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Trail Mix

Trail Mix

Travel
By Samantha Berman
posted: 01/26/2005

Sprawling for five miles and comprising three distinct base villages, Vail, Colo., boasts more than 64 hotels, B&Bs and lodges-not counting condos-in which to hang your helmet. You want to stay in Vail Village? What about Lionshead? And where is West Vail, anyway? Whether you're bringing the family or the fraternity, here's where to rest easy.

Luxury/On-Mountain>Game Creek Chalet The top of the top in luxury lodging, this four-bedroom, four-bathroom alpine-style retreat sits atop Game Creek Bowl on the mountain's backside, bestowing true ski-to-your-front-door access on its lucky lodgers. No amenity has been spared, from the ski concierge, private instructor and personal chef to the outdoor hot tub and hors d'oeuvres at day's end. If that's not enough, a regal view, at 10,500 feet, seals the deal. $2,400 per night for the chalet; 970-476-5011; lodgeatvail.rockresorts.com

Romance>The Savory Inn There's no Vail lodge quite like the Savory. First of all, it's a cooking school. Second, it's out of the way, stashed in a grand log cabin fronting Gore Creek in West Vail. (The inn runs a shuttle to the lifts.) Third, it has only 12 rooms, each uniquely decorated by the owner. The reason to book the Savory, however, is its ambience. Pad into the Great Room, sink into an armchair in front of the river-rock fireplace, and make small talk with fellow lodgers while hors d'oeuvres are laid out in the dining room. Quiet, intimate, elegant-the ultimate un-resort in the quintessential resort town. $199-$299; 866-728-6794; savoryinn.com

Family>Vail Cascade Resort and Spa When your digs have an on-premises movie theater, you can pretty much gauge the experience you're in for. But that's not a bad thing. Families with kids will appreciate the Cascade's assault on the senses. Located in Cascade Village, a shuttle ride from the main villages, the resort has two indoor tennis courts, plus racquetball and basketball courts and several pools. Camp Cascade busies the younger set while parents take in Vail's best spa, the Aria. And last summer, the resort capped off a $20 million upgrade by sprucing up its 292 rooms and suites with new colors, carpeting and furniture. If you can find time to ski, a triple chair serves the hotel, but keep a trail map handy to find your way to the mountain's main arteries. $159-$399; 800-282-4183; vailcascade.com

Condo>Montaneros With hotel-like service in units that are slightly more spacious than hotel rooms, the condominiums at Montaneros are good for families with older children or couples traveling together. While you don't get kids' camps or cocoa in the lobby, you do get a refined atmosphere in a great location: Lionshead Village, 50 yards from the Eagle Bahn gondola. The one- to four-bedroom kitchen-equipped condos have everything you'd expect (maid service, fireplaces, TVs) and a few surprises (grills on the private balconies, terry robes). $280-$1,750; 800-525-1891; montaneros.com

ALSO CONSIDER

Luxury The Sonnenalp Resort, Vail Village; $350-$2,055; 866-284-4411; sonnenalp.com

Family Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, Lionshead Village; $79-$2,500; 800-228-9290; vailmarriott.com

Condo The Westwind, Lionshead Village; $210-$1,350; 970-476-9378; vailwestwind.com

Budget Apollo Park Lodge, Vail Village; $115-$255; 800-872-8281; apolloparklodge.com

JANUARY 2005

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