Four Seasons Vail Vs. Ritz-Carlton Vs. Sonnenalp Vs. Arrabelle


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Which is the best ski hotel in Vail, Four Seasons Vs. Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch Vs. Sonnenalp Vs. Arrabelle? In Vail, your best options are Four Seasons, Sonnenalp, or Arrabelle, but it is worth considering Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch too, even though the location of the Ritz-Carlton is more isolated. These hotels are all very individual and offer a completely different experience, so it’s worth researching these hotels, as we have below, before you make your final decision.

Four Seasons is a particularly outstanding hotel brand and Four Seasons hotels are usually the best option in any resort area. We consider Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat, a Four Seasons hotel, to be one of the best hotels in the world. If you want to pick Four Seasons ski hotel, you have to stay in Vail, Whistler, Megève, or Jackson Hole, which offer the best Four Seasons ski hotels.

Wherever you decide to stay, at a Four Seasons hotel, any Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Fairmont, Sonnenalp, Arrabelle, or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks (as well as your usual Marriott Bonvoy Hyatt, etc., points and status benefits). See what our clients say about us and how thrilled they are with the extra benefits we provide.

1. Four Seasons Vail Vs.Ritz-Carlton Vs. Sonnenalp Vs. Arrabelle: Location

Four Seasons Vail is perfectly located for nightlife, shopping, restaurants, and the rest of Colorado’s largest ski resort, Vail. It is right by the highway rather than being village center, although the clever design means that you don’t notice the highway.

Four Seasons is a 5 to 10-minute walk to the slopes, but they have a complimentary dedicated ski shuttle to their Four Seasons ski concierge at the base of Gondola One, where you can store your gear which is hugely helpful, so you don’t need to drag your skis to and from the slopes. The Four Seasons ski concierge is located in a separate building and will help you with equipment rentals, ski lessons, maps, weather reports, ski condition information, and, most importantly, store and dry your gear using special dry lockers imported from Switzerland.

Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch is relatively isolated and can be found near Beaver Creek. Even though this is a stunning property, it’s located in a quiet area and offers the worst location of all four hotels, particularly for Vail village access. The advantage of the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is that, although it is some distance from Vail and Beaver Creek, it is ski-in and ski-out using its own lift with a wonderful fireside bar at the base of the lift. Because of its isolated location, Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch offers a free shuttle into Beaver Creek (every 10 minutes) and shuttles to Vail Village for shopping too.

Arrabelle has a better village location than Four Seasons, right on Vail Square, although it does not have the five-star grandeur of Four Seasons or the nearby Ritz. It does have a ski-in and ski-out location next to the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

The Sonnenalp wins over the Arrabelle, Four Seasons Vail, and Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch for village location but is 3 blocks up Bridge Street and from the slopes. This is a much smaller family-run ski hotel with cozy rooms and intimate public spaces.

2. Style

Four Seasons Vail is fabulously luxurious, as you would expect. The front exterior of the property is discrete rather than noteworthy, with just the Canadian flag and a small bronze plaque near the door indicating that you’ve arrived at a Four Seasons hotel. Inside, long hallways are hung with contemporary art, dark wood, and plush furnishings giving a traditional, rustic but modern ski lodge feel. The look is elegant and informal, and the service is first-class.

Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch is relatively isolated but is, again, very luxurious. The staff is not as good as at the Four Seasons, but this very definitely remains an impressive five-star hotel and your best option in this region for true ski in-ski out. The look is an old-world American log cabin with stone walls, exposed beams, leather furnishings, and roaring open fires.

There is a great atmosphere at the Ritz-Carlton in ski season, with vibrant bars and a packed outside terrace with live music. We particularly like how the hotel embraces the outside with its slopeside Fireside bar, which sits at the base of the ski lift. This is a great place to watch skiers return while warming your hands near the flames.

Arrabelle is not as luxurious as Four Seasons Vail or Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. This member of the RockResort family and has a European ambiance, with formal and grand chandeliers, ornate marble arches, and wide corridors that make you feel like you are in a chateau. The style feels generic and modern, on a Farimont level of luxury. Decor features lots of stone and natural woods, but this hotel is not as heavily interior-designed or styled like the Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton.

The Sonnenalp is a lovely small hotel with a charming Bavarian character but it does not match Four Seasons Vail or Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch for facilities or luxury. It does, however, offer a boutique feel, competent staff, decent rooms, great service, and Ludwig’s dining experience, which is worth trying.

