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Four Seasons earns Five Diamonds

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Only two hotels in Canada have received the American Automobile Association’s Five Diamond Award, and only one resort — the Four Seasons Resort Whistler.

“We’re quite proud of that,” said general manager Scott Taber.

“It’s a great reflection on Whistler as a   community and on us as a destination. It will be a great boost for public relations this winter.”

The AAA Five Diamond Award winners make up just 0.27 per cent of the 60,000 Diamond Rated lodgings and restaurants throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

"Five Diamond establishments reflect the characteristics of ultimate luxury and sophistication," Michael Petrone, director of AAA Tourism Information Development, said in a release. "The physical attributes of these properties are extraordinary in every manner, and personalized services for guests consistently exceed expectations of even the most refined traveller.”

It generally takes at least two-three years of operation before the AAA presents a Five Diamond Award to a hotel or restaurant, as the organization wants to see consistency of service over time./span>

Taber noted that while the Four Seasons name is fairly well known — the company currently has 74 hotels in 31 countries — it’s not recognized by everyone. However, the rating system is understood by all.

"We dedicate this award to our employees who make it happen and create incredible experiences for our guests,” said Taber. “It is their unwavering attention to detail and ongoing commitment to service that has earned us this distinction. We attract the best, we strive for excellence and we go for gold everyday."

While the award is a first for the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, which opened in 2004, it is not new for Taber. Three other Four Seasons hotels he has managed prior to coming to Whistler have won Five Diamond Awards.

 

WB Foundation awards $85,000

The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation awarded more than $85,000 in grants to Sea to Sky non-profit organizations last week. The grants were handed out after a lengthy review of all proposals submitted.

“Our mandate is to provide support to lasting community projects with an emphasis on those that benefit children, youth and families in the Sea to Sky corridor,” said Foundation Interim Executive Director, Kasi Lubin. “The foundation’s board of directors feel these grants will achieve that goal and greatly enhance our local communities from Lions Bay to Mount Currie.”

The Myrtle Philip Parent Advisory Council and the Stawamus Elementary School in Squamish both received $25,000 (based on matched funding) to help build a new playground benefiting the two schools and the surrounding communities.

Pemberton & District Search and Rescue received $7,500 to cover the costs for accessories for their new vehicle for rescue specific tasks.

Whistler Secondary School received $5,000 for video equipment to help start up a new Media Arts Club and also received funding to help purchase equipment for a new Senior Boy’s Basketball Team.

Whistler Community Services and the Squamish Food Bank Society both received monies to ensure that their food banks can provide healthy staples for their many users.

The Lil’wat Nation Cultural Society received funding for the Xit’olacw Community School Breakfast & Lunch Program. As well they received funding for the I Shakik7a Shal’aw Club’s Outdoor Leadership Program for high school girls.

Other groups whose focus is on children and youth received grants to benefit their organizations, including the Girl Guides of Canada – Coast Mountain District, the Whistler Skating Club, the Pemberton & District Public Library, and the Pemberton Secondary Outdoor Program.

The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation is looking for continued support in its effort to assist local communities and is inviting people to attend the upcoming Whistler Blackcomb Foundation’s winter fundraiser, the Whistler Winetastic! and the Telus Winter Classic, which are scheduled for Jan. 25 and 26th, 2008.

Since 1993, the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation has given out more than $4.3 million in grants. Application submission deadlines are Oct. 1 and April 1 of each year.

 

Tourism Squamish goes interactive

Tourism Squamish launched a new, interactive website, http://www.TourismSquamish.com, this week aimed at both visitors and residents.

The Squamish Sustainability Corporation (SSC) teamed up with VentureWeb Design Ltd., a local web marketing agency, with the goal of creating a dynamic, aesthetic, and all encompassing website that would effectively showcase all that Squamish has to offer.

Coupled with its sister site http://www.BusinessSquamish.com (launched earlier this summer), the Tourism Squamish site launch completes the phase one objective of creating separate but cohesive sites for each of the SSC's business units, to better reach their target audiences.

The Tourism Squamish site boasts excellent interactive features to engage new and returning site visitors. Users can post comments on their experiences and rate activities and operators alike. Site visitors can choose experiences and add them to an itinerary and then e-mail it to friends and family with a postcard too. People can browse for experiences intuitively by selecting from “people who liked this activity also liked…” feature. Those features combined make for an informative user experience, with the aim of enticing site visitors to make the leap to actual visitors in the near future.

"We wanted a grass roots site that doesn't make promises it can't deliver…” said Jeremy Burrows, the designer from We The Collective, a Vancouver design agency involved in the project. “Squamish isn't a five star resort but has five star opportunities and we wanted to appeal to someone looking for a different kind of experience."