From backcountry huts and wintertime glamping to poolside lounging and hot spring soaking, we’ve found more than 20 places in Colorado (and beyond!) that you should visit this season.
Vail’s Newest Digs
If you haven’t been to Vail in the past few years, you might not recognize Colorado’s most famous ski town. Major resorts, boutique hotels, and exclusive chalet-style complexes have recently opened giving visitors a host of new options for staying in a place they say is “like nothing on Earth.” Here, a few of our favorites.
Solaris / $$$
This large development, completed in time for last year’s ski season, has redefined the Vail Village. With its shopping, restaurants, ice-skating rink, movie theater, and bowling alley, Solaris Residences has become Vail’s “other” town center. For guests staying in one of Solaris’ 79 luxury units, this means the action is just steps outside the front door. Not that you’d mind staying in your one- to six-bedroom condo all day if you had to. With stone fireplaces, gourmet kitchens, hardwood floors, expansive bathrooms, climate-controlled wine storage, and terry bathrobes at your disposal, even the allure of Vail’s slopes can dim in comparison. And with floor-to-ceiling mountain views, you kinda feel like you’re on the mountain anyway.
You Know You’re In Vail When… Your rental comes with a personal assistant, who will help you plan your visit and make sure your stay is flawless. Can’t find your favorite toothpaste in Vail? He can. Want your daughter to take an ice-skating lesson with a princess? She can make it happen. Suggestion: Bring plenty of cash for tips.
Don’t Miss: A reservation at Matsuhisa, Solaris’ fine Japanese restaurant from chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
Book it: solarisvail.com; 970-476-9000
The Arrabelle at Vail Square / $$$
This RockResorts property opened in 2008 in Lionshead Village and was really the beginning of Vail’s mini renaissance. From the rubble of the 1970s-era buildings that, until recently, dominated Lionshead, the Arrabelle arose in all of its classical alpine glory. The resort took its architectural inspiration from European cities but the resulting 62-guest-room building and surrounding environment are oh-so Vail. The grand lobby with a roaring fireplace, the rooftop lap pool and hot tubs, the 10,000-square-foot spa, the rustically elegant guest rooms—it’s all so upper-crust, yet the Arrabelle has an airy, approachable vibe that’s too often hard to come by in chichi resorts.
You Know You’re In Vail When… The hotel you’re staying at has a stunning on-mountain, three-bedroom cabin—the Game Creek Chalet—that you can only access by snowcat or skis.
Don’t Miss: The Arrabelle puts out cookies, hot chocolate, and tea in the grand lobby in the afternoons. Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that really stand out—and make a vacation.
Book It: arrabelle.rockresorts.com; 1-866-662-7625
The Ritz-Carlton Club, Vail / $$$
Unlike some of the other new accommodations in the Vail area, the Ritz-Carlton Club & Residences Vail is understated. Don’t get us wrong, it’s well appointed and the service is impeccable; however, this isn’t a fully loaded resort hotel. Although the Ritz-Carlton Club offers in-room massage therapy and two treatment rooms, there isn’t a full-service spa. While the Lobby Lounge has a snack menu, it’s not a signature restaurant. And though there is a very nice, very private outdoor pool and hot tub, there just isn’t that swanky poolside atmosphere you’d find elsewhere. But—but!—none of this is a downside if you’re looking for the quieter side of Vail, where you spend evenings in your fabulous condo, sipping on a glass of wine, while making dinner for your family. The Ritz in Vail feels like more of an extended-stay kinda place (albeit a very nice one)—the spot you want to be when you’re planning to spend a week or more in the valley.
You Know You’re In Vail When… Your skis arrive at the gondola before you do. The Ritz’s ski valet helps fit you with the right equipment and shuttles it (and you!) to
the lift. Plus, the valet has snacks and drinks ready for you after you’re finished with your turns.
Don’t Miss: The Ritz-Carlton often does email promotions that can discount rooms up to 30 percent. Visit ritzcarlton.com to opt-in for emails.
Book It: thevailcollection.com; 1-888-272-6618
Four Seasons Resort Vail / $$$
While the Four Seasons is celebrating only its third ski season in Colorado’s most iconic valley in 2012, Vail Ski Resort is celebrating its 50th birthday. Way back in 1962, there wasn’t a bevy of top-notch accommodations to house the skiers the new slopes were attracting. Today, that isn’t a problem, especially with the addition of the 121-room Four Seasons Resort Vail. Yes, Four Seasons is an international brand, but its Vail outpost does Colorado proud with a sophisticated ambience that doesn’t overdo—or underdeliver—on that requisite ski lodge feel.
You Know You’re In Vail When… After you’ve soaked in the outdoor heated pool you can cuddle into a heated robe (a staff member will greet you while you’re still dripping) and settle down near the outdoor fireplace with a glass of mulled apple cider.
Don’t Miss: The Haut Chocolat at the Fireside Lounge. This churned-tableside treat is more dessert than beverage.
Book It: fourseasons.com/vail; 970-477-8600
Chalets at the Lodge at Vail / $$$
Nearly adjacent to where the new gondola will begin whisking skiers up Vail Mountain this winter rests the Chalets at the Lodge at Vail. As location goes, there isn’t a better ski-in, ski-out option than these four- and five-bedroom units with flat-screen TVs, fireplaces, in-floor radiant heating, and gorgeous views of the Gore Range. Perfect for big families, these private residences (some have a rental option) were part of Vail’s Front Door project and coincided with the opening of the new skier services building and the addition of a spa at the Lodge at Vail.
You Know You’re In Vail When… Matt Lauer was the “renter” who stayed in the unit the week before you.
Don’t Miss: The hot tubs are situated right at the base of the mountain, which means you have stellar views of the slopes.
Book It: 1-888-272-6618