Resort lodging comes in all shapes and sizes, from cozy hotel rooms to multi-thousand-square-foot luxury rental homes. Every traveler has different needs, and ski resorts offer a wide menu of options to accommodate the most discerning visitors.
How do you decide which is the right fit for you? You probably don’t have hours to browse every available listing, and thankfully you don’t have to. You can quickly narrow down your choices by answering a few essential questions to discover what’s most important to you when it comes to finding the perfect place to stay on your next ski vacation.
Whether you’re looking for a luxury experience, are shopping for a great deal, or hunting for the perfect location, start here.
This complete step-by-step guide to finding the best lodging will help you zero in on your top choices at every resort:
Step 1: Set Your Priorities
Price, location, and travel dates aren’t the only considerations when booking your lodging. To find the perfect match and guarantee a comfortable vacation, you’ll need to ask yourself some key questions and make a list of your top priorities.
Who's going with you? Are you traveling alone, with your sweetheart, or bringing the whole family? Maybe you’re staying with multiple families or a large group of friends?
The people traveling with you are a top priority. You want to be sure everyone in your group is well accommodated. Couples traveling alone have different needs than families with small children or a group of single friends.
Take stock of your group size and make a list of what everyone wants and needs: Do you need a high chair and crib? Is a private hot tub a priority? Do you prefer an in-suite kitchen or room service (or both)? Do you need a large condo with a central space for a group to gather, or will a block of single hotel rooms suffice?
How much space do you want? There are advantages to both small and large spaces. A single hotel room or studio rental can be perfect for the lone traveler or couple who plan to spend the majority of their time on the mountain.
After skiing and riding, exploring the town, dining and savoring the nightlife, all you might want is a beautifully appointed room with a welcoming king-size bed and room service.
On the other hand, condos, townhomes and rental homes are a practical option for families and large groups who would otherwise have to pay for more than one hotel room.
Sharing a vacation rental lets you strike a compromise between togetherness and privacy. Enjoy family meals together in the fully stocked kitchen, play games or watch movies in the large living room, and you’ll still have enough space for everyone to come and go as they please.
Parents often say they appreciate not having to get the kids dressed to go down to breakfast in a hotel restaurant. In your own condo, pajamas are perfectly acceptable at the table.
What’s your ideal location? If you have beginner skiers and riders in the group, you might want to stay within walking distance to the Ski & Snowboard School. Advanced skiers and riders may want to stay within a stone’s throw of their favorite gondola or lift so they can grab first chair without breaking a sweat.
No matter where you fall on the ability spectrum, it’s a good idea to look at the resort map before you book your lodging to get a better sense of the base area or neighborhood you want to be in.
Also remember to check out the restaurants, shops and activities located closest to the property you’re considering before you visit. That way you can customize your selection based on the things you want to have nearby.
Shuttle, walk, or ski-in/ski-out? Another consideration when it comes to location is ease of getting around the mountain. Some people want to stay in the heart of all the action, while others prefer a quiet retreat farther from the base. All resorts offer shuttle service, but you’ll want to check and see how close your prospective lodging is to the shuttle stops.
If you choose to stay in the base area or village, take a look at how close the property is to the lifts. For the ultimate ski vacation experience, consider a ski-in/ski-out property. You’ll not only be steps away from first chair every morning, but ski-in/ski-out properties make it easy to dash back to your room for lunch, or to change clothes before heading out on your next adventure.
Do you like to DIY or have everything taken care of? Ask yourself: Do you value daily cleaning and turndown services, in-room dining, spas and restaurants under one roof? Or do you prefer preparing your own meals in a true home away from home?
The nice thing about ski resort lodging is that you don’t have to compromise. Some luxury residences offer full kitchens and daily cleaning. Others offer cleaning every few days and fresh linen delivery as needed. You can be left alone if you prefer or attended to like royalty.
While each property is different, as a rule of thumb – most hotels will cater to your every need night and day, while condos and vacation rentals provide a little more flexibility for you to do some things for yourself.
Do you like to party or prefer quiet evenings in your condo? The best part about a great ski trip is that the fun doesn’t stop when the lifts shut down.
Your evenings are entirely yours to enjoy – and there are plenty of ways to do that in a ski town. For some, that means a quick change of clothes before hitting the bars for après cocktails, music and dancing.
For others, it means a soak in the hot tub, a quiet meal, maybe a spa appointment or watching a movie and reading in your quiet condo along the shuttle route.
If you’re planning to party as hard as you ski or ride, look for lodging options in the heart of the main villages so you’ll have access to the best après just steps from the slopes and your room.
Favorite amenities? The sky’s the limit when it comes to ski lodging amenities. From a simple townhome to a posh, high-end hotel suite, your resort town offers a wide array of options.
5 Reasons You Should Book Lodging At The Ski Resort
|1. Less time in traffic, more time skiing. Nothing’s worse than sitting in traffic and wishing you were on the mountain. Stay at the resort and enjoy more runs (and less stress).
