The worst part about working as a travel writer is that you never stay in one hotel long. The best part of working as a travel writer is that you get to sample le creme de la creme in hotels (and dining and attractions and more) all in the sake of editorial research. Which is why after less than 24 hours at the Four Seasons Vail, we checked out … only to check in directly across the street at the Sebastian.
Just a year old, the Sebastian Vail had barely been open three months when the First Lady came a callin’. The White House travel team—I never even knew there was such a thing! new dream job alert—called up the sales director at the Sebastian, with whom they had worked years before, and asked her about setting up a ski vacation for Michelle and the girls. And so they did—I mean, what hotel passes up the First Family, let alone in their first year?—and all of the staff had a big time ushering them in and out of the hotel, to and from the slopes, surreptitiously.
We were in the base level deluxe plaza room, though there are an array of different accommodation options available from studio to four bedrooms. Compared to several of the other hotels around, it was a much more contemporary option—with bold, slightly dizzying carpet patterns and minimalist lighting—mixed with more traditional ski lodge wooden accents.
One of my favorite features of the hotel was the free DVD rental machine. You simply swipe your card, pick the movie you want on the screen and—voila!—it spits it out for you. I’ve never seen this in any other hotel we’ve stayed in before and, as a movie lover, was pretty in love with the concept (especially after the Grammys that night turned out to be a total snooze).
Though we really just flitted in and out while exploring the grounds, I loved the lobby-level Frost Bar and Library, a popular spot for the Vail apres ski scene (and with $3 microbrews and half off all well drinks, you can see why!).
And though we didn’t eat in the more formal Block 16 Restaurant, we did grab a bite of breakfast at the Market Cafe buffet. An outdoor heated pool and a cluster of hot tubs rounded out the hotel offerings, but we were so busy skiing, we didn’t even have time to take advantage of them.
In retrospect, after staying at both the Four Seasons and the Sebastian—each unique for its own reason—it’s hard for me to choose: intimate boutique experience (though it could hardly be considered small) or a bigger, well-known brand resort.
What would be your lodging option of choice?