There’s a reason American and European travelers flock to Vail every winter: the area’s world-class skiing is complemented by a stellar dining scene, designer boutiques and luxury hotels. Journalist and avid skier Stacey Lastoe has the inside scoop.
The Hythe, a luxury resort
One of Vail’s newest properties (the luxury boutique hotel opened November 2021) is also one of its most sought-after, thanks to serene and elegant accommodations led by a courteous staff. The 344-room hotel embodies a Swiss mentality when it comes to hospitality and après-ski spirit. Its ski-in ski-out location means easy access to Well & Being, the on-site spa, after a rigorous day on the mountain.
The best rooms at this Bavarian-style ski lodge have fireplaces and spectacular mountain views, but the 127 rooms are full of charm and well-appointed. Be sure to make time for dinner at the Swiss Chalet, where fondue and schnitzel help maintain the European skiing vibe. If altitude is an issue, rest assured that Sonnenalp’s Spa Cafe & Oxygen Bar will have you feeling fresh in no time.
Root and Flower
While you can’t go wrong starting with a cocktail here when doors open at 5 p.m., this après-ski gem specializes in distinct wine offerings, with 50 options by the glass to satisfy even the most oenophiles. hardest in the group. The added luxury comes in the form of lobster deviled eggs; a stellar selection of cheeses and charcuterie is always on the menu.
Given Vail’s reputation among European ski enthusiasts, it’s no wonder the French restaurant serving classics like escargot and smoked duck alongside more eclectic dishes like hibachi barbecue oysters and halibut with black truffle miso is perpetually animated.
Due to its prime location in the Four Seasons, you know you can expect great service and carefully crafted cocktails in cool locations. Sip the Smoke & Flowers mezcal drink by the fire and consider which wings to order: buffalo, sesame gochujang or barbecue.
Vail is full of après-ski options, but for after-hours shenanigans, head to this live music venue where the party starts at 9 p.m. and goes into the wee hours. Conveniently located in Vail Village, this bar serves liquor and beer in an intimate setting and contrasts well with many of the more upmarket watering holes in the village.
Vail Ski Resort
Ski and snowboard on the slopes of Vail Ski Resort, which offers a plethora of ski runs for all skill levels.
Sure, the architecture pales in comparison to Aspen or Telluride, but what this cookie-cutter center lacks in exterior aesthetics it more than makes up for beyond surface. Fill up at Westside Cafe and Market with the dirty crackers and gravy, and grab last-minute ski gear from Helly Hansen Where Patagonia. After filling up on Vail’s back bowls (impossible but there’s always tomorrow), refuel with a $3 draft beer (between 2 and 5:30 p.m.) and a burger at Southside Benderz before heading to a home goods store hygge life.
Colorado Snowsports Museum
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the museum’s artifacts tell of Colorado’s love affair with skiing and snowboarding. Now showing: Tom Sims’ snowboard featured in the James Bond film ‘A View to Kill’.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Admission to the highest botanical garden in North America is free ($5 is the suggested donation) and possibly 365 days a year. Unsurprisingly, alpine and mountain plants are well displayed, and public and private tours are offered.
The back bowl
Located in Eagle, Colorado, where visitors looking for a more direct route to Vail fly, this bowling alley is a worthwhile detour from Vail’s main stage. Billiards, an arcade room, and quintessential gaming snacks like nachos and jalapenos will keep you busy and full for the duration.