The Sebastian Vail Lobby

Like most of you weekend warriors, I too, love escaping to Vail on the weekends.  Gone are the days where I can brave traffic on a Saturday morning – ride all day – only to turn around and head right back down the hill.  Also gone are the days of crashing in a 20-person mountain house feeling lucky to snag a spot on a couch (I mean, I am 30-ish!).

I decided to take an early-season mini-vacation last weekend and checked-in at Vail’s newest boutique hotel.  Opened in January of 2011, The Sebastian is a far departure from the village’s overly themed lodges and chalets – many better suited for The Swiss Alps (and/or Disneyland for that matter).   The hotel is pretty much mountain town paradise and the only thing missing this trip actually…was the powder.

The 100-room property, a Timbers Resorts hotel, is beyond chic with subtle mountain-style accents.  Focused on being “a home away from home,” The Library – filled with games, books, and art – gives guests a place to mingle and unwind with a glass of wine.   Also just off the lobby is Frost Bar – a hip hideaway with worldly influenced tapas and dripping with Murano glass hanging icicles.  It features 80 different types of scotch with an inspiring menu of signature cocktails that you can sip over the glowing, backlit blue bar.  The guestrooms are cozy and custom-designed with views of Vail and the entire valley. It was the perfect place to retire after a long day on the mountain – in my plush robe and slippers of course.

The Other Perks

Ditch your gear: Upon arrival, the valet staff not only unloads your bags, but also takes all of your gear to the “Basecamp.”  Located at the foot of the Vista Bahn, you can step right into warm boots and hit the lift.  At the end of the day, hot chocolate and cookies await.

Bring your best friend: The Sebastian loves dogs and makes your pooch feel right at home with gourmet treats, cozy beds, and fancy bowls.  My own pup, Gittel the Goldendoodle, can’t wait to go back.

Revive your muscles: Your wish is Bloom Spa’s command, where the staff caters to its guests with a full menu of massages, facials, and nail care inspired by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.  All treatments use products by the famous San Francisco based spa, Francis & Alexander.

Tempt your taste buds: Unveiling a new menu this month, Block 16 is the hotel’s signature restaurant.  Executive chef Sergio Howland takes inspiration from the Napa Valley using the best local ingredients from the Vail Valley.  Also check out Market, the café style outpost where you can fuel up before you hit the slopes.

Warm your soul: A ski-weekend must: ending the day in a hot tub.  Soak in one of the four or the heated pool and dry off in front of the roaring fire pit.  The Sebastian could just be the coolest addition to Vail Village, but it’s also the warmest.

And although you don’t really have to…venture outside of your luxe digs for après or dinner at the village’s latest culinary gem.  Elway’s Vail just touched down in The Lodge at Vail in late November and last Friday marked the official grand opening.  The exclusive invite-only celebration was a packed house with Hall-of-Famer John Elway and his wife, Paige, co-owner Tim Schmidt, and sportswriter Rick Reilly partying among locals.  Also making a quick cameo was Olympic gold-medalist Lindsey Vonn, fresh off of her World Cup win earlier in the week at Beaver Creek.  And no, Tim Tebow was not spotted on her arm.

Elway’s Vail is the first location to open outside of Denver and imitates the restaurant group’s other two properties (Cherry Creek and The Ritz-Carlton, Denver) in award-winning cuisine, but with a mountain twist.  Executive chef Shawn Cubberley – a four-year Elway’s vet will recreate signature items like hand-cut, aged USDA prime steaks, Colorado Rack of Lamb, Grilled King Canyon Buffalo Ribeye, Dashi-braised Chilean Seabass, John’s Salad, Charred Red Pepper Soup, and Lamb Chop Fondue.  And for a more sophisticated après-ski than the rowdy Red Lion, check out the inventive appetizers and a bar menu highlighting cocktails from Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey and spirits from the Leopold Bros.

So, if you’ve been nice this year, use some of your Christmas cash and splurge on a night or few at the Sebastian Vail and dinner at Elway’s…it’s totally worth it.

*Room rates available from $380

*Ski Season Package available from $250 (minimum three nights and includes lift tickets for two each night of your stay and two 50-minute spa treatments)

The Sebastian Vail
16 Vail Road
Vail, CO 81657

Elway’s Vail
The Lodge at Vail
174 East Gore Creek Drive
Vail, CO 81657


Katie Shapiro is one of Denver’s resident gals about town.  A “Jill” of all trades,  she is a freelance writer, blogger, and PR guru.  She likes skiing, drinking Manhattans, scarves, recycling, to-do lists, Gittel, and putting pins in the map. Check back often for the latest in travel, music, fashion, culture, and happenings.