Parkitecture is a style of architecture first developed by the United States National Park Service (NPS) to create buildings that harmonized with the natural environment (reference: Wikipedia). When I think of wonderful examples of parkitecture, the Ahwahnee — a glorious, grand lodge in Yosemite National Park — was top of mind.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek, Colorado, has taken the Ahwahnee’s place as my new ultimate grand lodge experience. This 180-room luxury hotel fully embraces its mountain surroundings, while managing to be rustic and elegant at the same time. This oxymoron is magic. Here’s what luxury parkitecture perfection looks like:
Our experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch went way beyond expectations. Ritz-Carlton has created a brilliant connection with this mountain destination. There’s a strong sense of place at every turn, from the massive log exterior, to the alpine-style furnishings, to Western-themed art and sculptures, to the quintessential Colorado mountain views from the windows.
The hotel is located right on the slopes at Bachelor Gulch so families can enjoy an effortless ski-in/ski out experience.
When off the slopes, it’s difficult to decide where to relax as there are so many places where you can be comfortable for hours at a time. The inviting main lounge has a roaring fire, the terrace offers s’mores and music in the afternoon, and there’s a year-round heated swimming pool. Adult-only bliss can be found in the 21,000 foot spa and the new Bachelors Lounge offers a cigar bar and an enormous handcrafted beverage menu — there is zero not to love at this hotel as a parent.
The pervasive casual elegance is what makes this property a gem for families. Outside of the adult zones, there’s no tiptoeing around or concerns about disturbing hushed conversations; the hotel is warm, buzzy, lively, and full of people quite simply having a good time.
Guest rooms have been throughly renovated. They are fresh, well-appointed, and comfortable with cozy beds and luxurious bathrooms with separate showers and tubs. 40 of the 180 rooms are suites and many are connecting, making configurations for larger families possible. Residential suites include kitchenette facilities. In short, families have a number of configurations from which to choose.
There are a few onsite dining options at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. We tried the new Buffalos restaurant specializing in Colorado cuisine and products. I had a phenomenal ribeye steak with chimichurri sauce cooked to perfection. There are just enough TVs to make it fun during sports games, but they blend seamlessly into the background when its time for dinner. Either way, the experience is the ideal blend of a kid-friendly atmosphere with enough foodie sophistication to please parents.
There’s also Wolfgang Puck’s signature Spago restaurant onsite. We didn’t get a chance to eat there, but it was packed. Spago’s design is modern, but the mountain-themed highlights make it blend beautifully with the rest of the interior design.
Lunch and après-ski cocktails (including a Champagne bar) are popular at Daniels’ bar on the terrace at the foot of the slopes.
We are spoiled for life now. The Ritz-Carlton Ski Concierge takes skis off your hands right on the mountain and when those boots are glued to your feet at the end of the day, they are there to unbuckle and pull. And in the morning, boots are warm and ready, while skis are lined up on the snow. D-e-c-a-d-e-n-t!
Ritz Kids is Ritz-Carlton’s signature kids’ program. It was just relaunched this year and demonstrates that this brand is serious about catering to young guests. The welcome starts at check in but it doesn’t end there. The new program is focused on four elements: water, land, environmental responsibility and culture. Each property has its own way of incorporating these elements into their kids’ activities and amenities.
At Bachelor Gulch, Ritz Kids (for ages 5-12) offers creative activities each day. Winter options including things like a snowshoe hike with a naturalist, cooking with the Ritz-Carlton pastry chef, Rocky Mountain Crafts, and Kids Night Out so parents can have a guilt-free date night.
They also offer a Ski Nanny to transport kids’ to Beaver Creek village for ski school — this ensures that parents can take advantage of every minute of ski time. I love this – they’ve thought of everything!
You can’t review a Ritz-Carlton without addressing the service. The service throughout the hotel is warm and attentive. In line with the casual vibe, it’s not scripted — the staff is 100% focused on ensuring guests are having a good time.
I rarely feel the need to go back to a hotel once I’ve experienced it. But I’m putting the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch on the must-visit again list. We loved it in winter and I have no doubt that it’s equally wonderful during the summer and fall given the ambiance, amenities, and outdoor access.
Winter room rates for a family of four start at $499.
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Editorial Note: We were hosted at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy except where noted.
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