In the five decades since its opening in 1963, Vail has evolved from an empty valley into one of the most beloved ski resorts in the world. That transformation shifted into high gear in 2011, when a fresh wave of shops, restaurants and luxury hotels opened with much fanfare following the economic downturn. Among the more anticipated launches was the 121-room Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail, a new standard in town for mountain luxury. Now in its third season, guest amenities like the property’s revamped bar and restaurant menus and five star Spa (awarded by Forbes Travel Guide) have kept it at the forefront of go-to lodging options in this Swiss-inspired village.
The hotel is hard to miss, located just off of the main roundabout in Vail. Its peaked roofs, which draw their inspiration from the nearby Gore Range, foretell the luxury guests are about to experience. Pulling under the arched entranceway, you automatically feel welcomed by the courteous staff upon arrival.
As luggage and ski gear are unloaded, you are directed through two sets of double-doors at the entrance, where the Fireside Lounge is located. Cast iron chandeliers, brown leather chairs and a large fireplace adorn the cozy space, where live music and an upgraded bar scene that includes new flat screen televisions make for a lively après ski location. The lounge’s terrace looks out onto a glowing outdoor pool area with a massive open-air fireplace, all against the backdrop of Vail Mountain.
A walk down the arched hallway to the left leads to the front desk lobby, furnished with a striking red and orange April Wagner glass sculpture. Once again, the staff of the Four Seasons makes you feel like you’re the only guest staying for the night, extending a charm and elegance fit for royalty.
The 10-story resort has rooms ranging from 575 square-foot standard-size accommodations to 4,856 square-foot suites. All include gas-burning fireplaces, furnished balconies and limestone bathrooms. Most suites come with a separate powder room as well.
The Deluxe Mountain-View One Bedroom Suite is quite a treasure. The hickory hardwood floors of the entranceway lead into an expansive carpeted family room with a stone fireplace, couch, leather chairs, dining set and work desk. A spacious balcony overlooks the pool area and, as the name would indicate, Vail Mountain itself.
To the right through double hardwood doors is the bedroom and limestone bathroom. The former, which also includes its own fireplace, comes with a Four Seasons signature King bed, lounge chair and balcony (yes, that’s right; two fireplaces and two balconies total). The bathroom includes a soaking tub, dual sinks with marble countertops, a stand-up shower and bath amenities by L’Occitane.
In-room technology consists of HDTV, Dolby Digital surround sound in the living room, DVD player, iPod-docking alarm clock, espresso maker and safe. Not that you’ll need all the extras with days spent skiing on the nation’s largest ski resort.
*Four Seasons Resort Vail is a pet-friendly property, providing food and water bowls, doggie bed, Natura bottled water and waste bags.
Ski and boot rentals are available on site at Gorsuch, a family owned and operated retailer. Boot fitters assist in selecting the ideal boots and boards, at which point the gear will be transferred to the resort’s two-story ski concierge, located in Vail Village, steps away from the high-speed Gondola.
If you have your own gear, it’ll already be waiting for you there. Upon arriving, the staff will escort you upstairs to the cherry wood-colored lockers (complete with boot warmers so you can start your day right). Back downstairs in the lounge area, grab a complimentary morning coffee or hot chocolate, as well as one of the tasty pastries provided. Here, skiers can plan their day with trail maps or buy last minute items like winter hats, gloves or energy snacks at the in-house shop. Outside, Four Seasons attendants will have poles and skis ready to go, and will even offer to carry them to the Gondola if you prefer.
After a full day on the mountain, relax at one of two locations—the outdoor pool area or indoor spa. The former is located in a sunken courtyard facing Vail Mountain and is accompanied by two whirlpools (one is adults-only), a large stone firepit and heated robes to stay warm. Inside, the spa offers several high-altitude treatments, all of which come with a signature cranial massage and foot therapy that promotes full-body relaxation and a sense of well-being. Not a massage person? There’s always the Gentlemen's and Ladies’ lounges with their large waterfall whirlpool sanctuaries, eucalyptus steam rooms and saunas.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A robust ski concierge makes up for the fact that Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail is not located directly slope-side. Of course, it also helps to receive the unrivaled service that is typical of the Four Seasons brand. Spacious rooms and facilities like the Gentleman’s and Ladies’ Lounges at the spa—complete with 2,185 square feet of workout space as well—provide all of the comforts one would expect of a high-mountain retreat in Vail. It is topped off with inventive dishes at Flame Restaurant, where chef Jason Harrison is mixing local spirits and traditional food to create culinary treasures like the Breckenridge Bourbon nectarine demi-glace and Roasted Apple-stuffed French Toast with bourbon maple syrup. Yum!