Antlers Achieves Platinum Lodging Status for Vail Hotels

Last week we received some very exciting news from Kathy Lichtenheld at the Vail Valley Partnership, “Great news…….After lots of hard work & effort the Antlers has achieved a Platinum rating! Congratulations to the entire staff!” Our assistant manager Magda King and project manager Dave Collins worked closely with Kathy over the last eighteen months to manage and implement our Unit Quality Improvement Plan, a property-wide project created to achieve a challenging goal of reaching Vail’s highest-level Platinum lodging status for the entire property.

“Our enthusiasm and intention for this meaningful and thorough upgrade throughout the property has always been guest comfort and satisfaction,” says Antlers GM Rob LeVine. “We are honored and excited to carry this designation forward, and are committed not only to continuously meeting its high-quality standards, but exceeding them.”

Unique to vacation destinations, Vail Valley Partnership manages a Lodging Quality Assurance program (LQA) that provides a standardized rating system for all units rented through the Vail Valley’s central reservation systems, with Platinum representing the highest level of room appointments throughout a property.

“Congratulations to the Antlers at Vail for reaching a Platinum level rating in the Lodging Quality Assurance program,” says Chris Romer, president of the Vail Valley Partnership. “It takes a concerted effort, plus dedication, time and resources, for any condominium property to reach our highest rating. Reaching this level of rating shows a commitment to providing the highest level of guest service by the Antlers ownership as well as the staff.”

Because the Antlers guest suites are independently owned condominiums, rather than taking a ‘cookie cutter’ approach, all of the renovations were custom designed – personalized to owners’ taste, with the numerous interior upgrades over the past year including granite countertops, stainless appliances, new flooring, new lighting and entertainment systems, new fireplaces, furnishings and much more.

“While all of the upgrades meet the same stringent quality requirements, it’s fun to see the different details that personalize each of the condos – and resonate with guests, who often request the same suite on subsequent visits,” says LeVine. “This aspect is what allows us to offer a comfortable home-like experience to our guests while at the same time providing the conveniences and amenities of a fine hotel stay.This achievement was accomplished thanks to the hard work of Antlers team members Magdalena King and Dave Collins, as well as the many owners who bought into the plan and made significant investments to their condominiums.”

We have featured a handful of the many projects that went into this effort on our blog, and will continue to feature future projects as we move to the next step of the plan and work towards every individual Antlers at Vail condominium not just receiving this platinum lodging status but also maintaining it. You can browse a few of these below.

Featured Four-Bedroom Condominium4BR_living-kitchen_1600x800

 

 

 

AntlersVailLodging_2Brd_kitchenFeatured Two-Bedroom Condominium

 

 

 

New living room with beautiful flooring accented by faux wood beams, and a flat screen TV with stunning sounds system.

 

Featured Two-Bedroom Condominium

 

 

Featured 1-Bedroom with Bunks Condominium402_1bb_kitchen-dining

 

 

 

402_living-dining_2014Featured 1-Bedroom with Bunks Condominium

 

 

 

109_bedroom_2014Featured Studio Condominium

 

 

 

 

Thank You, Bravo! Musicians

Bravo! Vail Music Director, Anne-Marie McDermott, performs above. One of the perks of having her and all the other fantastic Bravo! Vail musicians stay at the Antlers is the sounds that often waft from the condos where they are practicing or the conference space that boasts a piano on which they rehearse.

Bravo! Vail Music Director, Anne-Marie McDermott, performs above. One of the perks of having her and all the other fantastic Bravo! musicians stay at the Antlers is the music that often wafts from the condos where they are practicing or the conference space that boasts a piano on which they rehearse.

Anne-Marie McDermott is one of our very special guests at Antlers each year. She recently shared the following with us: “My time in Vail, as Artistic Director of the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, is incredibly busy and sometimes very intense. Coming home to the Antlers, where I can practice the piano, enjoy a river view while grilling salmon, put my feet up in a comfortable living room gives me exactly the kind of relaxation between events that I need. Year after year I feel so well cared for by the most friendly, warm and helpful staff, it almost makes going home to New York City a little hard. I love the Antlers and all the great musicians who stay here love it too! It has become quite the musical hotbed during the summer months!”

