Gas, food and lodging. Of the three, its probably the latter that holds the most appeal to weary travelers. And thats what the management of the new Pemberton Valley Lodge has noticed in its first months of operation.
"Visitors walk-in holding on to copies of the Circle Tour brochure. Theyve come over the Duffey Lake Road and we represent a natural place to stop. So far weve had visitors from Germany, Switzerland, Holland, New Zealand and Denmark," says David MacKenzie, GM of the 85-suite lodge.
A mini-construction boom has also meant that the brand new facility has seen a number of corporate clients taking advantage of the longer stays that are well suited to an all-suite property. The lodge offers guests their choice of studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom units, most with kitchens.
MacKenzie also sees the property as providing a viable alternative for skiers wanting to take advantage of Whistler-Blackcombs terrain while avoiding the resorts peak season accommodation prices.
"There are two types of skiers, one that needs to be right in town to enjoy the entertainment experience and others who want something quieter," says the GM.
The lodge will be offering members of this second group a complimentary shuttle to and from Whistler-Blackcomb starting Friday, Nov. 26 to coincide with American Thanksgiving traditionally a banner weekend for tourism in Whistler.
But MacKenzie is hesitant to position the property as primarily an overflow facility, or cheaper alternate, to Whistler.
"A lot of people know Whistler. But next to it theres another exciting adventure community," he says, citing heli-skiing, snowmobiling and kayaking (a new kayak park is being built near the Rutherford Creek IPP.) as a few of the outdoor activities available to winter tourists.
Amenities currently offered by the lodge include a heated outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, a professionally equipped fitness centre and an executive meeting space. The meeting space is capable of seating 16 boardroom-style and 40 classroom-style. Food services are not available at the hotel, but the lot adjacent to the property has been sold to a developer with plans to open a restaurant/pub facility.
The strata hotel cost $12 million to build and has created 18 jobs in the community.