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Redefined Elegance: The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
By Jane Stebbins
Photos Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton
Elegant, luxurious, ornate, posh, exquisite — these words just aren’t enough to describe The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, nestled in a high-alpine valley at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain, just west of Vail.
The design and architecture of the resort was inspired by the grand lodges of the West, such as those in Yellowstone, Glacier and Yosemite National Parks. Designers worked to bring the essence of the forest inside by using native materials, such as stone and hewn logs and timbers — harvested only from dead trees — to blend the structure into its mountain surroundings.
Details can be seen in the forged iron, dry-stacked rock, dormer windows, log balconies and covered porches.
The interior is complemented with wood and leather, serving as an extension of the wilderness surrounding the lodge. And nearly all of the guest rooms were designed to offer panoramic views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains.
The 72,000-sq.-ft. ballroom on the main floor offers meeting rooms for those away on business trips; a “Fly-Fishing Library,” where visitors can recline with a cocktail while enjoying oil paintings and Ansel Adams photographs; and the great room, whose main feature is a towering, breathtaking, three-story stone fireplace.
To incorporate a bit of local lore, the hotel’s meeting rooms are named after five of the original bachelors who settled the narrow valley in the early 1900s: John Anderson, Gunder “Gundy” Berg, Ed Howard, Charley Mays and John Mertz.
Anderson’s historic cabin still stands around the corner from The Ritz-Carlton on Daybreak Ridge; almost 100 years later, powerful executives discuss international mergers and hold conventions in rooms named after him and his hard-bitten buddies.
The hotel itself features 237 guest rooms, each appointed with décor designed to reflect the nature of the Rocky Mountains: twig-like handles on drawers, pine cone and foliage accents and sculptured lamps that depict local wildlife. Seventy-seven guest rooms feature fireplaces to add to the cozy lodge ambience.
“We’ve really tried to appropriate the look and feel of the Rocky Mountains,” says public relations director Kristin Yantis. “We’ve drawn on the elements of the wilderness around us to create the look and feel inside the hotel.”
The Ritz, of course, is all about luxury. Standard amenities include Frette linens, plush terry robes and marble bathrooms. Guestrooms feature writing desks, Internet access, and computer and fax hookups. The eighth floor is reserved for Club Level guests, where private concierges anticipate members’ needs. In addition, five food and beverage presentations are available throughout the day in the exclusive Club Level lounge.
Members of The Bachelor Gulch Club receive an array of amenities, including ski passes good at all Vail Resorts’ mountains, access to the spa and fitness center, private on-mountain lunch service at Zach’s Cabin, first access to powder and freshly groomed runs, and a club concierge featuring social events and private ski and snowboard lessons.
It’s the redefined elegance, service and details that set The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch apart from other luxury accommodations. These details include the tub in The Ritz-Carlton suite that features a small fireplace at the end to keep a bather’s toes warm. Or the technology butler who’s on call to help guests having trouble with their computers. Or Bachelor, the resident Labrador retriever who guests can “reserve” for hikes through aspen-lined trails in the area.
After a long hike or a day on the slopes, there is nothing more relaxing than a few hours in the spa. The resort's 21,000-sq.-ft. facility features 19 treatment rooms, a rock-lined, co-ed grotto and a lazy river-shaped hot tub. The men’s and women’s hot and cold plunge areas are lined with rocks to give soakers the feel of a secluded mountain cave.
Three restaurants offer dining ranging from casual to elegant. The Daybreak Deli serves quick snacks for those on the go, and Remington's features gourmet mountain cuisine with an indigenous menu that reflects the flavors of Colorado. The Mountainside Terrace, a year-round bar and grill, serves light American fare, perfect for those with families in tow. Families are not forgotten amidst all this luxury.
The resort offers programs designed for kids at its 1,500-sq.-ft. The Ritz Kids® center, including the Slope Savvy program for young skiers and a wildlife concierge who takes guests on field trips to learn about the surrounding environment. Activities abound year-round, as well.
Although arguably best known for its six months of champagne snow that blankets the 1,650-acre mountain, Bachelor Gulch also offers preferred tee times at two new 18-hole championships courses at the Red Sky Golf Club, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, hiking, mountain biking, nature tours, shopping, four-wheel drive tours and cultural events in the spring and summer months.
For information or reservations at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, contact a travel professional or call 800-576-5582. For additional information on the Bachelor Gulch Club Membership, contact the Membership Office at (970) 845-2316.
Jane Stebbins is a reporter for the Summit Daily News in the High Country of Colorado, where she bikes, rows, skis and hikes. She lives in Breckenridge with her husband, John, and daughter, Erin.