Vail Skiing Without the Schlep

Antlers at Vail hotel guests enjoy customized ski valet service with on-site Ski Butlers

A designated rack at the base of the Lionshead gondola allows Antlers at Vail guests to pick up and deposit their skis with ease (right). Vail has experienced some epic powder recently (right, photo © Ben Koelker).

A designated rack at the base of the Lionshead gondola allows Antlers at Vail guests to pick up and deposit their skis with ease (right). Vail has experienced some epic powder recently (right, photo © Ben Koelker).

“We want guests to save their energy for the powder,” says Antlers at Vail GM Rob LeVine about the Vail condominium hotel’s partnership with Ski Butlers, now in its second season. In addition to fitting Antlers’ guests with top-of-the-line ski and snowboard gear in the comfort of their guest suites, Ski Butlers serves the hotel as in-house ski valet, storing guest equipment and schlepping it to the slopes and back free of charge. And with Vail Mountain Resort reporting more than 14 feet of snow and counting this season with some glorious recent deep powder days, the service has quickly become a favorite at the Antlers.

“We’re lucky to be located just 150 yards from Vail’s Eagle Bahn Gondola,” says LeVine. “But there’s such luxury in not having to worry about your gear. We’re a skiing and snowboarding home-away-from-home to a lot of families, and especially for parents with children too small to carry their own equipment, this service can feel life-changing.”

Antlers at Vail, rated #1 by TripAdvisor in the Vail Specialty Lodging category, is known for its focus on customer service, including a long list of complimentary amenities from free yoga classes and loaner GoPro cameras to a loaning library of kitchen appliances and a green car charger. Ski Butlers puts a similar emphasis on customer service, including answering special requests like swapping out skis for snowboards mid-trip, or helping guests track down such basics as gloves and warmer jackets. And from the beginning, the company’s model of helping skiers avoid long rental lines by bringing fittings and gear directly to guest lodgings has been all about making the guest experience easy.

Ski Butlers rentals are also a hit with travelers who may discover at the last minute that steep airline fees can run up to $225 one way for checking heavy and bulky ski bags. “Plus Ski Butlers can recommend the best skis based on actual conditions when you arrive,” says LeVine. “Big run on powder skis lately,” he adds with a smile.

Founded in 2004 in Park City, Utah, Ski Butlers now serves over 30 North American resorts in Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and British Columbia, Canada. Ski Butlers award winning service makes renting ski and snowboard equipment convenient and hassle-free all for the same price or less than most resort ski shops. Ski Butlers is the only ski shop in Vail/Beaver Creek Colorado to win the Vail Valley Platinum Service Award for exceptional customer service this past winter. For more information visit www.skibutlers.com.

Mmmm, Hot Soup on a Snowy Day

Chef Barry Robinson, Caterers of Vail and Antlers at Vail Chef

Chef Barry Robinson, Caterers of Vail and Antlers at Vail Chef

When I took this job at the Antlers at Vail hotel 3 years ago I was told that one of the organization’s greatest strengths is our fantastic chef. I have to admit that I had a hard time believing that really could be the case. But it sure is! Not only is internationally-trained Chef Barry a fabulous chef, creating delectable cuisine customized to a client’s tastes, but he goes above and beyond and unlike most chefs will make almost anything work, and puts the client first. Read more about that here.

This winter Chef Barry is offering freshly made soups available for purchase, including on a rotating basis Tomato Basil, Butternut Squash, Chili (beef & chicken) and Chicken Noodle

This winter Chef Barry is offering fresh soups available for purchase, including on a rotating basis Tomato Basil, Butternut Squash, Chili (beef & chicken) and Chicken Noodle

We are always brainstorming to come up with additional creative amenities for our guests. Last winter we offered breakfast burritos from Chef Barry. Then coming into this winter we decided that we’d ask Chef Barry what he might like to offer. He loves making fresh soups and his really are some of the best soups that I’ve ever had. He suggested soups. So, new this winter, we are offering a variety of fresh soups available for purchase at the front desk on a rotating basis (Tomato Basil, Butternut Squash, Beef and Chicken Chili and as of this week by request Chicken Noodle). To showcase these freshly-made soups the Antlers at Vail hotel is now offering a soup tasting in the lobby once a week. After visiting a couple of condos and walking across the courtyard in the snow this afternoon I walked into the lobby to the wonderful aroma of hot Tomato Basil soup. Mmmm, it was as good as it smelled.

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.

NEW: Antlers Offers On-site Ski Rental

The Antlers at Vail hotel and Ski Butlers have joined forces to add on-site ski rentals with ski valet to the long list of amenities the hotel already offers. This ski season guests will be able to not only rent ski equipment from Ski Butlers who will have an on-site location but also enjoy complimentary ski valet with Ski Butlers bringing their skis back and forth to the ski lifts for them.

Ski Butler

As part of Ski butlers’ ski rental service, guests don’t have to leave the comfort of their condominium to be fitted for their equipment. Ski Butlers will come to their condominium at the guest’s convenience to fit them and when the guest is finished skiing Ski Butlers will pick the equipment back up. No waiting in lines or carrying equipment around. Any questions or additional ski equipment needs, Ski Butlers will be the touch of the button away and on-site. Now, guests will be able to get on the hill more quickly and with minimal effort and be able to save all that energy for ripping down the slopes or skiing fresh powder.

