The Smiles That Help Create The Memories at Four Seasons Resort Vail, CO
Often times when I review hotels, I talk about many of the details that matter the most to me: customer service, cleanliness, access to amenities, location, and overall feel and environment.
I blame my father – who till this day manages vacation beach properties in the Dominican Republic and for the longest time owned a casino in one of Santo Domingo’s hotels – for my fixation on hotels and all things hospitality-related. Growing up with him meant constant gatherings – whether formal or not – with hospitality representatives and executives and learning a lot about the ways in which hotels can either put their customer, or their profit margin, first.
I once even worked in his office as a receptionist fielding calls and taking messages. I was 17 and by then I could walk into any hotel and immediately tell you whether it was going to work or not. My father did a lot in exposing me to the hospitality world, and in teaching me the true elements that make and break a hotel. What I learned is that no matter what type of lodging option you choose, if the staff isn’t matched in their belief and passion with the hotel’s standards in keeping up with the expectations of its guests, then nothing will work.
I was excited to stay at the Four Seasons Resort Vail, CO on my most recent visit to the area.
Though I haven’t had the opportunity to stay at a Four Seasons hotel before, I knew that this is one of those places known for both providing luxury and pampering to their guests and I needed both.
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Vail
The central location made it easy for me to access everything Vail has to offer, and I absolutely delighted in the meals at its in-house restaurant Flame, a steak house revered not only for its incredible 35-Day Dry Aged Bison Ribeye steak, but also for their Maple Bacon Doughnuts.
Flame Restaurant – Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Vail
I had traveled from Newark to Denver, and then took a shuttle from Denver to Vail, about an hour and a half with no traffic (tip: in order to best avoid traffic, making travel arrangements that don’t coincide with commuter’s working hours is best – though during the winter, the effects of snow might also cause delays).
Needless to say, I was very tired. I walked up to the front desk and was greeted, with a smile, by Francisca Budi, Resort Assistant Manager, who has been with the Four Seasons for 14 years now, yet embodies the enthusiastic approach of someone just hired for the job. After quickly checking me in she personally escorted me to my room, a cordial gesture which I witnessed being extended to other guests as well and something I appreciated in my half-asleep state.
Francisca Budi, Resort Assistant Manager
Once in my room, I noticed a handyman working on my fireplace.
“Please excuse me. Would it be too much trouble to finish?” he asked.
His name is Plamen Tsvetkov, from the Engineering Department. He has been with the Four Seasons Resort Vail since it opened in 2010. I appreciated his concern for my comfort right away, even when he had to step away to get a part, again apologizing that it was taking longer (though overall it wasn’t that much longer) than he had anticipated. When he was done, he allowed me to photograph him, his gentle smile emulating his friendly demeanor and courteous manner.
Plamen Tsvetkov, Engineering Department
My morning walks became a very big deal for me in my short time at Vail, but maintaining that positive state attained from my outings depended so much on what was to follow, which was breakfast at Flame.
The natural juices of the day are a special touch (my favorite one being grape juice) and the comfort of the space made it a perfect spot to lounge in for a bit before continuing on. Having staff who would great me with a smile and deliver quality service was so key. Such was the case with Max Beleck, who in addition to serving at Flame, also works at Guest Services and has been with the resort since 2011. He was friendly and provided great service and charm along with it.
Max Beleck, Flame and Guest Services
Entering my room after a morning hike or a day out was always a joy. My room was gorgeous. I loved how spacious and airy it was: the soft, yummy sheets on my bed and comfy down pillows – tons and tons of them. The cool breeze that came through my patio doors, and the view of the mountains from my balcony. I really, really loved the deep bath tub which I enjoyed on more than one occasion wondering why this wasn’t a part of my daily life.
What added even more to how much I enjoyed my room was the care that Rosa, the housekeeper, put into it. At night I would walk in after a long day and find my room lightly dimmed, with the classical music station softly playing and my sheets turned down. That soothing feeling of the soft lights and music upon entering is one that truly had impact because I know that it takes an extra level of thought to consider how much I would enjoy that experience. I never photographed Rosa – she was like the ninja cleaning lady of all cleaning ladies. She would leave her mark – but I always just miss her. Alas.
Last, but not least, is the wonderful opportunity I had in meeting Dawn Page from the Spa. Not just any spa, mind you. The spa at the Four Seasons Resort Vail has received many accolades and high rankings in the press and also among guest reviews. Forbes Travel Guide awarded them with a Five-Star Spa award, making them one of only 30 spas worldwide listed. Conde Nast, Travel & Leisure and Virtuoso also honored the spa with accolades and awards. And Dawn has been there since the very beginning, having been involved in the prep and grand opening.
Dawn Page, Four Seasons Resort Vail Spa
The spa’s treatments are delightful, but even more enjoyable is the fact that all hotel guests have access to the hot tubs, steam room, and sauna at any time the spa is open – free of charge, no appointment needed. This made for a wonderful way to just drop by after a walk or long day and relax, a great perk for guests to enjoy.
And that’s what it’s all about, right? Of all the things that immediately work themselves into your senses when you first arrive to a hotel: the visuals as you drive up, the scent of the room when you first walk in, the welcoming vibe and beauty of the place, the lighting, the decor; of all those things, it is the people that work there, assisting you through each step, that make the overall experience one that will define your stay.
To assume that the “luxury” label is a guarantee of this is to assume wrong. Which is why we should never take great service for granted, nor the people who are behind it all, no matter where we may be staying. Thus, when I think of, and recommend, the Four Seasons Resort as a lodging option in Vail, it is in celebration of the great people that made my time there a happy one, and are sure to make yours a memorable one as well, with or without kids in tow.
I welcome you to check out the Four Seasons Resort Vail website for more information on rates, services and amenities for all seasons. A wonderful location for couples and families a like, with various room options available.
Many thanks to Jim Guttau of Four Seasons Resort Vail and Malen Yantis Public Relations for their hospitality and service in order to make this experience possible.