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Sonnenalp 4.5

Vail Village, Vail, Colorado

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Central location in heart of Vail Village
  • Vail's gondola and slopes are less than five minutes away
  • Indoor pool and hot tub
  • Award-winning spa with oxygen bar, yoga, and Pilates classes
  • Large rooms and suites with fireplaces and balconies
  • Five bars and restaurants
  • Ski valet in the winter
  • Access to Sonnenalp Golf Club in the summer
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Valet-only paid parking
  • Fee for breakfast
  • Carpet and some upholstery could use updating
  • No coffee machines in rooms

Bottom Line

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 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. Every component of this luxury hotel has received an award of some sort, from its European-inspired restaurants to its bountiful spa, although some guests find the decor a bit dated and in need up updating.

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Scene

An authentic Bavarian spa-lodge, inside and out 

Blending seamlessly into Vail’s Bavarian-style, chalet-inspired architecture, the Sonnenalp’s shingled rooftops, wooden balconies, and striped shuttered windows seem pulled straight from a German or Austrian ski town. Inside, wide archways lead to every room and hallway, exposed wooden beams cross ceilings, and spaces are decorated with sturdy wood furnishings. The lobby isn’t much of a lounge area although it is atmospheric, with a festive sleigh and a candle chandelier. The King’s Lounge features live music every weekend in the winter and summer seasons, and mostly draws a slightly older crowd of revelers who are not afraid to dance along to après-ski tunes and make requests. The Bully Ranch is the most casual dining option, with German-American pub fare, from burgers to fish tacos to warm pretzels, and several German brews on tap. The Swiss Chalet feels true to its theme, with hand-carved wooden chairs and tables, as well as wood-paneled ceilings and walls; it's the only restaurant in town dedicated to fondue. Ludwig’s is where the expansive breakfast buffet is offered each morning, in its glass sunroom or in the more formal, but still cabin-inspired, dining area. The outdoor pool is a popular place for families to convene in the summer, when flowers are bursting with colorful blooms. Regardless of the time of year, the oversized fireplace in the spa area is a popular place to hang out in the evenings.

Location

In the heart of Vail Village, five minutes from the slopes, surrounded by shops and restaurants

Map of Sonnenalp

The Sonnenalp is set right in the heart of Vail Village, and Gondola 1, the main lift up Vail Mountain, is less than a five-minute walk away. The Vail Transportation Center, with buses going to East and West Vail, Avon, and Edwards, is also a five-minute walk away. There are many clothing, outdoor gear, and specialty stores -- as well as art galleries, restaurants, and bars -- surrounding the hotel. A free around-town bus stops in front of the hotel regularly; Lionshead is a three-minute ride away. Denver International Airport is about a two hour, 15-minute drive or shuttle ride from the hotel, and the smaller Eagle Airport is about 45 minutes away. Beaver Creek Resort is a 15-minute drive away, and Breckenridge or Keystone is about 45 minutes. There is a Cinebistro movie theater close to the hotel, and the Vail Golf Course (a Nordic ski center in the winter) is a 10-minute bus ride or five-minute drive away. Large grocery stores and fast food restaurants are less than a 10-minute drive from the hotel.

Rooms

Somewhat dated and sparsely decorated room with balconies and huge bathrooms

There are 112 suites and 15 guest rooms at The Sonnenalp, and all maintain the Bavarian feel of the rest of the hotel, with wooden beams crisscrossing the ceiling, wood-paneled accent walls, and heavy oak wardrobes, desks, and bed frames. There are a few cowboy-themed paintings hanging on the walls but otherwise decoration is a bit sparse and the decor does feel a bit dated in style. All rooms are spacious, with wide arched doorways and an oversize bathroom. The suites have wood-paneled walls throughout, and bright, large bathrooms with soaking tubs and heated marble floors; toiletries are Sonnenalp's signature brand. Suites also have a large living area with a couch and a pair of armchairs surrounding a gas fireplace. Each room has a private balcony overlooking the village, as well as a mini-fridge, safe, and flat-screen TV tucked into the wooden entertainment center. Most rooms don’t have a coffee machine and the carpeting could use an update.

Features

Five restaurants/bars, spa with pool, seasonal golf club, and free Wi-Fi 

There is free Wi-Fi access in every room and throughout the hotel. Breakfast -- a huge spread with homemade pastries, omelets, seafood, and fresh fruit -- is not included in the room price. A daily turn-down service includes water and fresh cookies. The hotel is known for its spa, and guests have access to the complex, with indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub, and a fitness center. The spa offers a wide variety of body treatments, massages, and facials, and has an oxygen bar and yoga/Pilates studio. In the winter, a ski valet service is offered, so you don’t have to walk to the slopes in your ski boots. Parking is valet-only and subject to a fee. There are five restaurants and bars, including the formal Ludwig’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner; the casual, western-themed Bully Ranch for pub fare; the Swiss Chalet, specializing in fondue; Balata at the Sonnenalp Golf Club; and the King’s Club bar, with live music weekly and a small menu of snacks. Room service is available around the clock. The Sonnenalp runs a shuttle to nearby locations around the valley and in the summer, guests have access to the Sonnenalp Golf Club in Edwards.

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Address

20 Vail Road, Vail, Colorado 81657-5010, United States

Also Known As

  • Sonnenalp Hotel

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