We are having a beyond epic snow season this year in Colorado, so my husband TJ and me were determined to fit in as many ski trips as possible before the resorts close in late April. Our most recent adventure took us and our 2-year-old son Everett to Vail Resort and the super family-friendly The Sebastian Vail.
The four-diamond hotel has a fantastic location right in the heart of Vail Village, making it super accessible to the lifts at Vail (it is about a 10 minute walk to Gondola One), where I took a private ski lesson (but more on that later), as well as all the dining, drinking and shopping options in the Bavarian style mountain village.
The Sebastian is a stylish luxe hotel and I love the works of art displayed in the common spaces. It also has a fantastic pool with mountain views and steaming hot tubs for post skiing soaks. After checking in, before we even went to our room TJ and I immediately headed to the in-house Frost Bar on the Mountain View Terrace for a split of Moet. It was the perfect way to relax with some bubbles and start our vacation under a Colorado bluebird sky.
Family Friendly Perks
We choose to stay in Residential Suite because I’ve found they really are the best way to go when traveling with a small child. We put Everett’s crib in the bedroom and he was able to sleep while TJ and I could watch a movie in the separate living room. The full kitchens are also a huge perk when traveling with kids as we were able to fix Everett snacks and the kinds of meals he would eat before going out ourselves. It is just very convenient.
These suites are also warmly decorated with comfy beds and have balconies and fireplaces. Overall it felt like staying in an upscale apartment, which was perfect for our family. And depending on the size of your family these suites are bookable as anywhere from one to four-bedroom units. The Sebastian also has non-suite room options that can work just fine for families including an option with two queen beds.
Another great part about staying at The Sebastian with kids is access to their Tykes Room. Seriously, you can only ever travel with so many toys, and my son gets bored quickly, so this room was a lifesaver. Not only was it filled with toys that didn’t come from our luggage but also it gives kids a place to explore safely and play with other kids. Everett loved the arts and crafts table where he played with stickers and colored while watching the older children working on more advanced projects.
The Sebastian will also set up Movie Nights for families. You can grab a free DVD rental from the hotel kiosk and then head back to your room where the concierge will arrange for a bucket of fresh popcorn, classic movie candies and old fashioned sodas to accompany your film selection. It’s another fun thing that makes this one of the most kid-friendly spots TJ and I have been to yet.
For dinner we checked out the house restaurant Leonora, which serves absolutely delicious tapas style meals. The menu is inspired by the French Alps and Spanish Pyrenees with a side of Colorado-mountain cooking thrown in. Using fresh, organic and locally sourced ingredients, the dishes are mostly small plates style but there are also a few heartier “bistro fare” selections. The dishes are flavorful and beautifully plated and the sommelier offers handpicked wine pairings to complement each dish. We tried the delicious vegetarian beet carpaccio and a poblano bacon biscuit for the tapas style choices; then split one of the bistro creations, a local 8oz tenderloin filet. Made from gold canyon beef and served with a side of beef jus and salsa verde it was cooked perfectly and we ate every last bite.
To truly relax, I couldn’t wait to book a massage (style of your choice) with hot stones at the delightful onsite Bloom Spa. I chose the 50-minute deep tissue appointment because I really needed to get some tension worked out of my neck, but there is also an option for 80 minutes. The hotel also runs a great priced massage special if you’re willing to book Monday through Friday before 2pm.
Base Camp: Private Mountain Club
I also enjoyed the convenience of their private mountain club at the base of Vail Mountain. Known as Base Camp it has ski valets to help you into your warmed boots that have already been transported here for you with your other gear — no need to carry your skis over. You can also use it to store gear safely while you are on the mountain. Then when the day is done return for hot chocolate and cookings — honestly my favorite part — and leave your gear with them before heading back to your room (or directly to apres).
For my private ski lesson I met my instructor Lee Alleman from Shippensburg, PA here and after snapping my boots into my custom made in Colorado Meier Skis we were off. We started our day riding Gondola One up to Mid Vail and then worked our way over to the mountain’s west side, which is also known as Lion’s Head. Lee is an incredible instructor because he keeps his lessons positive by noting first what you are doing right. He told me my stance was solid and I was doing a good job keeping my upper body facing downhill.
Of course, there was plenty to work on from there and he was able to start to make me a confident skier one critique at a time. Which started with hand positioning and telling me to keep my hands in a position like I was carrying a lunch tray at waist height. I also imagined there was champagne on it, which really helped me keep it level- I wasn’t going to let that Moet spill! We worked on a lot more throughout the day, including edging. We also practiced more active turns and by the end of the day, when we were skiing China Bowl and then working our way down the mountain back to Vail Village, I felt I was able to move my skis into a turn actively instead of waiting for them to start to turn on their own as I had in the past. I was so grateful of his teaching style because I never felt overwhelmed with critiques. Instead, Lee instilled confidence when I was seriously on the fence about wanting to keep skiing. I am happy to report, after this lesson, my skis will be getting in plenty more turns.