Author Topic: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Vancouver-Whistler, British Columbia-Canada 2/2015  (Read 6489 times)

Offline Chapshnell

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With American Express running a transfer bonus of 40% of all Membership Reward points transferred to British Airways Avios in January I decided to turn Presidents Day weekend into a extended vacation with some family members. Vancouver sounded like a good plan to me as with such a good airline as Cathay Pacific flying that route & it being bookable with British Airways Avios + the fact the price will be going up in April & I thought that it would be a good idea to get some skiing in at the place of the 2010 Winter Olympics. In addition the US Dollar is $1 to $1.20 Canadian so you basically have a 20% discount on everything.

I booked first class on Cathay for the outbound for 37,500 Avios one way & the return "only" in business class which was available for
25,000 avios.

Cathay's First Class is truly an amazing experience & an extremely comfortable product. The layout is 1-1-1. The business class layout is 1-2-1.

The service is personal & attentive. I have never experienced such service before. Everything is brought to you quick & you don't have to ever ask for anything twice. The seat is very comfortable and for some reason they put a mattress down but there isn't really any need for it. Pajamas & slippers are supplied before the flight. The cover is comfy and warm & the pillows are a normal size.

I cant tell you much more about the in-flight service as I slept right through the entire flight but I knew that the kosher meal was from Borenstein's so I told them not to even bother serving it. The return flight had some Vancouver catering & it was edible. Tasted like chicken & the rice was decent. Above average airplane food. Not more, not less....

Hotels in Vancouver this time of year are extremely cheap, it wasn't worth using valuable points for a hotel stay so I booked a Hotwire deal for a 5 star hotel at $98 per night all included. I ended up getting the Sutton Place Hotel. Its more of a boutique style hotel & I would grade it a 4 star. They seem to have gotten some awards for being a 4 star, not sure why online everyone had them rated as a 5 star.

Hindsight 20/20 next time I would probably book the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel. They wanted $148 per night.

Departed Thursday PM from JFK, davened Shabbos AM at Chabad of Downtown, they don't have any Friday PM minyan, only Shabbos AM. They usually have a kiddush with some chulent after davening but we had our own. For those that don't want to cook pomegranate has a good Shabbos selection & I had a good experience in the past with Evergreen from Monsey.

Sunday AM we checked out & went to eat at a kosher cafe called "Cafe Forty One" tasty, great service & a very nice presentation as well.
Its a nice looking place. If you want to park the car in their basement parking lot you can do so. You just need to call out one of the workers to enter the pin code for you so the gates will open.

Headed out to Whistler and arrived a bit too late to go skiing, ended up taking a beautiful hike up the Rainbow Trail. Along the way is carpets of light green moss in the forest which is beautiful & waterfalls & a gushing river as well. Very pretty & also recommended.
Just a note, it can be icy in spots &/or muddy as well.

We went from there to Pemberton, B.C. as all hotels in Whistler were totally sold out for Valentines day weekend + Presidents day weekend.
Its around 12 miles from Whistler. We stayed at the Pemberton Lodge which was rated 3 stars & its well deserved. It had a homie feel to it & it had a lot of amenities.. Its not a modern or fancy hotel but it was more than acceptable.

Monday morning we woke up early & hit the slopes, lift tickets are very expensive & so is the rentals.. Whistler & Blackcomb has a reputation for underrating their trails.. For example word on the street is that their blue trails are diamond & their diamonds are double diamonds. I would agree with that assessment as I've never skied such difficult trails for such a prolonged period of time. The vertical drops definitely felt diamond like.

We drove back from Whistler to Vancouver & took (the only way) the Sea To Sky Highway & took in some amazing sunset views. We went to Maple Grill & the service & ambience was amazing. For a city with 50 religious families they really have GREAT restaurants. The kosher places stay open because of the tourists, obviously a lot of people must come through their doors. Half of the restaurant when I was there was definitely filled with tourists. I highly recommend this place.
For a place to be this nice & keep to the principals when they are basically the only one open for meat was to me a big shocker. They have zero competition & they really have high standards.

I was very impressed by the friendliness of the residents of the city.
Everything is done on a chilled pace. Its the anti NY, people let others pass & cross, courtesy is given.

Flew back Cathay business class, not as good as first class obviously but it was just fine! Lounge in YVR is OK. Nothing major. The Cathay lounge in JFK is actually a British Airways lounge in T7 & its more up to date with lots of snack & drink options.

So long until the next trip!

Im not going to make an Israel trip report unless you guys really want to see it.

Here is my updated ratings for upperclass cabins that I have flown:

1) Cathay First 777
2) Emirates First A380
3) United First 767
4) Emirates Business A380
5) Cathay Business 777
6) United Business 767
7) Lufthansa Business A380
8.) Lufthansa Business A340-600
9) Emirates Business A330


Cathay First photo below
« Last Edit: February 18, 2015, 10:34:18 AM by Chapshnell »

Offline Chapshnell

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Cafe Forty One

Offline Chapshnell

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Appetizer..

Offline Chapshnell

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Rainbow Trail Hike

Offline Chapshnell

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...

Offline Chapshnell

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Another one of the hike

Offline Chapshnell

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and one more..

Offline Chapshnell

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Skiing on Whistler-Blackcomb

Offline Chapshnell

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Some more of the ski area..

Offline Chapshnell

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Peak to Peak gondola going between mountains..

Offline Chapshnell

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Sunset at Lions Bay along the sea to sky highway

Offline Chapshnell

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Maple Grill, we were in a rush so we ordered burgers as its quick but they have a great selection.

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Nice,  using the Dav format

Offline benjie1305

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Looks like a great little get away with the awesome perk on a top notch first/business Cathay experience for very few Avios.

How much was the skiing overall cost actually and how far were you from there? Kosher food you got sent over from NY? What did you do all day shabbes there?
Work hard, Play harder!

Offline TimT

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Sunset at Lions Bay along the sea to sky highway
Stunning