Stayed here for 7 nights over President's Week with my wife and our 3 kids (3, 7 and 9). We stayed in one of their residential suites which had a king bedroom and a sofa bed in the living room, with our little guy sleeping on a rollaway. We had a small kitchen and dining area too.
- very nicely furnished and decorated rooms
- very helpful staff for the most part
- valet guys, bellmen and in particular the ski valet guys were all very helpful and nice
- upon arrival, the bellman will unload all your stuff including ski equipment which will then be whisked away to the ski valet
- when you pick up your skis in the morning, they will ask if you are taking the shuttle to the village (see cons below) or going skiing, and if the latter they will put your skis on the snow outside ready for you to ski over to the chair lift which is literally right outside the door
- when you return from skiing, either in the shuttle (which works well coming home) or skiing directly to the hotel, they will take your equipment to be dried ready for the next day.
- they have everything you need for skiing there - ski rentals (more expensive than in town apparently), lift tickets, a shop to buy (at inflated prices) any items you have forgotten or lost, and you can even arrange for ski lessons to depart from the hotel instead of going to the main ski school
- spa is beautiful (my wife told me to say that, I didn't use it)
- outdoor pool and hot tubs provide a nice way to relax at the end of the day
- they light a nice big fire outside at 3pm and provide marshmallows for roasting (only $2 for the graham crackers and chocolate to make smores - couldn't they have provided those for free too?)
- the hotel has a pet dog called Bachelor who is usually available for walks and to play with, except he was undergoing "remedial training" when we were there so the kids were unable to walk him while we were there (apparently he has been pulling on his leash and been a bit over-excited recently). I put this as a pro because I think it's a nice idea and we saw him one day and he seemed like a lovely dog.
- Buffalo Bar is a fun relaxing place for a drink, snack or dinner; very kid-friendly, and they had the Olympics on a big TV which my 9 year old loved to watch while we were eating dinner
- Lots of good dining options in Beaver Creek itself or Vail, but the best food we had during our trip (and the best in many years) was at Zach's Cabin which you get to via a sleigh ride from the hotel (book through the concierge well in advance). It's a lot of fun to ride behind a snow cat on the way up the mountain, and the food was exceptional (try the elk tenderloin). They have a buffet for the kids so they don't have to wait for their food (our younger 2 kids thought this was a very good thing). Our only complaint was that there was a busybody sitting near us who wanted our 3 year old to turn down his video game which was keeping him entertained and a lot quieter than he would have been without it, but who then proceeded to take about 10 group photos with the flash temporarily dazzling us without asking if we minded. But really this was a very nice evening, with great service (and quick too), and an unforgettable sleigh ride up to the restaurant. I preferred Zach's to Beano's (which we went to a few years ago) as it's more casual and the food was better; in addition, the sleigh for Zach's leaves from the hotel whereas you have to get into the village for the Beano's sleigh).
- the shuttle bus service runs on a constant loop until 5.30pm, so we rode it into town one evening for dinner, and when we were done the waiter called the company which runs the buses and we were picked up 10 minutes later in town and driven back to the hotel. It's not a hotel service - it's dial-a-ride or something like that - but it saves having to drive into town where parking isn't easy and also enables the parents to drink without worrying about who will drive home. The shuttle bus works well except in the mornings (see below).
- the shuttle bus is supposed to run every 10-15 minutes from the hotel into the village, and thereafter on an on-call basis. On our second day there I had to wait 20 minutes with my 3 year-old and when the bus came it was already 2/3 full because it had been to the "Club" first (timeshare residents). On our 3rd day, my wife didn't have to wait as long as I did but on both days the bus was packed with little kids standing on the 10 minute ride to the village which is not very safe and should not have been acceptable to the hotel. The hotel doesn't run this service, so complaints don't have much effect other than "if everyone complains then the hotel will complain to the company which runs the buses and maybe they'll improve the service" as we were told.
- no buffet breakfast, despite being told by someone at the front desk that there was a buffet. There used to be a buffet but maybe they are cutting costs. I know some people don't care about this, but when we are skiing we like to get a good breakfast, and to be able to do so without having to wait for 15 minutes for a cup of coffee to arrive (as happened the first day). The food in Spago (hotel's restaurant) was decent but slow. There's a small deli with cold items but really it's not great and can take a while as it is frequently busy in the morning. We had room service on 3 occasions and that was the best way to enjoy breakfast, and I highly recommend doing this, especially if you have a dining area like we had in our suite. The blueberry pancakes were great, i never had to wait for more than 1 ring when I called in our order the night before, and the people who delivered the food in the morning (always on time) were very friendly.
- Our suite could have used a second bathroom or powder room at least, and I gather that some suites do have a powder room instead of the kitchen, so I guess you can take your pick as to what you want in the suite. It was a little crowded with 5 of us in there but really the kids were so tired after a day's skiing that they all went to sleep quickly and so did their parents.
- The hotel has a ski nanny program which we didn't use as our 3 year old was too young. The idea is that the nanny takes your kids over to ski school and brings them home afterwards. The problem with this is that it can take some discussion with the ski instructors to find the right group for your kid and I don't trust someone who has just met my kids for the first time to do this. But you should be aware that it only takes about 20-25 minutes (including time on the lift) to ski from the hotel to the main part of the resort where the ski school is located, and the chair lift at the hotel opens at 8.30, so it's very easy to get kids there in time for ski school at 9.15 (we took our 7 and 9 year olds that way 4 days out of 6). Similarly, skiing back again at the end of the day is also relatively easy although there's more traversing in this direction so younger kids will find it harder, especially if there's powder at all. If our youngest had been old enough, we would have skied with him in the morning too and wouldn't have needed the shuttle bus (see above).
- the ski school at BC is a little chaotic at times, and we found that the ski school at Vail is a lot less crowded (we went there one day). Ski school tickets are good at either place, as are lift tickets, so it's worth bearing in mind that Vail is only 10 minutes down the highway. If you do that, drive to the Golden Peak kids' center, drop the kids off (drop off is literally 20 feet from the ski school building), and then drive to the next building where they have valet parking. Very easy, and it'll probably take no longer than using the hotel's shuttle bus by the time you wait for it and ride it to the village.
- the hotel is pet-friendly (dogs) - so be prepared to encounter dogs outside by the pool and inside the lobby.
All in all, it was a fantastic vacation. The hotel is beautiful and there are some very nice touches. Highly recommended.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A year-round mountain resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch combines the comfort of Colorado luxury hotel with the finest outdoor adventures. Located on Beaver Creek Mountain, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch offers an unforgettable escape in the heart of the majestic Colorado Rocky Mountains. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch Hotel Beaver Creek
- Beaver Creek Ritz Carlton
- Ritz Avon
- Ritz-Carlton Avon
- Avon Ritz-Carlton
- Ritz Carlton Beaver Creek