Four Seasons resort opens doors to world and loyal customers 

For two years Whistler has watched as the walls of the new Four Seasons resort rose out of the ground.

Well, now the wait is over with the opening this week of the 242-room luxury property.

In fact there was even a line-up at the door on Monday morning as staff got ready to welcome the world to the 63 rd Four Seasons hotel.

Several loyal customers had flown into the resort in the hopes of being the first customer in the hotel, said spokeswoman Laurie Cooper.

"It is so interesting that there is such a loyalty to the Four Seasons," she said.

In the end the first guest to check in was Dr. Jerome Klein, a plastic surgeon who lives in New York.

Cooper said Klein spends a lot of his time in Los Angles and always stays at the Four Seasons there.

"He just loves Four Seasons and when he heard there was a new one opening in Whistler he decided he wanted to be the first person to check in.

"So he flew up the day before and stayed overnight at the Delta Suites so that he could be the first in line."

One of the other guests vying to be first has stayed at 43 of the Canadian chain’s 63 resorts worldwide said Cooper.

Some might question the wisdom of opening a new resort at a time when destination travel is down across the globe and several factors, such as the war in Iraq and a strong Canadian dollar, are still impacting travel within North America.

But Cooper said the Four Seasons hopes to bring in new customers rather than compete for a shrinking clientele.

"We are very aware that it has been a challenging time but we are really hoping that we can play a part in making the situation better," she said.

"The Four Seasons have incredibly loyal customers who love to travel to Four Season properties and will make their decisions about their travel destinations based on whether there is a Four Seasons property at the resort they are interested in.

"So we are hoping that we are going to bring a lot of people to the resort who might otherwise not have come."

The Four Seasons resorts also communicate amongst themselves, and with a network spread over 30 countries Cooper believes the company can raise the profile of Whistler and turn curiosity into new visits.

"So we are really hoping that we can bring people in who otherwise might not have come," she said.

The architecture and design of the resort were inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, with exterior colours and finishes chosen to blend in with the natural environment.

The hotel is filled with B.C. art and a signature mural by local artist 87-year-old Gordon Smith graces the grand staircase.

Of course the Four Seasons will offer its own spa. Recently the Condé Nast Traveller magazine rated the Four Seasons spas as some of the top spas in the world.

There is also an all-year outdoor pool built to resemble a mountain lake and three Jacuzzis.

The hotel restaurant, The 5280 Bistro and Bar, named for the vertical drop on Blackcomb Mountain, will offer a raw bar along with its regular menu. On warmer days visitors will be able to dine outside on a terrace complete with its own wood burning fireplace.

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