December 2008

Winter Wonderland Vail "Beaver Creek Colorado"

Author: martha langan

Are you ready to head for a fun ski trip? Now is the time to start planning your winter getaway. What better place to get outside and enjoy all the beauty this great land has to offer than the Vail/Beaver Creek valleys of Colorado. Whether you are a beginner or experienced skier or somewhere in between, the slopes can’t be beat. Non-skiers will enjoy the many activities and restaurants that are available to all visitors. I have been to many ski areas, and while they all have their own unique charm, I can honestly say that Vail and Beaver Creek are my favorites. Vail is a mecca for those who appreciate the earth’s natural, breathtaking beauty and landscape.

The easiest and very likely the most economic route from Hilton Head Island involves flying into Denver, then driving two hours to Vail Village. A convenient option, albeit a bit more costly, involves flying into Vail’s Eagle Airport with a 45-minute transfer to Vail Village.

Vail’s average elevation is 8,150 feet above sea level, while Vail Mountain has a maximum elevation of 12, 250 feet and a low of 8,120 feet with a vertical drop of 3,450 feet. Vail currently has 33 lifts. The town has a total of about four and a half square miles, with Gore Creek flowing from east to west through the center.

Immerse yourself in luxurious hotels, fine restaurants, and bountiful boutiques. Then imagine yourself after a week of sound sleep, fine cuisine, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and yes….shopping! How much could you improve your outlook after a week on Vail Mountain, where you are treated royally and have indulged all your senses to a level unsurpassed anywhere else?

While there are many hotels to choose from in the area, only a few are Virtuoso properties. The Arrabelle at Vail Square (A Rock Resort) is a luxurious landmark as one of the most fashionable addresses in Ski County, just opening this past winter. It takes its cue from old world ambiance and the European Alps, overlooking the Eagle Bahn Gondola. As a guest of the Arrabelle, you will enjoy exclusive access to Red Sky Golf Club, along with many other breathtaking courses in the Vail Valley. After a day on the slopes or on the golf course, enjoy an aperitif at the rooftop pool, or treat yourself at any of the shops located in 33,000 square feet of high-end retail. This resort is Vail’s newest crown jewel. Guests want for nothing and leave feeling completely pampered. Whether it be kicking back at the spa after a day on the slopes or relaxing fireside in the Great Room with your better half, you will be treated to world class amenities and service unlike anywhere else.

Another of my favorites in the area, very near Vail, in a location called Beaver Creek, is the Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. It is nestled in the exclusive mountain enclave of Bachelor Gulch on Beaver Creek Mountain. Everyone knows that the “Ritz” is a leader (if not the leader) in the hospitality industry. No detail is forgotten; it is the epitome of perfection. The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch is no exception. This resort exudes authentic Rocky Mountain luxury and claims unmatched ski-in and ski-out access on Beaver Creek Mountain. It has a fitness center with 19 treatment rooms and a lazy river hot tub to soothe any malady. As a bonus for all you pet lovers, they also have a “loan a lab” program which allows you to “ borrow” the resort’s resident Labrador Retriever, “Bachelor,” for a walk in Bachelor Gulch—something the kids will love! Speaking of kids, they offer one of the best children’s experiences with their Ritz kids program.

Yet another bonus is the newly added restaurant, Spago. Originated by Wolfgang Puck, the first locations were in L.A. and then in Las Vegas. Well, move over Sin City! The newest variation has arrived slope side to the Rocky Mountains at the Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. The glitz of Vegas has been blended with grand lodge décor to open this 5 million dollar restaurant and late night lounge. Both are expected to have the latest in trendy and innovative cuisine and entertainment. It is sure to be the place to be in 2009—and don’t be surprised if Wolfie himself graces the premises as you dine.

Another can’t-miss restaurant is Beano’s Cabin, (970) 949-9090. It is located in the Beaver Creek/Arrowhead area. We were fortunate to experience Beano’s Cabin for dinner. This was a tantalizing treat for the palate. We took an open air sleigh ride from Beaver Creek Village up the mountain to a log cabin where we enjoyed a five-course dining experience by the fire with great musical entertainment. I highly recommend this restaurant for a very unique experience. Be sure to book early.

As for the shopping in Vail Village, there are too many exquisite boutiques to mention. My favorites are that of the “Golden Bear” and the Gorsuch. You will be glad you visited both.

Valerie Wilson Travel can provide various amenities at all Virtuoso Resort Properties, e.g. daily breakfasts and credit at the spas, applicable towards services or retail products. There has never been a better time to visit Vail and the surrounding mountains. Call today to book your vacation. Don’t miss out!

Martha Langan has been a travel consultant for 15 years. She is an associate travel consultant with Valerie Wilson Travel and a proud member of Virtuoso.

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