Every family needs a spot that brings them together. For us, home is in the mountains. We may live day-to-day in the city, but this is where we can really exhale. We are the best versions of ourselves in the snow. In Vail, we make our home at Sonnenalp –one of the warmest, most rejuvenating spots I have experienced. Travelers know home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. Where does your family “feel” home?
Sonnenalp is the type of hotel where you expect to bump into folk’s year after year. The resort is steeped in tradition and luxury—of the posh European style, not the over-the-top American style. We made our first visit last year, and now it’s a Thanksgiving tradition.
Let me explain our attachment to this place. Sonnenalp is a family owned and operated resort. The concept started in Germany and came to the US four generations ago when the Faessle family purchased land in Vail (they also own a German resort). Over the years, the resort has changed in appearance and size, but the resort has never altered the desire to connect families with nature.
Nestled into Vail Village, the resort is unassuming from the main street. You’d never know that tucked behind the wooden shutters and evergreens is a home of true luxury with 88 gorgeous rooms and suites.
At the front desk, you’ll be greeted warmly by a crisp professional team. You bags will be whisked away by the valet team and you’ll enter the cozy lobby. Warmth, coziness, the feel of being invited to a private club—that’s the appeal of Sonnenalp.
Apples and fruit are everywhere—it’s a nod to healthy living as is the deluxe spa and the luxurious lounge area with Oxygen bar and fitness center and spa. After even three days at Sonnenalp, your family will be able to completely hit the reset button.
What the resort does extraordinarily well is service families of all generations. On this, my second visit, I saw multiple three generation Thanksgiving celebrations. Sonnenalp has something for everyone. Kids are always welcome from babies to teens. They even have mini spa robes ready for the young guests.
Last year we talked about the slope-side club access and the children’s programing. This year, I’d like to focus un the touches that make a parent’s life easier.
Apparently, Volvo is in tight with the Vail community. We saw quite a few XC90s staged in spots throughout Vail. The Sonnenalp is no exception. On our arrival, I was due to head to Denver for a Mom Boss book event. The kiddos were at PVA Race Camp. Mr. Momtrends was stranded and wanted to ski.
As we chatted with the valets about the various shuttles to the ski hills, one of them suggested we just take out a Volvo.
“Why yes Ms. Feliciano, these are here for the guests.”
“No fee?” I asked
“They are complimentary,” the valet answered.
Done and done. Mr. Momtrends signed a waiver and was off to Copper Mountain to enjoy his Max Pass for the day. What a terrific offering for families that need or want to go in several different directions.
Another reason you won’t need are car—the shuttle. Since Vail announced a late opening, we scrambled to find snow. Breckenridge and Keystone were open on the Epic Pass and Sonnenalp had a free shuttle to the mountains. With the concierge, we arranged a trip to Breckenridge.
Brian, our driver, picked three sets of guests up promptly at 10:30 and had us at the Breckenridge gondola at 11:30. He then picked us up at 3pm to take us home. Taking the challenge out of driving to another resort completely out of the picture.
What if there’s no snow?
Since the snow can be unreliable around Thanksgiving, Sonnenalp is the perfect choice. Our room was sunlit, spacious and relaxing. I curled up by the fireplace in the evenings with my eligible book and happily read while the children snoozed. You could easily stay in your room half the day. There was ample space for all our gear and cozy beds for everyone. Our master suite even had a second fireplace.
But you’ll want to explore. There’s so much to do beyond skiing.
Breakfasts in the solarium can’t be missed. Pick from half a dozen hot entrees, a generous display of fresh fruit, tantalizing baked goods and don’t forget to order the kiddos some hot chocolate. The setting is sublime, watch the snow gentle fall outside the window as you completely forget about everything you “need” to do.
You don’t have to wander far for a great dinner either. Mr. Momtrends took the girls out for a traditional Swiss raclette meal at the Swiss Chalet on the second night we met friends for burgers at Bully Ranch.
This family-friendly spot is home to the “make your own burger.” I picked buffalo burger with pepper jack cheese and avocado. Yum. At our table of 8, we had 8 burger orders and no two were the same. This is also a feat in Vail, the total bill was $200 for 8 people—with a bottle of wine! I challenge you to do that anywhere else in Vail.
The spa is worthy of an entire day of your vacation. Start by slipping into your Sonnenalp robe and slippers and grabbing cup of tea. Curl up by the huge fire and catch up on your reading as you soak in the setting.
There’s an well-appointed gym with huge windows (and you might spot the German skin team there) as well as a yoga studio. Jan, the teacher, guided us through an hour-long vinyasa class that was a perfect pre-ski warm up.
Head to the sauna or steam room in the lady’s lounge for a heat session and then return to the sunny pool area. Take a dip in the pool or stream-side hot tub and listen to nothing but nature.
I tried the signature hydrating facial (50 minutes for $99—a special Monday thru Thursday). Debbie walked me through the 4-step process of cleansing and moisturizing. She also wrapped my hands and feet in paraffin to do some deep repair work. I left completely refreshed.
In addition to the spa and fitness facilities, there are also hiking tours and snowshoe tours (depending upon the weather). Visit the concierge to find out more.
As a reminder, the Sonnenalp Kids Club is open most days. Reservations are recommended (970-479-5429). A few sample offerings are Art & Play (a 2-hour session in the downstairs play area led by and instructor). They also offer movie nights. The club is organized by Kara who has 13 years of teaching experience as an elementary art teacher. There are also adventure options where the kids go hiking, tubing or indoor rock climbing. Please note: Kids club is offered at no additional costs to guests.
If you can afford to think about Vail as your family ski destination, money isn’t likely an issue, the issue is where will your family feel most at home. Sonnenalp is that spot.
This is not a sponsored post. Our accommodations were covered to facilitate this review.