A self-catering vacation in Whistler is very appealing. Think about it – it can cut your budget in half and you don’t need to worry about finding a great restaurant for each meal each day.
As the popularity in Airbnb and holiday rentals increases, so too does the need for self-catering options. Even select hotels now provide some in-room kitchen facilities. But what would we recommend in terms of sourcing groceries/meals? Here’s how we would manage a self-catering vacation in Whistler…
While in Whistler, there are several options from which to get your fresh foods. Items such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy can be found at:
Fresh Street Market
A new arrival on the scene in Whistler, Fresh Street Market took over the old IGA store. The family-owned chain hails from Vancouver and describes themselves as “Fresh and local and full of surprises”. Fresh Street Market offer delivery, too. Placing your grocery order online and having it delivered to your Airbnb frees up time, which can be better spent on your Whistler adventure.
Nesters Market & Wellness Centre has a great variety of fresh produce, as well as a nice little bakery and deli counter. The location is super convenient (being away from the busier Marketplace area) with the added benefit of a liquor store downstairs, beneath it.
It’s also worth checking out Olives in Function Junction for wholefoods and organic produce. They have a nice selection of specialty foods including dairy free, gluten free, and vegan items. Olives also offer premade sandwiches, salads, and treats, which make a great lunch/ snack.
Whistler is home to a number of liquor stores, which brings the cost of your evening libations down too. One of our favourites is Nesters Liquor Store, which stocks a lot of local brews and craft spirits. For wine, we’d recommend BC Liquor Store – there’s one in Creekside and also one in Whistler Marketplace.
Meals To Go
If you’d prefer some more convenient cooking options, a number of local restaurants and cafés offer grab & go pre-packed meals, which may be ideal for your self-catering vacation in Whistler.
We like to visit Pasta Lupino for fresh homemade pasta and sauces. They also bake homemade bread, which makes a nice addition.
Portobelllo at Fairmont Chateau Whistler have a variety of to-go options including vegetarian dishes. Portions are generous and the food is full of flavor.
For a really great lunch, we recommend Fix Café. The menu features daily soup and salad features, as well as a choice of toasted sandwiches and wraps. There’s a wonderful selection of snacks/treats, too, and the café does a great job catering for gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan diets.
If you’d like to have food delivered, we would make the following recommendations:
Main Street Noodles
One of our favourite delivery options in Whistler has to be Main Street Noodles. It makes at least one day of your self-catering vacation in Whistler a breeze! You just head to their website, order, and pay. Delivery is made throughout Whistler – super convenient! Especially after a day on the mountain.
If it’s pizza that we’re craving, we head for Functional Pie. They offer pizza by the pie as well as pizza by the slice. Find them in Function Junction just down the street from Purebread bakery – super handy if you need to source dessert too(!)
La Cantina is a casual Mexican eatery with two locations in town. We find the Nesters location is most convenient for takeaway and you’ll find fajitas, burritos, and salads on the menu.
Budgeting For A Self-catering Vacation in Whistler
While it may be the more budget-friendly option, the cost of a self-catering vacation in Whistler can quickly mount up. We thought we would leave you with three tips on budgeting for (and sticking to) your plan:
Do Your Research
Planning a trip to Whistler in the off-season is the best way to maximise your value for money. Local eateries come alive with prix fixe menus and it’s very easy to find dining deals. Restaurants such as Aura in Whistler Creekside regularly participate in what is known as the “Shoulder Season” with offers such as 3 courses for $39. This is typically the spring and the fall when accommodation prices are more favourable too!
Driving north to Whistler is the prime time to stock up on groceries and snacks. Starting in Vancouver, you have Costco, which is a great option for items such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, soda, and meat. As you arrive into Squamish, you’ll find a Nesters, Walmart, Save On Foods, and Independent grocery stores. These are worthwhile stopping at as grocery prices in Squamish are likely more favorable than those in Whistler itself.
We would have a meal plan in place and account for 2-3 snacks per day. Trail mix, popcorn, and chips are all items that can be purchased in advance from Costco.
Consider batch-cooking at home and packaging food up before you depart. We love to make a big pot of chili, for example, and travel with it when we go camping or to an Airbnb. It will ultimately save you time and money while on your self-catering vacation in Whistler .
Ask The Locals
Check with your Airbnb host/hotel reception etc. where’s good for dining. Ask for their recommendations and if they can direct you to any great deals. If you’re inclined to eat out, happy hour/après in town is typically late afternoon/early evening and it may be worthwhile shifting your meal schedule to account for a later lunch/earlier dinner to take advantage of these offers.
Check the local newspaper for grocery offers. Whistler’s paper is called The Pique and is available all over the village for free. Local grocery stores such as Nesters and Fresh Street Market will post their weekly offers in the paper, which makes it easier to identify money savings and plan your meals.
Top Tips On Finding Great Value Accommodation
Whether booking a family vacation or a couple’s retreat, we’re all looking for the best possible value. It can be tricky navigating the barrage of online comparison sites.
How can a web page be telling you one price but another web page charge double for seemingly the same product?
Sometimes it just takes a bit of savvy and some insider knowledge to book the very best deal for you. Check out our top tips for you to find great value Whistler accommodation.