The test of a great ski resort? Can you have a great vacation if the snow stinks? At Westin Beaver Creek the answer is yes, a full blown yes.
You can never count on snow in November at any ski resort, but we just love vacations in the mountains. That's why we spend Thanksgiving in Colorado. The key is to find resorts with plenty to do. The Westin has so much to offer both grown-ups and children.
The hotel is located just a 3-minute drive to the entrance of Beaver Creek and right off I70. Skiers love the private gondola that takes them right to the slopes. On our trip, the Riverfront Express Gondola wasn’t yet open, but it’s extremely convenient perk to staying at the Westin once the snow arrives in full to Vail.
Here’s the think about ski vacations—you can’t buy snow. You can do your best to time the dates of your trip, but in the end, Mother Nature is in charge. What I always advise families is to pick a resort where there are plenty of other things to do.
Our kids loved exploring the trail along the Eagle River They skipped rocks, climbed rocks and explored the kitchen garden. My kids can spend hours in the pool—and they did! They alternated between the heated pool and the three infinity hot tubs overlooking the water and mountains.
Westin Beaver Creek
You can't beat the location. The Westin Beaver Creek is location right near the base of Beaver Creek Resort. In fact, you can hop on a lift right to ski Beaver Creak right from the Westin. That is when the snow arrives in December (which it does quite reliably).
No shuttles required (just need a little more snow!)--hop on and you'll be skiing Beaver Creek in a few moments. It's a huge bonus of the resort!
How are the rooms?
The grand entrance might just take your breath away. They let the mountains steal the show with enormous windows and a huge lodge-like seating area with a giant stone hearth.
Though the resort it large (230 rooms in total), but don't think it's industrial. The layout and service make it much more intimate. Outside there are plenty of places to grab a moment of quiet –the lobby can get quite bustling from 4-7 when they pass out legendary chocolate chip cookies or provide live entertainment. On the outside deck, there's a roaring fire and more cozy seating.
Our Studio Suite (which easily fits four—mom and dad in the bedroom, the kids shared the fold-out sofa bed) had a fully kitchen with all the gear you need to cook a gourmet meal. If you are cooking, I suggest you skip the nearby Safeway and pop into the Frisco Whole Foods for your provisions.
Did I mention the laundry (the bane of a ski mom’s existence)? A brand-new washer and dryer with soap adjacent to the kitchen. I’m going to admit it, I’m a laundry snob. I hate the coin-operated laundry rooms tucked into basements of most condos. Being able to start a load, go to dinner, come back, toss it in the dryer and then wake up to clean laundry…that’s my idea of heaven.
Westin Health Benefits
If health is important to your family, as it is ours, you'll love how the Westin Beaver Creek takes care of you. Let's talk about how mom and dad can stay fit while traveling.
The health club is enormous. It's like the nicest gym in NYC. In fact, even Mikaela Shiffrin works out here. For a fitness buff, this place is heaven. Mikalea is the “Resident Gold Medalist” at the club (Shiffrin was born and raised in Vail and won her first gold medal in Sochi).
Mr. Momtrends signed up for the 6am triathlete swim in the huge 25-yard outdoor lap pool. I’m told it’s the largest one in Colorado. It’s also saline based making it much gentler on your skin. The classes are led by XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh—guests can even arrange a private training package with this professional athlete.
I tried out the enormous gym—there was every piece of equipment imaginable from a slack line to a kettle bells to all my favorite cardio machines.
The Athletic Club also offers yoga and Pilates classes in separate studios. The Athletic Club offers more than 70 group exercise classes each week. I signed on for the 8am Reformer Challenge (note it is an additional $40 fee, many classes re free, check the schedule). Emily, my instructor, told me the classes usually sell out. Since it was a holiday week, I lucked out. No one else showed up so I had a private class.
For grown-up fun, there’s the Spa Anjali. The spa specializes in healing traditions for the mountains. The spa is located adjacent to the gym—pass through a bamboo walkway and enter the serenity zone. I slipped into a cozy robe and sipped tea as I awaited my poultice massage.
The massage involved a heated herbal wrap that was applied to press-points along my back and body. Mixed with a traditional massage, this was an excellent way to work out all the kinks from travel.
What else will make me feel relaxed?
Do you know about the Westin Heavenly Bed—the whole mission of the brand is to have guests leaving feeling better than when they arrived. Our bed was indeed “heavenly” plush pillows, a billowy duvet and the room was so quiet.
While we were in town, the Westin also hosts a book signing with Trista Sutter, Bachelorette Star and Vail mom. The Westin is also keen to bring in live music and other entertainment to keep guests mingling (if they want to).
At dinner, we checked on the pot policy of the hotel. We were told there is “strictly no smoking of anything on hotel property.” Would you call the front desk or let it roll?
Our kids never got bored with us (what can I say, we're pretty entertaining!) but if you need a break there's Westin Family Kids Club (ages 5-12). The program runs from 9-5pm most days and is a drop off. The cost is $25 per child per hour or $80 for a half-day (4 hours) or drop the kids off for a full day (8 hours) for $150 which includes a meal. There is a $10 discount per additional child; lunch or dinner are available for $10. Additional costs may apply, for more details contact the Kids Club directly at (970) 790-3010.
How's the Food?
The dining room at the Westin is sublime. How about that view to sip your morning tea?
When it comes to trip planning, you don’t want to miss a dinner at Maya. Chef Richard Sandoval put the modern Mexican menu together. Sippers alert: there are more than 100 agave-based spirits and house infused tequilas available.
Start with a signature Maya margarita (only fresh lime juice of course!) or some sipping tequila. Then, have guacamole prepared tableside. While we thought the serving size was a bit skimpy, they more than made up for it in flavor, presentation and fresh, crisp chips.
I had a tasty mahi-mahi taco plate, one daughter did a little off-meu order and had the waiter charmed with her desire to make pork tacos. We were all thrilled.
Perhaps even better than the dinner was the Maya breakfast. I had a gorgeous and hearty bowl of porridge with the best crisp bacon I’ve tasted in quite some time.
Mr. Momtrends got this decadent grain bowl that looked a bit like Thai soup. It had two poached eggs topped super foods. He was in healthy-foodie heaven. He also gives the kale smoothie a big thumb up.
For your coffee fix, make it in your room or head to the in-hotel Starbucks located just off the lobby.
What Would I Change?
The hot tub was the site of the only downside of the weekend. Pot. I know marijuana is legal in Colorado, and I’m certainly NOT a prude, but I don’t think guests need to roll a fat one and smoke it in the hot tub at 6pm on a Saturday at a clearly family-friendly resort. On the upside, it led to a lively discussion about drug laws and our family’s rules on smoking ANYTHING. And when we asked about the pot policy the Westin said it was firmly NOT ALLOWED at the resort.
UPDATE: After sharing this review with the Westin I am told that this is 100% a non-smoking resort. I should have grabbed someone from the staff to confront the couple in the hot tub.
Don’t take my word for it. The Beaver Creeks’ Westin Riverfront was named the #2 Westin in the world by US news & World Report. Book your room here (Winter room rates--$249 to $2400) www.westinriverfrontbeavercreek.com
This is not a sponsored post. But accommodations were provided to facilitate this review.