Reaching the summit
When the Hyatt Regency Beaver Creek Resort and Spa was awarded the coveted Park Hyatt designation a year ago, that meant it had reached the pinnacle of this luxury chain of hotels. But it didn’t mean the already renowned resort would stop trying to raise the bar of excellence for its guests.This month, just in time for the 2002-03 ski season, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa opens two superb, yet diverse, new restaurants, as well as an exciting new lounge to help make its guests’ experience even more heavenly. Whether your idea of vacation dining is an elegant affair or a relaxed meal the whole family can partake in, you are sure to find just what you had in mind at the Park Hyatt.What could be more romantic, or more satisfying to the palette, than enjoying exquisite French gourmet cuisine while gazing at one of the most enchanting winter scenes imaginable? The Vue, an intimate restaurant, which seats only 36 diners, complemented with lush banquettes, offers both and much more.Under the talented hands of executive chef Pascal Coudouy, European born and trained, every meal is a culinary delight. Coudouy has 16 years of culinary experience, beginning in the south of France, and he has taken the former Patina menu to new heights with his French fusion cuisine, using herbs and spices indigenous to the Rocky Mountain region.While experiencing some of the finest dining in town, guests can enjoy a storybook view as well, as the restaurant overlooks the European-style Beaver Creek Village and its picturesque winter/summer ice skating rink. The Vue, after all is French for "view." The Vue is open Tuesday through Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.However, if you prefer to bring the whole tribe along, Bivans offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxed informal atmosphere with an extensive menu offering something for just about everyone. Bivans is named after Stephen Bivans, one of the first settlers in theVail Valley and owner of the original Avon General Store. Nor will you have to forgo magical winter scenery if you choose to take in this family-friendly atmosphere; the outdoor dining terrace is surrounded by spectacular slopeside views of Beaver Creek Mountain.Though open winter and summer, Bivans will wrap you snuggly in warm, wooly blankets in the winter and make the dining experience extra cozy, yet exhilarating, with terrace heaters. Bivans is open daily, with breakfast served from 7 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. (weekends until 11 a.m.); lunch is served 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.; and dinner is 5:30-10 p.m.When dinner is over but the night remains young, guests will want to check out Whiskey Elk, a high-energy lounge with lively (and live) entertainment. Pull up a comfy, overstuffed chair by the fireside and order one of Whiskey Elk’s special offerings: small batch bourbons and vintage ports, or sample its extensive wine-by-the-glass program.Whiskey Elk is open daily for aprs ski from 3-6:30 p.m., with live entertainment Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 p.m. until midnight."I think it gives guests broader entertainment and dining options," explains Maryann Yuthas, marketing representative for the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort."There are so many options available, guests don’t even need to leave the property to find what’s available."These dining and entertaining additions complete the hotel’s transition to Park Hyatt status. Few hotels achieve this elite designation, and only 18 properties worldwide bear the Park Hyatt name. In fact, this is the first Hyatt Resort to become a Park Hyatt."We were really proud last year, "says Yuthas. "Park Hyatts are top of the line for Hyatt hotels and resorts. For us to achieve Park Hyatt status is really quite an accomplishment for us and for our state."The Park Hyatt designation, while new, has been a while in the making. The Hyatt in Beaver Creek has always been a favorite destination of visitors to the world class ski resort. It enjoys an unbeatable ski-in/ski-out location at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain in the midst of Beaver Creek Village and all its enticing amenities. Ringed on three sides by the majestic Rocky Mountains, it is surrounded by endless outdoor recreation opportunities in addition to the 1,600 skiable acres.The Hyatt’s distinctive architecture fits right in with the Park Hyatt’s exacting standards. And last year, the hotel finished its $8.1 million renovation of all 275 guestrooms, incorporating a new dcor of rich earth tones reflecting the hotel’s rustic mountain surroundings. More recently, the hotel wired its guestrooms for Internet access and to provide "E-Village," a virtual concierge for its guests.The Hyatt, too, boasts a wide range of one-of-a-kind services, for which Park Hyatt hotels and Hyatt Resorts are renowned. The hotel has an outdoor pool with indoor access, as well as six whirlpools, set beneath a mountain waterfall and an outdoor firepit ideal for making smores.Four years ago, the Hyatt completed a 20,000-square-foot expansion of the hotel’s Allegria Spa, now the valley’s largest. Designed with Feng Shui influences, the Allegria holds 20 treatment rooms and state-of-the-art spa technology, as well as unusual treatments, such as couples massage and Ashiatsu, an ancient form of bodywork that incorporates foot pressure applied to the back."Just about everywhere you look you find something unique about the hotel," Yuthas says.On staff as a ski ambassador is World Cup skier and television commentator Cory Carlson, who heads up a range of exciting ski programs for guests, including Ski with the Pros.For a real taste of the West, and to catch a glimpse into Beaver Creek and Vail’s distant past and learn about the valley’s early pioneers, be sure to catch on-staff historian/storyteller and third-generation Vail Valley resident Frank Doll as he weaves his special brand of magic around the fireside. For the wee ones, Mrs. Gooseberry reads children’s stories just before bedtime to children as they sip hotchocolate by the fireside in their PJ’s."The Park Hyatt really prides itself on delivering the resort to the guest," says Yuthas. "We’ve expanded our services. We are doing services that are really above and beyond."For reservations at the Park Hyatt beaver Creek Resort and Spa, call (800) 55-HYATT or a travel planner, or visit the Website at http://www.beavercreek.hyatt.com.