Alpine Haven

An engaging European-flavored destination in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Vail, CO, has long been a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. Many flock to The Lodge at Vail, A RockResort, which has been integral to the history of the charming mountain town. Unveiled in 1962, the lodge preceded the opening of Vail Mountain by only one month. At the time, the mountain had just one gondola, two chair lifts, and eight ski instructors, and a lift ticket cost a mere $5. Times change though, and the mountain has since gone on to become one of North America's largest ski resorts. The Lodge at Vail has also experienced its fair share of changes over the years, including the recent opening of its long-awaited RockResorts Spa.

The Lodge at Vail provides the perfect retreat for those looking to experience an idyllic winter wonderland.
The Lodge at Vail provides the perfect retreat for those looking to experience an idyllic winter wonderland.

Situated in a newly built space, the 11,600-square-foot spa is designed to complement the lodge's alpine decor with its use of warm colors, natural stone, wood inlays, and welcoming fireplaces. Upon entering the spa, guests are led through a stone walkway and past a decorative water feature and encouraged to kick back before a cozy fireplace in the large co-ed relaxation lounge. Female spa-goers can also relax in a separate women's lounge. The 11-treatment-room spa features a wet room, two facial rooms, seven massage rooms, and a couples' room, also known as the Two-Gether Room, which comes complete with a fireside soaking tub for two. For those who prefer to choose their own music, an iPod dock system can be found in each room.

The co-ed relaxation lounge features a fireplace, which makes the room a cozy place to curl up after a day on the slopes.
The co-ed relaxation lounge features a fireplace, which makes the room a cozy place to curl up after a day on the slopes.

Catering to active types who are often drawn to Vail's natural outdoor playground, the spa also sports a gym with a range of state-of-the-art LifeFitness equipment. There's also a movement studio for Pilates, stretching, and yoga. Most guests, however, prefer to work out in the great outdoors by hiking and biking in the warmer months and skiing and snowboarding come snowfall. Fortunately, the spa is an ideal place to recover from such recreational pursuits, offering a variety of muscle-soothing treatments.

Weekend warriors can soak away their aches and pains in the spa's inviting hot tub.
Weekend warriors can soak away their aches and pains in the spa's inviting hot tub.

Because tradition plays such a key role at the lodge, opening spa director Linda Lynge wanted to incorporate it into the spa, as well. As a result, the treatment menu reflects the lodge's time-honored themes. "We chose to stay traditional with basic massages, facials, and body treatments using all eco-friendly organic products," says Lynge. "We incorporated a couple of unique offerings that include papaya and pineapple, mango and passion fruit, green tea with chamomile, green coffee, and caviar." For example, the spa's Youth Recovery Facial ($200, 60 minutes) relies on pure caviar and botanical extracts to firm and smooth the skin. It is especially ideal for clients suffering from the high-altitude effects commonly experienced by those visiting the Vail area. The Green Tea & Chamomile Healing Wrap ($150, 60 minutes; $225, 90 minutes), which soothes with a blend of aloe, chamomile, green tea, and water lily extracts, also helps to moisturize dehydrated skin.

A decorative sink fits with the spa's lodge-like feel.
A decorative sink fits with the spa's lodge-like feel.

With talk of the environment on many people's minds, RockResorts has embraced the green movement wholeheartedly. "In keeping with RockResorts's commitment to be a leader in eco-conscious luxury, the spa features the organic Pevonia Botanica product line," says Lynge. "Pevonia's philosophy is to maintain an affinity with nature and its resources." Unfortunately, carrying the line was easier said than done. Although Lynge knew she wanted to use Pevonia from the get-go, the fact that another local spa had an informal exclusivity agreement with the company proved a formidable obstacle. However, Lynge didn't give up and took her request to founder Sylvie Hennessy, who granted the spa permission to carry the line.

In addition to a welcoming fireplace, the Two-Gether Room has a fireside soaking tub for two.
In addition to a welcoming fireplace, the Two-Gether Room has a fireside soaking tub for two.

Opening the spa also presented other challenges. "People say there are two things in life that are certain: death and taxes," says Lynge. "Well, I would like to add a third: construction delays." Because delays are inevitable, Lynge had to contend with the challenges of juggling the staff's hire and start dates, which also impacted the training schedule. The delays also influenced the spa's soft opening, making it especially difficult. "Once you are open though, the focus changes," says Lynge. "It's such a sigh of relief the moment you open your doors and experience the guests' positive comments. It makes all the challenges worthwhile."



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