When I was putting together my last big family trip to the US I knew that Vail would be on my radar as I had promised to take my teenage son Noah, to a “Denver Nuggets” basketball game !! I found great seats for this sporting event through Razorgator.
I had decided to base ourselves in Vail a beautiful mountain valley town near Denver. It has the perfect balance of scenic beauty and things to do.
Vail has developed into a real convention town and people flood in for ski season, so there are plenty of accommodation options. But at the high-end, a lot of the properties that appealed to me are a little further afield.
The PARK HYATT BEAVER CREEK is in the next ski resort town at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain; Sheira and I remembered the gorgeous setting from a previous visit. This hotel is less than an hour away from Vail - and its premier position right on the snow makes it perfect for skiers. But this was not a ski-oriented trip for us; we were just passing through - and I felt Beaver Creek was too small for the kids. Teen boys like to wander the streets and see shops and activity.
THE RITZ CARLTON, BACHELOR GULCH is perfection for those looking for luxury bells and whistles surrounded by the classic Colorado landscape of snow slopes and pine forests. It is an “always say yes” hotel - with a ski concierge, spa and amazing extras like ski in-ski out access and Colorado’s highest rated golf course. Naturally you pay for all this: it is at the very high end of the market here.
If I was into hiking I would stay here because of the nearby forest trails - all paths lead back here and boy can you luxuriate at journey’s end! With the great cabins and well-known Asian-influenced restaurant attached to the hotel as well, you wouldn’t need to leave Bachelor’s Gulch – but it didn’t work for me. We were a family that needed a village!
Back in town I liked THE ARABELLE at Vail Square, which has the bonus of butler service (which I wouldn’t be here long enough to put to good use).
THE LODGE with its gabled roofs, wooden beams, big heavy fireplaces and antler chandeliers has always been my favourite of all the hotels. Even though it has been around for years it has been beautifully maintained and is still a terrific hotel - with the village’s largest outdoor swimming pool. But at the time of booking, I rebelled against choosing from a predictable list - especially after making a new discovery (below). In retrospect, I would book in here next time.
When staying in ski resort towns my criteria for accommodation is well-kept or new (hotels get shabby fast with all the traffic and après-ski revelry!) As soon as I found this new hotel still under construction the virgin territory idea appealed to me. The doors of THE VAIL PLAZA HOTEL & CLUB were due to open a few months before our stay - this place would be fresher than the snow outside! The Vail Plaza and Hotel is really quite close to the Covered Bridge and all pedestrian roads.
I used an excellent transfer company, VAILCOACH to get us from Denver airport to Vail (and back and forth to the basketball game as well over the next few days) - owned by only-in-America name, “Brad Fanger.”
They cover a lot of routes from Denver Airport or Eagle Airport and I highly recommend handing the reins over to these professionals.
Our friendly driver, Fred Goldberg (with a more Manhattan than mountain man sounding name!) enjoyed acting as an unofficial guide as he shared local knowledge about the beautiful forest scenery we passed en route to Vail. He even found me on “Facebook” later…