Plan A Trip To This Western Winter Hot Spot For A Romantic Getaway

Many people think of Vail, Colorado as a premier skiing and snowboarding destination. And it is. It boasts one of the largest ski mountains in the world, with 5,317 acres of skiable terrain and a seemingly endless supply of powder. Its seven back bowls — the stuff of snowy legends — are on many skiers' bucket lists. But what people may not realize is that as a destination, Vail offers much more than just winter sports. With its Swiss-inspired architecture and quaint covered bridge, the town exudes Old World charm in spades. Walking down its snow-dusted cobblestone streets on a moonlit evening, you might even feel like you've been whisked into a fairy tale.

A World War II vet and several others founded Vail in the 1960s to emulate classic European ski villages. The town's European ambiance not only adds to its charm but also makes it the perfect place for a romantic winter getaway. Whether your idea of a dreamy nest is a boutique hotel, a rustic lodge, a luxury resort with oodles of amenities, or a private condo or cabin, Vail has it all.

Dreamy accommodations

Vail has no shortage of phenomenal accommodations. Splurge on a suite at the Four Seasons and feel ultra-pampered. Sip champagne in thick terry robes on your room's furnished balcony, dine on world-class cuisine at the Flame Steakhouse, and spend time in the resort's full-service spa, where you can book S'mores facials (which include decadent marshmallow face masks) or couples' treatments to relax together after a day on the slopes. Top off your evening with $16 cups of hot chocolate that are presented so artfully that you may even forget you're supposed to drink them.

But know that you don't have to splurge on five-star accommodations to feel spoiled in Vail. Many mid-range hotels offer plenty of amenities along with special touches to add warmth to your romantic weekend. At the mid-range Austria Haus, for example, you'll feel like you're staying in an Austrian chalet. The rooms at this boutique hotel have heated bathroom floors and sitting rooms with fireplaces for extra coziness. The hotel also has a year-round outdoor pool and hot tub, hearty breakfasts, and a superb location on scenic Gore Creek, a short walk from the village. And when you're ready to venture out of the hotel, you're in for a treat. Unlike some other ski towns, you won't find many soggy fries or stale beers lurking around Vail. Instead, you'll discover that dining in this town is a true culinary adventure.

Top-notch food, drink, and more

The first thing to know is that Vail is home to a fantastic apres-ski scene. Root & Flower has a great selection of wines, cocktails, and bites, and is located right in the heart of the village. For something a bit livelier, head to the Red Lion for amazing nachos and micro-brews or to the Shakedown Bar for apres-ski parties with live music. 

But please — save room for dinner! La Nonna Ristorante offers delicious homemade Italian dishes paired with wine, while Matsuhisa (Chef Nobu's second Colorado location) offers new-style Japanese with Peruvian and Argentinian twists. There's even Deca + Bōl, an upscale establishment serving American-inspired cuisine where you can get in a few rounds of bowling with your meal. So yes, you could spend your entire vacation skiing, eating, and drinking. And between meals, there are a zillion other things to do. 

There's always something happening in this town, on and off the slopes. Besides skiing and snowboarding, the area offers ice skating, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and snowmobiling. If you happen to visit in January, take an evening stroll along the Gore Creek Promenade and marvel at the illuminated ice sculptures that feature in the town's annual Winterfest. Last but not least, don't leave without enjoying a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the crisp mountain air. In Vail country, snuggling up under warm blankets with your sweetheart as your sleigh glides through a starlit alpine wonderland is the perfect touch on a romantic winter getaway.