The Lodge at Vail
Vail’s grande dame, which dates from 1962, has undergone various expansions and renovations over the years, but its lobby has remained a prime people-watching spot since the doors first opened. Now managed by RockResorts (itself a subsidiary of Vail Resorts), the Lodge is adding a much needed spa and some spiffy chalets just up the slope from the main, U-shaped building. There are four categories of rooms here, plus suites and privately owned condos (the late President Ford used to own one), and decor, etc. can vary considerably. My preference is for the newer Luxury rooms in the south wing, which have blond wood and a modern feel. In any event, check carefully before booking. That said, the location can’t be beat—the Vista Bahn Express chairlift is right out the back door—and the Lodge’s restaurants are first-rate. The Wildflower has often been regarded as a big-deal experience, but today the menu reflects solid, contemporary American cooking with an emphasis on high-end ingredients. Cucina Rustica is more casual but has long maintained high standards for Italian fare, and the bountiful breakfast buffet should not be missed, even if you’re not staying there. Rooms from $379.
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