Pillow Talk: Between the Sheets of Gravity Haus Vail Hotel, Colorado

Courtesy of Gravity Haus Vail Hotel
Photo of Leon Beckenham
15 November 2021
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Whether you’re here to ski or skip through summer meadows, use this gilded Gravity Haus address as your spoiling base in the Centennial State.

Soaring snow-capped peaks, blistering blue skies, perfect-powder pistes – Colorado winters are skiing nirvana. Then, with the thaw, a new landscape of pine-scented trails, white-water rivers and wildflower meadows is revealed. In the heart of the Rocky Mountains sits Vail, gateway to one of North America’s most popular ski resorts. Fresh for the season with a prime creek-front position is Gravity Haus, the second from the eponymous hotel-cum-member’s club group after a debut in Breckenridge. With its snazzy grown-up vibe, super snug rooms and stellar wellness offering, there’s no better base for taking on Vail.

Gravity Haus Vail Hotel

A sprawling modern suite at Gravity Haus Vail Hotel, Colorado
Courtesy of Gravity Haus Vail Hotel
Housed in the former Vail Mountain Lodge, a major refurb has elevated this spired landmark hotel to loftier heights of style and sex appeal. At its heart is The Slope Room, where blue velvet banquettes and crystal chandeliers set the tone, enhanced by handcrafted cocktails and local drafts. The food here is Old West with a modern twist, placing a strong emphasis on local, seasonal produce. A cafe roasts small batches on a zero-emission roaster. Rooms crank up the cozy with gas fireplaces and bathrooms with deep tubs and heated stone floors. Topping it off is a superb recovery-focused spa complete with organic oils and outdoor hot tubs, perfect for après-ski soaking.

The Colorado Snowsports Museum

Museum
Ski-related memorabilia at the Colorado Snowsports Museum
© Dan Leeth / Alamy Stock Photo
Just a couple minutes’ stroll from the hotel, this free-to-enter museum takes you on a journey through the history of the mountains. Learn how Vail evolved from a remote area only accessed by the native Ute people as a summer retreat, to its role in the Gold Rush and to becoming America’s top ski resort. It also tells the story of the 10th Mountain Division – America’s elite WWII mountain soldiers – who trained here. You can jump on a guided tour for a small fee.

Pepi's Bar & Restaurant

Restaurant, American, $$$
Alpine style exterior of Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer, Colorado
Courtesy of Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer / Expedia.com
For a full-on Austrian-Alpine experience, there’s only one place and that’s Pepi’s. Built in the style of a traditional European chalet by acclaimed ski racer Pepi Gramshammer, this has been a Vail landmark since its early days as a resort. Dining mixes American classics with hearty Austrian cuisine, the likes of schnitzels and bratwursts, which can be enjoyed on the popular covered and heated terrace. Inside, choose from a range of Austrian beers at Pepi’s Bar while you peruse the wall of fame and Pepi’s collection of racing medals.

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Natural Feature
Flower garden with foreground sedums and stone path in Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Vale, Colorado
© Dennis Frates / Alamy Stock Photo
For a wholesome stroll through nature without having to don your hiking boots, the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens distills a wonderful array of mountain flora – both native and from around the world – into immaculately landscaped grounds. They’re the highest botanical gardens in North America and showcase more than 3,000 species of high-altitude plants. Even over winter, it’s a lovely place to while away an hour or two but return in summer to see the gardens explode into color.

Vail Brewing Company

Craft Ale Bar, Beer
Vail Brewing Company beers on show, Colorado
Courtesy of Vail Brewing Company
No self-respecting Colorado town is complete without a brewery and this veteran- and ski-bum-owned outfit is Vail’s best-known and multi-award-winning brewer. You can choose from around a dozen own-brews at the fun and friendly tap house, from their quaffable Hot Mess Blond Ale to the punchy, hoppy Gore Creek IPA. There’s a tasting flight if you want to try a selection, plus their excellent kombucha if you’d rather keep your mountain head clear.

Root & Flower

Wine Bar, American, $$$
Root & Flower interior with light woods and chic furniture, Vail, Colorado
Courtesy of Root & Flower, Vail | Courtesy of Root & Flower, Vail
If you favor the grape over the grain, then this refined wine bar is just the spot to sample from over 50 labels in a sophisticated-yet-unpretentious ambiance. There’s a tightly curated wine-by-the-glass menu, or a more extensive choice by the bottle, with prices ranging from accessible to blow out. Pair with cheese or share a small plate or two while you quaff. Oysters are flown in daily from the West and East Coast, so you can’t get fresher in Vail.

Los Amigos

Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
Nachos with guacamole tortilla chips sombrero, Colorado
© Lunamarina / Depositphotos.com
A real locals’ favorite, this unfussy restaurant has been serving up a menu of Tex Mex and authentic Mexican flavors since the early Seventies. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a friendlier restaurant to chow down on sizzling fajitas or bulging burritos. It scores highly for location, too, with a terrace affording views over Pepi’s Face – a spectacularly steep ski run. If you’re still feeling chilly, you can pick from dozens of tequilas or their double-shot margarita, dubbed ‘The Troublemaker’.

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

Theater
A performance at The Amp, Vail Valley Foundation, Colorado
© Zach / Vail Valley Foundation
Known as ‘The Amp’, this fabulously intimate-yet-open amphitheater treats audiences to a packed program of summer shows, live music and dance. You can choose from reserved (and covered) seating or a spot on the sloping grass, surrounded by pine woods and dramatic mountain scenery. Food and snacks are available on-site, or pack yourself a picnic, blanket and umbrella (just in case) and really make an outdoor experience of it.

Vail Nature Center

Historical Landmark, Natural Feature
Wildflowers blooming in the Colorado Mountains near Vail
© Deberarr / Depositphotos.com
Keen to immerse yourself in mother nature, but don’t want to get lost in a forest? The Vail Nature Center is housed in a quaint, 1940s homestead, set in seven acres of picturesque scenery between mountain meadows and the forested bank of Gore Creek. Inside, you’ll find exhibits to help you swot up on local flora and fauna, plus you can arrange guided walking tours including wildflower hikes, beaver pond tours and stargazing excursions.

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