When the word “vacation” comes to mind, all I can think about is a sandy beach with my toes inches from the water. This past week, the word “vacation” became a whole new word for me. We decided to plan a trip to Vail, CO a few months ago. We had enough American Airlines miles to basically get two free round trips (which was AMAZING) if you ask me. If you aren’t apart of the AA ADVANTAGE program, I highly suggest joining or one similar to your airline preference. There are so many perks available for flying & if you play it right you can land round trips!
Flight & Drive to Vail
Neither of us (my fiancé and I) had been to the state of Colorado before so we weren’t really sure what it would be like. In my opinion, this state is so overlooked. When flying into Denver, gorgeous mountains appeared in the distance and little did I know, that was just the beginning of it. As soon as we landed, we anxiously went to grab our bags and take the shuttle over to get our rental car for the 5 days we would be there.The drive from Denver to Vail was about 1 hour and 30 min ( we landed before rush hour ). The drive was filled with windy roads, mountains with snow, tunnels, and cute little towns along the way. We were completely stunned by the beauty of everything surrounding us. At one point, we drove through a tunnel and at the very end of it was a WINTER WONDERLAND. I would drive this over & over again any day. We stopped in a little town called Frisco & took a few pictures by Lake Dillon along the way!
Q. Where did you stay?
A. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Vail right next to Lionshead Village. This was one of the best & coziest resorts I’ve ever stayed at. At the time being, the slopes weren’t open yet around Vail except in Keystone ( we knew this before going ) but it gave us so much relaxing time and the “nowhere to be” feeling. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted with floor to ceiling windows of the Vail outdoors along with lounging by the two fireplaces. This resort had so much to offer, from yummy breakfast to an infinity pool & an outdoor creek trail for all the runners/walkers. They have daily activities for guest & usually around 4:30-6:30 they had hot cocoa & cookies. One day it was macaroons!
Q. What did you do while you were there?
A. We did a handful of things while we were there. Since it still was “off season” when we went, crowds were minimal. At one point, I felt like we had the whole resort to ourselves. It was a super nice feeling. We went exploring the first day around the resort & into Vail Village for a little shopping and a bite to eat. They had the cutest Starbucks nestled away & of course I had to grab a hot chocolate. Another day, we went to Lionshead Village to walk around to do the same. At one point during the day it started snowing so hard so we ran into a bar & had some nachos and a couple beers! Perfect combo right?! lol. Honestly, it was so fun. The village has an ice-skating rink in the center and I thought that was so pretty & something fun to do!
Justin wanted to go hiking when we were there and I wasn’t opposed because of all of the amazing views. We put on layers after layers and went up Booth Falls Trail. Apparently, this is a super popular trail and we could see why after we hiked up a bit. It was covered in snow & snowing at the same time. Imagine that.
One of our favorite things to do was relax at the resort. The last night we went to the restaurant they have on property, sat at the bar, and had a cheese plate with a few drinks. We sat by the fire & just laughed and talked the night away. I can’t describe how cozy & relaxing this was! This was honestly one of my favorite nights there.
Q. Vail Food Must do’s?
A. We ate at soooo many delicious places during our trip. Our top picks are as follows:
Breakfast: We ate breakfast at the resort most of the time. We would sit by the windows with the breathtaking views and sip our morning coffee. They also had a mini market where you could get all the lattes & cold brews and muffins if you did not want to do a sit down breakfast.
Lunch: Pepis in Vail Village was an amazing lunch spot. It’s an Austrian restaurant and the pretzel bun French dips can’t be beat!
Dinner: Garfinkel’s in Lionshead Village was superrrr great. This was the night it started heavily snowing and we just ran into a bar to have a few drinks. If you’re looking for something more casual, then this is a good place to consider.
Q. What did you pack for Vail?
A. My packing list consisted of : basic layers, boots (preferably snow or duck boots), beanies, scarves, coats, hot hand warmers, foot warmers, ski pants, heavy puffer etc. Basically all the comfiesss!
Q. Who took your photos & how did you find such a good photographer far away?
A. If I am in need of photos somewhere I am traveling, I usually search the hashtag for example #vailphotographer or #vailphotography. I will then try to scope out someone who stands out to me and has my sense of color, editing style. I am SO THANKFUL I found @mackrophotography. Her photography website is linked here. Not only does she shoot amazing photos but she was the sweetest and knew EXACTLY what she was doing.
Q. Were your toes not freezing during your photoshoot?
A. GIRL YES, but you gotta do it for the gram lol & I didn’t think about shoes for that particular dress (oops). She had a Jeep Wrangler so we kept getting in & out ( I loved her for that hahaha). My toes needed all the heat after from that photoshoot.
Things to know before you go:
- Resorts have fees so pay attention to them ( valet parking, resort daily fees, breakfast fees etc.). Just make sure you ask before you book your stay! Also incidentals etc.
- Bring all the layers. You can never have too many.
- Remember Vail is at a higher altitude if you don’t live in the mountains already.
- Get a rental car with FOUR WHEEL DRIVE. I’m so glad we did… otherwise I don’t know how we would’ve made it.
- Parking in Vail is super high so use your resort shuttle to take you places. Some parking garages are free in the off season.