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The Arrabelle’s architecture is reminiscent of grand European ski resorts.


Rocky Tops

By Stephanie Davis Smith

Suite and exterior photos courtesy of The Arrabelle at Vail Square | Guest room photo courtesy of Hotel Talisa


After a decade at the base of Vail Mountain, The Arrabelle at Vail Square still climbs the list of where to spend the holidays.

Winter gets all the love in Vail, and, now, summer is touted as the new boom season for the Colorado ski town. But, what about fall?

Autumn is the most underrated season in this tony enclave two hours west of Denver. While the aspen leaves start to turn in September, you may be fortuitous enough to catch a glimpse of the fall foliage into November—if the snow doesn’t come early.

Fall can be sleepy in a resort town, making it the ideal time to unplug and reconnect with nature and family. Whether you want to go hiking, backcountry fishing or on a mountain-biking excursion with Paragon Guides, or chill in one of The Arrabelle at Vail Square’s 28 one- to five-bedroom private residences, there’s nothing quite as peaceful as this time of year.

Fresh off its 10th anniversary, the AAA Four Diamond Award Arrabelle never seems to age and forever resembles an Alpine grande dame sitting regally at the base of Vail Mountain. The wraparound views of the mountains from its larger residences’ rival that of their multiple amber-glowing fireplaces. While the hotel has 96 guest rooms that are the epitome of luxury, the residences feel like a home away from home for multigenerational broods. Indoorsy types can book a day of pampering at the Spa at The Arrabelle, a cooking class at Larkspur restaurant, or lounge around the heated rooftop pool and Jacuzzi. The active set can sign up for one of several 5K turkey trots around town. When it’s adult time, vetted Vail Sitters come to the rescue to watch the little ones. However, be sure to bring them along for a delicious meal Nov. 22 at either The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch or the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail (advance reservations recommended). You’ll find fall in Vail has plenty for which to be thankful. Suite rates from $485 per night, one-bedroom residence from $499 per night, two-bedroom residence from $605 per night 

A suite at The Arrabelle at Vail Square

One to Watch: Hotel Talisa

Perched at 8,150 feet on Vail Mountain along Gore Creek, newly opened Hotel Talisa, A Luxury Resort Collection, Vail is hardly an ordinary ski lodge. Formerly Vail Cascade, the 287-room mountain-modern-meets-glam property underwent a major $60 million transformation replete with new guest rooms and lounge areas, a spa and fitness center, an Alps-inspired restaurant, a cafe, and an outdoor heated swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Named for a North American Ute Indian word meaning “beautiful waters” (the Southern Ute tribe once inhabited the area), Vail’s only ski-in/ski-out hotel, designed by Los Angeles-based firm Leo A. Daly, is fashioned with standout artwork and design, including original horse photography series The War Pony Project by artist Brady Willette, sculptural pendant lamps, and a massive lobby-cum-library with well-edited tomes specific to skiing and the Colorado Rockies, as well as views of the mountain. Winter guest room rates from $449 per night, suite rates from $849 per night –Jennie Nunn 

A two-bedroom suite at Hotel Talisa