06.28.2014 - 06.28.2014 75 °F
After our last breakfast at Le Soleil, we cabbed to the airport to pick up a rental car which would take us to Whistler. Got off to a good start when we received a free upgrade to an SUV because they were out of the cars I had ordered. Got off to a bad start when we decided to purchase a Garmin GPS which did us no good on the trip to Whistler but finally worked on the way back. During my research for the trip I had learned from a tripadvisor post about a device called GyPSy guide (the caps are appropriate...and you will find out why if you read on). Although not technically a navigation system, the GyPSy guide is the equivalent of a talking Michelin Guide which works via GPS technology. It was pretty expensive, $39.99 per day, but if you had it 7 days or more, it worked out to about $15 per day...or so I thought. When we finally located the information center in the airport where you could acquire such a device, I told the young lady behind the counter that we would need it for a total of 10 days. So I expected it to cost around $150...wrong. She said that will be $340. I said there must be something wrong and showed her the page from my tavel binder that explained the lesser daily charge if you had it for more than 7 days. Well, she called the GyPSies and finally said to me, "Here, you talk to her." After I tried to explain my plight and how they were surely wrong about the $340, she said, "You know there is an App you can download for $5!!" I admiited that I did not know that. Then began the next ordeal, as I tried to download the app courtesy of the airport's free WiFi only to be informed by Apple that my iPhone lacked sufficient storage. So, I bought more storage, the max I could obtain...still not enough...So, two hours after picking up the car, we were still at the airport. I deleted a bunch of apps that I use sporadically but could live without...still not enough storage. Margaret was doing her psychological best to try and calm me down...and I responded with...let's just get the heck out of here. So, we got in the car and headed north toward Whistler on the incredible Sea to Sky Highway...the views on which were largely occupied by Howe Sound a spectacular body of green emerald water...part lake, part river...winding its way through the magnificent Rocky Mountains. Howe Sound is North America's southernmost fjord, located northwest of Vancouver and extending from West Vancouver north to Squamish. Surrounded by towering peaks that rise straight out of the sea, Howe Sound is Vancouver's playground for sailing, diving, camping, hiking, and a host of other recreational activities. The Garmin GPS was not working but we really didn't need it for $15/day. Miraculously the GyPSy Guide did download onto my iPhone although we never really quite figured it out and we were either ahead of it or behind it for most of the hour and a half drive. It often provided entertaining and informative naration of many spots we had passed ten or fifteen minutes before. On the return trip from Whistler it performed great and on the rest of the trip as well. We arrived at the spectacular Fairmont Chateau Whistler which we had reserved through the Chase Luxury Hotel Collection. We were upgraded to a slope view room...one of the LHC collection perks. Unfortunately, although we had arrived after 4pm our room still was not ready. We were sitting around the lobby and, finally, the young Asian man behind the desk who was trying to speed up our room's readiness, came to us with a card for a $75 food credit and suggested that we might enjoy their outside lounge which had spectacular views of the valley below and he would bring the keys as soon as the room was ready. We were finally led to a beautiful room and soon there was a knock on the door and one of the staff brought in a miniature martini shaker with the Fairmont Whistler logo and two chits for a free martini, also part of the LHC collection package which also included breakfast each day. I had previously made a dinner reservation for this most special occasion (won't publish the number) at The Grill, the Fairmont's fine dining restaurant. The dinner and service were perfect (as the Canadians love to say), complimented by a bottle of Joseph Phelps Insignia Cab. I had alerted the restaurant in advance about the special occasion and there was a nice complimentary dessert with candles...a lot of chocolate stuff...tasty. In fact, we must have milked 10 or 11 of these free desserts throughout our visit.