Staycation Sensation: A night in Beaver Creek
There are perks to living in the Vail Valley, especially when your staycation outdoes most vacations.
When caught up in the valley grind of countless hours devoted to multiple jobs, it’s always good to take some time to stop, look around and remind yourself of the very things that make our valley a world-class tourist destination, and a wonderful place to live. And when the Kessler Collection reaches out to you to wine, dine and put you up for a night at the Beaver Creek Lodge, you better cancel all your other plans, and go live your best life.
They didn’t exactly have to twist my arm. I showed up two hours before my check-in with a list of contingency plans in case my room wasn’t ready. But it was, as the friendly front desk staff confirmed. So they handed me a keycard with a lady-in-red printed on its glossy back, and pointed me in the direction of an immaculate one-bed suite with ample workspace, a beautiful view and a personalized gift bag filled with wine, snacks and a stuffed beaver doll – the perfect welcoming touch for someone who would be spending the night without their regular snuggling partner.
I took a moment to just appreciate all that was happening, before getting back to business. And by “business” I mean pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room. All four of those boxes required immediate checking, so I threw on my swimsuit (okay, okay…I was already wearing it) and headed down to the fitness center.
After a dip, a soak, a steam and a sizzle, I moseyed over to Alpine & Antlers for a HH cocktail and shrimp ceviche. I posted up at the bar and sparked some friendly conversation with the bartender, and minutes later was greeted by Executive Chef Sammy Shipman, who was preparing a three-course meal for our group that evening. Watching the two of them hard at work zapped me back into the realization that I have responsibilities for this trip, and that I must live up to my duty of making it to the Grand Bohemian Gallery in time for a champagne welcome toast. So I went back to my room, popped that bottle of wine, and washed up before meeting the group.
As I entered the gallery, the colorful, dazzling artwork demanded my attention at a time when I should have been more focused on giving formal introductions- a true test of sensory resilience. Luckily, the other guests in the gallery were equally as spellbound. But we all convened over hibiscus CBD cocktails, tapas and light acoustic covers as we got to know each other. Men’s Journal and 303 Magazine were in attendance, as well as a number of publishers and content creators from New York, Atlanta, Chicago and other major metro areas. It was pretty clear from the start that the big city folk were set aback by our relaxed pace of life. Even having not known them prior to the trip, you could see the rejuvenation on their faces. In Beaver Creek, pleasantries are much more organic. This place is so charming, it’s disarming.
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A live-in gallery
Once we got our introductions out of the way, Beaver Creek Lodge General Manager Paul Jeppson and Kessler Collection Chief Operating Officer John Luckett took us on a tour of the property, giving us detailed explanations of the extravagant art that sets Beaver Creek Lodge apart from its neighboring lodges. And while each piece stuns, it became clearer along the way that the selections process, too, is masterful work. Each piece had a person and a story behind it that our guides articulated, showing that every piece was selected for its own respective purposes.
As we made a final round through the lobby, Luckett pointed at one painting as he told the group about the brand’s biggest signature artist.
“Jean Claud Roy is the most popular artist we have,” Luckett said. “He does mostly landscapes, but you’ll see that the skies are really abstract, and really come to life, very cheerful, lots of color, and Jean Claud Roy did a great job.”
“We have exclusive rights to carry his art in the United States. Every year, he comes and brings more art and every time he comes, we do art shows where you get a chance to meet the artist, have a nice dinner, and at that dinner is when we unveil the new art.”
“This is the kind of stuff that makes it fun to work here, and it also makes it fun to stay here,” Jeppson added. “There’s stuff here that you don’t see normally.”
After the tour, it was time to return to Alpine & Antlers for dinner. Many in the group continued with the CBD hibiscus cocktail, though another drink contained an ingredient, Palisade peaches, that always catches my eye. I immediately ordered one and then started educating the group on how peaches from Colorado are superior to, well, everywhere. You can imagine the doubt on the faces of those hailing from Georgia, but by the end of the meal, I think they were sold.
It wasn’t all my salesmanship- Alpine & Antlers put some fantastic plates in front of our faces, one of which featured my beloved Palisade peaches. It was in that very moment, that the doubters were stunned. And that was just one of the appetizers in a multi-course meal, where the plates kept coming and were consistently met with eye-popping amazement.
Time passed as we lost ourselves in the culinary tour, and I was abruptly reminded that I had tickets to see Rob Schneider at the Vilar Performing Arts Center that evening. I reluctantly got up from the table, gave my salutations, and rushed over VPAC to meet up with my friend, Bill, for an evening of comedy. Meanwhile, the rest of my cohorts allegedly stayed at Alpine & Antlers for hours after my departure, licking their plates clean. I don’t think anyone was missing out on enjoyable moments.
After some laughs and some strolling around Beaver Creek Village, the room was calling my name. I returned to my beckoning palace, finished off the wine, hugged my beaver doll and retired into a cozy slumber.
The next morning came all too quick. I was taking in the glorious morning views with a hot cup of coffee when I received notification that I was being called into a meeting at noon, signaling that my staycation was coming to an end.
In a moment of bittersweet reflection, there was a knock at my door. Alpine & Antlers had sent me a croissant sandwich to soak up the night’s libations. And that was when I realized, that I still had a few hours before checkout, and those four boxes I checked the day prior, suddenly needed a fresh checking.
After all, staycations are a state of mind.