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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Bypass the Crowds in Vail

Visit this Colorado ski town in the shoulder months for off-season deals, blissfully peaceful mountain trails, and a raucous local bar scene.


1. Where to Stay

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is modeled after a grand rustic lodge.  

Take a swim in the year-round heated outdoor pool, then warm up beside your in-room fireplace at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch (from $195), where lodge-inspired rooms feature stone detailing and dark wood beams. You'll save around $70 a night by booking this month rather than prime ski season in December. Stop into the hotel’s three-year-old Spago outpost for a pre-dinner cocktail between five and seven, when well drinks are just $3.

Escape mountain kitsch at the Park Hyatt (from $159), a 190-room hotel that underwent a $26 million overhaul in November 2008. Off season nightly rates are $50 to $100 lower, on average. The minimalist rooms are done up in neutral shades of gray and beige, while a massive elk-horn chandelier in the lobby lends a rustic feel.

Find little Germany in the midst of the Colorado mountains at Sonnenalp, a sprawling hotel that includes hand-carved furniture, windowsill flower boxes, and a staff clad in Bavarian dirndls and wool vests. Though rates can climb over $400 a night in December, rooms start at $245 in the off-season. The spot provides welcome winter-weather perks, like heated bathroom floors and plush goose-down Frette duvets.

Published on Oct 7, 2010 as a web exclusive.

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