Vail Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Eat and More

There is something about Vail that is unique and distinct from any other winter destination in the United States. Vail, located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, is known for having one of the longest ski seasons on the continent. With a peak elevation of 11,570 feet, it’s no wonder people from all over the world travel to experience the adventure and beauty of Vail. Get the most out of your Vail vacation with our guide.

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Where to stay in Vail

When selecting a place to stay in Vail, you want to keep a variety of issues in mind, such as; Does the hotel offer activities? Does the hotel have a ski rental service on site? What restaurants are available at the hotel? Vail is a small town, and you might not be inclined to venture outside every moment of the day, so you’ll want to make sure the hotel you choose has everything under one roof. Therefore, we recommend the Grand Hyatt Vail.

Grand Hyatt Vail

A view of the Grand Hyatt Vail in winter.

Nestled at the base of Vail Mountain and along scenic Gore Creek, the Grand Hyatt Vail’s ski-in/ski-out resort with Vail’s only chairlift makes it an ideal location for skiers and snowboarders. Grand Hyatt Vail’s Chair 20 is located on-site, within walking distance of the resort’s ski rental, valet, and concierge services.

In the lobby of this welcoming resort, guests can take part in a champagne sabering and toast and help themselves to hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies. Beyond the resort’s convenient ski and snowboard facilities, it offers a range of equipment and activities for skiers and non-skiers alike. The resort is home to its own Cascade Village Square, which includes an ice skating rink, outdoor ice cream bar, food truck, and fire pits for daily s’mores roasting. Guests also have access to the creek-side heated infinity pool and two outdoor hot tubs. The resort has a spa, restaurant (in addition to a pop-up restaurant), lounge, and cafe.

The Grand Hyatt Vail completed a multi-million dollar renovation in 2018, recreating the space to showcase incredible artwork and design. Featuring wood, stone and leather textures, the design is influenced by the surrounding mountains and history. Local handcrafted artwork around the hotel pays homage to the Southern Ute Native American tribe.

  • Nearest airport: Eagle County Airport
  • Time: 37 minutes by car
  • Distance: 53.9 miles

Activities at the Grand Hyatt Vail

Roasting s'mores over a fire pit.

Moët Imperial Yurt: This chic and cozy winter haven is available to rent and is perfect for après-ski. It includes two private fire pits, champagne sabering, a s’mores kit, and house charcuterie. The Moët Imperial Yurt can accommodate up to ten guests.

Topgolf Swing Suites: Customers are treated to comforting food and drink while enjoying virtual golf or other interactive games such as soccer, zombie dodgeball, and hockey. Each Topgolf Swing Suite can accommodate up to twelve people, with inviting lounge seating.

Wellness workshop: The 1,045-square-foot wellness studio offers fitness classes like sunrise yoga, restorative yoga (great for before and after skiing), and barre classes. Customers also have access to compression boots from Theragun, providing decompression for tired limbs after a long day on the mountain.

Ax throwing: Test your hand and arm strength and coordination by throwing an ax at a wooden target.

Pop-up restaurant Yoshimi: New in December, customers can enjoy an exclusive sushi pop-up, with Sapporo on tap, Suntory Highball whiskey and premium sake flights. Highlights include iconic maki rolls and handmade nigiri.

Where to eat in Vail

Living room by the fire (American)

Pork belly and margarita sliders from Fireside Lounge Vail.

Located in the Grand Hyatt Vail, the lounge offers inventive afternoon food and drink with live performances by local musicians. Their Bavarian pretzel bites and their burrata and corn salad are not to be missed!

Restaurant The Tower (French)

Food at La Tour restaurant in Vail.

Featuring classic French dishes, from Alaskan halibut marinated in miso and black truffle to seared duck breast. And for dessert, Crème Brûlée Flambée.

Matsuhisa (Japanese)

Sushi, soy sauce and chopsticks on tray.

From the same chef as the world-renowned Nobu restaurants, Chef Nobu’s specialties in Matsuhisa include yellowtail tataki and black truffle sea bass.

Leonora (Tapas)

An appetizing dish at the Leonora restaurant.

Inspired by the French Alps, the Spanish Pyrenees and the Rockies, Leonora offers tantalizing tapas and creative dishes. Tasty dishes such as bone marrow and elk are prepared with locally sourced alpine ingredients.

La Nonna Vail Ristorante (Italian)

Homemade pasta next to utensils on a table at La Nonna Vail.

La Nonna is Italian for grandma and the name reflects the restaurant’s passion for food, wine and creating memories with family and friends. Menu highlights include homemade potato dumplings with meat ragout and homemade mushroom ravioli with white truffle oil.

What to do in Vail

Skiing/Snowboarding with Venture Sports

A man skiing down a slope in Vail.

This is a ski-in ski-out experience where you never carry your skis to and from the chairlift. Vail Mountain has 195 runs in total, including seven back bowls. 18% of the slopes are beginner slopes, 29% are intermediate slopes and 53% are advanced slopes.

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Snowmobiling with Nova Guides

A snowmobile on snowy ground.

Snowmobile tours atop the Rocky Mountains include endless miles of open prairie and spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of four surrounding mountain ranges, including the Continental Divide. Hosting tours into the White River National Forest at Historic Camp Hale, guests will reach elevations of 12,500 feet.

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Snow Cat Tours with Nova Guides

A caterpillar and two snowmobiles in front of a chalet.

The snowcat tour is the perfect alternative for those who don’t want to drive a snowmobile but want to experience the same scenic views of the surroundings.

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Ice Fishing with Vail Valley Anglers

A man fishing on the ice.

Ice fishing offers guests a unique opportunity to fish in the winter. Ice fishing is associated with a fire or the warmth of a portable fishing hut.

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Dog sledding with mountain mushers

Dog sledding at sunrise.

Calling all thrill seekers! Dog sledding on trails without snowmobiles and offering a view of the surrounding landscape.

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Snow Tubing at Adventure Ridge

A group of people snow tubing.

Located at the top of Vail Mountain, the 900-foot-long multi-lane hill that features music, also has a covered belt to haul tubers to the top.

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Horse-drawn sleigh rides with Bearcat Stables

Horse-drawn sleigh rides in Vail.

Tour the grounds of a historic farm by horse-drawn sleigh or sleigh ride with dinner at a historic, rustic farmer’s cabin.

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Getting to and around Vail

A view of a Vail village at dusk.

Getting to Vail usually requires a flight and some driving. Vail is also a stop on some Amtrak routes. We’ve listed the best options for getting to and around Vail.

  • Eagle Regional Airport (EGE): Eagle Regional Airport is located 30 miles west of Vail and approximately a 40 minute drive. Shuttles are available at the airport to transport you to your hotel.
  • Denver International Airport (DIA): Denver International Airport is located 200 miles east of Vail and about a two-hour drive. If you arrive by plane to DIA, we recommend that you take a bus (approximately 2.5 hours) or rent a vehicle.

If you find yourself in Vail without a vehicle, the best way to get around the village is to use the village shuttle service – a reliable, fast, and free option.

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