Vail Colorado (Day 1 of 3) — Condo or hotel? When kids—even grown ones—are part of the equation, I’ll opt for a condo every time. None of us want to eat out every meal or pay high mark-ups for every drink.
I like the space to spread out too. That’s why I’m so glad for the Montaneros, a Wyndham Vacation Rentals condo at Lionshead in Vail.
We’ve gathered with my husband’s brother and his family for what has become an annual ski holiday. My daughter Mel is a senior at Colorado College and bad roads because of a snowstorm mean that four of her friends are staying the night. Good thing we have plenty of food—and a big living room couch.
That’s the thing about condos—you can always squeeze in a few more people. Montaneros couldn’t be better located for us—it is at the base of Vail Mountain smack in the middle of the revitalized Lionshead Village with shops, restaurants and even an ice skating rink.
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And when my son didn’t feel well, he could hang out here in the condo for the day, a kitchen at the ready, and not be stuck in a hotel room.
The Eagle Bahn Gondola and the Lionshead ski school are less than a five minute walk. I’m all about convenience this trip.
Last night, we had Black Tie Ski Rental deliver our demo skis right to the condo—no waiting in a ski shop! They fitted my brother in law’s extra wide feet with comfortable ski boots. And at the end of the week, they’ll pick up our equipment. We don’t have to return it! And should we want to swap it out, we just call them and they come—no waiting in a ski shop.
Today we skied with Lonnie Bredeson, who has been teaching skiing at Vail for 26 years and is the dad of two teens. Vail is a huge mountain and it was great to not worry about where we were going and let Bredeson lead the way. Did I mention that when you are skiing with an instructor, you can cut the lines, saving us considerable time? Of course such services don’t come cheap—because I’m writing about Vail, I was assigned a guide to help me find my way—but it is good on vacation to de-stress the experience as much as you can and maximize your enjoyment.
Don’t get me wrong—I love staying in hotels, especially when they are like the luxe boutique hotel Arrabelle at Vail Square that opened here a few years ago (they have condo units there too).
But when you are gathering a gang, a condo is the way to go, though we are glad for the restaurants steps away. In fact, we indulged at Tavern on the Square in the Arrabelle with Ahi Tuna, and spectacular bone-in veal schnitzel and homemade ice cream for desert. The restaurant is great for families too—no worries if a child falls asleep at the table after skiing all day or makes a little too much noise. The restaurant is noisy enough to drown it out.
And I especially love how helpful the staff is at Montaneros. A bigger pot to warm up the chili my husband brought frozen in his suitcase—no problem. A baking tin to make the corn bread–they bring it right up. Extra towels, even extra robes. And I love the boot driers in the ski room off the lobby so our ski boots will be warm and dry in the morning.
Talking about convenience, I’ve got to mention Epic Mix. When I sign on and put in the code that is on my lift ticket, I can see how much vertical we skied today and have access to the photos taken on the mountain by the employees in green uniforms—at no charge. We can share on Facebook and Twitter…No muss, no fuss.
Easy is good on a ski trip that requires so much planning and equipment. Why do we do it? Because the mountains are beautiful and it is fun to share a week with family who live across the country.
Vail has just celebrated its 50th anniversary and it is amazing—some 5200 acres of terrain, everything from seven miles of groomers, seven legendary Back Bowls, three terrain parks and nine Kid’s Adventure Zones through the trees.
“The thinking about Vail is hat it never gets boring,” said Bredeson. He led us on a mountain tour that took us across more than 20 miles—from Lionshead Village to the famous Blue Sky Basin with spectacular natural and gladed terrain. We all loved it.
Now I’m glad to sit in the condo in my fleece slippers and not have to move.
Does vacation get any better than this?
The kids, of course, will do the dishes.