WITHIN THE PAST FEW MONTHS, THREE EXCITING PROPERTIES HAVE OPENED IN STELLAR SKI DESTINATIONS. Nita Lake Lodge, a boutique property that started welcoming travelers at the end of 2007, is located in Whistler, BC, Canada, which is hosting the 2010 Olympics. The LEED-certified Hotel Terra opened alongside the slopes in Jackson Hole, WY, at the end of January. The Sky Lodge, in the heart of Park City, UT, has been snagging attention from upscale magazines and newspapers, including Departures, Outside and The Los Angeles Times, since it opened in December, meaning your clients may be asking you about it.
Nita Lake Lodge
The Nita Lake Lodge (www.nitalakelodge.com, 888-755-6482) is a 77-suite, stylish hotel with lake views. It's a 10-minute walk (or a fast shuttle ride) to Creekside, where guests can grab a lift to explore Whistler Blackcomb's 200 trails. The studio-, one- and two-bedroom suites have 42-inch plasma TVs, fireplaces, outdoor patios and concierge services, which can range from private dinners prepared by the hotel's chef to helicopter service from Vancouver, which is two hours away by car.
The two-bedroom loft suites, which have huge windows and balconies, are already the most requested. Note: Suite 406 is a good choice for a nice lake view, and Suites 325 and 218 are also recommended. One has a private hot tub and expansive entertainment area; the other is a one-bedroom suite with a full kitchen and large area for entertaining. (These two cannot be booked via GDS.) Bathrooms in all of the rooms and suites have deep soaking tubs, separate showers, heated floors and Akka Kappa amenities. The hotel has three dining options, including Jordan's Crossing, a lakeside restaurant with an ambiance reminiscent of the first-class railway cars of yesteryear. Nita Lake Lodge's spa, fitness and wellness center should open in May.
Through March 31, the $226 CAD per person "You're Invited" package includes two-nights lodging in a studio suite and a $100 CAD credit to use for dining. For VIP clients, travel agents can contact Mike Duggan, opening general manager and president of Boutique Hotels & Resorts of British Columbia ([email protected], 604-966-5710) or Yolanda Foose ([email protected], 604-966-5717).
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort
Whistler Blackcomb's 8,171 acres of terrain and more than a mile of vertical landscape are spread around two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb. The 200 trails range from wide avenues to vast bowls and slopes on several peaks and three glaciers. The Symphony Express, which opened this past winter, brings skiers and snowboarders to the top of Piccolo Peak, accessing about 1,000 acres of terrific skiing for intermediate and advanced skiers. Experts gravitate toward runs like the Blowhole on the glaciers and sections of Whistler Mountain.
The pedestrian ski village that links the two mountain bases is chock-full of excellent restaurants, shops and lively bars and nightclubs. Beyond the slopes, visitors can arrange for heli-skiing, snowmobiling, ziplining, dog sledding and many other activities. Whistler Blackcomb's slopes are usually open into May, so it's often possible to ski in the morning and play golf nearby in the afternoon.
The eco-chic design of this 72-room condominium hotel property makes it the first LEED-certified hotel in Jackson Hole. Hotel Terra's (www.hotelterrajacksonhole.com, 800-631-6281) eco-sensitivity is evident in the organic cotton-bed linens as well as the recycled material used in the building of the hotel. The one-, two- and three-bedroom suites have a residential feel, with fireplaces, flat-screen TVs and living areas with big picture windows and terraces. The primary bathrooms in the suites have double sinks, Zuma Airbath Jacuzzi tubs and rainshower heads. Bath amenities are Simply Organic, a 100 percent luxury organic brand. The suites are the most requested accommodations, and the one-bedroom suites might be the best choice for the space and price. Suites with Eastern valley views are great at sunset because guest can see the alpenglow on the Gros Ventre Mountains in the distance.
