- Beaver Creek,
- Jackson Hole,
- North America,
- Park City,
- United States,
These other moutain resort properties were voted best 100 hotels on the North American continent... Solaris can do the same. These are our competition now.
Stowe Mountain Lodge, Vermont
Stowe, Vermont 05672
Tel: 888 478 6938 (toll-free), Tel: 802 253 3560
For all its historic cachet and white-steeple quaintness, Stowe had begun to grow a bit musty—until this $200 million masterpiece, built to help the resort area rival Aspen and Vail, opened in June 2008. Part of a $400 million refurbishment of this classic New England ski resort, the 139-room Stowe Mountain Lodge sits on Spruce Peak, a snowball's throw from the bunny slopes. (The fabled Front Four, which spill down Mount Mansfield, are accessed via gondola.) At 515 square feet—including a kitchenette and a marble bathroom—even the smallest timber-and-stone studio has ample room for discarding your coat and boots. And you'll feel right at home while defrosting your toes by the fireplace and taking in the generous views of rumpled, snow-covered hills through floor-to-ceiling windows. Long-time Stowe residents' opinions of the development, which includes an 18-hole Bob Cupp golf course, pedestrian village, and spa, may not be so hospitable. But the farm-to-table ethos—grass-fed beef tartare, maple crème brûlée—at the lodge's restaurant, Solstice, helps soothe the local attitude.
Were this property located in the Vail Valley, it would probably not have made the Gold List. Our competition is much stronger in the Colorado and Norther Rockies.
Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Teton Village, Wyoming
Tel: 307 732 5000, Fax: 307 732 5001
With lift tickets nearing $100 a day, ski towns have lost their slacker image, but it wasn't until 2003 that the Four Seasons opted to open a property in one—and the company chose Jackson. The property melds disparate worlds beautifully, with some 2,000 pieces of museum-quality artwork on the walls (including works by Joan Miró and Alberto Giacometti) along with Western-style interior details like tooled leather, cowhide chairs, and Native American–inspired throw rugs. The ski-in, ski-out hotel is built in a clever zigzag formation so that the majority of the 550-square-foot standard rooms have terraces with mountainside or valley views. But hey, everybody in Jackson has mountain views; only this place has the Seasons' legendary service. The ski concierge here custom-fits boots (all rental equipment is top of the line and replaced annually), tunes and stores skis, and practically walks guests right to the lift. Post-powder, the staff brings around heated towels, hot chocolate, and s'mores as guests soak in outdoor hot tubs styled to look like geothermal pools.
Tel: 877 734 7333 (toll-free), Tel: 307 734 7333
Amanresorts, which specializes in the über-luxe and superdiscreet, built its three-story, 40-suite lodge on the edge of a butte overlooking the Snake River Valley. The property is several miles out of town and has an inspiring view of the Grand Tetons. The designers knew it too, and kept artwork and bright decor to a minimum; in both the guest rooms and the public spaces, walls of redwood and sandstone, high ceilings, and huge windows capitalize on rather than compete with the landscape outside. Because of the Amangani's intimate size and a staff-to-guest ratio of more than two to one, personalized service is the standard. The executive chef meets each guest to inquire about individual tastes (and the dining room never closes), and if that Hollywood director's lady friend is sitting in the hot tub and the wind picks up, it takes only seconds for a spa attendant to offer a beanie to keep her ears from getting cold.
At opening, it had the distinction of being the only hotel in the Aman portfolio to be unprofitable.
Stein Eriksen Lodge, Utah
Park City, Utah 84060
Tel: 800 453 1302 (toll-free), Tel: 435 649 3700
Norwegian Stein Eriksen, who won a gold medal for giant slalom at the 1952 Olympics and then three gold medals at the 1954 World Championships, is director of skiing at Deer Valley Resort. So it's no surprise the hotel that borrows his name (he's the property's so-called "ambassador") is close to the slopes. The lodge is at the base of Deer Mountain's Sterling lift. But what makes it so winning is the number of comfort-driven amenities: Each of the 175 rooms has a jet tub and humidifier; suites have stone fireplaces; and the restaurant, Glitretind, is the best in town. The design is odd but fun, as if a hunter with a taste for Danish modernism had a go at decoration—the walls are stone with dark wood trimming. And what would an au courant ski lodge be without the comforts of a spa? Stein's includes an outdoor pool, fitness center, and an 80-minute ashiatsu treatment, in which the masseuse literally walks back and forth on your body.
