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Four Seasons Vail Vs. Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch: Which Is Best?


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Which is the best ski hotel in Vail and Beaver Creek? Four Seasons Vs. Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch? 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.

1. Four Seasons Vail Vs.Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch: 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 the village center, although the clever design means that you don’t see or hear 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. You can store your gear here, 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.

Four Seasons Vail is, in fact, very similar in location to the Four Seasons Whister, which is one of our favorites. The resort is a 5-10 minute walk to the gondola and ski concierge. The walk from Four Seasons Vail is easy because pathways are heated (yes, really), which stops a build-up of snow and ice, and the walk is mainly through the pedestrian area of Vail Village.

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 for Vail village access but perhaps the best for mountain 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.

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.

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 fairly isolated but is, again, very luxurious. The staff are not as good as those 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 here in 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.

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 are larger than the base rooms at the Ritz, at 575 Square feet or 53 m².

The disadvantage of the Four Seasons rooms Vs. those at The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch are that although they are nice, and they have views 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 a more traditional look using natural tones, wood furnishings, and a grey, white, and oatmeal color palette. The mountain is brought into the room with pictures showing mountain deer. The rooms are large, and the look is classy. We particularly like the large windows which lead out onto the balcony. The base rooms here are smaller than those at Four Seasons at 450 Square feet or 42 m².

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 large pool is open every season, offering loungers and two spa tubs. This is my favorite pool, 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.

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.

6. Service

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

7. Club Lounge

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

8. Spa

The Four Seasons spa is exceptional. This expansive and immaculate oasis is a real asset, including a men’s locker room featuring four showers, wet steam, a dry sauna, a hot tub, and a cold plunge pool.

The Ritz-Carlton spa is also exceptional. Tucked within Beaver Creek Mountain, the resort spa offers a 21,000 ft² retreat inspired by its surroundings. Signature treatments incorporate locally sourced herbs, plants, and minerals, including activated charcoal sourced in Colorado mines, and address aches and concerns faced by skiers who spend their days on the slopes. The spa oasis features 19 treatment rooms, relaxation lounges with steam rooms, saunas, plunge pools, and a stone-lined coed grotto.

9. Conclusion

Four Seasons Vail and Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch stand out as being the most luxurious hotel options in and around Vail and Beaver Creek. 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, warm pool, service, 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. Both hotels are fantastic choices and offer fantastic dining and drinking venues. If you aren’t sure which to pick, why not book into both? Many of our clients do! This offers you the best of both worlds when you visit these magical mountains. 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.

Image © Jonas Tufvesson / Adobe Stock.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. 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.