The hotel's Osteria restaurant focuses on Italian fare and has a wide selection of Italian wines. The rooftop Chill Spa is designed with colors that reflect its cool name, but the mountain light streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows adds warmth. The concierge at the Hotel Terra can arrange for special experiences, such as a private guided tour of Grand Teton National Park led by an accredited biologist, followed by a mountaintop white-glove picnic, or dinner prepared by a private chef followed by a private couples massage. Room/suite rates range from $379 to $1,725. Bookings for VIP clients can be made with general manager Bruce Grosbety (307-739-4000, [email protected], but it's best to contact Corporate Director of Leisure Sales for VIPs Justin Bird (307-734-8750, [email protected]).
The hotel is slopeside at Jackson Hole Ski Resort, so guests have easy access to the 2,500 acres spread across Rendezvous and Apres Vous mountains. While the new tram is going up (it's expected to open in December 2008), skiers and snowboarders can use a network of chairs and a gondola to move easily around the inbounds slopes, which range from intermediate trails on Après Vous to the steeps on Rendezvous and the Hobacks (gate access only when conditions permit). Yellowstone National Park is about one hour away, so visitors often take a day off to tour on a snowcoach or ride snowmobiles in the park. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in Grand Teton National Park are other popular excursions.
The Sky Lodge (www.theskylodge.com, 888-276-2525) is located in Park City's historic center, close to the Town Lift, which moves skiers rapidly upward onto Park City Mountain Resort's slopes.
Rooms range from 1,260 square feet to more than 2,700 square feet of living space, including two- and three-bedroom flats, two-story townhouses, and a three-bedroom penthouse, which occupies the entire top floor and has spacious living areas with fireplaces, a grand piano, a private dining room, two hot tubs and a wrap-around patio. All the residences have living areas with leather furniture and hand-planned wood floors, custom kitchens with granite countertops, custom Kohler bathrooms, HD flat-screen TVs and radiant-heated decks with hot tubs. The bathrooms have double vanity sinks, soaking tubs and glass showers with multiple showerheads.
The hotel's Amatsu Spa, which has a Japanese-inspired decor, offers the Japanese bath know as ofuro and a Bamboo Massage. Before and after treatments, guests can enjoy tea service in the Tea Room overlooking the Zen-inspired sand garden. The hotel has four dining venues, including Fin for fine dining and the popular Zoom, which is operated by Robert Redford's Sundance Group.
If your client wants terrific views, request a residence on the building's south side, which overlooks Park City Mountain Resort. Clients who want to stay at the Sky Lodge during the Sundance Festival (mid-late January every year) should book as far out as one year ahead of time. Rates are $625-$2,500 through April 13; regular season rates $925-$3,000. For VIP clients, travel agents can contact the hotel's general manager, Steve Koerselman, directly (435-658-2500, [email protected]), or Director of Sales and Marketing Barbara Schmaelzle (435-647-6894, [email protected]).
Three Ski Resorts Around Park City
Guests at The Sky Lodge have easy access to three ski resorts. (If your client reaches Park City in time to ski the same day, check into the Quick Start free lift ticket program.) Park City Mountain Resort is reached by the Town Lift. Deer Valley Resort is a five-minute shuttle-bus ride away, while The Canyons is less than 20 minutes away. Park City Mountain Resort's 3,300 acres are spread over seven peaks and include nine bowls. The 106 trails are as gentle as Home Run in the PayDay area or as tough as navigating the moguls on Jupiter Bowl. Deer Valley is most famous, of course, for its luxe service both on and off the slopes, which are spread over six mountain peaks.
New this year is the high-speed Lady Morgan Express in Empire Canyon, which opens up nine runs and gladed terrain. (After a day of skiing the slopes, suggest to your clients lunch at Silver Lake Lodge, where the wide variety of choices range from the natural salad buffet to marinated New York strips with Béarnaise sauce at the Carvery station. If your travel clients want a memorable dinner, reserve a table at the Mariposa.)
Perfect for the adventurer, The Canyons boasts 3,700 acres of terrain spread across eight peaks. The 155 trails range from blocks of easy beginner cruising to a series of chutes for extreme skiers.