Vail Village, Golden Peak, Lionshead, Sandstone?
Hello and welcome! You are here to figure out where to stay (aka lodge, rest your head, kick back after skiing all day, etc). Read as much as you can and then let’s talk on the phone (our experience shows us that it is in your best interest to talk by phone to book your accomodations). While e-mail is a great invention, talking in person by phone clears away any questions and helps you make a decision quickly – keep your todo list tidy!
In our travels, we find that most of our guests know they want to spend their ski vacation in Vail (of course!) and they want to be within walking distance of ‘everything’. They often do not, however, know which area would work best for them.
As you think about areas of Vail, there is not just one location. Think of Vail in the following way:
- Golf Course – also called East Vail. Here you will primarily find private homes, condominiums and town homes.
- Golden Peak – this is the eastern edge of the mountain and you can access the ski areas easily from here. The Ski and Snowboard school is in this area. Here you will find properties such as the Ramshorn and Manor Vail.
- Vail Village – the area where most of the shops are located, Bridge Street and access to Vail Mountain with Gondola One. Here you will find such properties as the Austria Haus Club, Village Inn Plaza, Village Center and the Solaris.
- Lionshead – this area is in the Western part of Vail and has the first Gondola. Lionshead has been changing over the last 10 years and now has wonderful new feature, great shopping, dining and accommodations. Her you will find such properties as the Arrabelle, Vail Spa Condominiums and the Ritz Carlton.
After some discussion, we find that some people are fine with a short walk to the ski or town areas while others prefer to be within a short distance from some or all of the things they want to do (i.e., if you have small children). Some are focused solely on budget (aka, the price per night) not realizing that this limits the available amenities, privacy or distance from the fun stuff. Others want the privacy, luxury and comfort of a single family home.
Depending on your budget and what you want to do, the location you pick in the Town of Vail will vary. You may try what we did when first travelling to Vail for skiing — stay in a different area each year. It was fun for us and an option because we travel light. This allowed us to see the real experience of riding the bus into town, parking our rental car in the Vail or Lionshead parking structure and the feeling of being in Vail Village or Lionshead to allow for walking to everything.
We caution you to look carefully when you choose your lodging location. Many claim their Vail home rental property is ‘minutes’ from ski locations – and sometimes this is farther away than you think. We have found through experience that there are many options that affect where you might choose to rest and relax after your ski, golf or fishing day ends. Are you open for walking after your ski day 10-15 minutes back to your accommodations?
Your vacation budget
With increased amenities comes increased nightly rates – a rental home with a hot tub can be more expensive than one without a hot tub. To explain more, if you want to stay in a property that has ski-in and ski-out access, you would pay more than if you were willing to vacation in a location that is away from the slopes (the further you are away from the slope, generally speaking, the less you would pay on a nightly basis).
Commonly in the Vail ski areas, the following add to the nightly rate of most homes that you would rent:
- Close proximity to the ski slopes
- Athletic Facility access
- Ski-in, ski-out or both
- Breakfast or other meals included in the rate
- The type of decorations in the home
- Private or shared Hot-tub (spa) access
- Parking for a vehicle (parking is limited in Vail and there is a daily parking rate in the Vail parking structures)
- Closeness to public bus route (the closer you are to the bus route makes walking much easier)
- Level of the property finishes (platinum, gold, silver and unrated properties exist)
Are you willing to ride a bus
A fantastic option for travel within town are the Town of Vail Public Buses. They are available in many areas and are there for your free use during operating hours. It is accessible from almost anywhere in the town of Vail.
Are you renting and/or driving an automobile? Vail Parking help.
If you are driving and need to park your vehicle, you need to understand how the Vail Parking locations (also called garages or structures) work. First, you need to know that the Vail Parking lots (locals call them ‘structures’) have a daily charge – plan on $25/day (click here for more Vail Parking information). Having your own vehicle gets you to the town quickly, but getting to the slopes isn’t straightforward as there are few places where you can park and gain access to the slopes easily.
Thus, even though you have your own vehicle, you may still want to use the Town of Vail bus system. Still plan on a short walk to the slopes though if you plan to ski from either Vail Village (Vista Bahn lift) or from Lionshead (the Vail Gondola).
Do you want to walk to the slopes?
Basically (and somewhat obviously), consider that the farther you are away from the slope for your lodging, the longer you will walk — seems obvious, but many don’t realize this implication. The Vail ski areas were built in a way that requires walking and there is no way for you to be dropped off from you car and be directly next to the ski areas (Golden Peak is definitely the closest option and we start our ski days from there).
So, depending on where you are staying in Vail, your walk to the slopes may become challenging. It’s very common to walk to the ski slopes, but many do not realize the effect of walking 10 minutes in ski boots — especially with children in tow.
Just something to consider as you plan your visit to Vail.
Are you looking for ski-in and ski-out?
There are a multitude of ski-in and ski-out home rental options. Some have only one of the options (ski-in or ski-out). So you know, this privilege costs a great deal more per night. So be sure that you need this option. There are properties in Vail that can take care of your skis and boots without you having to haul them from the mountain to your condominium.
Do you want to be within walking distance of Vail Village or Lionshead?
While it is enchanting and convenient to walk to Vail Village or into other parts of Vail, this too can be an expensive option – and perhaps not necessary. For those wanting to find economical options, you can consider the free Town of Vail bus system to transport you into the Vail Village, Lionshead or Golden Peak ski areas. Also, if you have a car, truck or SUV you can easily drive into the areas you wish to visit. Note! Town of Vail parking is free after 3pm for dining and shopping or just waking around enjoying a great view.