Japanese-style pod hotel is a value stay in Canada

North American version in Whistler, B.C. is not so claustrophobic

By Marguerite Cleveland on January 16, 2020

It is peak season in Whistler, British Columbia, one of the top North American ski resorts. While its upscale village can lead to some pretty pricey accommodations, Pangea Pod Hotel aims to provide a more affordable option.

Here, you'll stay in a boutique hotel, but only pay for the part you use. The Pangea Pod Hotel is not your claustrophobic stack of single bed pods one on top of the other. Each pod has a comfy, double-mattress haven, complete with fans to provide white noise, art on the wall, a lockable small cabinet for your valuables and USB ports.

Each pod's interior is tall enough to be able to sit up straight. The 88 pods are organized into suites of varying size, and there is even a female-only suite. Suites contain their own bathroom components, with toilets, sinks, showers and dressing rooms separated from each other, efficiently allowing one person to take a shower without tying up the other bathroom elements. The company spent thousands of hours on the interior design to ensure an efficient use of space.

Although you would expect the clientele here to be an upscale hostel crowd, people of all ages stay. One of the most frequent guests is a man in his 70s who loves to ski, but his wife doesn't, so he loves that he saves money on his accommodations.

A large storage area provides safe places to store skis in the winter and bikes in the summer. Another important element of the hotel is a common social area called the Living Room, where you can order affordable coffee and breakfast in the morning or enjoy cocktails and flatbread pizza in the evening. The hotel even features a rooftop patio bar.

One of the hotel's best assets is its location, set in the heart of Whistler Village just a short walk to the gondolas. The hotel is adults-only, and if you have a group you can reserve a whole suite. Insider Tip: If you book directly through the hotel you get a complimentary cocktail on arrival.

With such a reasonably priced place to stay, you will also want some reasonably priced food. The El Furniture Warehouse Restaurant serves $5.95 meals all day long (in U.S. dollars that is $4.58 at the current exchange rate).

It might be natural to be skeptical of such low-priced dining options at Whistler, but the El Furniture Warehouse Restaurant has some surprisingly good food with some great options for the price point. The menu has all the pub food you would expect, such as burgers, fries, onion rings, pizza and chicken wings. But the value venue shines with starters like crispy calamari and perogies, or salads such as the Chinese chicken noodle or beet and goat cheese. Entrees include a variety of tacos, sandwiches and hearty bowls, including spaghetti and mac n' cheese. There is an extensive bar menu, as well. But alas, it doesn't fall under the $5.95 prices of the food.

A trip to Whistler doesn't have to break the bank with these low-cost options, especially if you pair it with the Military Epic ski pass -- a season pass good at all Vail resorts -- which can be purchased for a little over $100.

For more information about Whistler, visit: whistler.com.