Tracks Lodge but that doesn’t mean it isn’t luxury. It’s insanely luxurious for less than you’d pay at the Four Seasons or Fairmont.
While the Fairmont is the most imposing hotel in Whistler, First Tracks Lodge offers that mountain design architecture. Check out the front exterior:
You know it’s a fine accommodation as soon as you enter the gorgeous lobby
I do judge a hotel by the lobby and First Tracks Lodge passes nicely. The lobby is large with multiple sitting areas and it’s gorgeous. Check it out:
IMPORTANT: It’s in Creekside Village which is NOT the main Whistler Village
This is super important especially if you’re going to Whistler for the first time. Our first time we stayed in Whistler, we wanted to stay in the heart of the main village so we stayed at the Hilton. The Hilton is in a great location for that. If you are visiting Whistler for the first time, I strongly suggest staying in the heart of the main village. It’s worth checking out. It’s loud. It’s busy. But it’s cool.
We no longer stay in the main village because we’ve done it plenty. These days we prefer the quiet that Creekside village offers. It has all amenities we could need as well a gondola up to the slopes so it’s perfect for us (we have young kids so the nightlife of the main village is wasted on us). IMO, Creekside Village is an underrated gem of a place in Whistler.
At First Tracks Lodge you get sumptuous, spacious condos
This says it all and encapsulates precisely why we stay at First Tracks Lodge. For a family of four, the three-bedroom units are amazing. So much space in a place where shoebox hotel rooms go for a small fortune. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spring for a three-bedroom at First Tracks Lodge. It offers one, two, three and four bedroom units.
Not only do you get spacious bedrooms, the units come with a full-sized kitchen, living room and dining room.
Wait, there’s more. The units are beautifully decked out. Gas fireplace. Plenty of wood. Gorgeous decor. It’s a real pleasure just to be in the space.
Instead of me trying to tell you in words, check out photos I took of our three-bedroom unit:
Store your skies in convenient lockers steps from the lobby and gondola
You are not permitted to store your skies and poles in the units for good reason. Over time, skies and poles would cause a lot of damage. This is a good thing because when you stay, you get a ski storage locker on the main floor next to the lobby. It’s so convenient. You walk down, snag your skies and step outside into the gondola line. When finished, take skies off and dump them in the locker. It’s a lot better than having to haul all the equipment to and from your room.
Steps away from the gondola (truly ski in / ski out)
You get all this steps from the gondola. You never have to drive. You step out of the lobby and you pretty much trip over the guard rail set up for the gondola line. Here’s a photo from our unit showing you just how close the gondola is.
Also steps away from a picturesque pedestrian-only village
I love strolling the quaint, picturesque pedestrian-only village in Creekside. It’s not huge. It’s not terribly busy. But it is pretty and offers all the stores and amenities one needs while in Whistler. Again, words doesn’t do this quaint little village justice. Check out some photos I took:
The pool and hot tub area is more than adequate
With young kids, a pool is a necessity. While the pool deck is not nearly as nice as the Fairmont or Four Seasons, it’s more than adequate. The best part is few people every use it. We pretty much had it to ourselves most days (granted we stayed Sunday to Saturday to avoid the busy weekends on the slopes). See for yourself:
The steam room is pretty sweet too
You can judge a lot about a place by its steam room. If it smells bad, you know the place isn’t getting properly cleaned. Is it hot? If so, the place endeavors to provide guests a good stay.
The steam room at First Tracks Lodge is excellent. It gets reasonably hot. It’s very clean. But, it’s not on all the time as soon as you get to the pool area, turn it on so it can start heating up.
Is there a sauna at First Tracks Lodge as well?
Sadly, no. First Tracks Lodge does not have a sauna. That, IMO, is a major oversight given it’s a ski resort accommodation.
We never had to drive our car during our Whistler ski vacation… it stayed put in the First Tracks Lodge underground parking lot
The grocery store was mere steps away. The gondola is even closer. A ski shop steps away. Coffee shop? Yup, steps away. We never drove at all… except for the night we went to the Rimrock restaurant. We drove there but it turned out we could have walked.
Housekeeping was awesome
During our stay housekeeping was offered every three days. I’m not sure if that’s a temporary restriction or normal. It was frequent enough. All I have to say is housekeeping was awesome. In addition to changing sheets and towels, they tidied the entire place up and took out all our garbage and recycling. Superb job.
Is there anything lacking at First Tracks Lodge?
It’s a great place and probably the best place for your dollar but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Here a few things I’d like to see (keeping in mind I’m getting pretty specific here).
Sauna: I prefer the sauna over a steamroom and hot tub. Any self-respecting ski hotel should have a sauna.
Concierge or staff in the lobby: First Tracks Lodge is part of the Legends hotel which is next door. Legends has the hotel staff and concierge. First Tracks Lodge doesn’t. It would be handy to staff someone 24/7 in First Tracks Lodge as well.
Hot tub in the unit: Our unit had a huge balcony; big enough to accommodate a hot tub. It sure would be nice if the units had a hot tub on the balcony (along with a sauna in the unit). I know, I know these are big asks but I’m putting it out there just in case anyone is listening.
Restaurant in the lobby: There is no restaurant or room service in the lobby. The closest restaurant is Dusty’s which is attached to the Legends hotel. Dusty’s is fine and all, but it sure would be nice to have a quality restaurant to dine at while staying at the First Tracks Lodge. That’s where the Fairmont and Four Seasons shine… the restaurants in both of those hotels are exceptional.
That’s the end of my First Tracks Lodge wish list which doesn’t mean I won’t stay there again. I’ll be there again… next year in fact.
First Tracks Lodge FAQ
Is there a washer and dryer in the unit?
Yes, there is. At least there was in our three-bedroom unit.
Are the units outfitted with all major appliances?
Yes, the units are outfitted with fully functional, full-sized kitchens that include a dishwasher, fridge, freezer, stove and oven.
Are there grills on the property?
Yes, First Tracks Lodge has two grills on the pool deck. We did up barbecue dinners twice. The grills are kept clean and are in good working order. They’re situation under cover overlooking the hot tubs and pool.
Is the pool indoor or outdoor?
The pool is outdoor only. It’s not as nice as Fairmonts indoor and outdoor pool (the Whistler Westin offers the same). However, our kids enjoyed the pool plenty. It’s heated pretty well.
How many hot tubs are there?
There are two sizeable hot tubs on the pool deck. Both are outdoor. One is for everyone. One is for adults.
Is there parking at First Tracks Lodge?
Yes, for an additional fee (I think we paid $17 per day), you can park in the underground parking lot. The stalls are pretty tight but it’s super convenient. You can access the elevator from both parking garage floors.
Does First Tracks Lodge have a gym for working out?
Yes, it does and it’s quite good. It’s large and offers weights as well as the usual fleet of cardio machines. Since I skied every day for six hours, I didn’t bother using the gym but it’s there in case you gotta get in a workout.