by Kara Williams
The Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa occupies an excellent location in the heart of the Lionshead base area — just a few minutes’ walk to excellent shopping and restaurants, as well as to Vail Mountain’s Eagle Bahn Gondola. With a ski concierge available at the hotel’s onsite Charter Sports, it’s so easy for guests to access Vail’s stellar slopes in the winter. (The same convenient sports store will store your bikes — or rent them to you — in the summer months.)
The property has 281 guestrooms and 63 suites, which include individually owned condominiums. Families on a budget might choose a standard double-bedded room or a studio suite with a sofa bed. If you have a bigger family, or you’re planning on spending a long vacation in Vail, consider a two- or three-bedroom condo with a full kitchen and plenty of room to spread out, too!
While the hotel’s building has been around since the early 1970’s, much of the current hotel was rebuilt in 2002, after a large fire destroyed an entire wing of the property. While we wouldn’t deem Vail Marriott a luxury resort, it’s certainly family-friendly with its comfortable accommodations and basic, mountain-rustic decor — a giant antler chandelier and big beams on the peaked roof greet guests in the porte-cochere. Perks for kids staying at the hotel include onsite restaurants with reasonably priced kids’ menus, a small game room with quarter-operated video games, and multiple onsite pools — both indoors and out.
Our Editor Loves
- Studio suites and one-bedroom condos
- Small arcade room for kids
- Indoor and outdoor pools
- Horse Back Riding
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Room configurations are quite varied here -- from standard double-bedded rooms and studios with sofa beds and fireplaces to one-bedroom suites that sleep six to three-bedroom condominiums with full kitchens. Cribs and rollaway beds are available at no charge through the concierge. Connecting rooms are available. Wi-Fi access is available.
A family of four of can easily stay in a standard guestroom with a great mountain view. Guestrooms feature one king or two double beds and are quiet despite being located above the garden level and outdoor hot tub area. The marble bathroom was especially spacious, with a glass-enclosed shower, separate tub and generous vanity.
Standard guestroom amenities include a flat-screen TV with digital plug-ins, so you can run a video camera, portable DVD player, laptop or mp3 player through the television set. All rooms have a mini-refrigerator and some have microwaves; you can also ask for a microwave to be brought to your room, and the concierge will likely oblige, based on availability. All rooms also have an iron, robes, coffeemaker and safe; some rooms have fireplaces.
Multi-bedroom condominiums have full kitchens, including a full-size refrigerator, stove top and oven, cookware and serving dishes. Multiple flat screen televisions can also be found.
Outstanding staff, beautiful facility, incredible scenery!
The Vail Marriott Mountain Resort is an outstanding place to stay in the mountains. The staff are kind, responsive and incredible. The gym facility was brand new and beautiful (there was even a heavy bag!)
great place, nicely renewed
Stayed 3 nights for work reason. Absolutely clean, nice, updated and pleasant. Loved settings, nice check in staff. Beds are comfortable, food is good in restaurants. some staff can rent for free (like bike, scooter) Would stay there again.
Kids like to swim? The Vail Marriott's for you. Open year-round, your kids will love the three-to five-foot-deep indoor pool and the three- to nine-foot-deep outdoor pool. There are also three hot tubs -- one indoor and two outdoors. While there's no children's pool per se, we saw preschool-age kids splashing around in the large shallow, outdoor hot tub, and no adult guests seemed to mind. Lots of chaise lounges and umbrella tables make it easy to set up outside for the whole day, in the shadow of looming, gorgeous Vail Mountain.
Otherwise, kids will appreciate the hotel's small arcade (it's a bit hidden in a room near the fitness center), with video games, air hockey and the game where you manipulate a claw to grab a stuffed animal. (Indeed, that last one isn't really a winner; make your kids use their own quarters!)
Charter Sports is the onsite store that sells apparel, sundries and souvenirs. This shop also rents ski, snowboard and snowshoe gear in the winter months; their equipment includes plenty of helmets, boots, poles and other kid-sized items. In the summer, this is the place to go to rent bikes, bike trailers and bike tag-a-longs, or if you're driving to the Vail Marriott and bring your own equipment, you can conveniently store your ski or bike gear here. With easy access to Vail Mountain, as well as the paved Gore Valley Trail offering moderate cycling for kids, there's no excuse not to get out there and enjoy the outdoors with the whole family!
Eagle Gondola to Adventure Ridge
In the summer months, your children will enjoy riding the nearby Eagle Gondola to Adventure Ridge at the top of the mountain. Here, they can play in a giant sandbox (Dino Dig), walk the "tightrope" on a slackline course or toss beanbags for free; a bungee trampoline, pony ride and climbing wall are available for a fee. At the base of the gondola is a 9-hole mini-golf course open in the summer.
