Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
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.
The Sebastian - Vail Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The Sebastion offers excellent value for a luxury boutique resort. It opened in Vail in 2010, and prices are often more than fair for what you get: Beautiful, high-end mountain decor, particularly in the airy lobby and cozy library (no cabin kitsch here); two great restaurants, including the farm-to-table Block 16, plus a chic lounge; an outdoor pool; four Jacuzzis; and an upscale spa. But the standard Deluxe Plaza rooms are on the small side, and feel like a bit of a letdown after the gorgeous public spaces.
Austria Haus Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
This 25-room boutique offers solid value, with rooms featuring rustic touches (such as wood beams and sturdy wood doors) and marble bathrooms with heated floors. While there aren't a lot of on-site amenities, guests get free access to The Lodge at Vail's spa, pools, and jacuzzis, which are worth the short walk. The hotel's most notable asset may be its great central location in Vail Village square, close to the Vista Bahn ski lift.
Marriott's StreamSide at Vail Rating: 3.0 Pearls
In a beautiful secluded setting west of Vail proper, the Marriott StreamSide offers upper-middle-range condo rentals in three different sections -- Evergreen, Birch, and Douglas -- with full kitchens, fireplaces and homey mountain decor. The indoor/outdoor pool uncommon in Vail, where most pools are outdoors, and the hotel prides itself on its free extras (free Wi-Fi, free parking, and no resort fee). The hotel can offer lots of value because its location is right next to the interstate and you'll have to take the hotel shuttle to get to the slopes.