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Vail — Lodging

Lodging (Area Code 970)

Vail’s lodging choices are so vast we can’t even begin to list them here. Before you call Central Reservations, know your price range, what amenities you need and which ones you want, how close you’d like to be to the lifts and how close you’ll settle for if you find nothing in your budget within that distance. Prices dip from 25 to 40 percent before Christmas, early January and in April. For example, an early season value package of four days skiing and four nights lodging from Nov. 20-Dec. 13, 2006, costs $300 per person. This coincides with an early season winter fest called Snow Daze Dec. 4-17. To book it, call 800-525-2257.

Vail’s premier properties are clustered in Vail Village at the base of the Vista Bahn Express. Selecting the best place in town is a virtual toss-up between four hotels.

The Lodge at Vail (800-331-5634; 476-5011; $$$$; above) is the original hotel around which the rest of the resort was built. It is only steps away from the lifts, ski school and main street action. The Lodge serves a great buffet breakfast. Gasthof Gramshammer (476-5626; $$$$) is at the crossroads of Vail Village. Our favorite and the most economical within this group of hotels is the Christiania (800-530-3999; 476-5641; $$$$). Sonnenalp Resort (800-654-8312; 476-5656; $$$$) is a group of buildings that exude Alpine warmth and charm. This long-time Vail property recently poured $4 million into renovations that include 40 new units plus shops.

In LionsHead, the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa (800-648-0720; 476-4444; $$$–$$$$) is top of the line and is only a three-minute walk from the gondola. It recently completed $32 million in renovations, including guest rooms. Lion Square Lodge (476-2281; $$$–$$$$) is steps from the Eagle Bahn gondola and Born Free express lift.

The slopeside Vail Cascade Resort & Spa (800-420-2424; 476-7111; $$$$; above) lodges guests in rooms, suites and condominiums. In summer 2004, Cascade put the finishing touches on a $20-million remodel, with $5 million spent on elegantly refinishing all 292 rooms and suites plus other interior spaces in rich colors. The multi-award-winning property includes the Aria Spa & Club — the Vail Valley’s largest fitness facility— as well as two ski shops and its own chairlift accessing Vail’s slopes. There’s free shuttle service to Vail Village and LionsHead, and ski valet service. An excellent restaurant means dining here is a “can’t miss” (see Dining). In 2006/07, Vail Cascade has partnered with the non-profit organization One Warm Coat to provide warm coats to those in need. Donate a “gently used” coat upon check-in and receive five percent off the entire reservation. Donate a maximum of four jackets and receive 20 percent off.

Condominiums are plentiful in the Vail region. The most reasonable for those who want to be on the shuttlebus route are in LionsHead, clustered around the gondola, and in East Vail at Vail Racquet Club (800-428-4840; 476-4840; $$–$$$).

The Vailglo Lodge (476-5506; $$–$$$), in Lionshead, is a 34-room Best Western hotel that operates like an elegant B&B. It has easy access to the slopes and town. For other relatively more affordable lodging, try Antlers (476-2471; $$–$$$$; right) in LionsHead and Manor Vail (800-950-8245; 476-5000; $$–$$$$) in Golden Peak, with hotel rooms, suites and condos.

A great value can be found at Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites–Apex Vail (800-543-2814; 476-2739; $$) in West Vail, which completed a major remodeling in 2004. Rooms are a nice surprise, a hot tub and fitness center are on hand, plus you’ll get a complimentary breakfast and ski shuttle. A recommended B&B is the Savory Inn (866-728-6794; 476-1304; $$$–$$$$), where you’ll stay in a wonderfully elegant log cabin lodge along the Gore Creek that also offers cooking classes with world-class chefs of the Cooking School of Vail.

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