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  • Writer's pictureMr and Mrs Jones

Your Ultimate Guide to Vail, Colorado!



 
Table of Contents:
 

When to Visit Vail:

Although Vail is gorgeous in the summertime and known for its hiking and mountain biking throughout the beautiful rocky mountains beautiful mountains, if you are planning a winter trip to Vail the best time to go is between December to March! Note: the prices and tourism during the week of Christmas through New Years can increase quite a bit.


Lodging:

Our expectations were far surpassed at the Sonnenalp Resort and Spa! The Sonnenalp is inspired by a 20th century German bed and breakfast, which is visibly reflected in the European elegance and superior hospitality that sets the Sonnenalp apart from other luxury lodging in Vail! Upon pulling into the entrance of the Sonnenalp, you will momentarily forget that you are indeed in Colorado and feel as though you were transported to Germany or Switzerland!


Our Room:

Here is a glimpse at our room! We spent several nights cozied up next to this gorgeous fire place, looking out the balcony window at the gorgeous view of Vail Mountain! One of our other favorite parts about our room was the bathroom, it felt like a spa of our own, with a deep jacuzzi tub, double sink, waterfall shower and heated floors! We soaked up lots of time in this bathroom after days on the slopes!


The Exterior:

In its entirety, the Sonnenalp is a picturesque reflection of European elegance.

* for a full tour of our room, head to our Instagram page and watch the story highlighted ‘Vail,Co’. *

Superb Lounge Areas:

The Sonnenalp has several gorgeous common areas that provided romantic and relaxing settings throughout the resort! Here are our favorites from when we visited.

This Cozy Open Fireplace next to the Pool perfect for reading or snuggling up with a coffee or tea with your loved ones!

*fun fact: they have an oxygen bar for those who may be getting altitude sickness, (we learned quickly how real altitude sickness is, so drink lots and lots of water especially before heading up the mountain!)


The Library and Game Area:

They have the most incredible library space that will make you want to soak into a good book and just disappear for a little while. They also have tons of board games which make for great family time!

The Pools:

Our absolute favorite way to spend our off mountain afternoons was at the Sonnenalp’s the pools and jacuzzis! There is something quite magical about soaking in a outdoor jacuzzi while snow is falling. Not to mention they’re incredible indoor to outdoor pool!



Activities:

Winter in Vail offers some of the best activities! If you are an avid skier or snowboarder and want to spend the majority of your trip on the slopes, you will not get bored! There are 195 runs on Vail mountain alone, and on a powder day, Vail's Back Bowls is the best place to be! If you're looking for off mountain activities, Vail has plenty to offer as well!


Mountain Activities:


Snowboarding and Skiing on Vail Mountain:

This was our first time snowboarding and we are officially hooked! Vail Mountain has 195 runs so you will not be bored, the snow in incredible, especially after fresh snowfall or in the afternoon after the sun has melted the top layer a little bit. Gondola 1 is also about a 5 minute walk from the Sonnenalp Resort!


Vail Adventure Ridge Mountain:

Vail Adventure Ridge Mountain is full of additional mountain activities for those who don't want to ski or snowboard! They have a 900 foot long snow tubing hill, ski biking, kids snowmobiling, a bungee trampoline and snowshoeing, making Vail Adventure the hub for all non skiing mountain activities!



Off Mountain Activities:


Hiking Mayflower Gulch Trail:

This hike is about 20 minutes from Vail, so you will need a car to drive to it, but boy is it worth it! The hike is an easy 2.8 miles up a gorgeous former wagon road lined with towering pine trees to a breathtaking open prairie with the ramshackle ruins of the Boston Mining Camp! This is a beginner to intermediate hike with a slight incline and is very popular in the winter time to snowshoe up and then ski back down!



Ice Skating & Stroll through Vail Village:


Lace up your skates and have a marvelous time skating in the center of Vail Village at Solaris Plaza where you will be surrounded by shopping and dining options! Skate rentals are available on site. Strolling through Vail Village is an experience in itself, with every turn of a corner you will find the most beautiful backdrops for photoshoot opportunities! Vail Village also offers a wide variety of shopping from ski gear to art galleries and western wear and luxury shops, Vail has you covered for all your shopping needs. Additionally, the cobblestone streets of the village are heated so you don't have to worry about slipping on ice, this village is prepared for you to shop til you drop!


Indian Hills Hot Springs:


Between Denver and Vail is a unique natural hot spring experience with an incredible history.

