We all have a mental image of upscale European alpine villages from countless spy movies and Vogue fashion shoots. There’s the little café with etched glass and women sipping Alsace with perfect hair and puffy parkas. The men are capable sorts, usually lean and well-traveled. Jet-setters, rich ski bums, and other dubious types mill around low-slung Citroëns with skis on the back, while the air feels charged with intrigue and adventure simmering under the laissez-faire insouciance.
Sorta like the Arrabelle at Vail Square.
“There’s no other place like this in North America that captures the iconic ambience of classic Old World European cities like Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Prague,” says John Dawsey, director of sales. “During the design phase, we really wanted to capture a feeling aligned with a cultured European central plaza.”
The Arrabelle consists of 86 suites overlooking the town square, which converts into a skating rink in winter at the gondola base of Vail Mountain. The charm is in the details: working wood shutters, copper drainspouts, and subtle fairy-tale stenciling around the Bavarian Biedemeier-style architecture. The lobby’s windows are Czech, no less.
Off the lobby, the Tavern is always buzzing with locals and visitors in the shadows sipping hot chocolate and Grand Marnier. The menu is meat-friendly. Try the Bone-in Veal Schnitzel with saffron risotto because that's what spies and dangerous women eat.
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Bike the Snowy Mountains of Colorado
Ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola to the Adventure Ridge. From there you can take a seat on a “ski bike” (a bike with skis instead of wheels) and maneuver over moguls or down tree-lined runs.
From $269. (970) 754-7777. This appeared in the November/December 2012 issue.
After dinner atop Vail Ski Resort, a night stroll took us through Lions Head, and under the Arrabelle. Midweek in Vail is very enjoyable since the weekend day-skiers are days away, making for a quieter and laid back atmosphere.