Was also highly rated by the ratings companies - for years being among the handful rated both five stars and five diamonds.
The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, Colorado
Avon, Colorado 81620
Tel: 970 790 6000
Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Colorado
Avon, Colorado 81620
Tel: 970 748 6200, Fax: 970 343 1070
For those who prefer the exclusivity of Beaver Creek to the crowds at Vail, the ski-in, ski-out Ritz-Carlton is the best place to stay. Tucked into the gated community of Bachelor Gulch, it's a timber-and-stone pile with 180 rooms, all with balconies and/or fireplaces, flat-screen TV's, Wi-Fi (for a fee), Frette linens, and feather beds so thick you practically need a stepladder. Mountainside Suites have up to three bedrooms. Book a room on the Club Level, which serves seemingly nonstop complimentary food and drinks in the lounge, including smoked salmon at breakfast and Champagne at cocktail hour (guests claim they gain weight when they stay here). For skiers, a stay here is seamless and worry-free: The Bachelor Gulch high-speed quad lift practically lands in the lobby, and there's also a ski shop, an in-house lift ticket outlet, and a ski concierge to take care of your gear. At the end of the day, before cocktails around the towering fireplace in the Great Room (reminiscent of a National Park lodge) and dinner at Spago, head down to the resort's crowning glory: The 21,000-square-foot spa and fitness center. It has a rock-lined stone "grotto," separate men's and women's steam, sauna, and Jacuzzi areas, a heated outdoor pool, and hot tubs with views of the slopes.
Closed mid-April to late May
As I was onboard for the opening, I know they openly told employees at orientation that they wanted their first rating to be five-star/five-diamond. They got four-star/four-diamond.
The Little Nell, Colorado
Aspen, Colorado 81611
Tel: 888 843 6355 (toll-free), Tel: 970 920 4600
The Nell is so Aspen—i.e., it's a cute little (92-room) home-away-from-home chalet where everyone happens to be wearing Prada skiwear and there's a two-to-one staff-to-guest ratio. Those abundant staff members are convincingly caring, and the atmosphere really is warm at the town's only true ski-in, ski-out hotel. The ski concierge, Ray McNutt, will take you out at the crack of dawn to be first to sully the groomed slopes, too. The all-beige rooms have plenty of space to swing a dog (yours is welcome and has his own menu), plus king-size beds, gas log fires, huge closets, humidifiers, and big marble bathrooms. Restaurant Montagna is among the best in the state, and the bar is a hot spot, especially with its fondue menu. The Nell's Ajax Tavern, just across from the gondola, has reopened for the 2008 season after a massive renovation, with a new menu befitting its contemporary French bistro atmosphere. (Old favorites, however, such as the Tavern's famous truffle fries, are still a must.)
Has been rated five-star, five-diamond since opening and is now one of the longest such rated hotels in the US.
The Arrabelle at Vail Square, Colorado
Vail, Colorado 81657
Tel: 866 662 7625 (toll-free), Tel: 970 754 7777
The ski-in, ski-out Arrabelle hotel is the keystone of chic Vail Square. Opened in the Lionshead area, this tiny "village" is modeled on quaint Mitteleuropa towns like Innsbruck or Prague. Many of the 62 guest rooms and suites have fireplaces and mountain views, along with the expected high-tech luxuries: free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and Bose MP3 players. The Arrabelle is joined by shops, restaurants, and 25 one- to five-bedroom residences (which can also be rented)—all surrounding a plaza that is transformed into an ice rink in winter. It's undeniably charming (deposed royalty would feel right at home, given the plush details: 1,000-thread-count sheets, heated marble floors in the baths), and for skiers it's fabulously convenient. The Arrabelle's Tavern on the Square, once part of the Centre V restaurant, has a slope-side terrace that abuts the Eagle Bahn Gondola (where you'll also find the Arrabelle's ski valet ready to take charge of your skis and boots after your last run, so you can head directly to the hotel's spa). Just try not to swoon after tasting Tavern on the Square's fried-to-order maple-bacon doughnuts with apple butter. Bringing the kids? Check out the Arrabelle's Ski Nanny service.—Updated by Sarah Tuff
An example of a hotel not loved by the raters - only one of 2,500 hotels rated 4-diamonds - but loved by the traveling public.