Vail is many things. It’s a seven-mile stretch of the Colorado Rockies hosting 193 alpine trails. It’s a Tyrolean-style village full of old-world charm and character, not to mention a tempting array of boutiques. It’s also a bustling concentration of après-ski haunts, which are perhaps just as enticing as the mountains above. From snowboarding to mountain biking, Vail is year-round adventure on a grand scale. But it’s the winter season that beckons us most. Here at Q, we’re always looking for the best that each season has to offer, and when it comes to winter, we’re always on the hunt for the world’s finest ski trails and cold-weather sports. This year, we touched down here in the Colorado Rockies to discover Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, a contemporary landmark luxury hotel graced with European flair.
Outside, your heart might skip a beat at the sight of the peaked roofs and wooden beams, which draw their inspiration from the Gore mountain range. The inside of this contemporary alpine lodge is bathed in natural light that illuminates the hickory wood and limestone everywhere. The indoors and outdoors are connected by large windows, balconies, terraces, and the stunning year-round outdoor pool with outdoor fireplace. (Is there a greater feeling on earth than letting the heated pool soothe your muscles after a day on the slopes, while looking up into the darkening winter sky?)
With fitness facilities, a 14,395-square-foot spa, and three eateries (including the red-hot Flame restaurant) on site, this 121-room resort is large enough to suit your every need, yet of a scale manageable enough to make you feel like it’s your own private winter-community escape. Below, we’ve compiled a sampling of just some of the luxurious offerings on tap at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail that drew our attention to this haven away from home:
For many visitors to Vail, maximizing one’s time on the slopes is a priority, and bothering with equipment, transportation, and other details is a necessary burden. Not so for guests of Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, where every consideration has been anticipated. The effortless experience begins in the resort’s lobby, where boot fittings and ski rentals are arranged in advance. Then, just a short walk on a heated pathway through Vail Village (or a five-minute shuttle ride), Four Seasons Ski Concierge is a comprehensive facility near the base of Gondola One that features a lounge and private lockers, where guests’ boots and perfectly fitted skis await. Equipment is also available for rental or purchase, and a full-service team waxes and tunes based on the day’s conditions and skier preferences. Hot drinks and muffins are complimentary, and lessons can be arranged for all ages, from beginner to expert. At the end of the day, simply leave your gear behind and head into town for the après-ski scene, knowing that everything will be ready for you the next day.
Skin up the mountain in alpine touring gear with local, knowledgeable Paragon Guides before the lifts open. The pre-sunrise ascent of the mountain is followed by a sunrise ski down the hill, culminating in a big (and well-earned) breakfast back at Flame restaurant inside the resort. A professional videographer will document the whole experience and create a video with the footage as a memento.
Don’t ever go up the gondola hungry. Guests of the resort can order a Pocket Meal, a small-sized meal that fits perfectly into the pocket of ski jackets, to bring up on the slopes. Menu items include pocket bacon, Pedro’s burrito, mini bagel and lox, ham and cheese croissant, kolaches, and homemade granola, all priced at $14 each. As an added bonus, guests who order a Pocket Meal will also receive a complimentary draft beer at The Remedy upon their return to kick off the lively après scene.
Take a break from the trails and indulge in a day of grooming with Luca Bruno and the resort’s Forbes five-star spa. Start with
a signature spa treatment (such as the Bourbon Cowboy) or barbershop treatment (like the Cut & Cold One), then be whisked over to local designer store Luca Bruno. Enjoy a mountain-designer styling session followed by a “spirituous” tasting experience at a local distillery or brewery.
At Four Seasons, a “powder day” is any day it snows six inches or more, which is call for the resort’s culinary team to pass out complimentary powdered donuts and white hot chocolate to guests. It’s just a hint of the small touches—like icing on the cake, or powder on the donuts—that go such a long way here.