I normally don't write a review if the existing reviews accurately depict the establishment. However, in this case, while all of the reviews are EXCELLENT for this property, Great Bear Lodge was listed as number six out of ten so I thought I would chime in. GBL truly is excellent in every way. The unit we had was flawless, the access via parking directly below the unit and the ability to ride the elevator right into the unit was as easy as it gets, the lobby locker for skis was convenient, the view over the rink was perfect, the proximity to the lift as easy as it gets, and the surrounding "village" perfectly convenient. The only legitimate complaint that one could possibly make might be that the "village" is a bit prefabricated - but considering that you get free s'mores every afternoon, a skating rink 50 feet from your door, shops all around and cocktails served by the rink, it's really hard to complain.
However, the difference between say GBL and say The Ritz comes down to a lifestyle choice. I've stayed at the Ritz in Vail before and the cloying over the top service comes with a hand out for tipping at every turn, endless additional charges and the likelihood that you'll be waiting once in a while for someone to move your bags or find your skis (and then they'll want another tip.) Whereas at GBL, you're left to your own to make use of the excellent facilities without having to interact with the staff at every turn - which i prefer. One can also choose to cook in a few nights and eat out the other nights which is a nice mix as we have children, and a nice home cooked meal with a few bottles if wine by the fire is a relaxing finish to a long day on the slopes.
Anyway, to each his own, but I thought some clarification would be helpful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Great Bear Lodge, set in the heart of the Village at Northstar™, features luxurious three and four-bedroom condominium residences with commanding views of the outdoor skating rink, mountains and Village excitement. Guests will enjoy the privacy of direct elevator access into each residence and generous floorplans of 2,100 to 3,400 square feet. All Great Bear accommodations include a chef's kitchen finished with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, a sprawling great room with natural stone fireplace and many units offer a separate office/den. Complimentary wi-fi, underground parking and access to the on-site swimming pool, hot tubs, fitness centers and steam rooms is included. ... more less