Winter is coming. Winter peak season in Colorado, that is, which is in full swing from November to March. To prepare, Oyster’s reporters visited nearly 100 properties across the state to find the very best ski resorts. Their findings? Classic mountain lodges with direct chairlift access and ski valet services, hotels with hot apres-ski scenes and outdoor pools heated year round, and group-friendly condo and cabin complexes. Check out our picks for the top ski resorts in Colorado. (Lobbies with huge stone fireplaces were pretty much non-negotiable; spas with steam caves optional).
The most iconic hotel in Aspen, the luxurious St. Regis is tucked up against Aspen Mountain, with the ski area’s slopes leading right down to the hotel’s courtyard. Home to one of the world’s top-rated spas and a range of exquisite amenities, the St. Regis also makes sure that its fine features extend to every room. Each is equipped with a separate soaking tub and Italian espresso machine, and some have mountain views. The St. Regis offers a free ski shuttle and unlimited access to the heated outdoor pool, hot tub, and fitness center. Remede Spa offers facials, massages, and body treatments; spa facilities include a hot tub with waterfalls and a steam cave. With all this, it's no wonder this luxury property tops our list.
Viceroy Snowmass is easily the most luxurious resort in Snowmass Village, a small, laid-back and family-friendly town (about 10 miles outside Aspen) whose ski area that has the most vertical feet of skiing in America. Viceroy is packed with top-notch amenities, including a 7,000-square-foot spa and a lovely pool area with a heated saline pool, cabanas, a fire pit, and excellent views. It also offers phenomenal ski valet service (valets will take care of everything from scheduling lessons to putting your boots on for you) and a prime ski-in/ski-out location with direct access to Assay Hill Ski Lift. There's a daily resort fee, and you'll have to pay for valet, but that's to be expected at a resort of this caliber.
A one-minute walk from the Eagle Bahn ski lift, this rustic-luxe lodge in the heart of Vail Square is one of Vail's premier options. The lobby resembles a classic European chalet: there are high-back leather chairs, in front of a huge stone fireplace and under a dramatic cast-iron chandelier. The apres-ski scene is thriving here, with a spacious outdoor patio and cozy tavern for snacks, cocktails, and full meals. The 62 luxurious rooms feature massive bathrooms, stone fireplaces, and scenic balconies, and both the lavish spa and rooftop lap pool pack serious wow factor. A ski valet is available seasonally.
The Four Seasons Vail isn't a ski-in/ski-out property (hence it's spot at number four), but it is still one of the area’s top hotels. All the rooms have warm colors, stone fireplaces, balconies, and huge marble bathrooms with stand-alone soaking tubs. Almost every amenity impresses, particularly the upscale spa (one of the best in Vail Valley) and lovely outdoor pool area. Not surprisingly for a Four Seasons, here guests can find delicious culinary treats at the on-site restaurant and lounge, and the service helps to set it apart as well.
Located in a section of Vail Valley known as Lionshead, the luxurious Ritz-Carlton is just west of downtown Vail Village. It's within walking distance of (or a quick three-minute shuttle ride to) the Eagle Bahn lift and Lionshead square. On site, the amenities are top of the line: the large, year-round outdoor pool; the modern, upscale fitness center; the cozy library; and the elegant, lodge-style great room with a bar and fireplace. The huge, privately owned condos come with stainless-steel kitchens, balconies (in many) with views of the pool or mountains, and gorgeous marble bathrooms with decadent soaking tubs and separate walk-in showers. In addition, the property has an outdoor store for ski rentals and merchandise, plus bell service and 24-hour maintenance on-call.
This 92-room embodies mountain luxury, from its gorgeous, modern rooms with stone fireplaces and heated bathroom floors to its winter-only cocktail and tapas terrace. It's just steps from Aspen's main lifts, and offers ski-in/ ski-out access, first tracks early-access benefits, free transportation to and from all four area mountains, and tons of seasonal outings. The ski concierge provides slope-side service, boot warming, and more. All of this luxury comes at a steep price, and the Little Nell has some of the most expensive rooms Aspen. Added to the bill is the mandatory per-night donation to a local environmental organization, but it's hard to complain about that.
