I walked through the sliding glass doors at The Hythe, a recently-renovated, upscale hotel in Lionshead Village in Vail, Colorado, greeted by a sense of luxury seldom found around my more modest hometown of North Conway, N.H.
A towering, 360-degree gas fireplace stood in the center of the lobby, surrounded by wood-paneled walls that struck the perfect balance between rustic and modern. Fur blankets spread over leather couches, instilling a sense of coziness, while the marble landing at the base of the floating stairs highlighted the architectural creativity that went into the design. Upon entry, guests were greeted with a cold glass of champagne and a concierge service ready to cater to their every want and need.
Scattered throughout the hotel was a collection of photographs, art and artifacts — such as a display of old skis and tools used by the 10th Mountain Division during World War II — that pay homage to both Vail’s history and modern-day culture, alluding to a deeper theme beyond aprés-ski bars and fine dining.
This was my first time visiting Vail, and my initial experience was representative of the town I had envisioned — a glamorous haven catered to financially well-off individuals looking to vacation in the shadows of a world-class ski hill. As I explored, I saw a place where visitors take a few runs in the morning, getting the perfect shot for their social media accounts before spending their afternoons and evenings sipping hot, boozy cocktails at one of the many aprés bars and sampling dishes at the various European-style restaurants.