We’re taking you to the mountains of the United States of America where the snow is crisp and deep and the living lush
We’re taking you to the mountains of the United States of America where the snow is crisp and deep and the living lush. At first glance, these slope-side retreats bear little resemblance to the city-based hotels we brought you for our inaugural awards, but look past the wild locales and ski-boot clomping guests and you’ll find all the services, well-appointed accommodation and child-sized amenities luxury seekers have come to expect.
It is on America’s legendary white-mantled slopes that families appreciate the five-star touches more than ever. From a ski concierge ensuring you never need worry about your gear to an endless supply of hot chocolate and s’mores – that campfire favourite sandwiching marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers – the best ski hotels make sure you maximise your time with the family, whether off the mountain or on. There’s much more than skiing on the doorsteps of these coveted slopes, with wildlife discovery, outdoors adventure and even kid-friendly spas enticing guests out into the great wide yonder. When at last you do return to the hotel, the rooms are warm and cosy while still being spacious and brimming with style.
With its pitched roofs and shuttered windows, The Arrabelle at Vail Square looks as if it has been plucked from an Austrian laneway. Warm and cosy with views of Colorado’s legendary slopes, The Arrabelle is a perfect choice for five-star families (and even five-star pooches) just steps from the Eagle Bahn Gondola. The Lionshead ice-skating rink is on your doorstep, and outdoor fire pits are made for marshmallow evenings. The hotel concierge is on hand to create dream holidays for all ages, and will even stock your condominium with groceries before you arrive.
Ensconced in the mountain-manor splendour of the St. Regis Aspen Resort, five-star families need want for nothing. The legendary St. Regis Butlers are on hand to do everything from unpacking to warming your ski boots during lunch, maximising time on the mountain, while children are spoilt with amenities and plush bathrobes just for them. Let the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center in Snowmass entertain little ones from eight weeks to four years in themed playrooms, and enjoy the all-inclusive dining benefits of the SPG Kids’ Pass.
The Ritz-Carlton on the mountain at Northstar boasts a feature you won’t find at any other resort: a Marshmologist. Using gourmet chocolate-filled marshmallows, the Marshmologist introduces families gathered around the fire pit to the Art of the S’more. Children will also love Ritz Kids, the brand’s signature kids’ club developed by Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Future Society. With the Indoor Camp Out package, little ones can even enjoy camping in style in the comfort of your room.
Jackson Hole’s rustic cowboy-country charm is a fine match for Four Seasons’ renowned refinement and hospitality, offering everything from extreme skiing and wildlife tours to amenities and menus just for little ones. One of America’s favourite ski resorts is also made for off-snow discovery with horse-drawn sleigh rides through the National Elk Refuge, ice-skating and tubing. As well as the nearby Kids’ Ranch on the mountain, the Four Seasons in-house Kids’ Club offers plenty of fun with video games and a holiday program making gingerbread and ornaments.
The slopes of Telluride are calling and the Madeline is the choice for five-star families. Telluride’s most luxe property is a ski-in, ski-out delight with suites and condos for plenty of family space, as well as 96 well-appointed guestrooms. The DVD library is stocked with favourites, the lobby supplies endless hot chocolates, a ski valet looks after all your gear and the village ice rink is just outside the door. The Madeline also has a pool with a view and plenty of recommendations for kids’ activities in Telluride.
With Utah’s largest ski resort for a backyard, families would be hard-pressed to find a better balance of style, substance and setting than the Waldorf Astoria Park City. The dedicated hotel Waldorf Gondola whisks guests to Canyons Resort in year-round comfort while s’mores are served nightly around the fire pit. Zip tours above the trees, a dash on the bobsled at Utah’s Olympic Park, being a dog musher for the day and slipping and sliding down the Gorgoza Park tubing lanes are sure to thrill every member of the family.
Australians often overlook the myriad charms of east-coast skiing, the perfect way to combine a New York or New England odyssey with Olympic-class snow. This Leading Hotel of the World harks back to a golden age of alpine retreats, with the added kids’ benefits of a weekend ice cream parlour, ice-skating rink, a movie theatre, Kamp Kanu kids’ club and s’mores around the bonfire every night. The pristine slopes of Whiteface Mountain are but a short drive from the lodge, with even more Olympic thrills in nearby Lake Placid, the only US city to have hosted the Winter Olympics twice.
In the heart of one of the last remaining skiers-only resorts in the USA, families can get together for photography classes, yoga, sleigh rides, and even billiards and bowling at Daly’s Pub & Rec at this Park City resort. While a mountain host warms Dad’s boots and a ski valet tightens Mum’s bindings, the kids will be settling into a day off the snow at Paintbox kids’ club, with daily themes, arts and crafts and outdoor snowshoeing adventures, ensuring everyone can do as little or as much as they please.
Although big sister Aspen often hogs the alpine limelight, nearby Snowmass is a family delight for a slower pace without sacrificing style. The Viceroy presides over the newly developed base village, offering ski-in, ski-out convenience and the services of a ski valet with treetop views and green credentials. Spacious residences allow families to spread out, complete with kitchens and gas fireplaces, while the lobby is stocked with afternoon hot chocolate, marshmallows and homemade treats children will love.
Combine Beaver Creek’s freshly baked afternoon cookies with the canine appeal of the Ritz-Carlton’s resident Saint Bernard, Bachelor, and you have the makings of a children’s paradise. Ritz Kids entertains little ones from five to 12, even offering Ski Nannies for Beaver Creek Ski School drop-offs and pick-ups, complete with munchies and movies in the afternoon at the Ritz Kids Corral. Birthday girls and boys even have a personalised party planner at their disposal for a themed ‘Birthday Bash’ – from a ‘Wild West Birthday Adventure’ to ‘Little Ladies Spago-GoSpa Birthday Experience’ – right in the comfort of the hotel.