Hollywood has a way with romantic hyperbole, depicting impossibly glamorous tête-à-têtes: glider flights over the rainforest, moonlit gondola rides through Venice, private opera performances at the Met.
For those of us who live in the real world, such quixotic encounters seem reserved for the silver screen.
There is one exception, however: those dreamy cinematic ski getaways featuring fireside dinners, trysts on a bearskin rug, and cozy hot-tub soak sessions under a canopy of stars.
Rendezvous like that can—and do—happen in Vail. Here’s where to find them after you click out of your bindings.
SLEEP AND EAT
The Sebastian-Vail in Vail Village
The Sebastian Vail isn’t like other hotels, where you dash quickly through the nondescript lobby and past uninspired common spaces on your way to the elevator.
As much an art gallery as a boutique hotel, The Sebastian features dozens of permanent and rotating works of art, many commissioned by the hotel’s owner.
No antler chandeliers or log-and-quilt furnishings here: Bronze and steel statues, oils on canvas, and intricate glasswork contrast with rich woods and heavy stone throughout the interior to give The Sebastian a refreshing mountain-chic aesthetic.
“The Sebastian-Vail itself is a work of art,” general manager Lance Thompson says.
“Our investors have a passion for art and are big collectors themselves, so when we began working on the resort’s interior design, it made perfect sense to incorporate many forms of art. The art-gallery feel is in line with our goal of creating something unique and different in the mountains.”
The most romantic spot in the hotel—aside from your room, of course, with new and luxurious renovations completed in December of 2014—is the sofa at the back of the library, where you and your sweetheart can cuddle up with a book of poems and a glass of wine.
That’s a good place to end up after an evening on the town, too, which should start with a cocktail at Terra Bistro.
Ask about Terra’s Motivated Cellar program.
The restaurant regularly slashes prices on some of its finest bottles to allow guests to sample varietals they’ve never tried—or thought were out of their budget.
Alternatively, call ahead and arrange a romantic surprise: “We have a lot of couples who have gotten engaged here or who return to celebrate anniversaries,” says Kevin Nelson, Terra’s owner.
“If you call ahead, we’ll greet you at the door with champagne and a chocolate-covered strawberry.”
Trappers Cabin, Beaver Creek
OK, so a stay at Trapper’s does fall on the Hollywood-hyperbole end of the spectrum, but if you’re looking to pull out all the stops on your romantic ski vacation, this is the place to do it.
The intimate, secluded log cabin is nestled into the side of a mountain at Beaver Creek Resort, which means you can quite literally fall out of bed and onto the slopes.
It also means that not long after you shake the snow from your boots as the waning afternoon sun sprays iridescent alpenglow across the Gore Range, you’ll settle in among the quiet aspens and be totally alone—if you want to, that is.
Should you choose, your private chef will prepare dinner as you relax next to a blazing fire. If you prefer to DIY, the cabin keeper can pre-stock the kitchen to your specifications.
Feel like dinner out?
Who says romance requires a coat, tie, and reservation?
Descend to Beaver Creek Village for a slice of pie at Blue Moose Pizza and a spin around the ice rink.
Before heading back to your cozy abode, sidle up to the bar at Coyote Café (locals call it the Yotie) for a shot of tequila, which you can do because you’re not driving.
Your cabin keeper is on-call and ready to fetch you in your private snowcat (yes, you read that right).
If this all still sounds a little too pedestrian, consider booking the White Glove Winter Package at Beaver Creek.
Among other you-must-be-kidding-me indulgences, this premium vacation includes first-class airfare to Eagle Airport, a private helicopter transfer to Beaver Creek, and a private ski-school ambassador during your stay.
Review: A Ride To Remember
They say that Vail Resorts will provide you the “Experience of a Lifetime.” Well, I can vouch for that. It was a bluebird day in March, 2012 when my now-husband and I headed to Vail Mountain for one of our last snowboarding days of the season.
When we hopped on the gondola and had the whole thing to ourselves, I was surprised—even more so when a staff member handed my husband a lunchbox that I would later find out was filled with goodies like chocolate-covered strawberries, a rose, and a gift certificate for on-mountain food and drinks.
Vail’s staff was going above and beyond to make sure the start to our day was special.
But I had no idea how special until my husband asked me that question—the one every girl wants to hear—in our private gondola over the slopes.
It was a magical proposal that (cue the fairytale music) was just as I always dreamed it would be.
When we reached the top and stepped out of the gondola, we had our own EpicMix photographer waiting to capture the moment.
He led us to a scenic overlook to snap more pictures we could share with our friends and family over social media.
More important, we’ll have those photos to remember that moment forever.
From there, it was off to the on-mountain Bistro Fourteen, complete with a breathtaking backdrop of Mount of the Holy Cross, to sip on some celebratory drinks before we took a few runs as a newly engaged couple.
At lunchtime, we headed over to Mid-Vail where my new fiancé grabbed a hearty burger from Look Ma and I opted for a yummy Asian bowl from the terrace just below. We finished up our day by basking in the sun and gliding down some of Vail’s world-renowned terrain.
It was a perfect day and a perfect proposal. And my husband and I have Vail Mountain to thank for that.
PLAY AND PAMPER
A frosty afternoon outside coupled with a flash of adrenaline or two is just the thing to get the sparks flying.
When you want a day off the slopes, Vail’s Apex Mountain School offers private ice-climbing lessons on the legendary East Vail waterfalls and ice curtains.
A six-hour session for two includes all technical climbing equipment and a private guide.
If you’re staying at The Sebastian-Vail, ask about the Climb & Dine package: four nights’ lodging, dinner reservations at three of Vail’s top restaurants—Leonora, Kelly Liken (try the Rocky Mountain elk Carpaccio), and Sweet Basil (order the braised Colorado lamb shank)—and a day with Apex.
If you prefer a slower pace with a little more pampering, try a massage at the Arrabelle or the Lodge at Vail.
Looking for something a little more active, but with plenty of intimacy?
Visit Beaver Creek for a private, guided snowshoe hike followed by a private partner-yoga class and then a “close to you” couples massage at the Ritz-Carlton’s Bachelor Gulch, named the No. 1 hotel spa in North America by Travel + Leisure in 2013.
Top it off with a relaxing float in the lazy-river hot tub and rock-lined grotto.