These hot springs were initially discovered by the Native American tribes that resided in the area. The springs were considered sacred to these tribes and the waters were said to have healing powers. We visited after the sun had gone down as you can see in the video below, but here is a photo from their website during the day. It was a transversive experience that felt like you were wandering through the jungle to find this magical oasis in the clearing of the trees. They have a communal pool as shown below, but when going to the dressing rooms, they are segregated spa areas for both the men's room and ladies room where you open a door to exit the building underground and find yourself in geothermal caves that house these natural hot mineral pools (with temperatures from 108°-112°). You must be 18 years or older to enter the caves and they are bathing suit option (I was not aware of this prior to going, so I was in for an experience ;) )




Additional Winter Activities:

Sleigh ride: This magical experience is best enjoyed after a fresh snow blankets the valley! Then, take in the incredible views from your cozy sleigh ride on the way to a delicious dinner at one of the mountain’s rustic cabins.


Dog sledding: Another incredible way to take in the sights is by dog sled! There are several dog sledding tour operators in the Vail area.


Ice Castles: Although the Ice Castles were not created in 2021 when we visited, they are quite the site to see! About 30 minutes from Vail, the Ice Castle experience is located in Dillon, Colorado. Each year, beautiful castle-like ice sculptures are hand carved by artists and can be seen either during the day or at night for the light show. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance and live our your Frozen dreams at the Ice Castles… and, trust me, it’s fun for both adults and kids!


Cafe and Coffee Shops Recommendations:

Cafe Tref:

Owned by the Sonnenalp, this charming establishment reflects the European elegance displayed and crafted at the Sonnenalp Resort and Spa. Cafe Tref offers delicious coffee and treats to get you on your way in the morning! Our favorites were the egg and ham croissants and the cream cheese and locks bagel!




Yeti's Cafe:

This cafe has a local, mountain themed, hole in the wall vibe which makes the atmosphere so cozy and welcoming! Their white chocolate, irish cream and peppermint latte was insanely delicious, by far my favorite latte in Vail, also the monkey bread is also an incredible treat that we indulged in before hitting the slopes!




The Remini:

Looking for a European styled escape to a cafe with gelato and affogato? The Remini is your cafe! Their coffee is great but the affogato is what brings in the crowd!



The Gorsuch Ski Cafe:

Located next to Gondola One, is your closest coffee fix before hitting the slopes! Their customer service is supreme!


Breakfast & Lunch Recommendations

The Little Diner:

Looking for a cute and affordable location for breakfast and lunch? The Little Diner is that place for you, we ate here about 3 or 4 times during our week stay because the food was excellent, the most affordable option in Vail Village, the customer service is also outstanding! Our favorite dish is tied between the made from scratch biscuits and gravy and the german pancake!



Cafe Tref:

As mentioned above this cafe is owned by the Sonnenalp Resort and Spa, and has delicious treats, coffee, and lunch items. Our favorites are the ham and cheese croissants and the cream cheese and locks bagel!


Yeti's Diner:

This cafe has a local, mountain themed, hole in the wall vibe which makes the atmosphere so cozy and welcoming! Their white chocolate, irish cream and peppermint latte was insanely delicious, by far my favorite latte in Vail, also the monkey bread is also an incredible treat that we indulged in before hitting the slopes!


Diner Recommendations

The Bully Ranch:

Located inside the Sonnenalp Resort and Spa, The Bully Ranch had incredible atmosphere, customer service and food! As you can see below, we thoroughly enjoyed the Elk Nachos! ;)



Lancelot:

Looking for a fine dining experience? Lancelot is an immersive experience in itself, but the food is absolutely delicious! Everything we ate there had our mouths watering and wishing we had more when we reached the bottom of our plates! Our favorite was the fried cauliflower appetizer... AMAZING!



Pazzo's:

Need a pizza fix after a long snow day? Pazzo's is rate best pizza in Vail and for good reason! The restaurant was so cute and well worth the wait!



The Red Lion:

We didn't get any photos because our phones died :( But the atmosphere and food is so good and The Red Lion is located right next to the gondola one, making it a great way to end a day on the slopes. (The smothered burrito and nachos appetizer is amazing)


The George:

Looking for a speakeasy vibe? This is your place! The food is affordable and has a wonderful mountainesque atmosphere. While we were there, the place was filled with a college-age crowd, making it a fun, hip environment!


 

Well, thats a wrap on our travel guide for Vail, Colorado in Winter! We hope you have a blast on your next visit! If you have any questions, feel free to message us on Instagram and send us pictures from your trip to show us how you kept up with the Joneses in Vail, Colorado!





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