First Chair Cafe
First Chair Cafe is Vail Marriott's breakfast restaurant. Located on the mezzanine level above the lobby, it is convenient and quite spacious. We highly recommend the breakfast buffet; it's reasonably priced and the offerings are vast. On the buffet you'll find scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, a variety of cereals, pastries, yogurts and fruit as well as made-to-order omelets and deliciously seasoned potatoes with peppers and onions. The a la carte menu is also extensive, with biscuits and gravy, a green chili breakfast burrito, an egg white frittata and a smoked salmon bagel. The kids' menu has French toast, eggs and pancakes, all served with fruit. If you're in a hurry to get on the slopes, you can grab a Starbucks coffee, fruit or pastry from the to-go window in front of the restaurant.
Avalanche Pub, open for lunch and dinner, is a cozy spot just off of the main lobby, with dim lights, a fireplace and multiple leather chairs that invite socializing; it's packed for apres-ski in the winter months and a little quieter during the summer. For a light meal at the pub, consider soup, salad, sandwiches or "shareables" like popcorn shrimp, BBQ lamb sliders or buffalo wings.
A children's menu -- in the form of a coloring sheet and delivered with crayons -- is available in Avalanche Pub with the same items offered for lunch and dinner: spaghetti, grilled cheese, beef sliders, chicken fingers and pizza. Each is served with fresh fruit and a choice of French fries or steamed broccoli. Dessert for kids is fresh fruit parfait, cookies and low-fat milk or organic low-fat ice cream.
Gore Range Pizza
This gourmet pizza shop is open for lunch and dinner and offers made-to-order pizzas and delivery service.
All About the Extras
The fitness center on the second floor of the hotel is open 24 hours a day, and includes strength-training equipment, free weights and cardio machines.
Business Center and Wi-Fi
A 24-hour business center has computers, printers and Internet access. Wi-Fi is free in the lobby; wireless access is available in guestrooms for a fee.
There may also be strollers on hand -- gear that other families left behind. If you're picky about stroller brands, the concierge has connections with a local baby-gear rental service.
Babysitters can be arranged by the concierge.
The Art of Smart Timing
Families flock to Vail for the world-class ski slopes in the winter, but that's also when you'll find peak prices. Christmas week is the most expensive time to visit. In mid-March and the beginning of April, the Vail Marriott teems with visiting families during schools' spring breaks.
Summer is a glorious time to travel to the Colorado Rockies because the weather is absolutely incredible: bright blue-sky days and low humidity. Lodging prices are typically lower in June through August than in December through March. But if you're looking for a true bargain, consider visiting the Vail Marriott in late spring or fall. Note, however, that if you visit in the "off season," you'll encounter a quiet town; some stores and restaurants may be closed for a few weeks in May and October.
The easiest way to get to the Vail Marriott is to fly into Eagle-Vail Airport (EGE), which is about 25 minutes from Lionshead. Then, book a shuttle ride to the hotel via Colorado Mountain Express.
Otherwise, you can fly into Denver International Airport (DEN), which is 2.5-hours away and also served by Colorado Mountain Express. You can rent a car to get to Vail from DEN, but if you're staying at the conveniently located Vail Marriott, it isn't necessary (unless you want to explore outside of Vail). Valet parking for Four Seasons Vail guests is available for a reasonable fee.
Vail's in-town bus stops at the Vail Marriott about every 10 to 15 minutes, and will bring you to Vail Village for free.
For Mom and Dad
The onsite Golden Leaf Spa is tucked away on the basement level, near the indoor pool. In fact, the spa locker rooms serve as bathrooms and showers for anyone using the pool area. This was great for us as we hadn't booked spa treatments, but we could still enjoy the steam room inside the women's locker room. We also enjoyed the locker room amenities such as yummy-scented shampoo and conditioner, disposable razors, combs and the cool wet washcloths stored in a mini-fridge under the vanity.
The location of the Golden Leaf Spa is a bit odd, as hotel guests using the pool walk right by the (closed) door of the relaxation room, where spa clients wait for treatments. The treatment rooms aren't far away either, and multiple "Shhh" signs remind people walking through the hallways to keep their voices down so as not to disturb massage recipients.
Spa treatments include a variety of massages, facials, moisturizing body treatments and body scrubs, and nail services. Add on a rose-petal footbath, an aromatherapy soak or hot-oil scalp treatment to any service. Teens can book manicures and pedicures here, and there's also a Teen Facial for ages 12 to 16.