Staycationing at the Sonnenalp Hotel: the Vail Daily’s A&E editor shares her experience
“This bed is longer than it is long,” I said to my boyfriend, tripping over my words as I tried to describe the size of the king bed in our hotel room. We’d been there for at least 12 hours, and we still weren’t over how great of an experience we were having on our staycation.
The words “2020” and “stress” can’t go anywhere without the other at this point. Every now and then, it’s nice to treat yourself, forget about everything that’s going on in the world and sign out of your email. That’s what my boyfriend and I did on Saturday, Oct. 24 and Sunday the 25th. We tuned the world out from our room at the Sonnenalp Hotel and it was glorious. I highly recommend planning some version of a staycation for yourself this year: You deserve it.
My boyfriend, Cody Brown, works for the Sonnenalp Club in Edwards. As a member of the Sonnenalp Circle of Excellence, an annually-nominated group of stand-out employees, he gets two complimentary nights at the hotel. Neither of us would be able to remotely afford something like this otherwise, so we were determined to take advantage of it.
We checked in on Friday afternoon. After being in awe of our room’s amenities — the Sonnenalp is a luxury destination, after all — we cracked open a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, sat on the small balcony attached to our room and ate some cheese and crackers.
I took an hour-long detour to hit up the Vail Ski and Snowboard Swap with my friend and her boyfriend, and after that, we met Cody for drinks at The George. After some rounds of pool and Big Buck, we ended up at Vendetta’s, which should tell you all you need to know about our night.
It was very weird walking to a hotel instead of walking to the free bus or the parking garage to drive home with that night’s designated driver. Especially for Cody, who is born and raised here, we got a small slice of what someone visiting Vail might experience on their first night in town.
The next morning, Cody and I made our way to Ludwig’s, the restaurant in the hotel where breakfast is served each day. The restaurant has been known for its quality, both in the a.m. and the p.m., and the hotel’s new Executive Chef Joshua Marshall has been pushing that even farther. He added some new breakfast options to the menu for diners who like to start their days with lighter fare, so we tried them.
Paired with strawberry basil mimosas and a pot of green dragon tea for me, we shared plates of the Huevos Rancheros, as well as the new Açai & Peanut Butter Smoothie Bowl and the Avocado Fancy Toast. Everything tasted great.
It was nice to experience Vail dining in a new way that morning: we could always make breakfast reservations in Ludwig’s and drive over to the village from our homes, but isn’t it exciting to walk downstairs in sweatpants, eat a nice brunch and walk back upstairs?
We digested for an hour or so before heading downstairs to the spa for our pool and hot tub reservation. The hotel is offering these in two-hour time slots, to provide for social distancing and keep guests safe.
Then, after we’d dried off and headed back to our room, it was time for the part we’d both been waiting for: our DIY spa day. Like I said, we were balling on a budget and were primarily concerned with having a great time without needing to spend a lot of money. I packed some candles, essential oils, sheet face masks. The whole process took at least two hours and we were feeling refreshed and pretty close to the real thing.
We sat in our bathrobes by the fireplace in our room and ate some more wine and cheese and some leftover cheesecake from a girls’ night I’d hosted earlier that week. Then, we went downstairs to the King’s Club and met Cody’s parents and aunt and uncle visiting from California. Over Bully Ranch’s fan-favorite mudslides, we enjoyed acoustic music from John Dunn. Please note that live music at the hotel has been now been canceled due to COVID-19.
For dinner, Cody and I headed over to Garfinkel’s, which was another interesting way of experiencing Vail. It was close to their closing time at 9 p.m., so we sat inside at the bar and ordered food: a typical outing at Garf’s for me would involve beers, fries, my girlfriends and the patio.
Obviously stacationing isn’t something I can do every day for my self-care routine, but one thing I do frequently to relax is take baths. So naturally, on this self-care staycation, I needed to take a bath. Where better to do it than in our room’s huge tub? I’m a small person, I can fit nicely in most tubs, but this one was next level. I added some lavender oil to the water for relaxing, sleepy-time vibes and was ready to go to bed before I was even done soaking, a rarity for night-owl Casey.
Sunday morning was bittersweet as we packed up our belongings and checked out of the hotel. We were onto our next adventure.
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