Hotel du Village captures the beauty and romance of the French countryside and places it squarely in the charming and creative hamlet of New Hope. It’s long been a New Hope landmark, beloved by visitors and residents, many of whom spent Thanksgiving dinner around a table at the hotel’s restaurant, so it was naturally met with curiosity when Hotel du Village was sold in 2013.
I recently returned from a weekend retreat held at Waunita Hot Springs Ranch east of Gunnison, Colorado, and our group of nearly 30 women enjoyed the casual Western atmosphere, three generations of the Pringle family making sure the stay was enjoyable (along with a fourth generation little one in tow), soaking in the hot springs, skiing and snowshoeing on the surrounding national forest property, and meeting on the second story of a renovated barn.
Resorts in the West are aging like fine wines with today’s facilities built with groups and year-round in mind.
One thing I love about living in a mountain town, specifically a ski town, is the winter buzz that begins in November as snow starts appearing on the peaks and sticking on the ground enough to start Nordic skiing. The colorful soft shell and light down coats start coming out of the closets, and it’s best to get Christmas lights up by Halloween so your hands don’t freeze and bulbs don’t break when stringing them on porch railings. It’s also when I’m receiving tidbits about what’s new in ski country. Here are just a few highlights of interest to the meetings and events world in the U.S.
Colorado-based Aspen Skiing Company is taking the successful model of its Limelight Hotel in downtown Aspen to downtown Ketchum, where it broke ground for a hotel of the same name on July 10. The property is in close proximity to Sun Valley’s River Run base of Bald Mountain and will feature 99 rooms and suites, 14 condominiums and 12 lock-off units. The Limelight in Aspen features large guest rooms, a large and open lounge, a lobby restaurant and adventure programming for guests.
BloombergBusiness released its list of the 50 wealthiest small towns in America list in August, and it is interesting to see how many of the top 20 are located in the Mountain West and have a serious connection to mountains and ski resorts. Case in point is the top three: Summit Park, Utah (home of Park City Mountain Resort), Edwards, Colorado (think Vail and Beaver Creek) and Jackson, Wyoming/Utah (Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King and Grand Targhee).
Avery Brewing Company has moved into a newly expanded, $27 million facility in Boulder. Founded in 1993 by father-and-son duo Adam and Larry Avery, Avery Brewing offers free tours and tastings daily and has a menu of smoked meats, sandwiches, salads, southern dishes, and even fried rabbit and waffles.
Estes Park’s first microbrewery, St. Vrain Brewing Company, opened in early 2015 and features a 15-barrel system, indoor tasting room and outside patio.
Whistler’s new luxury adventure and wilderness experiences provider, Head-Line Mountain Holidays, is offering Arctic-like experiences on the Pemberton Ice Cap, snowmobile tours, snow bike outings, ice cave explorations, hot springs and natural spa packages, and overnight glamping and winter snow hotel experiences.
Sitting in a meeting room all day can spawn a real need for some playfulness at night. It seems like there has been an abundance of places cropping up to do just that in places like Denver, Evergreen, Snowmass and Vail.
Punch Bowl Social, Denver
The 50-room Tetherow Lodge in Bend opened in April 2014 and already has been named the top resort in the world in its category by Booking.com’s “Booking’s Best” initiative. The boutique Bend property beat out similar properties in the United States, Thailand, India, Fiji, Greece and other top destinations. Booking.com utilized more than 40 million current customer reviews of more than 500,000 properties to identify winners in 25 categories, examining key categories such as staff, comfort, service, cleanliness, location and value for money.