The upper-middle-range, 28-room Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa is located in a serene, creek-side spot in Vail Village, close to the Bahn ski lift. Its rooms, outfitted in understated mountain decor, have nice extras -- namely, plush beds, gas fireplaces, and deep soaking tubs. Its huge, modern fitness center is one of the best in Vail Valley, and the spa is impressive as well -- both pleasant surprises for a hotel this small. (The 25-room Austria Haus, by contrast, has no spa and a tiny, windowless fitness center.) In addition, the excellent, organic Terra Bistro is a favorite with locals as well as guests, and provides free hot breakfasts.