Bavarian style in Vail
With its location in the center of Vail village and its uniquely charming Bavarian style, Sonnenalp delivers the kind of European skiing experience you don’t often find in the American West. Owned by a German hotelier who’s the fourth generation of a family with hospitality ties, this boutique hotel with 112 suites and 15 guestrooms has a classic alpine style inside and out, with plenty of European country florals and plaids, blonde wood furnishings and gabled buildings with flower box-lined balconies. Rooms are spacious and comfortable (many with fireplaces), and the service is precise and efficient.
Most guests use Sonnenalp as a launching pad for exploring the town’s famed ski slopes in winter or hiking trails in summer, but there’s plenty to do on property should you choose to stay close to your room. There’s a full service spa with indoor and outdoor whirlpools overlooking Gore Creek, and an oxygen bar for those feeling the effects of the town’s altitude. The hotel houses two restaurants—The Swiss Cottage, a cozy space serving traditional Swiss fondue and raclette (natch), and the Bully Ranch, a Southwestern style space that delivers a menu of hearty burgers and other pub specialties like chicken potpie and barbecued ribs.
The property also has its own golf course, the 7,100-yard, links-style championship Sonnenalp Golf Course, which is laid out on rolling slopes 13 miles away. It's in an area that locals call “The Banana Belt,” where the courses stay open from early April to late October.