The luxurious Hotel Madeline has a great Mountain Village location perched 800 feet above downtown Telluride near the ski slopes and next to the skating rink. The 106 rooms, suites, and condos all have big marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and separate walk-in showers. Condos are the most spacious option, with full gourmet kitchens and washer/dryers. The Madeline features an indoor pool, hot tub, spa, fitness center, ski storage/valet, and two restaurants, a formal farm-to-table restaurant and a cozy gastropub.
Though it is incredibly luxe and intimate (with just over 100 rooms), Devil's Thumb comes in at this point on our list because it's not a ski resort in the classic sense -- and yet, that's why some guests love it, and why it's still one of the best in Colorado. This mountain getaway sits in an isolated location in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, meaning it's not for downhill skiing and it's not within walking distance of a ski village -- but it is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who like to cross-country ski in the winter, and bike, fish, and ride the on-site zipline in the summer, or ride horses year-round. Guest rooms and cabins are spacious but cozy, with a log-cabin feel. The resort also has three exquisite restaurants, a heated pool, and a full-service spa.
With a private chair lift offering ski-in/ski-out access, the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa is a chic and amenities-packed luxury resort. The beautiful, somewhat secluded creek-side property is like a village of its own with ski and mountain bike rentals, a small market, several dining options, a lovely pool complex, and a massive spa and fitness center featuring a basketball court, indoor track, tennis courts, and a saline pool. The Fireside Lounge hosts an indoor apres-ski scene next to the roaring fireplace in the winter (or on a gorgeous balcony in the summer) with cocktails and beer.
The 190-room Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa is a luxury property with direct ski-in/ski-out access to Beaver Creek Mountain, as well as on-site ski storage and a lift-side ski valet, ski rentals, and boot fittings. The resort also has an ice-skating rink, a heated outdoor pool, five hot tubs (one is adults-only), a Roman-style mineral pool and fitness center in the spa, indoor camping for kids, and a game room with air hockey and video games. Fly-fishing demonstrations, movie nights, and bicycles rentals are available as well. Fireside dining and cocktails are served indoors and outdoors, and the s'mores kits are a hit with guests. Lodge-style rooms include balconies with mountain views, and suites have fireplaces, kitchenettes, or both.
Modeled after a traditional spa hotel in the southern German region of Bavaria, the Sonnenalp is one of Vail’s most iconic properties. Operated by Johannes Faessler, whose family founded and still operates the original European resort hotel, the Vail iteration evokes its German counterpart in architecture, decor, facilities, and welcoming atmosphere. Suites are outfitted with heavy oak furniture, gas fireplaces, and heated marble floors in the bathrooms, while the five European-inspired restaurants offer both German and local cuisine. The hotel is centrally located in Vail Village, within easy walking distance of the gondola and many shops and restaurants. In the winter, a ski valet service is offered, so you don’t have to walk to the slopes in your ski boots.
The upscale Manor Vail Lodge has the ambience of a romantic Alpine ski lodge, with views of skier-studded slopes from room balconies and common areas. Located across the street from ski lifts, the family-friendly condo complex and ski retreat is set on four acres at the base of Vail Mountain. Its 125 rooms range in size from studios to one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites, each with full kitchens, living areas with fireplaces, and private balconies, though the units are individually owned so decor varies and some might be a bit dated. A host of features includes a popular restaurant and bar, two heated outdoor pools, four hot tubs, a spa with saunas and steam rooms, a fitness center, and event facilities. There are also excellent amenities geared toward skiers, including a ski school, individual ski storage lockers, and personal Ski Butlers available for hire -- and free apres-ski hot chocolate and cookies in the lobby.