We want Anne-Marie, as well as all of the other amazing musicians who perform with Bravo!, to know just how special they are to the staff at Antlers! Can you imagine spending a quiet Saturday afternoon at your desk to catch-up on projects and having the incredible good fortune to hear a world class violinist practicing nearby? Or doing inventory in the conference area while listening to an amazing piano recital? Mere words cannot convey just how amazing these experiences are – we are beyond fortunate to share in this musical experience every July. Thank You, Bravo! musicians!

Antlers at Vail Tip Sheet: Top 10 Reasons to Visit Vail this Summer

Looking for sunny days, cool nights, fresh mountain air, beautiful scenery, outdoor adventure and bountiful cultural events? Vail has it all. From the internationally known cultural events – many of them free and enjoyed in the open air – to family-friendly hikes among wildflowers to more challenging backcountry adventure and the dining and shopping experiences available in town, it’s hard to limit our reasons to visit Vail this summer to just 10 favorites. So we suggest you use this list as a jumping off point – and if you need help creating a more personalized plan for your visit, just ask us!

Here, in no particular order, are our Top 10 picks for this summer:

Wildflower abound during the Vail Summer and there are plenty of fun ways to view them -- biking, hiking horseback riding or even a ride on the gondola.

Wildflowers abound during Vail Summer and there are plenty of fun ways to view them — biking, hiking horseback riding or even a ride on the gondola.

Vail on 2 Wheels. Vail Resort is home to all levels of mountain biking and road biking trails for every kind of biker.  Eagle County offers a stunning 58 miles of paved recreational paths for biking. To sample portions of the Vail bike path, or for a quick ride to a local restaurant or other summer activities, the Antlers at Vail provides a selection of complimentary cruiser bikes for guests to use.

Bravo! Vail. Held this summer from July 1 – Aug. 6, Bravo! Vail is the only festival in North America to host three of the world’s finest orchestras in a single season. An unparalleled live musical experience in beautiful mountain scenery, this is a highly anticipated event with a rich schedule of complimentary and ticketed events. And for an “insider” experience of the festival, Antlers at Vail guests can take advantage of the hotel’s Bravo! Like a Local package.

The breathtaking outdoor Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is home to both Bravo! Vail and Vail International Dance Festival events.

The breathtaking outdoor Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is home to both Bravo! Vail and Vail International Dance Festival events.

Take a Hike! Vail offers miles and miles of scenic mountain terrain for hikers of all levels where wildflowers abound and wildlife is often spotted. Visit Vail.com for a list of trails and hiking options. Bring Fido along for your trek and then cozy up with him back at the Antlers at Vail, with a well-known pet friendly policy that includes being named the official dog friendly lodge of the GoPro Mountain Games each June.

Just Dance. Now in its 26th year, the Vail International Dance Festival is a two-week celebration featuring both performance and educational elements in the art of dance. The Festival, scheduled July 27 – Aug. 10, features many “boldface dance world names” and “has championed the intermingling of dancers across companies and genres, often encouraging them to perform works they wouldn’t have the chance to do with their home companies,” according to The New York Times, while taking advantage of a variety of venues including the breathtaking outdoor Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, the intimate Vilar Performing Arts Center and Solaris in Vail Village.

Vail Women's Golf and Yoga Wellness Retreat, vail golf, vail hotel, vail summer, vail

Vail Golf Club is just one of the many stunning high-altitude golf courses where your ball can fly farther in Vail this summer.

Hit the Club. The Golf Club! With 17 championship golf courses within a 38-mile radius, half of them open to the public, Vail Valley is a links-lover’s dream. To help create the perfect golfing getaway, Antlers at Vail’s expert staff – including Antlers GM Rob LeVine, an avid golfer with firsthand experience of legendary courses from Carnoustie to Pebble Beach – can recommend the perfect course, as well as arranging tee times.

All that Jazz. Jazz lovers delight in Vail’s Summer Jazz performances from July 2 through Sept. 3. A total of 10 performances will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays under the jazz tent at Vail Square in Lionshead Village just outside the Antlers’ front door. Additional Vail Valley venues also host performances, including the free music at the Vail farmer’s market on Sundays. For the complete Vail Jazz Festival schedule, visit http://www.vailjazz.org/.

