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Getting Intimate

Getting Intimate

Features
By Lois Friedland
posted: 08/09/2000

Valentine's Day is the perfect holiday for a romantic getaway. And the ideal place to celebrate is an intimate mountain setting. A lodge where every detail is attended to, the decor has a definitive style and the amenities are complete. One that is absolutely elegant but not ostentatious. Where the concierge greets you by name, and the staff anticipates your every need from the moment you check in until you leave. Whether you desire an après-ski massage or access to a tony private club, request it and it is yours. Each of the six boutique properties we review possesses a luxurious and intimate ambiance. These properties are, at the least, high-end, and some are outrageously expensive. Most are inns, while others are hotels within hotels-the largest has 53 rooms and the smallest has six. The common theme is that all are a "home away from home" for the sophisticated, affluent traveler-or for anyone who wants to feel like one.

*Rates are for two, double occupancy.

Wyoming Cliff Hanger
Just as dedicated golfers pilgrimage to far-flung destinations to play a course, seasoned travelers journey far and wide to experience Amanresorts properties. Now that the exclusive resort operator has opened Amangani in Jackson Hole, Aman followers don't need to travel as far as Indonesia and Polynesia to stay at one of its premier properties. As any previous guest knows, personalized service is the Aman hallmark, and the Amanresorts philosophy of placing up-market properties in stunning settings is a winning combination.

At first sight, the Amangani is an anomaly. In ski country, where architecture is typically log-and-stone influenced, this giant sandstone structure sunken into East Gros Ventre Butte is a bit of a shock. But don't be misled by first impressions. This sandstone and redwood retreat with its 40 luxury rooms and suites, is defined by simple sophistication. Rooms are decorated in a comfortable contemporary style. All have gas fireplaces, CD players, portable phones and modems. The great room, with its dual fireplaces and two-story window-wall framing the snow-capped Snake River Range, makes the perfect resting spot before dinner. And because Amangani is situated between Jackson Hole Resort and town, guests are conveniently close to the area's many dining options. If they prefer to dine in-house, the regional cuisine served at The Grill restaurant is delicious, or they can walk 50 yards to neighboring Spring Creek Resort to enjoy dinner at The Grainery. Amangani also boasts a full-service health center with spa treatments, personal trainers and a year-round outdoor pool. Romantic Recommendation In-room massages are no problem. Rates: $450-$750 a room, nightly. Call: (877) 734-7333; www.amanresorts.com.

Victorian Vermont
Guests at The Charles Orvis Inn at The Equinox, in Manchester Village, Vt., can enjoy the intimacy of an inn and the amenities of a full-service resort. The nine-room inn, named for the founder of the Orvis fly-fishing company, reopened three years ago after having been closed since 1941. The original inn was actually the founders' home and was run as a boarding house by Charles Orvis himself. Situated on the picturesque town square, the simple 1883 white clapboard exterior belies a luxurious Victorian interior loaded with fireplace nooks, cozy leather sofas and billiard rooms that create a comfortable privacy. The one- and two-bedroom suites are only more luxurious: Each is equipped with a full kitchen, wet bar, gas fireplace, dining room and living room. If you can wrench yourself from the inn, the skiing and shopping is close: The Charles Orvis is just 25 minutes from Stratton and 10 minutes from Bromley, and is one mile south of the Manchester Center's downtown shopping district (complete with more than 60 outlets, including Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren). All of the Equinox amenities, including room service, spa, health club and swimming pool, are yours to use. ThEquinox also offers two of the more unusual winter programs in ski country: a British School of Falconry and a Land Rover driving school. Because families are allowed only during holiday periods, guests are a mix of couples and singles. Romantic Recommendation Orvis' Rekindle the Romance Package costs $1,065 for two nights and includes terry robes, a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of champagne, a half-hour massage per person and complimentary massage oil. Prices range from $569 to $899 per night. Call: (800) 362-4747; www.equinoxresort.com.

Coloradan Panache
Despite an abundance of 17th and 18th century French antiques and Royal Academy art, you can comfortably park your feet on the coffee tables at the seven suites at The Residence in Aspen. This luxury downtown hotel has the monopoly on the second floor of the Aspen Block Building, a historic brick building dating to 1886. At the end of a day on the slopes of Aspen Mountain, just 1 1/2 blocks away, you'll relish returning to the comfort of your suite. All seven have duvets, opulent bathrooms and are lavishly appointed; six have full kitchens. But that is where the similarities stop. Each suite is decorated in a different theme. One is French country, another features art and antiques from India, and yet others have Italian and English influences. The opulent property is the creation of Terry Butler, a long-time Aspenite who knows just about everyone in town, and whose presence lends the formal decor a relaxed presence. Max, her 5-pound dog, is the "P.R. director" who draws kids and adults into the club-like lobby in the late afternoon to socialize. Many days you'll hear a babble of languages from the polo set, the CEOs and the Hollywood crowd that bed here. Amenities include concierge service and access to some of the town's most exclusive social clubs, as well as workout privileges at the Aspen Athletic Club, three blocks away. Romantic Recommendation Butler can arrange for a chef to prepare a divine meal in your suite. Winter rates range from $425 for the French Studio to $1,559 for the Penthouse and Master two-story, three-bedroom apartment. Early- and late-season rates are discounted-a bit. Call: (970) 920-6532; www.aspenresidence.com.

