Ski-In, Ski-Out Posh In Vail
Dreamy Hotel Talisa offers everything, including a s'mores butler
Anyone who has schlepped skis and gear from a parking lot after girding your loins through the traffic on I-70 can understand the delicious nature of ski-in, ski-out. If you’re a skier, there are few things more beautiful than waking up, staring at the sun reflecting off the snow and then getting dressed for the day, walking outside and boarding a lift. It’s a ‘Hallelujah, Amen sister,’ experience. So when the folks at Hotel Talisa asked me to come check out their multi-million dollar renovation of what was once The Cascade, my immediate response was “Yes, please!” And then I jumped up and down for joy, while my husband smiled in vindication for his decision of life partner. The 285-room Hotel Talisa, named after the Native American word meaning “beautiful water,” is the Luxury Collection’s first North-American ski resort. It took me about 10 seconds to come up with this list of my favorite things.
1. AN INSPIRED REDESIGN by Leo A Daly that combines Vail’s alpine roots with artistic influences inspired by and in honor of the Southern Ute tribe. The design is not wood-heavy; it’s elegant and thoughtful with lots of wavy line details from woven art to photography to carpet. The rooms are done up in grays and blues with spare but elegant décor and not a log to be seen.
2. AN IN-ROOM FIREPLACE was a lovely touch and the bathrooms are massive with glassed-in shower and truly wonderful Kohler tub, with bath salts, natch.
3. LOTS OF DAILY FUN, including a frites and flutes après for the grown ups. Seriously, they had me at frites, but throw in the bubbly and I’m in an elevated state of bliss. For the kids, big and small, there are also afternoon cookies and hot chocolate.
4. GOOD VIBRATIONS. I’m all for the wonderful low key feeling of kids running around (there’s a dedicated, tricked out play room), guests in bathrobes on their way to the spa, or the outdoor pool and hot tub that look out over Gore Creek.
5. THE S'MORES BUTLER. Not just for kids because after a day of skiing, I gotta say, if I’m not drowning in frites and bubbly, I’m down for a s’more.
6. AN ALTERED STATE OF SPA. Some of those folks in the bathrobes, me included, may be making their way back from the stunning new on-site spa. As a clue to the no-expense-spared in this altar of pamper-fication the spa’s all-onyx welcome station is one of the coolest pieces of furniture I’ve ever seen. And it continues—the elegant, calm treatment spaces are lovely with none of that heavy, dark “mountain décor” feeling. Rhoda's masterful Himalayan Salt Stone Massage rendered me snoring, and Clara's Signature Hydrafacial restored my mountain-weathered skin and left me feeling 10 years younger around the eyes especially. (Aforementioned husband barely noticed. But he did notice how calm, happy and ready for more champagne I was.)
7. BONUS ROUND 1: If you don’t ski or take the day off or are one of those driven-beyond-my-comprehension athletes who need to ski and work out, guests have access to the adjoining 58,000-square-foot (tennis courts, hoop court and machines a-go-go) athletic club.
8. LOBSTER CROSTINI. Do I have to say anything more? No, but I will. A large plate of homemade pasta—Black Truffle Tagliatelle—is completely allowed after skiing. So is the passion fruit sorbet.
9. BONUS ROUND 2: Movies the old school way. Also in the adjacent building is the Blue Starlite Cinema Social theater that hosts dance parties and runs everything from recents (The Florida Project) to classics (Dial M for Murder) to family faves (Dirty Dancing; Sing!).
10. UM, ANOTHER DAY OF SKIING! Seriously, all of this added joy sort of buries the lead. It’s the skiing, stupid! One of the world’s best mountains awaits just beyond the ski concierge who, naturally, has your boots warm and skis ready. Bless him. So relaxed was I by day two that I went down in my long johns because I forgot to put on my ski pants. I kid you not. I wasn’t embarrassed; I just laughed and ran back up stairs while the husband pretended not to know me.