Iconic Colorado fishing with Fly Fishing Outfitters and the Antlers at Vail hotel

Iconic Colorado fishing with Fly Fishing Outfitters and the Antlers at Vail hotel

Gone Fishing.   Vail offers a variety of opportunities for anglers to enjoy the region’s many lakes and rivers for a scenic fishing float trip or for fly fishing.  Those interested in a guided fly fishing trip with professionals can check out services from Fly Fishing Outfitters, who have also partnered with Antlers for a “Flights & Flies” stay-and-play package for fall. Or for an ad hoc “fish with a local” opportunity take advantage of the several Antlers staff members who love to share their knowledge of fishing – recently mentioned in a Denver Post article on experiential travel.

Rise to New Heights. Take a scenic Gondola ride to the top of Vail’s Eagle Bahn where Vail Mountain Resort’s Adventure Ridge offers an array of outdoor activities such as zip lining, challenges courses and motor tours, as well as dining with a view.

Go from Farm to Table. Enjoy summer Sundays at the outdoor Vail Farmers Market, which features over 135 tents with vendors offering deliciously unique prepared food, fresh produce, clothing and accessories along with live entertainment and more. And Antlers at Vail guests can pick up the fixing’s for a DIY meal cooked in the condominium hotel’s fully equipped kitchens.

Many of Vail's best restaurants have picturesque patios for peak people watching and fresh air dining and drinking. Photo courtesy Jack Affleck, VLMD.

Many of Vail’s best restaurants have picturesque patios for peak people watching and fresh air dining and drinking. Photo courtesy Jack Affleck, VLMD.

Dine Outdoors. Vail is loaded with fantastic restaurant options during the summer months, and many of the area’s best offerings have picturesque patios for peak people watching and fresh air dining and drinking. Some of the Antlers’ staff’s favorite Vail patios include the Alpenrose Restaurant, Pepi’s Bar and Mountain Standard.

Max & Eitan’s Story

The Antlers at Vail Wedding Groups

With its spectacular creek side pool, and welcoming conference space, the Antlers at Vail is home to many Vail wedding groups. Some simply take advantage of the spacious condos for family lodging, and others host their wedding rehearsal dinner or farewell brunch by the pool and a few even hold their wedding ceremony at the Antlers. Just as with our longtime guests, these couples become a part of our family when they share their special day with us. We love hearing their stories and feel especially privileged when they let us share those stories with you.

Max & Eitan’s Story: Colorado Kayaking Adventure Withstands Odds

Max & Eitan's post-wedding brunch at the Antlers is sure to have as much spice as their story of how they met.

Max & Eitan’s post-wedding brunch at the Antlers is sure to have as much spice as their story of how they met.

In 2007, Max finally had the opportunity to meet her high school crush on a visit back to their hometown for a mutual friend’s birthday. They were both immediately captivated by each other and did not allow the distance to interfere. Eitan invited Max to join him on a camping trip to Colorado.

After a stop in Denver they arrived at their camping destination near Buena Vista, Colorado. One of Eitan’s college friends was spending the summer as a raft guide there and agreed to take them down Brown’s Canyon in inflatable kayaks. They successfully navigated the mighty Arkansas River with almost no incident… As they were approaching a rapid known as Big Drop, Max was on track to finesse the tumultuous waves – just like their reliable guide – when their guide went down the rapid and almost instantaneously flipped his kayak. Before she knew what was happening Max was also rolling through the water and in her panic managed to dislocate her shoulder. For what seemed like forever, Max was under the surface of the water paddle still in hand. When she emerged, they were all able to get to shore, where she knocked her shoulder back in place and was coddled by Eitan, who was extremely relieved to have narrowly averted a tragedy.

They continued down the river, enjoying the sun and the waves. At the take-out, they emptied out the dry bag to find the car keys had gone missing. Meanwhile Eitan’s dog, Floyd, patiently waited for them inside the car. Fortunately they were able to unlock the car through the open window and release Floyd.  After a three hour drive to Canyon City in a 1970’s VW Bus and countless phone calls to car dealerships they were finally able to get replacement keys.