Canadian Classic
The Chateau Whistler is a 558-room, 12-story hotel, but on its 8th and 9th floors is a small luxe hotel within a hotel-the Entrée Gold Floors. Picture a place where guests après-ski in an intimate lounge by a wood-burning fireplace. Here, wine and hors d'oeuvres flow freely, and windows draw in Whistler/Blackcomb's natural splendor. Throughout the walking village, all is hustle and bustle, but on the concierge floor the atmosphere is absolutely peaceful-so quiet you'll forget you're in the town's largest hotel. And that's only one benefit of signing on as an Entrée Gold guest. Pampering starts with a private check-in. Then you head to your room, which is loaded with little luxuries such as down-filled duvets, a VCR and a bathroom bearing every imaginable toiletry. In the morning, start out the day with a delicious deluxe continental breakfast (try the amazing house granola) and a quick trip to the health club for a pre-ski massage. The Entrée Gold concierge, on duty in the private lounge (where there's an honor bar), can suggest and book daytime and evening activities. Romantic Recommendation A window-seat dinner at the Chateau's luxurious Wildflower, followed by a moonlight soak in the slopeside hot tub. Prices for the 53 Entrée Gold rooms and suites range from $92 to $439. (If you're already booked into a standard room, ask about an upgrade fee.) Call: (800) 606-8244; www.cphotels.ca .

Southwestern Style
Just 2 1/2 blocks off the main square in Taos, N.M., Casa de las Chimeneas, with its thick adobe walls, kiva fireplaces and carved beams and posts, exudes Southwestern charm. The lodge's six rooms, which have private entries off a courtyard, are spread around the walled-in hacienda. They're loaded with subtle luxuries such as oversized towels in bathrooms trimmed with hand-painted tiles. Guests gather in the art-filled living and dining rooms for breakfast (always with a Southwestern dish or two) and afternoon hors d'oeuvres. Amenities include a hot tub, a small fitness room, a sauna and a massage room staffed by a pro who also can provide spa treatments. The majority of guests are couples enjoying a romantic getaway. If you're bringing a child, request the aptly named Library Suite, replete with books and a pull-out sofa in the living room. Romantic Recommendation Dinner at Lambert's, just a half block away, where they serve new American cuisine in a serene setting. Room rates range a reasonable $115 to $190 per night. Call: (505) 758-4777; www.taoswebb.com/hotel/chimneyhouse.

Salt Lake Sanctuary
With decor that leans more toward Ritz-formal than ski-lodge-rustic, La Europa in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a magnet for well-traveled couples who want luxurious rooms, deluxe service and access to evenings in a city not far from the slopes. Guests can take breakfast in their rooms or in the living and dining rooms, where après-ski wine and hors d'oeuvres are served. Candlelit dinners are also available by pre-arrangement, but most guests dine out because of the hotel's proximity to many of Utah's finest restaurants. The nine guestrooms (including a 600-square-foot, one-room suite) all feature raised gas fireplaces set in walls so they're visible from the bed and the two-person Jacuzzi tub. La Europa is located on two beautifully landscaped acres in a quiet neighborhood, 12 miles from Solitude, 35 minutes from Park City, Deer Valley and The Canyons, and 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake. Romantic Recommendation A five-star dinner at nearby rustic Log Haven. Rates range from $125 to $225 per night, including breakfast. Discounts are given for stays of four or more nights. Call (800) 523-8767; www.laeuropa.com.he walled-in hacienda. They're loaded with subtle luxuries such as oversized towels in bathrooms trimmed with hand-painted tiles. Guests gather in the art-filled living and dining rooms for breakfast (always with a Southwestern dish or two) and afternoon hors d'oeuvres. Amenities include a hot tub, a small fitness room, a sauna and a massage room staffed by a pro who also can provide spa treatments. The majority of guests are couples enjoying a romantic getaway. If you're bringing a child, request the aptly named Library Suite, replete with books and a pull-out sofa in the living room. Romantic Recommendation Dinner at Lambert's, just a half block away, where they serve new American cuisine in a serene setting. Room rates range a reasonable $115 to $190 per night. Call: (505) 758-4777; www.taoswebb.com/hotel/chimneyhouse.

Salt Lake Sanctuary
With decor that leans more toward Ritz-formal than ski-lodge-rustic, La Europa in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a magnet for well-traveled couples who want luxurious rooms, deluxe service and access to evenings in a city not far from the slopes. Guests can take breakfast in their rooms or in the living and dining rooms, where après-ski wine and hors d'oeuvres are served. Candlelit dinners are also available by pre-arrangement, but most guests dine out because of the hotel's proximity to many of Utah's finest restaurants. The nine guestrooms (including a 600-square-foot, one-room suite) all feature raised gas fireplaces set in walls so they're visible from the bed and the two-person Jacuzzi tub. La Europa is located on two beautifully landscaped acres in a quiet neighborhood, 12 miles from Solitude, 35 minutes from Park City, Deer Valley and The Canyons, and 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake. Romantic Recommendation A five-star dinner at nearby rustic Log Haven. Rates range from $125 to $225 per night, including breakfast. Discounts are given for stays of four or more nights. Call (800) 523-8767; www.laeuropa.com.

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