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Putting Together a Colorado Summer Vacation

April 1, 2007 By: Dan Butcher Home-Based Travel Agent
 

From river rafting to a restaurant only reached on horseback, here are some ideas for Rocky Mountain activities


Getting There: Denver International Airport is approximately two-and-a-half hours away from Beaver Creek and a little more than two hours from Vail via car or shuttle, while Eagle County Regional Airport, which has a private jet center, is about a 45-minute drive from Beaver Creek and 30 minutes from Vail. While most major airlines serve Eagle County Airport during the winter, only United and American provide service from April to November. For transfers to and from either airport, Colorado Mountain Express' (800-525-6363, www.cmepremier.com) premier shuttle service offers privately chauffeured four-wheel-drive SUVs, Cadillac sedans and executive vans. Vail and Beaver Creek are both equipped with private helicopter pads; all landings must be cleared on a case-by-case basis with Beaver Creek Security and the charter department of the Eagle County Airport (800-524-9490). Pool at The Pines Lodge, A RockResort, in Beaver Creek

Tour Operators: Delta Vacations (888-714-4435, www.deltavacations.com) offers various travel packages to Vail and Beaver Creek in both winter and summer. Commissions range from 10 to 14 percent. Log into www.vaxvacationaccess.com for more details.

Rivers near Vail and Beaver Creek have some of the best whitewater rafting in the country, and Vail-based Timberline Tours (800-831-1414, www.timberlinetours.com) has been booking river trips for more than 35 years. Clients can enjoy a sun-drenched float through the high desert canyons of the Colorado Plateau or shoot down the rapids in the infamous Gore Canyon of the Colorado River. They specialize in alpine Jeep trips; their most popular trails are Lake Creek and Castle Peak. E-mail [email protected] for general information and commission inquiries. A King Suite in the Main Lodge of the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa

Trail Wise Guides (800-261-5364, www.trailwiseguides.com) provides guided hiking, mountain biking, birdwatching and wildlife viewing tours in and around Vail and the White River National Forest. These backcountry outings are private—just your clients and a guide; group sizes range from one to 20 people. All wilderness adventures are day trips. With advance reservations, Trail Wise will pick up clients at their hotel, match a trail to their ability level and provide all the gear they'll need. Guides will point out and identify wildlife, animal tracks and signs, local geology and plants. Tours include a trailside picnic. The company also offers winter tours. E-mail [email protected] for general information and commission inquiries.

Lodging: The 292-unit Vail Cascade Resort & Spa (970-476-7111, www.vailcascade.com), managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, is a ski-in/ski-out AAA Four Diamond property; one of its two on-property restaurants, Chap's Grill & Chophouse, also received the Four Diamond rating from AAA. The guest rooms have either mountain or courtyard views; suites, condos and 15 unique private residences are also available. The best rooms to book are the Deluxe Mountainview Rooms, which overlook the mountains and the creek (request one with a balcony). They have either a king or two queens, plus a queen-sized sofa bed, and they are also available as connecting rooms—perfect for families. The Cascade features live music in its Fireside Bar, Gore Creek Boutique & Sweets, two ski shops (one rental, one retail), a heated outdoor pool, indoor and outdoor whirlpools, the 10,000-square-foot Aria Spa with 14 treatment rooms and aromatherapy steam rooms, and the 68,000-square-foot Aria Club, a full-service athletic facility. The travel agent liaison is Cristen Meyer, leisure sales manager (970-479-7059, [email protected]).

In Beaver Creek, The Pines Lodge, A RockResort (866-605-7625, pineslodge.rockresorts.com ) is an excellent option. The best rooms to book are the 600-square-foot King Corner rooms, featuring renovated bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and large bay windows with comfortable sitting areas and fabulous mountain views. The best rooms for families are the Three-Bedroom Penthouse Condominiums, featuring oversized living rooms, full gourmet kitchens, large balconies and fireplaces. These bi-level units have magnificent views of Beaver Creek Resort and the Gore Range. Request room 412. Most rooms can be booked through the GDS, but the Penthouse Condominiums must be booked directly through reservations. The property offers Children's Small World Play School and Day Care year-round and Kids' Day Camp in the summer. Agents may contact General Manager Ron Neville (970-754-7290, [email protected]), but it is better to contact agent liaison Jamie Fisher (970-754-6271, [email protected]) or Head Concierge Marcy Olson (970-754-7294, [email protected]).

The 190-unit Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa (970-949-1234, beavercreek.hyatt.com) recently completed a $20 million hotel improvement plan, $12 million of which went into the renovation of the property's Allegria Spa. The Park Hyatt's most requested premium accommodations are the Slope View and Village View guest rooms, while the Highlands View rooms are best for those seeking a quieter location; all offer views of the Rocky Mountains. For large families and groups, the property has Suites, Executive Kings and 60 connecting rooms. Recommend the unique Rial Oxford Deluxe Suite, a 960-square-foot unit furnished with overstuffed chairs, sofa, love seat and a dining area for eight. The master bedroom has a gas fireplace, exercycle and walk-in sauna. This suite connects to a double/double accommodation.

Agents can make reservations via the GDS, however, suites, special rates and promotions must be booked through Hyatt's internal reservation system. Agents may contact General Manager Scott Mason (970-827-6545, [email protected]), but it is best to contact agent liaison Giles Priestland, director of leisure sales (970-827-6658, [email protected]). The Allegria Spa director is Gaye Steinke (970-827-6702, [email protected]). Kendra Powell (970-827-6581, [email protected]) is the head concierge and VIP guest services manager.

Restaurants: For creative American cuisine, recommend the Angus beef tenderloin at Larkspur (970-479-8050), at the base of Vail Mountain in the Golden Peak Lodge. For steak and seafood, Russell's (970-476-7600) and Lancelot (970-476-5828) are both good options in Vail Village. For French cuisine, direct clients to The Left Bank (970-476-3696) in the Sitzmark Lodge.

Beaver Creek's Beano's Cabin (970-949-9090) is an experience not to be missed; clients ride to the restaurant on horseback. In Beaver Creek Village, make advance reservations at locals' favorites Splendido (970-845-8808), Grouse Mountain Grill at The Pines Lodge (970-949-0600) or Mirabelle (970-949-7728). For carnivores, recommend the Beaver Creek Chophouse (970-845-0555) or The Dusty Boot Steakhouse & Saloon (970-748-1146). For trend-setters, Beaver Creek offers a few new options, including Foxnut Asian Fusion and Sushi (970-845-0700) and Rocks Modern Grill (970-845-1730). —DB

RESOURCES

Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau: 800-653-4523 or 970-476-1000; [email protected];
www.visitvailvalley.com,
www.colorado.com


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