The trip seemed to be back on track until they received a call from Eitan’s friend back in Milwaukee notifying him that his house had been robbed. They headed back to Denver where Floyd stayed at a friend’s house for an afternoon while they explored Boulder to have another trip cut short upon the news that Floyd and a friend’s dog had a debate over some dog food with Floyd ultimately getting the short end of the stick – and stitches to boot!

After an evening at the emergency veterinary clinic they decided that a night out was needed, on the condition that Eitan’s friend Dave would call Max an early morning cab to make her flight out the following morning. Dave “may have forgot” to call her cab for the next morning and she missed her flight out. Dave then came to the rescue with a free flight voucher to get her home.

The couple eventually made it home, and back out to school, with the insight that they had something that could withstand all odds.

We are so glad because fast forward through many other adventures and Max & Eitan and their loved ones are joining us at the Antlers at Vail for a post-wedding brunch which we are sure will have as much spice as their journey has had so far.

Antlers Partners with Starting Hearts and Installs AED

The Antlers at Vail hotel has partnered with Starting Hears and installed an AED.

The Antlers at Vail hotel has partnered with Starting Hears and installed an AED.

Because we love our guests, employees & neighbors…Antlers is very pleased to announce that we have purchased an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) that is installed just inside the doorway to the right of our Lobby. An AED is highly effective, very easy to use, and can deliver a life saving shock to restart or restore the normal heart rhythm of someone who has suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

We are participating in Starting Hearts efforts to educate our community in life-saving techniques using CPR training and AEDs. Starting Hearts began in 2010 after Lynn Blake, its founder, suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest at the age of 27. The quick response of bystanders who performed CPR and administered an AED resulted in her being among the fortunate 8% who survive SCA. Her mission is to increase the odds for others and Antlers is very happy to support the efforts of Starting Hearts.

With Sudden Cardiac Arrest being the leading cause of unexpected death in Colorado, Antlers wants to do its part to provide the most effective emergency assistance possible.

Vail Summer On Its Way

Rain Showers and Bright Flowers

Wildflower abound during the Vail Summer and there are plenty of fun ways to view them -- biking, hiking horseback riding or even a ride on the gondola.

Wildflowers abound during the Vail summer and there are plenty of fun ways to view them — biking, hiking horseback riding or even a ride on the gondola.

This has to have been one of the rainiest Mays that I can remember. I heard earlier this week that snowpack is now back to over 100%, a significant jump from where it was in April. While earlier this month we were feeling a little cheated out of our 300 days of sunshine, all of the moisture bodes really well for the summer. The plants are a brilliant green and flowers are blooming everywhere. I can’t wait to see what the wildflowers will be like very soon!

Drumroll… Epic Vail Summer Events

It is hard to believe that this weekend is already Memorial Day, but it is. Memorial Day is a great time to visit Vail. Lodging prices are still at a value level. Restaurants are still having specials and it isn’t too crowded. The big event Memorial Day weekend is the 12th annual Beaver Creek Blues, Brews & BBQs. May 23-25, 2015 top barbecue chefs from around the state join local chefs in serving up mouth-watering barbecue complemented by thirst-quenching microbrews at one of the largest Colorado Microbrewery beer tastings.

The GoPro Mountain games kick off the spectacular season of Vail summer sports.

The GoPro Mountain games kick off the spectacular season of Vail summer sports.

Blues, Brews & BBQs may bill themselves as the unofficial start to summer but that honor should really be bestowed upon the GoPro Mountain Games. The GoPro Mountain Games (of which we are the pet-friendly lodging sponsor) are the country’s largest celebration of adventure sports, art and music which returns to Vail, June 4 – 7, 2015. Professional and amateur athletes from around the world converge upon the mountains and rivers of Vail to compete in nine sports and 25 disciplines. It is when summer sports kick into full gear. The rivers are running for water sports and the trails are open for biking, hiking and running.

Vail Women's Golf and Yoga Wellness Retreat, vail golf, vail hotel, vail summer, vail

The Antlers at Vail is excited to again be the Vail lodging partner for the Vail Women’s Golf and Yoga Wellness Retreat.

