Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My first time to the Canadian West Cost

Okay I know this is going to be hard to believe but, here goes.....
I have NEVER been to the Canadian west coast. Okay there it is out there for everyone to mock me with shame. How can someone that loves to travel not have been to the Canadian West Coast? Well to be honest I never had the opportunity, and in my younger days (by young I mean a few years ago) I was more focused on finding cosmopolitan vacation spots where I could shop, dine, and party. Well now that I am married to a man with family on the west coast, it just made sense to finally visit them and have them take us around to see some of their favourite spots. In less than 10 days we spent time in Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler, and Seattle mainly for the outlet shopping!

My first thoughts of British Columbia when we landed in Vancouver was how breathtakingly fresh it felt. With views of mountains on every side, it almost felt like a dream. We spent the first two days in Whistler and can I just say the drive from Vancouver to Whistler felt like I was going to heaven. There was so much natural beauty all around, I just didn't know where to look. We used priceline and bid $100 a night and got the Hilton Whistler Resort right in the village. Surprisingly the weather in Whistler was in the high 20s, until of course we got to the top of the mountain in our flip flops (like typical tourists) and endured 6 degree weather. If you have been to Blue Mountain just 2 hours outside of the city of Toronto, you will soon realize that Whistler is the much better looking sibling. Similarly to blue mountain there are great restaurants, and outdoor activities you can explore with your family. Although with a 10 month baby any activity beyond pushing a stroller, or holding on to them in their baby carrier is quite limited.

After spending some time in Whistler we drove straight to Grouse mountain, then Vancouver City where we stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel. We paid full price for this hotel, and the views from our room were worth the hefty hotel bill. We had lunch at a great restaurant in Stanley Park called the Fish House, and finally got to enjoy Vij's famous indian cuisine for dinner. We got to Vij's for 5:15pm on a Wednesday and there was already a line up. Luckily we waited only 15 minutes and were the first seating. I am Indian so I found the food great but nothing I would likely go back for, I have had better in some 'hole in the wall' restaurants in the GTA. However, what sold me and will likely bring me back is the impeccable service and amazing hospitality this restaurant goes above and beyond to showcase. From appetizers while you wait, to fresh nan the second you finish the last piece from your last.

Our next stop was Seatlle and aside from roaming the city, and the space needle we really just ended up going for the great outlet shopping. Our last stop was Victoria which was also another piece of heaven, we enjoyed lunch at the Fairmont (which served juice from a box, versus freshly squeezed, am I wrong to expect more from a supposed 5 star?). Anyway, the best part of Victoria was our Whale watching tour, it was freezing cold and they put some great firefighter suits on everyone, but the thrill of seeing our first whale in its natural habitat was thrilling!

All in all I will definitely visit the west coast again, and the best part about visiting was the family we got to spend time with.