Peaceful Mountain Retreat amid Towering Ponderosas
Trails wend under the canopy of emerald ponderosas and snow-white aspens, leading to the doorstep of Vail Cascade Resort & Spa. Inside, hints of the surrounding beauty permeate the property: natural light pours into the cozy lounges and restaurants to illuminate exposed wooden beams, and decks with fire pits peer out to the scenery.
Year-round outdoor activities and a warm, modern atmosphere are big draws at this recently renovated lodge, recognized as one of Travel + Leisure's top 500 hotels in the world in 2011. The main lodge hosts both standard and superior rooms; the former oversees the courtyard, and the latter looks out onto the Vail mountainside. Stone-tile floors and a granite vanity add an earthy touch to the lodgings, augmented by the bedroom's shimmering jewel tones.
The mountain retreat's Aria Spa & Club features heated pools to splash around in after a tennis match or a group-fitness class. In the morning, a continental smorgasbord rests alongside personalized omelets and vegetarian and gluten-free selections at the restaurant's breakfast buffet. The culinary team works to plate creative American fare at the resort's upscale restaurant, Atwater on Gore Creek, (closed April 16–June 1).
Vail, Colorado: Mountain Playground in the Heart of the Rockies
Set among ponderosas and snowcapped mountain peaks, Vail Cascade Resort & Spa stands at the center of Colorado's mountain-recreation scene. About 5 miles east of the hotel, White River National Forest is awash with crystal-clear waters and flower-flecked meadows that sit below the towering Rocky Mountains. The 2.3-million-acre woodland encompasses an array wildlife habitats and recreational ventures, allowing you to take in fresh mountain breezes while biking, fishing, or playing freeze tag with boulders. For fly-fishing tutorials, guided hikes, and photography classes, head a few miles down the road to the Vail Nature Center, set on 7 acres of meadows.
Dwarf evergreens, crocuses, and waterfalls lend to the meditative vibe at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, which retains its status as one of the highest-altitude botanical gardens in the world. After a day of alpine adventures, visit the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum for a glimpse into the evolution of bib overalls. On Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, historical Vail Village walking tours branch out from the museum and into the charming European-style village.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.