How much pampering do you want? |

How much pampering do you want?

Shauna Farnell

Those well-versed in the world of resorts know that when they hear the names “Vail” or “Beaver Creek,” one of the first images that pops into their minds is a dollar sign. Visions of ski town luxuries pour through one’s imagination … Think stone-framed blazing fire place. Think thick, heavy robes and towels. Think sizzling Swedish massage with which to iron out the kinks accrued from hiking or golfing all day.The scale of luxury has no missing links in the Vail Valley, especially when it means shacking up at one of the area’s premiere resorts. Isolating which place offers the most pampering, however, boils down to a matter of personal taste.”As far as where is the nicest, it’s really hard to say,” said Christy Laird, lodging quality assurance manager with the Vail Tourism Bureau.”The new Beaver Creek Lodge is a great place. The rooms are high-end, luxurious with accents of art. As far as spas, the Ritz has an incredible spa with 19 treatment rooms. They have a dog named Bachelor that you can take on hikes. The Cascade (Resort and Spa) redid all of their rooms, and the rooms are beautiful at the Marriott in Lionshead.”So, when it comes to luxury, what exactly does that mean from a quality standpoint?”In the market, when people are looking for luxury accommodation, they think they can infer luxury by a price sometimes,” Laird said. “In the high season, when rates get really high, with this (quality assurance) program, guests can look at the price and the unit rating and make that decision. We’re seeing a lot of the luxury in upgrades as far as high-end tile, granite finishes, stainless steel appliances … Bedding is a big focus. We’re seeing pillow tops with luxury fills and down.”As far as the scale of upgrades are concerned, take the most recent fine-tuning of accommodation at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. Three years ago, the company invested $8 million in upgrades. Each guest room was allotted $30,000. At the Ritz Carlton in Bachelor Gulch, each room has a king-size bed with 400-thread count sheets, window seats, and in the summer time, its own yellow lab, Bachelor, who can be booked out to accompany guests on hikes. Like the Park Hyatt, which is situated on the front of Beaver Creek with chairlifts just yards outside the back and The Cascade Club, which has its own chairlift up Vail Mountain, the Bachelor Gulch Express is an easy walk from any of the rooms, the prices of which vary, depending on the time of year and the day of the week.”Each room his its own Colorado feel. In summer we start at $295 (per night) for a valley-view king,” said Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch spokesman Steven Holt. “In winter, it’s $625. The suites are significantly more.” In the height of winter, it’s not at all uncommon to pay more than $1,000 per night for a suite at one of the swanky slopeside resorts in Vail and Beaver Creek. Some are priced closer to $2,000, and during the Christmas rush, even that price can increase exponentially. Local lodge and spa accommodations offer packages wherein guests can not only be pampered with enormous suites containing cushy mattresses with bedding of uncountable thread thickness, robes heavy enough to make your shoulders sag and vaulted windows through which to gaze directly at the ski area, but guests can also spend a day in the spa having oxygen pumped into their pores and being rubbed down with oils and hot stones.SPA BREAKVarious treatments at the Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt and the spas at the Ritz, Cascade Club, Cordillera, the Lodge at Vail, and several other local resorts have been acclaimed as top-10 in the country by Spa Finder and other industry publications. Selecting a treatment among the options of elaborate pampering from mud and milk baths, deep tissue massage, Shiatsu, oxygen facials, body wraps and dozens of other exotic options is the only tough part.”It really depends on people’s activities and wishes,” said Drew Musser, sales and marketing director at Allegria Spa. “The sports massage places a tremendous emphasis on the legs. It works out all the lactic acid build-up and uses a Japanese mint oil that, in the summer, has a nice, cool feel. If you’re golfing or hiking, it’s perfect. I’d say our Swedish massage is the most popular. It’s an all-over massage with long, gentle strokes. In the summer, the Shiatsu, a pressure point treatment, is popular and so is the Thai massage, which is fully clothed and almost like an assisted yoga.”Many visitors require special treatment to adapt to the elevation. For this reason, local spas including the Aria Spa at the Cascade Club, offer specialized high altitude treatments.”We have a boatload of treatments,” said Leah Olson, spokeswoman for the Cascade. “The high altitude Neem and body wrap is a cleansing and hydrating treatment, there’s a high altitude hand and food treatment that targets pressure points. Our facials are one of our most popular. We start by asking, ‘What skin type are you?’ and do just about everything you can imagine to release toxins from your system and get you well-nourished and exfoliated.”At Allegria, the Deluxe Facial with Oxygen Boost is considered to be “the most pampering facial, focusing intricate attention not only on the pores, but on the lips and ear lobes as well.”Even the manner in which they scrub the face has a very special wax-on, wax-off method that’s drawing the toxins away from your face,” Musser said. “They’re placing minerals on the lips and ear lobes while you’re getting a hand and foot massage. The topper is using this pure oxygen which expands and contracts your face. You have these pulsating masks. It’s almost considered a mini face lift. You can literally see the glow in people’s faces when they’re finished.”Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or, Colorado

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