81657 Travel Guide
We're hearing another snow storm's coming in and that's making us want to cuddle up with something hot and body-warming (get your mind out the guttah!). A cup of hot chocolate would hit the spot, but not some old packet of Swiss Miss, which is all we have access to right now. Sigh.
So, we're doing what we always do, daydreaming about something decadent--namely the Haut Chocolat from the Four Seasons Vail where it's 9F. And boy, do they serve it up right! The ingredients arrives in a French ceramic pot and presented on a silver tray at the hotel's Fireside Lounge.
The drink is prepared tableside, and to make it thick and rich, your server muddles Valrhona chocolate with steamed milk, then pours the mixture over two giant hand-made marshmallows and a chocolate lattice that begins to melt from the liquid heat. But that's not all. Then it’s topped with whipped cream and chocolate streusel. Then they go OTT and add chocolate shavings and even more whipped cream. The price for this indulgence? $16.
We're thinking it's snuggle time now, don't you?
[Photo: Four Seasons Vail]
Ok, so we know we went on a little rant about the fact that technology might be slowly killing off the traveler in all of us, but this weekend in Vail we stumbled upon a mighty helping hand at the uber-luxurious Solaris (yes, it is still ski season!)
Ski and mountain towns are serene and relaxing, but if you're anything like us, the morning can sometimes be a little manic. You're up early, dressing in layers, trying to get a coffee down and, caffeine aside, a bit anxious. What's the weather like at the top of the mountain? Did the lifts open at 8 or 8:30? Are the slopes already crowded? Did the backside get as much snow as the front? For us, all those questions were answered by the Solaris' in-room Crestron control system.
We liked how we could call for our car and contact the front desk without picking up the phone, but what really impressed us was how it aided in helping us plan our attack for the day. From this little box on the wall, you can access nine mountain cams that shed light on lift lines, snow quality, weather, and crowds. We found it useful to check just before heading out. Lots of skier traffic around Eagle's Nest or long lines at Wildwood? No problem--Blue Sky Basin it is.
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The brand new Library, before its Obama baptism
How’s that for a ringing endorsement of your new name? Just over a month after the Vail Plaza Hotel & Club was reinvented as The Sebastian, it swung itself a presidential visit this week. Or, rather, a presidential family visit – while Obama stayed in DC this weekend, Mrs O took the kids on a jaunt to the hotel.
According to the Mail Online, there’s a spot of controversy over the First Family’s trip to Vail following Obama’s advice on saving money – that one might like to cut back on one’s vacations. But hey, it was Presidents' Weekend after all.
Michelle Obama would almost certainly approve of Block 16, the hotel’s brand new restaurant that serves local, organic, seasonal food, as well as the newly dedicated Library (it’s just 10 days old, according to Facebook) – a room stuffed full of books, games and art which the hotel website reckons is perfect for “lively debate”. There’s also a new spa (which offers pop-up services around the hotel) and live music at the new bar, Frost, but we reckon Mrs O is too clever to risk coming over all Marie Antoinette by getting her nails done or throwing back a scotch.
If this cold weather has you craving a trip to Vail to hit the slopes, you won't be able to shack up at the Vail Plaza Hotel & Club. The hotel has been converted into the Sebastian Vail.
But the boutique hotel is still open for business, and it offers some new features, including a new signature restaurant, bar and spa. That is, just in case you want some post-ski noshing or pampering.
It may seem wrong buying stuff that once belonged to convicted ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff but as an auction last month proved, people are willing to shell out money for the finer things from his former life, like $1,700 for his underwear and socks. Given that small success, we'd say his art collection will probably fetch a lot more money.
The Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail, a swank ski hotel for the rich, will be hosting an art auction featuring pieces that once belonged to Madoff, including works by Marc Chagall, Henry Matisse, Norman Rockwell, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Peter Max. The Colorado Independent reports:
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Yes! The chances of Santa Claus bringing ski bunnies a Very Four Seasons Vail Christmas are looking very good indeed, now we've learned that the Vail Four Seasons is now taking reservations from December 11.
Standard rates for a garden-view room start at $375 a night, according to the hotel's website, and there is also a Bed and Breakfast rate from $415 a night.
We had hoped that the Four Seasons Vail would be open this summer but as it turns out, we now have something new to look forward to for the ski season. Four Seasons has announced that their Vail property will open this December.
The 121-room resort, which also includes a Residence Club and Private Residences, features an 11,000 square-foot, spa focusing on high-altitude therapies, an all-season, outdoor pool, and a full-service, dedicated Ski Concierge to ensure guests maximize their time on the slopes.