June 18 – 21 the Antlers at Vail hotel is once again excited to host the second annual Vail Women’s Golf and Yoga Wellness Retreat, an inclusive weekend of golf, yoga, wellness and relaxation that takes full advantage of the spectacular Rocky Mountain setting.

The Vail Farmers Market begins June 21. Summer-long performances at Bravo! Vail begin July 1, Vail Jazz June 28, Vail Bluegrass July 1.

Of course the Fourth of July weekend not only boasts the largest fireworks display in the Rocky Mountains, a pyrotechnic extravaganza of dazzling color and sound, but also a fantastic parade and many other family events.

Vail summer is sure to have something for everyone and in a spectacular Rocky Mountain setting. You may have heard the local saying, “I came for the winters but stayed because of the summers.” We hope to see you this summer and share the experience.

Featured Antlers at Vail Homeowners

Antlers at Vail homeowners, John & Nancy, enjoying their piece of the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Antlers at Vail homeowners, John & Nancy, enjoying their piece of the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Featured Antlers at Vail homeowners, John and Nancy purchased their 1-bedroom condominium at the Antlers at Vail a couple of years ago from an original owner. They immediately set about to make it their own with a complete remodel. John and Nancy reconfigured a 1-bedroom with a queen bed to a 1-bedroom a king bed and added an enclosed alcove area with bunk beds. They installed travertine tile both in the all new bathroom and also as kitchen flooring. They refaced kitchen cabinets with hickory, added stainless appliances and stack stone as the backsplash. They added wool carpet and knotty alder trim, doors and beams throughout. They hand selected leather furniture and one-of-a-kind light fixtures and art work to complement the newly platinum rated condominium. While John and Nancy don’t have the opportunity to it now as much as they did when they lived in Denver, they still make it their home a couple of times per year and many guests have that much more opportunity to enjoy their beautiful home at the Antlers at Vail.

The beautifully remodeled living and dining area of John and Nancy's Antlers vacation home overlooks Gore Creek.

The beautifully remodeled living and dining area of John and Nancy’s Antlers vacation home overlooks Gore Creek.

What motivated you to make the Antlers at Vail your vacation home in Vail?

The Antlers at Vail is our piece of the majestic Rocky Mountains.  Remember as a kid picking up interesting rocks from places you visit and proudly bringing them home?  The Antlers is our family’s Colorado rock – our piece of beautiful Colorado. We started staying at the Antlers when our kids were little. We still have a rock or two that the kids picked up along Gore Creek.  Our kids are grown, and we have all moved far away from Colorado, but we all come back and vacation together in our own home at The Antlers at Vail!

As a side note, we would add that the history of capable management at The Antlers at Vail was very, very important to us as we contemplated making this important purchase of Unit 204.  Each time we sadly depart our Antler’s home, we leave it in experienced, competent hands.

What is special about your Antlers vacation home?

After purchasing Unit 204, we collaborated with Tom (Antlers Chief Engineer) to create a space that was both elegant and comfortable for us. We wanted it to feel like the perfect mountain retreat.  The gorgeous views of Vail Mountain and Gore Creek provided the backdrop. Tom guided us through the remodeling process and made it easy!

The fun part was selecting artwork – we chose Colorado artists to offer us beautiful reminders of scenic mountain valleys that are just a short drive away.  Picking furniture was a “no brainer.” Comfort reins. The bed is a king – big and inviting.  Seating is comfy! I tell the kids, you can put your feet up on the coffee table – just use a coaster.

Pay It Backward Gratitude

The response to our Pay It Backward Weekend (see previous post) has been overwhelming.  Out of the 36 organizations we invited, we now expect 33 to attend.  Even better, their gratitude has made us happier than ever, that we decided to quit talking about doing this and just pull the trigger! Two of the people I spoke with even told me that when they awarded the stay to a member of their organization, that person started to cry.  Of course that prompted some commentary among ourselves that if the reaction to a stay at the Antlers was tears … what exactly does that mean?

No, no, no … these were tears of joy … honest.

This letter we received today is a great example of why we’re so pleased to be able to do this.  We think we’re the lucky ones!