Located right on Peak 8, with ski-in/ski-out valet and private ski lockers, One Ski Hill Place is one of the most luxurious lodges in Breckenridge. Attractive condo-style units features gourmet stainless-steel kitchens with granite countertops, beautiful bathrooms (almost all with soaking tubs), and gas fireplaces. It also offers the most features of any resort in the area, including a two-lane bowling alley, two screening rooms, a billiards room, and an indoor pool area. One Ski Hill Place's apres-ski bar, with 40-plus draft beers, is the "it" spot for skiers during the winter season. The Breck-Connect Gondola is a one-minute walk from the hotel.
The upscale Peaks Resort and Spa is one of the largest hotels in both Mountain Village and Telluride; most guests are so pleased with the amenities and entertainment here that they only venture out to ski. The resort has a great Mountain Village location with ski-in/ski-out access and ski valet, as well as a 42,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, a golf course, tennis courts, and two on-site restaurants. Families will likely appreciate the indoor/outdoor pool with a waterslide, indoor rock climbing wall, and organized kids' programs. The 161 sophisticated rooms offer fantastic mountain views and free Wi-Fi. But be prepared for hidden fees, including a resort fee and daily valet parking fee.
The Sky Hotel sits on prime Aspen property, directly at the bottom of the Silver Queen Gondola with one of the best ski-in/ski-out locations in the valley. A happening apres-ski scene in Aspen takes place on the Kimpton's outdoor pool deck, with a heated pool, hot tub, fire pits, and a daily wine happy hour. While rooms are on the small side for the price, they feature flat-screen TVs, humidifiers, and coffeemakers; some rooms have fireplaces. The hotel offers free ski and gear storage, with ski valet services and a rental shop.
The closest hotel to Vail Mountain's Vista Bahn ski lift, the Lodge at Vail is located in downtown Vail Village. While its proximity to the ski lift is its greatest asset, it has other appealing features, like two heated outdoor pools and six whirlpools; a 24-hour fitness center; and a 7,500-square-foot spa with steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools. Many rooms have large balconies that face either the pool and outdoor terrace or the ski slopes. Studio Rooms, as well as all of the one-, two-, and three-bedroom suite categories, have stone fireplaces.
A true ski-in/ski-out property, the Grand Lodge on Peak 7 is an upscale resort at the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Independence SuperChair, a seven-minute drive from downtown. The hotel has a classic ski-lodge vibe, with traditional pitched roofs, a wooden exterior, and stone walls lining the property. The stunning lobby has wood beams, high ceilings, and stone floors, while the 114 spacious condo-style rooms come with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and kitchenettes or full kitchens. Features include indoor and outdoor pools, a family fun room with four separate movie theaters, and a spa with saunas and a hot tub with waterfalls in an adults-only grotto.
The Mountain Lodge at Telluride is a quintessential Colorado mountainside retreat (note that it's actually located in Mountain Village). The log-cabin-style getaway offers ski-in/ski-out access and spacious condo and cabin rentals for groups of two to 14 people. Most rooms have kitchens, gas fireplaces, and private balconies, in addition to small touches like humidifiers to battle the dry Colorado air. One highlight of this hotel is the year-round outdoor pool and hot tub with sweeping mountain views. A cozy restaurant called the View has an apres-ski scene, with its huge rock fireplace, overstuffed chairs, and local beer list. Additional perks here include a small fitness center, steam rooms, free Wi-Fi, and on-site ski lockers and a gear rental shop during the winter season.
The Osprey at Beaver Creek is the closest resort to a ski lift in North America -- it's just a 26-foot walk from the lodge’s ski valet entrance to Beaver Creek’s Strawberry Park Express chair lift. The 45 rooms combine urban chic design with cozy, rustic accents. Highlights throughout the hotel include an outdoor, year-round heated pool and a hot tub on a heated deck with postcard-perfect views of the valley, as well as a cozy tapas lounge and bar with wine tastings and mixology classes. There's also a fitness center with a steam room and sauna, plus family-friendly features.