Welcome: After a huge detour (the I-70 just happened to be closed the day we were travelling from Denver to Vail) we arrived at the Four Seasons Resort and were instantly put at ease by the warmth of our reception. The keys were taken from us and the car was parked, with the luggage appearing in our room minutes later. It was with much relief when we were told our skis and boots would be taken immediately to the ski concierge. This is the type of hassle free skiing I could get used to. Check in was quick and within minutes we were happily admiring the mountain views from our luxurious room.
Room: We were very lucky to be upgraded to a mountain view suite which comprises a spacious living room, bedroom, full bathroom, dressing room, shower room and two balconies. In terms of space and views this room has a real 'WOW' factor with the quality fixtures you would expect from a Four Seasons resort. If you are a telly addict then this room will certainly not disappoint as there are two huge flat screen televisions, one in the lounge, the other in the bedroom with a third smaller screen hiding in the bathroom mirror, something my husband found very novel! The main bathroom offers a deep soaking tub, excellent shower and separate toilet. The double vanity also means you can both have your own sink including luxurious L'Occitane amenities. A hairdrier, robes and slippers are all provided. A DVD player, iPod dock, personalised minibar and Nespresso machine complete the picture. Complimentary water is provided as part of the turn down service.
Service/Staff: All the staff we encountered were absolutely delightful and extremely helpful. A special mention has to go to Chantal and Lauren who helped us into our boots everyday with a smile and where nothing was too much trouble. Whenever possible, staff would greet us by name and service was always prompt and discrete. For anything you need beyond the hotel, eg dinner bookings, the concierge desk is only too pleased to help.
Dining: Flame is a spacious mountain steakhouse with lovely views of the mountains. I opted for a shrimp appetizer while my husband had the french onion soup. For dinner we shared a 32-ounce bone-in Wagyu ribeye with sides of hand cut chips and spinach. Food and service were both good. Breakfast is also served in this restaurant which is excellent. The Fireside Lounge also provides a bar menu (sandwiches) and I'm sure would prove an atmospheric stop for apres ski during the high season.
Activities: Obviously the main activity in the winter is skiing and this is truly my idea of ski heaven. (No walking through Vail Village in ski boots lugging heavy skis as I have done in the past!). The Ski Concierge is situated just off the slopes and hot chocolate/coffee and muffins/fruit are available in the morning with cookies in the afternoon. The sense of joy at being able to hand over your skis at the bottom of your last run of the day is immeasurable! The ski lockers warm boots overnight and we also left gloves, goggles etc.
Summer activities include hiking, cycling and golf.
Spa: Now this is what I call a spa! The spa offers 13 treatment rooms with relaxation area, indoor pool, steam room and sauna. From the reception area to the changing room, it is spacious, sleek and the attention to detail is superb. My husband and I tried the skiers massage and made use of the couples' treatment room, a new experience for us. The therapists put us at ease and the massage certainly made me feel better. I would certainly recommend my therapist Kevin particularly if you are looking for a deep massage.
The outdoor pool area is also stunning, the pool big enough to swim in properly, two hot tubs and an indoor seating area with fire. With heated towels and robes available it doesn't matter what the weather is doing, in fact we sat in the hot tub with the snow falling around us. Perfect! Hot chocolate and brownies are also served in the afternoon.
Value: Rooms do not come cheap but offers are available throughout the year. You do have to be careful with the extras: Valet parking costs $40 a day, internet is charged at $10 a day (you do get half an hour free in the business centre) and breakfast is only included if you sign up for the B&B package. Spa and restaurant charges are in line with five star resort prices.
Conclusion: This is a luxury resort and one I didn't want to leave. It is not a ski in/ ski out property but the ski concierge is excellent so in my opinion more than makes up for this. A shuttle bus service is available if you don't want to walk. It is located at the edge of the village but a short walk means you're in the centre of things very quickly. I do think it's a shame that the steam room/sauna/ indoor pool area is not unisex but otherwise the spa is excellent. For me, it is the service and attention to detail that really sets this hotel apart. On the last day our skis were packed into the ski tube and transferred to the car. We didn't have to lift a finger! There were even a couple of bottles of water placed in the car for our journey, highlighting the great service from start to finish. A thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable stay which I would highly recommend!
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