• Fri. Jan 14th, 2022

Vail Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Eat and More

ByKeith M. Jones

Nov 23, 2021

There is something about Vail that is unique and distinct from any other winter destination in the United States. Vail, located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, is known to have one of the longest ski seasons on the continent. With a maximum elevation of 11,570 feet, it’s no surprise that people from all over the world travel to experience the adventure and beauty of Vail. Make the most of your vacation in Vail with our guide.

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Where to stay in Vail

When selecting a place to stay in Vail, you should keep in mind a variety of issues, such as; Does the hotel offer activities? Does the hotel have a ski rental service on site? What restaurants are available at the hotel? Vail is a small village, and you might not be inclined to venture out at all times of the day, so you’ll want to be sure that the hotel you choose has everything under one roof. Therefore, we recommend the Grand Hyatt Vail.

Grand Hyatt Vail

A view of the Grand Hyatt Vail in winter.

Nestled at the base of Vail Mountain and along scenic Gore Creek, the Grand Hyatt Vail’s ski-in / ski-out resort with Vail’s only resort-side chairlift makes it an ideal location for skiers and snowboarders. Chair 20 at Grand Hyatt Vail is located on-site, steps from ski rental, valet parking and concierge services at the resort.

In the lobby of this welcoming resort, guests can partake in a champagne saber and toast and help themselves to hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies. Beyond the resort’s convenient ski and snowboard facilities, it offers a range of equipment and activities for skiers and non-skiers alike. The resort has its own Cascade Village plaza, which features an ice rink, outdoor ice bar, food truck, and outdoor fire pits for the daily s’mores roasting. Guests also have access to the heated infinity pool by the creek and two outdoor hot tubs. The resort has a spa, restaurant (in addition to a pop-up restaurant), lounge and café.

The Grand Hyatt Vail completed a multi-million dollar renovation in 2018, recreating the space to showcase incredible artwork and design. Showcasing textures of wood, stone and leather, the design is influenced by the surrounding mountains and history. Local handcrafted artwork around the hotel pays homage to the Native American tribe of the southern Ute.

  • Nearest airport: Eagle County Airport
  • Time: 37 minutes by car
  • Distance: 33.9 miles

Activities at the Grand Hyatt Vail

Roast s'mores over a fire pit.

Moët Imperial Yurt: This chic and cozy winter haven is available for hire and is perfect for après-ski. It includes two private fireplaces, a champagne saber, a s’mores kit and a homemade charcuterie spread. The Imperial Moët Yurt can accommodate up to ten people.

Topgolf Swing Suites: Guests are treated with comfort food and drink while enjoying virtual golf or other interactive games such as soccer, zombie dodgeball, and hockey. Each Topgolf Swing Suite can accommodate groups of up to twelve people, with welcoming lounge seating.

Wellness studio: The 1,045 square foot wellness studio offers fitness classes such as sunrise yoga, restorative yoga (great for before and after skiing), and barre classes. Guests also have access to Theraguz compression boots, allowing tired limbs to decompress after a long day in the mountains.

Ax throwing: Test your hand and arm strength and coordination by throwing an ax at a wooden board target.

Ephemeral Yoshimi Restaurant: New in December, customers can enjoy an exclusive sushi pop-up, featuring Sapporo on tap, Suntory Highball whiskey on tap, and premium sake flights. Highlights include handmade Maki rolls and Nigiri.

Where to eat in Vail

Lounge by the fireside (American)

Pork belly sliders and a margarita from Fireside Lounge Vail.

Located in the Grand Hyatt Vail, the lounge offers inventive after-everyday food and drink with live entertainment from local musicians. Their Bavarian pretzel bites and corn burrata and salad are not to be missed!

Restaurant La Tour (French)

Food at the La Tour restaurant in Vail.

Featuring classic French entrees, from Alaskan halibut marinated in black truffle and miso to seared duck breast. And for dessert, the Crème Brûlée Flambée.

Matsuhisa (Japanese)

Sushi, soy sauce and chopsticks on platter.

Similar to the world famous Nobu restaurants, Chef Nobu’s specialties in Matsuhisa include yellow tail tataki and black truffle sea bass.

Leonora (tapas)

A mouth-watering dish at the Leonora restaurant.

Inspired by the French Alps, the Spanish Pyrenees and the Rockies, Leonora offers mouth-watering tapas and creative entrees. Tasty dishes such as bone marrow and elk are made with locally sourced alpine ingredients.

Restaurant La Nonna Vail (Italian)

Homemade pasta next to utensils on a table at La Nonna Vail.

La Nonna is Italian for Grandma and the name reflects the restaurant’s passion for food, wine and creating memories with family and friends. Highlights of the menu include homemade potato dumplings with meat ragú and homemade mushroom ravioli with white truffle oil.

What to do in Vail

Ski / Snowboard with Venture Sports

A man skiing down a slope in Vail.

This is a ski in ski out experience where you will never carry your skis to and from the chairlift. Vail Mountain has 195 lanes in total, including seven back bowls. 18% of the trails are beginner trails, 29% are intermediate trails and 53% are advanced trails.

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Snowmobile with Nova guides

A snowmobile on a snowy ground.

Snowmobile tours to the top of the Rockies include endless miles of open meadows and spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of four surrounding mountain ranges, including the Continental Divide. On guided tours of the White River National Forest at Historic Camp Hale, guests will reach elevations of 12,500 feet.

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Snow Cat Tours with Nova Guides

A snowmobile and two snowmobiles in front of a chalet.

The snowcat tour is the perfect alternative for those who don’t want to snowmobile but want to experience the same panoramic views of the surroundings.

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Ice fishing with Vail Valley fishermen

A man ice fishing.

Ice fishing offers guests a unique opportunity to fish in the winter. Ice fishing is paired with a fire or the heat of a portable fishing hut.

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Dog sledding with mountain mushers

Dog sledding at sunrise.

Notice to all thrill seekers! Dog sledding through trails without a snowmobile and offering a view of the surrounding landscape.

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Adventure Ridge Tube Slide

A group of people tubing.

Located at the top of Vail Mountain, the 900-foot-long multi-lane hill that features music, also has a covered mat to carry tubers to the top.

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Horse-drawn sleigh rides with Bearcat Stables

Horse-drawn sleigh rides in Vail.

Tour the grounds of a historic property by horse-drawn sleigh or sleigh with dinner in a rustic, historic owner’s cabin.

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Getting to and around Vail

A view of a village in Vail at dusk.

Getting to Vail usually requires a flight and a bit of driving. Vail is also a stop on certain Amtrak routes. We’ve listed the best options for getting to and around Vail.

  • Eagle Regional Airport (EGE): Eagle Regional Airport is located 30 miles west of Vail and approximately a 40 minute drive. Shuttles are available at the airport to transport you to your hotel.
  • Denver International Airport (DIA): Denver International Airport is located 120 miles east of Vail and is about a two hour drive. If you are arriving by plane to DIA, we recommend taking a bus (approximately 2.5 hours) or hiring a vehicle.

If you find yourself in Vail without a vehicle, the best way to get around the village is by using the Village Shuttle Service – a reliable, fast and free option.

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