3. Rooms

The Four Seasons Vail has newly refurbished rooms. The look is modern, and the rooms are designed in grey tones. They feel more contemporary than the rooms at the Ritz-Carlton, and all rooms uniquely feature a gas fireplace along with glorious floor-to-ceiling windows on the balcony doors. The base rooms here a larger than the base rooms at any of the other hotels in this article, at 575 ft² or 53 m².

The disadvantage of the Four Seasons rooms Vs. those at The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is that although they are really nice towards Lionshead and the mountains so you can see the gondola running up the mountain, the views are not unobstructed as you might get at Ritz Bachelor Gulch.

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch has newly refurbished rooms with natural tones, wood furnishings, and a grey, white, and oatmeal color palette. The mountain is bought into the room with pictures showing mountain deer. The rooms are large, and the look is modern and classy. We particularly like the large windows which lead out onto the balcony. The base rooms here a smaller than those at Four Seasons at 450 ft² or 42 m².

At Arrabelle, all rooms have fireplaces, and some have private balconies with lovely views of the surrounding mountains. The Arrabelle Superior Room is 450 ft², so is similar in size to the Ritz base room but is not as large as the base room at Four Seasons. Each room features one king bed or two queen beds and elegant alpine décor. The Arrabelle Deluxe Room is 550 ft², which provides extra space.

The Sonnenalp rooms start between 350 and 420 ft², so they are the smallest in size of these four hotels, although they do feel very cozy and European.

4. Pool

At Four Seasons, the heated outdoor rectangular pool is tucked within a sunken courtyard, which makes it feel hidden away and private. The pool is large and is open every season, offering loungers and two spa tubs. This is my favorite pool of these four hotels, not least because the water is kept at a warm temperature so you can relax and enjoy its deliciously warm waters. An outdoor covered hut sits at one end of the pool, which has a large fireplace and an attendant providing heated towels and robes.

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch has a large lap-style pool that steams in the winter. While the pool is a decent size, it is not particularly original in design or character.

At Arrabelle, you can use the spa, a rooftop hot tub, and a small outdoor rooftop pool. To be honest, this hotel is the least appealing option when it comes to pools.

The Sonnenalp has an indoor/outdoor heated pool, and whirlpool, with additional whirlpools dotted amidst mountain greenery. The outdoor part of this complex, in particular, is very pretty and appealing, with a boutique feel.

5. Bar & Restaurant

The Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton both offer an array of indoor and outdoor eating and drinking venues complete with fireplaces and atmospheric settings. There is little to choose between these dining venues. The Four Seasons Vail’s main restaurant is Flame, and there’s also a “great room” bar area with a large fireplace and library.

The Sonnenalp and Arrabelle do not offer such a good selection of places to eat and drink but are more centrally located, so you can try something outside your hotel if you wish.

At Arrabelle, The après-ski deck is particularly lovely here as it overlooks Vail Square. The main restaurant here is Tavern on the Square, serving heart mountain food. at The Sonnenalp, the restaurants are pretty good and one spills out onto a layered patio out back which is rather nice.

6. Service

For service, the Four Seasons wins, as this brand usually does. If service is your most important differentiator, pick Four Seasons Vail.

7. Club Lounge

There is only one excellent club lounge in Vail and Beaver Creek, the Club level at Ritz Carlton, which has excellent views of the mountains. Food in the Club Lounge here is excellent here, with a full breakfast and superb food presentations throughout the day. The Club Lounge in itself is a reason to stay here, although it obviously comes at the price of a club room which is a bit more than your standard room.

8. Conclusion

Four Seasons Vail and Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch stand out as being significantly more luxurious than Sonnenalp and Arrabelle in Vail. Four Seasons offers larger rooms, exceptional and kind staff, and a gorgeous spa and pool area. We prefer the Four Seasons because of its modern feel and central location, even taking into account the distance to the slopes. If you want a ski-in, ski-out hotel, you may think Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch is the only one to pick, but do remember that Four Seasons offers an excellent ski concierge to store your skis at the base of the slope in Vail.

In the village center, the Arrabelle is more convenient for ski-in, ski-out, but if you are looking for boutique loveliness, the family-run Sonnenalp is an excellent choice with a European edge. We offer free benefits at all these four hotels, so please contact our luxury travel concierge to find out what extra benefits we can share with you.

Note: All benefits & upgrades subject to availability & Terms & Conditions, enquire for more information. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.