By Eileen Ogintz

What’s the best part? We’re at the ski-in-ski-out Grand Hyatt Vail and guests—young and adult—have their faves about the hotel.

“The views from the hot tubs,” says Christina Marksym, from Chicago.

“The cozy environment,” said Jessica Gaeta, here for a repeat visit with her son Jack, 10, her dad and stepmom from New Jersey. Jack, she added, loves that dogs are so welcomed. He tries to get to know all of them, she said.

S'Mores at the Grand Hyatt Vail
S’Mores at the Grand Hyatt Vail

Jessica’s dad, Dr. Cavan Brunsden, added that the ski-in ski out location is terrific. Jack, he added, “is in heaven” with the new kids’ expanded Market Cafe, complete with a play area that has foosball, beanbag chairs and video games. Also new this year, the Cafe has expanded its food offerings including artisanal pizza, burgers, a popular self-serve ice cream and toppings station. It also has big screen TVs —all a nod for families who may prefer the casual atmosphere to the more formal Gressner Restaurant.

Gressner is Colorado Rockies meets Swiss Alps, with dishes including locally sourced hazelnut crusted trout and steaks. Come for a special Valentine’s Day dinner complete with specialty cocktails and game. Many also gather for burgers, pizzas and more at the Fireside Lounge just outside the restaurant. The new Yoshimi Pop-Up Sushi is such a hit that it will expand with outdoor seating this summer.

View from the Grand Hyatt Vail hot tubs along the White River
View from the Grand Hyatt Vail hot tubs along the White River

Lauren Ikeman, 10, here with her family from Minneapolis, was playing foosball with her dad Tim, while her older sister was texting. But truth be told, her favorite are the S’mores kits to roast over the outdoor fire pits. S’mores are included with the resort fee, as are yoga and spin classes, fitness center and champagne sabering.

That’s right, after guests are served glasses of champagne, they are treated to a bottle being opened with a saber. The Hyatt even has a vending machine for champagne—all part of a partnership with Moet & Chandon, including a Yurt for private parties ($500 for two hours).

This resort is one that works equally well for romance as for families. In fact, come Feb. 10-17 and enjoy 20 percent off rooms and spa services for two, including what else, a champagne toast.

Champagne sabering at the Grand Hyatt Vail
Champagne sabering at the Grand Hyatt Vail

“I like that it is more relaxed here than in Vail Village,” observed Jessica Gaeta. “And I feel like it is safe for my son to walk around on his own.”

Annette Liu, here with her family for a repeat visit from Maryland, said her family are such fans of this hotel and felt they were so safe that they came last year, when many were hunkering down at home because of Covid-19. They appreciate the expansive outdoor space at the pool, the fire pits, where her three kids were making s’mores, and the hot tubs. 

Gaita added for her stepmom and aunt who aren’t skiers, there’s plenty to do, from the shuttles to Vail Village for shopping and restaurants, yoga, spin classes, spa and simply relaxing with the stellar views.

The Grand Hyatt Vail is very dog friendly. Just ask Jake
The Grand Hyatt Vail is very dog friendly. Just ask Jake

The Grand Hyatt Vail welcomes well behaved canines too. Our11-year rescue pooch, Jake, loved walks around the property and the White River. He was even “treaded” with special morsels.

That the ski valet and rental shop has been expanded—it is now the largest in the Vail Valley–is a plus for kids and adults alike. “You can’t beat having warm boots in the morning,” said Tim Ikeman.

“I really like that you just give them your snowboard and grab it in the morning,” said Samantha Liu, 16.

Annette Liu added for a brief (four night) stay, the Grand Hyatt Vail can’t be beat for convenience and all the amenities. The complimentary shuttles make it easy to get to Vail Village as food options here are limited—a tradeoff for the access to the mountain. “If we were here for a week, we’d probably want a condo,” added her husband, Michael.  

“I’ve never seen a hot tub with a better view,” added Tim Ikeman. The tubs overlook the White River and mountains beyond.

Easy access to some of the world's best skiing from the Grand Hyatt Vail
Easy access to some of the world’s best skiing from the Grand Hyatt Vail

For something different, try Topgolf Swing Suites, which accommodate up to 12 for interactive golf, soccer and more. ($225 for 1 1/2 hours).

One caveat: the ski trail down to the Grand Hyatt Vail may be difficult for young kids, one dad of a five year old suggested. Older kids, no problem. As an alternative, you can either ski down to Lionshead or Vail Village and take a shuttle. If your kids are in ski school, you need to take them there anyway. You can also ride down the Cascade chair lift right to the hotel to avoid the last part of the ski run. 

“I like everything,” declared Emily Liu, 10, as she was eating her s’more.

Me too, Emily.