Monday, December 19, 2011

Top Ski Destination, the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch

Ski Season...

There's literally hundreds of resorts, how do you begin to choose? Do you stay in the US, or do you head to Europe? Do you want  great conditions, maybe a fabulous scene, or someplace a whole family will be happy? 

 The Little Nell in Aspen is the Euro favorite, combining a heady mix of Hollywood types and the well-to-do Euros. It's quite the scene, but if you don't already have resies, forget about it for this year....
and yes, the Little Nell is still the best place to stay in Aspen, period

Vail is easily accessible from Denver, so it's loaded with lots of young college types, so the bar scene is busy, if not a bit common. Park City is the second home for a lot of Westport financial types, so the crowd there is definitely specific. Plus there not really any great resorts, which makes this more of a "ski condo" destination, so if you're going, bring friends and someone who likes to cook!

Whistler, B.C. is beautiful, but colder than you can believe, and the resorts are definitely mid-market...even the Four Seasons is completely unacceptable for a five-star resort. Also, sadly, the fires they had a couple of years ago have changed a lot of the views, so I would give Whistler a few years before I went again, if at all....

When staying in the states, I really like the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch for the best all-around winner for a ski resort. 

It's just a half hour trip up the road from Vail, but it feels a world away. This was one of the first Ritz Carlton forays inte the ski resort genre, and they have done it the best in this location. (Can't be said about their new Lake Tahoe project, but more on that later!)

The design is well done (not quite Kudo-worthy) but totally appropriate, and there's lots of well-programmed amenities, such as a Ski Concierge, boot warming stations, an outdoor bonfire bar for apres activities, and one of the BEST spas for a ski resort I've ever been in...

The resort has several restaurants, even a little Spago outpost, which is great for quick dining, and of course, has a fun, casual atmosphere.

The rooms are passable for a ski resort, with fireplaces, and some with balconies overlooking the base of the run.

 Naturally, they get better if you are on the Club level, or decide to grab one of the Penthouses or private residences....

But the real star of the show here is the mountain itself. Unique in that most of the runs can be considered "green diamond", so beginner skiers can enjoy being up at the top of a mountain, not just stuck down on the bunny slope with the "ski-pandas" whizzing through your legs...but don't worry, there are also plenty of black diamond runs for expert skiers as well, so everyone gets the chance to enjoy the experience. And then, afterwards, theres that spells "winter-get-away bliss"!

Here's to a chic and fabulous Holiday escape...we'll chat again in the new year!

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