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Steamboat — Lodging

Lodging (Area code: 970)

Staying in the Steamboat mountain village is generally more expensive than in town. Condos outnumber hotel and motel rooms. Rates vary throughout the season: Before mid-December and after March 31 are cheapest; January comes next, and Christmas and Presidents’ Weekend are most expensive.

Steamboat Central Reservations (800-922-2722) will make suggestions to match your needs and desires. Let the reservationist know the price range, location and room requirements (quiet location, good for families, kitchen, laundry or other special amenities).

The Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Conference Center (800-848-8878; 800-848-8877 in Colorado; 879-2220; $$–$$$; above), a full-service hotel, sits 60 feet from the Steamboat Gondola. The Morningside tower condominiums here have two- to four-bedroom units. We love the views and open design of the main living areas.

With spacious one, two- or three-room suites complete with full kitchen, the fairly new Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel & Condominiums (877-269-2628; 871-5500; $$$–$$$$) is a great bet for extended families. Traditional hotel rooms and bigger penthouses are also available. There is complimentary wireless Internet access. The Grand has restaurants, a game room, outdoor heated pool, complete fitness center and a full-service spa.

Nearly all the other lodging at the ski area is in condominiums—hundreds of them surround the base. Torian Plum (800-228-2458; 879-8811; $$$–$$$$; left) is one of the best, with spotless rooms and facilities, an extremely helpful staff, the ski area out one door and the top bars and restaurants out the other. These are among the nicest condos we’ve stayed in anywhere. Torian Plum’s sister properties, Bronze Tree (below right) and Trappeur’s Crossing, have similar prices. Bronze Tree has two- and three-bedroom units. Trappeur’s Crossing is about two blocks from the lifts, but offers a free private shuttle from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Timberline at Trappeur’s Crossing and Creekside at Torian Plum (800-228-2458; 879-8811) are fairly new. We were knocked out by the mountain-facing views, mountain-style furnishings and the ski-in/ski-out location at Creekside. Ditto (except for views) at Timberline, two blocks from the Gondola, with on-call shuttle service.

Prices are generally based on how close the property is to the lifts. Among those in the expensive category are the Best Western Ptarmigan Inn (800-538-7519; 879-1730; $$$) at the base of the Gondola, Storm Meadows Townhomes (800-262-5150; 879-5151; $$$), Norwegian Log Condominiums (800-525-2622; 879-3700; $$$) and Thunderhead Lodge and Condominiums (800-525-5502; 879-9000; $$$).

Others in this price category are Timber Run Condominiums (800-525-5502; 879-7000; $$$) with three outdoor hot tubs; The Lodge at Steamboat (800-525-5502; 879-6000; $$$); and The Ranch at Steamboat (800-525-2002; 879-3000; $$$) with great views of the ski hill and the broad Yampa Valley.

Moving Mountains Chalet (877-624-2538; 870-9359) has luxury chalets adjacent to the ski area for groups of up to 14 people. They will arrange all travel, lodging, dining and recreation details ahead of time including a personal chef and pre-programmed cell phones.

The Village at Steamboat (1-800-333-1962; $–$$; photo below) has studio, one- bedroom, and two-bedroom units. The common areas are shared and include a recreation building with racquetball, locker room, steam room, sauna, indoor spa and swimming pool, outdoor spa and seasonal swimming pool, multi-purpose room with kitchen, and a game room.

Economy lodging includes Alpiner Lodge (800-538-7519; 879-1430; $$) downtown which features in-room wireless Internet access and mini-fridges; Shadow Run Condominiums (800-525-2622; 879-3700; below), 500 yards from lifts; and Alpine Vista Townhomes (800-525-2622; 879-3700; $$) just a bit farther.

The Steamboat Bed and Breakfast (877-335-4321; 879-5724; $$$) just a few years old, is at 442 Pine St., 2 blocks from downtown. This B&B has rooms filled with antiques. Rates include breakfast. No children or pets allowed.

Travelers who enjoy remote rural elegance will be delighted by a stay at The Home Ranch (879-1700; $$$$) in the town of Clark a 40-minute drive up the Elk River Valley north of Steamboat. This is one of a handful of Relais et Chateaux properties in the U.S. Eight wooden cabins in the aspens of the Elk River Valley have views of Hahn’s Peak and the surrounding mountains. Each is distinctly decorated with an outdoor hot tub and an inside wood stove. The main lodge also has six guestrooms and a dining room for three daily gourmet meals. The dining room is exclusive to ranch guests. Rates also include lift tickets and a shuttle to the ski area, though many people will be happy exploring the cross-country and snowshoe trails at the ranch.

Between town and the mountain is the pleasant Iron Horse Inn (879-6505, fax 879-6129; $$) offering recently renovated suites with kitchenettes (small but functional) and a two-story building of clean and comfortable hotel rooms.

Some chain motels have shown up in the last couple of years. They’re generally scattered in a row along Hwy. 40 just before the turnoff to the mountain. The newest is the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites (870-9000; $$). Sixty-five no-frills rooms are a half-mile from Gondola Square on the free bus route. Others include Holiday Inn (879-2250; $$), Hampton Inn & Suites (871-8900; $$), Inn at Steamboat (879-2600; $$), Bunkhouse Lodge (871-9121; $$), and Super 8 Motel (879-5230; $$). Or you can stay downtown in the Rabbit Ears Motel (800-828-7702; 879-1150; $$) across the street from the hot springs pools. Look for the neon lights in the shape of a bunny’s head.

Another option out of town is Strawberry Park Hot Springs Cabins (879-0342; $), about 10 miles north of Steamboat at the mineral hot springs. Both covered wagons and rustic cabins are available for overnight stays. Lodging price includes a hot springs pass—lovely soaking outdoors on a winter night.

Accommodations Legend: (double room) $$$$–$200+; $$$–$141–$200; $$–$81–$140; $–$80 and less.