Thank You Letter: Pay It Backward Gratitude

letter from the Center for Mental Health

Stay tuned for pictures and follow-up from the reception on Saturday.

Rob

Pay It Backward Weekend

The term “Pay It Forward” has come to mean doing something nice for someone in hopes that they’ll do something nice for someone else … a wonderful act of blind faith.

Logically then, “Pay It Backward” must refer to that circumstance when someone has already been so nice that they simply deserve a little reward.

With that in mind, we at the Antlers decided it was time to host a Pay It Backward weekend. In line with our constant desire to be a good corporate citizen, we identified three dozen wonderful non-profits and invited each of them to designate a person of their choice to spend two free nights in Vail, May 15 – 17 … no strings attached. It might be their Executive Director or a hard working board member. It might be their Volunteer of the Year. It could even be a recipient of their services, who they just think deserves a break today. Whoever they want … it’s totally their choice. Naturally, significant others and family members are welcome also. We simply want to take the opportunity to thank them for doing what they do, helping to make this world a little better place.

 

Pay It Backward s

The following organizations were picked somewhat randomly. We tried to find a good mix of social, environmental, humanitarian, health, military, children and animal related causes. The Antlers has a previous relationship with some of them and others we’ve just always admired. Naturally, there are a million others who would be equally deserving, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. Who knows, maybe we can grow this event in the future to include others as well.

Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
American Heart Association
American Red Cross Mile High Chapter
Audubon Rockies
Bicycle Colorado
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado
Boys & Girls Clubs
Canine Companions for Independence
CAR Housing Opportunity Fund
Catholic Charities
The Center For Mental Health
Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation
Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Colorado Public Radio
Colorado Fourteener Initiative
Colorado Water Trust
Crossroads Safehouse
Denver Children’s Advocacy Center
Denver Dumb Friends League
Denver Indian Family Resource Center
Easter Seals
Food Bank of the Rockies
Habitat for Humanity of Colorado
The Home Front Cares
Hospice of Northern Colorado
IDE – International Development Enterprises
Joshua Station
Mile High United Way
Mi Casa Resource Center
MaxFund
Rocky Mountain Rescue Group
Ronald McDonald House
Salvation Army of Colorado Springs
Sense of Security
Wounded Warrior Project
Women’s Foundation of Colorado
9 Health Fair

In addition to the free nights, the Antlers will host a reception on Saturday evening the 16th at 5:30. Similar to our weekly guest receptions in the winter, Chef Barry Robinson is guaranteed to wow everyone with his gourmet appetizers and the Antlers will provide the wine and refreshments. Again, no strings attached … people can come to mingle and network with all the other humanitarians, or they will be totally excused if they’re just too busy enjoying Vail and our surrounding mountains.

As of today, thirty organizations have RSVP’d and their appreciation has already made the endeavor enormously gratifying. We can’t wait until the actual event!

As always, the Antlers takes pride in remembering that life is short and there’s a lot more to business than just making money.

Not Just Another Site Tour

Under the heading of “Life’s Little Pleasantries”, Magdalena gave a site tour to Aimee Heckel on Sunday. By the way, Aimee is a very entertaining writer (aimeeheckel.com).  In this case, she was reviewing some Vail properties for Fodor’s.  Magda reported that it was a great site tour and also relayed an interesting comment from Aimee.  When she asked about our neighboring properties, Magda naturally responded 100% positively, even noting some of the strengths of each.  Aimee said that when she asked the folks at Sonnenalp about the Sebastian (where she was headed next, before us) they too had nothing but good things to say.  On her way from the Sebastian to the Antlers, she got the same feedback from them, about us.

Her observation was that she had never experienced quite so much respect and camaraderie between different properties, when on a travel writing assignment like this one. Hearing that made me quite proud of our community. No surprise … just a reaffirmation really, but I guess it’s evidence that when we sometimes call this place Happy Valley, we’re not always being facetious.

We neglected to get a picture of Aimee and Magdalena, but here’s Magda showing unit #518 on a recent (but different) site tour. Notice Asst. Executive Housekeeper Gladys Villeda on the right … who else sends their housekeepers on site tours? We do because we’re proud of that department! And yes … that’s an international travel agent proudly wearing his new antlers.

Rob