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Chateau Whistler is tops in resort ritziness Condé Nast magazine empire says so By Chris Woodall The Chateau Whistler is the best ski resort hotel in North America, and by inference, Whistler is the best resort. The upper-crust oriented Condé Nast Traveler says so in its December issue, on the newsstands now. The Delta Whistler Resort also did very well, taking the 12th spot in the best resort hotel category. This is the magazine's second annual ranking of the top 50 ski resorts. Condé Nast was at the Chateau earlier this year to shoot photos for the crowning story. "It's a particularly significant honour for us to be picked," says Chateau general manager Dave Roberts. "It's very exciting," Roberts says of having the Chateau beat out prestigious carriage-trade resort hotels in the U.S. The top ranking comes as a surprise because it's based on the Chateau before its new wing and Macdonald Ballroom conference facility were complete. Canadian Pacific resort hotels at Lake Louise and Quebec City (Chateau Frontenac is assumed to be a resort hotel for Mont Ste. Anne ski hill) joined the Chateau Whistler for excellent accommodation, with the Frontenac taking top marks in that category. Whistler nabbed second-best marks for town ambience. "The verdict: I'd be happy to stick to Whistler for the rest of my skiing life," says Condé Nast Traveler. "That's the kind of exposure and awareness you can't begin to buy," Roberts says. "For Condé Nast Traveler to give us that level of exposure and in that quality of a magazine, it's invaluable." Roberts is quick to say it's the hotel's staff that make the difference. "No question," he says, noting that he sent management to peek into the operations of top-end hotels in U.S. resorts to pick up some pointers or make comparisons about excellent service. The timing couldn't have been better. The hotel has just officially launched its Entrée Gold suites: the top two floors of its new wing that will cater to the highest-end business and pleasure traveller. Described as a "hotel within a hotel" the suites' guests will have their own check-in desk and a private lounge offering a free-pour honour bar, luxury continental breakfast to start the day and hot gourmet hors d'oeuvre to pique the appetite aprés ski. The suites themselves are large, comfortable and equipped with all the niceties that the well-heeled traveller expects from ultra-luxurious hotels: adjoining sitting room to the bedroom, gas-fuelled fireplaces (deluxe suites have two fireplaces), bidets and jet-tubs, heated towel racks and the gleam of brass on all bathroom fixtures. The key comfort, however, is privacy. "There's no doubt that all this revolves around privacy," Roberts says. "We can look after the well-known personality who can relax in their private lounge." And that market is a lucrative one for the hotel that can tap into it. "There are people out there who demand this level of luxury and are willing to pay for it," Roberts says.

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