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The main complaint we've heard/read about the Sierra Nevada Lodge at Mammoth Lakes is that it's a little outdated in its decor, that the rooms are a bit old.
Well, they certainly addressed that comment card with a three-year multi-million dollar renovation, including the new construction of six chalets and 15 fireplace suites. The resort officially "re-opened" on February 1, although it never really closed, and now has a total of 149 rooms.
The chalets (pictured above) are located next door to the lodge and have full kitchens with butcher-block countertops and wood burning fireplaces. We dig the old-school snowshoe lights on the wall -- that's the good kind of "outdated" decor -- and the wood-burning fireplace is a mountain treat that's becoming less and less common thanks to liability and lawyers.
Drive six hours north of LA and you'll find Mammoth Lakes, a destination for both skiers and hot spring soakers. Surrounded by mountains on all sides (Mammoth Mountain and the Sherwin Range), the scenic town is worthy of a few postcards, to say the least. But in terms of hotels? Only the Westin Monache Resort had managed to create a presence here. But that's all set to change now.
According to a new press release, the Handmade Hotel Mammoth View will be a 5.5 acre, eco-friendly project consisting of 54 hotel rooms, 28 eco residence cabins, and 24 eco residence lofts. What's more, the entire property will be heated using natural groundwater from below. That's right: underground water pumped to the surface to warm your very hotel room!
In the wilds of the fjords of Norway, travelers braving the hiking and biking trails (or driving RVs around the winding roads) will every so often catch a glimpse of a tucked away hotel, silently calling out like an oasis, We recently came across one of these lovely little properties at a stop along the famous Flåm Railway, just before reaching the high town of Myrdal, Norway.
The Vatnahalsen Hotel is popular with families and outdoorsy types, in the area for a night or two while continuing fresh air adventures through the lush Norwegian countryside, dotted as it is with waterfalls and mountains. When Vatnahalsen is at its busiest, the hotel also plays host to catered meals for cruise ship passengers docked in the lower fjord town of Flåm.
Mentioning the Sudtirol often conjures up images of Swiss men in lederhosen merrily herding goats and making cheese to the doleful dirges of mountainside Alphorns droning in the distance. It is a land of fresh mountain air, green valleys, steep vineyards, and fresh spring-fed pools. What better place, then, for a high-altitude eco spa like the one at the Vigilius Mountain Resort and Eco Spa from Design Hotels.
Located about halfway between Innsbruck and Venice, Vigilius is 4,921 feet (or 1,500 meters) up on Vigiljoch peak in the craggy Dolomite Mountains. The closest town is a tiny town called Lana—though there’s an air strip about a half-hour away in Bolzano, so you can fly from Rome and Munich. Now, we’re all for getting to far-flung places, but the Vigilius even makes us wonder since it’s only accessible by cable car and…foot. That’s right, by foot. When you come to relax and get back to nature, though, the farther the better.
Even the architecture, designed by Matteo Thun, is dedicated to communing with nature in a “wooden house of modernity.” The glass-and-wood façade helps the building blend into its environment while mimicking the timbering of traditional Tyrolean structures. The wooden beams in the restaurant are over 300 years old, and the roofs are covered with turf and grass in an attempt at energy conservation and to blend in with the pristine surroundings.
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It's hard not to blanch when we see a hotel package slapped with a price tag in the thousands, but reading the fine print does help to quell the sticker shock—at least a little bit. Even hotels known for their opulence are trying their best to go the bargain route, even if that bargain is set at $4,060, like the Mountain Romance getaway we found at Montana's Triple Creek Ranch.
Stick around and listen for a moment before you burrow your wallet away: that four-oh-my-god-are-you-kidding rate is for a five-night stay in one of their Luxury Cabins (normally $950/night, per couple), which are essentially mini-private homes with bells and whistles like a double steam shower, wood burning fireplace, living room, stocked bar, and a deck with hot tub.
Okay, this is one of the wackier promotions we’ve heard of in awhile. The Leadville Inn is having a photography contest to give itself away. In a difficult economic market, owners Tracey Lauritzen and Dan Houtchens have gotten creative in their efforts to unload the property in an attempt to ultimately travel to the high-altitude town.
Here’s how it works: Snap a pretty picture (it looks like it can be a photo of anything, but no nudie shots, please!) and enter it into the contest by August 31st, 2009 (midnight Mountain Time) with an entry fee of $275. Contest organizers are only accepting 3000 entries and you must at least be 18 years old as of the date of entry. There is a whole lot of legalese on the online contest page, but it all looks legit, so give it a quick gander before you enter. Entries will be evaluated by three independent judges.