2. No worries about parking. Park your car in a heated, secure garage and forget about driving or finding parking for the rest of your trip.
3. Save money. Aside from the money you’ll save on gas, resort lodging can help you save with lift ticket discounts, in-suite kitchens to prepare your own meals, and more.
4. Service tailored to skiers/snowboarders. Ski resort lodging is designed with the skier and snowboarder in mind. All services are tailored to you, from ski valets to on-site gear rentals, concierge, après ski options, and more.
5. Live like a local. Part of the fun of a ski vacation is experiencing the mountain like a local. Stay in town or in the village and discover all the best dining, nightlife, and other treasures you might otherwise miss.
Every ski resort property has a long list of amenities for guests. The question is: what are the most important ones to you?
Grab a sheet of paper, make a list of your must-haves, and keep it handy as you search for lodging.
Hosting an important event? Whether it’s a family reunion, corporate event, or destination wedding, hosting at a ski resort is a smart choice.
In one convenient (and scenic!) location, you’ll find everything you need to pull off a flawless event, including lodging.
You can often keep costs down by having guests share a vacation house (or several) rather than paying for a large block of hotel rooms.
And booking a rental home of your own makes a secluded, romantic spot for your honeymoon after all the guests have dispersed.
Do you like to entertain? There are many ways to entertain a group during your ski vacation. If you’re staying in a hotel, ask about reserving a private space in the restaurant or bar.
Or, if you prefer to do the entertaining yourself, choose a condo or vacation rental with plenty of room to cook, dine and mingle.
Some luxury properties will help you arrange a private chef to come to your condo and cook for your family or party. And resort restaurants are happy to cater events large and small. Ask about these options at your chosen resort.
Bringing your pet? There’s no reason Fido can’t join you on your ski vacation. When searching properties, check the list of amenities and policies to see if there are restrictions on bringing the four-legged members of your family.
Many properties offer pet-friendly options. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Step 2: Target Your Search
Now that you know what your top priorities are, you can home in on specific properties that will meet all your needs. To help you choose, we’ve listed a few of the favorite properties at each resort in several categories:
Best for families: The condos in River Run Village at Keystone are steps away from Kidtopia, the ski school, ice-skating and family-friendly restaurants. Other family favorites include: Any of the condos or mountain homes at Northstar California, The Vintage on the Strand townhomes at Canyons Resort, or The Pines Lodge at Beaver Creek.
Best for large groups: Other lodging ideal for large groups includes: Settler’s Creek Townhomes in Keystone, and several large mountain home rentals are available in Breckenridge, Northstar, Vail, Heavenly, and other resorts.
With lodging to accommodate up to 10 guests, the Trappers Cabin at Beaver Creek features a private chef and concierge who attend to every possible need. Located in a secluded aspen glade above Bachelor Gulch, Trappers Cabin is the ultimate mountaintop getaway for a large family or group.
Girls weekend: Canyons Grand Summit Hotel at Canyons Resort in Utah offers ski-in/ski-out access, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites and expansive luxury penthouses, plus a heated outdoor pool and other luxuries for groups large and small.
Ladies will also enjoy the combination of amazing mountain terrain and pampering at The Ritz-Carlton Residences at Vail, Keystone Lodge & Spa, and MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa just two blocks from Heavenly in Lake Tahoe.
Best for Bros: If you and the guys want to combine skiing and riding with a little gaming, the place to be is Heavenly at Lake Tahoe.
| Biggest bang for your buck:
|Start by checking out the condos or ski houses. Even if it’s just for a long weekend, condos usually cost less per person than a hotel room, and you’ll be guaranteed a kitchen space, which means saving money on meals.
If you prefer the amenities of a hotel, check the off-peak lodging specials and promotions that include lift tickets with your stay.
|For example, at Keystone kids 12 and under ski and ride free when you stay at least two nights (with no blackout dates!).
Try the Marriott Grand Residence Club Lake Tahoe, nestled at the base of the Heavenly Gondola. Luxurious studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom accommodations feature kitchens and plenty of space to spread out.
Other smart choices include: Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, or The Charter at Beaver Creek offers one- to five-bedroom condominiums, onsite restaurants, a fire pit, heated pools, game room, health club and more.
Best Nightlife: Breckenridge wins awards every year for its après scene and with new terrain open, there’s even more reason to stay here. Try the Mountain Thunder Lodge, close to the bars and with the most direct access to the newly opened Peak 6.
Other winners for resort lodging with great nightlife include: Heavenly (the Nevada side of the resort offers gambling), or any of the properties in Vail or Lionshead Village at Vail.
Step 3: Book It!
The online reservation managers at each resort make it easy to book your lodging today. Check for special promotions, enter your desired travel dates, sort by location and amenities and make your reservations.
It’s that simple!
If you have specific questions or want recommendations from our lodging experts, call the reservations hotline and someone will walk you through all your options.
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