For the ski bunny type, Vail might be synonymous with winter. But summer? Eh, not so much. The Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa, however, begs to disagree. The 20-room boutique hotel, perched on the banks of Gore Creek in Vail Valley, has a few goodies up its sleeves to lure summertime guests.
The Mountain Family Fun package makes the best of the season with rock-climbing access and climbing lessons, spa treatments, and organic fare for re-fueling. The package rates start at $445 per night, which includes three nights lodging (so really, we guess, $1,335 for all three nights), dinner for four at gourmet restaurant Terra Bistro, two semi-private climbing lessons, two spa treatments or two rounds of golf, free breakfast daily, and free access to Vail Athletic Club and classes. The package is available for Sunday through Wednesday arrivals, through Sept. 5.
Speaking of Terra Bistro, the restaurant is introducing a new menu with a small plates focus and more convivial restaurant ambiance (i.e. couches and banquettes). Summer fare flaunts treats like lemon shrimp and heirloom tomato gazpacho, steamed mussels, “sloppy Joe” sliders on toasted focaccia, peppered Amish beef tenderloin, vegetarian chili de arbol, and a cornmeal-crusted Rocky Mountain trout. With the new menu comes a summer calendar of weekly events, which includes a Monday night Grower’s Menu (featuring local farm fare), Tuesday night free cocktail with food purchase, Wednesday Gourmet Taco night ($6 for three tacos), and house-made ravioli on Thursdays.
[Photo via TripAdvisor]
When it comes to riding the rapids, we prefer to avoid sharp objects like rocks. But in the case of The Lodge at Vail, A RockResort, their "Rock the Rapids" package is encouraging the right kind of gouging. Prices, not rubber rafts! Families can save up to 30 percent on their white water adventures.
The "Rock the Rapids" package is available April 20 through September 27, 2009. Prices start at $199 per night for two nights accommodation and include a half-day rafting trip and lunch. Adventure seekers also get a Vail picture frame to nicely capture the experience forever.
And those not feeling the outdoors can zone out inside with the Complimentary Spa Credit package to use at the RockResorts Spa. A two night stay for $555 gives guests $555 worth of spa credit to do a little unwinding while the rest of the family battles rapids.
[Photo: Doc Artemis]
One Tuesday Night Free in Vail
$197 a night, three-nights minimum over a Tuesday
The new Arrabelle Resort in Vail which just opened last year is offering "Free Tuesdays." Guests booking a minimum of three nights at the resort over a Tuesday will not be charged for the Tuesday part of the stay. The deal is good through the ski season until April 18, 2009. Guests can also find more savings if they book before December 1st.
Additionally, guests looking to experience a ski vacation at the Arrabelle can save even more money this season with the "Baggage Bailout" program, an incentive that gives guests booking four or more nights with four day ski passes a $50 credit each if they book before December 1. The "Baggage Bailout" is offered for up to two people per room and is an attempt to make traveling with ski equipment a bit easier after the new airline checked baggage fees.
From now through December 14th, the hotel has rooms starting at $197 a night for a superior room. Those rates jump up to $330 a night just before Christmas and the holiday season gets insane at $900 a night. So one night free is a nice perk here.
Have a hotel deal you think we should consider? Or have a destination and date where you want us to check for hotel rooms and rates for you? No guarantees on either, but you can try your luck by hitting us here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include "For Reader Deals" in the subject heading.
We visited the brand new Arrabelle at Vail Square resort and retail plaza yesterday for the first time since its January 5th completion, expecting to be blown away. Instead, dust was blown in our faces from all the construction.
We had our eyes peeled for the fabled Ski Nannies (we assumed they would morph into like, hiking nannies or rafting nannies or something since it's summertime), but they were nowhere to be found.
But that was the least of our problems: we couldn't find the front door, either.
Well, the writers' strike may be over, but it'll still be at least a few weeks before your favorite shows come back. Kill that time and get one last gasp of exercise with the "Skier's Escape" package from The Lodge at Vail.
The deal includes three nights accommodations, two three-day lift tickets and breakfast daily at the hotel set in the heart of Vail village. (Your lift tix are good at both Vail and Beaver Creek.) Rates start at $1,272, and obviously there are some blackout dates. Still, getting a room and a day of skiing for $424 isn't bad, given that one day at Vail costs $92.
It's worth noting that the hotel's Spa is scheduled to open next month, so book later rather than earlier if that's a priority. The Skier's Escape package is available until April 19.
· Ski Hotels 2008 Map [HotelChatter]