“With the philosophy of ‘The answer is yes, now what’s the question?’ we are excited to have been able to fulfill another guest request at no additional cost to them,” says Rob LeVine, general manager of Antlers at Vail. “This partnership with Ski Butlers is a win-win for everyone involved.”

Ski Butlers fits customers with ski equipment in the comfort of their condo.

Ski Butlers fits customers with ski equipment in the comfort of their condo.

The Antlers at Vail hotel offers a relaxed Vail lodging experience in a fabulous mountain setting and was recently awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and GreenLeader status. With condominiums ranging from studio suites up to four-bedroom penthouses, every unit at the Antlers enjoys a fully-equipped kitchen, fireplace, private balcony, daily housekeeping service, and complimentary wi-fi and parking. The Antlers has an A+ location on the banks of Gore Creek, just steps from restaurants, galleries, shops, free Vail town shuttle and the Lionshead Gondola. For more information, call 1-800-843-8245 or visit www.antlersvail.com.

Founded in 2004 in Park City, Utah, Ski Butlers now serves 35 North American resorts in Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and British Columbia, Canada. Ski Butlers award winning service makes renting ski and snowboard equipment convenient and hassle-free all for the same price or less than most resort ski shops. Ski Butlers is the only ski shop in Vail/Beaver Creek Colorado to win the Vail Valley Platinum Service Award for exceptional customer service 7 years in a row! Questions? Call 1-877-754-7754 or visit http://www.skibutlers.com/portal/AntlersatVail.

The Ultimate Vail Hotel Sleep Machine

Vail Hotel Sleep

The rushing waters of the Gore Creek running alongside the Antlers at Vail hotel.

My first night in Vail was much too quiet.

I was all checked into Condo #308 at the Antlers and I was all tuckered out after a long day of meetings and introductions.

I turned off all the lights and climbed into bed when I was struck with the most deafening kind of silence. The room grew so quiet I was actually frightened.

Back in Brooklyn, where I live, I have become used to a lot of noise. A “quiet” night for me involves ambulances, honking horns, and drunk teenagers. Most nights I have to sleep to the manufactured sound of falling rain or ocean waves just to drown it all out.

So to lie in bed, in pitch black nothingness, with only my thoughts was a bit scary. I searched Diane and Jeff’s unit for something, anything, that could relieve me of the horrifying soundlessness. An A/C unit? A fan? But there was nothing.

That’s when it came to me: the perfect noise machine was just outside my window. I rushed back to the bedroom and cranked open the glass. The raging Gore Creek flooded the unit.

I crawled back into bed, finally at peace. Falling asleep to the sounds of the river became one of the greatest moments of relaxation during my week at the Antlers at Vail hotel. I don’t think I’ll sleep that well again for a long time.

Vail America's Best Summer Job BenBenjamin Solomon is the winner of America’s Best Summer Job, a 10-week, all-expenses paid summer job exploring what summer in the Vail Valley has to offer. A freelance writer based in New York, Benjamin has contributed to publications such as Vanity Fair, New York, Travel + Leisure and is the former editor of Next Magazine. Follow his journey on Blog.Vail.com as well as on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #VailBen.

Delight The Weird: Unique Hotel Amenities

I enjoy reading Seth Godin’s blog. He of the Purple Cow fame. One of his recent posts was titled “Delighting the Weird“. The essence of it is differentiation. Not just performing well, but also doing things that nobody else does.

The Antlers finds itself in a fun but challenging position as an independent property, competing against some awful big companies. Our neighbors include the Marriott, Four Seasons, and Ritz Carlton. Even our main condominium competition … Lionsquare, Montaneros, Manor Vail, Landmark and the Vail Spa are managed by Wyndham, Destination and East-West Resorts. Each of those companies have portfolios that make the Antlers look like a gnat.

So the name of our game has to be differentiation. If we try to compete against those big guys as just a well run commodity, we’re toast.

Free, unique hotel amenities

So what do we do to be unique? How about free, unique hotel amenities? Well, stuff like not collecting resort fees sets us apart from most of them. That’s nice, but it’s not THAT unique. Surely there are others who do the same. Aren’t there?

No, what’s REALLY different? How about a free GoPro camera loaner program? Now we’re talkin’. Free snowshoe rentals? Yeah, baby. Maybe a minivan for our condominium owners to use when they’re here. Again, one of our free & unique hotel amenities.

Under the heading of “Playing to your strength”, our guests have always told us how much they appreciate our well-equipped kitchens. Okay, time to amp it up … now we have a small appliance loaner program (free) with everything from waffle makers to toaster ovens to full on mixers. If your condo doesn’t have something you need, say the word … it’s on its way. While that doesn’t qualify as bizarre, I’m pretty sure it’s not something those other guys are doing. Happily, that effort also falls squarely in line with our motto of, “The answer is ‘yes’, now what’s the question?”

unique hotel amenities, Vail, hotel, lodging, delight the weird

We’ll continue to brainstorm at almost every one of our staff meetings about what we can do to set ourselves apart … to delight the weird. Of course, we’re always open to suggestions, too.

The best part is that although it’s challenging, dreaming up stuff like this and then implementing it immediately (corporate red tape? No thanks) helps make this a really fun place to work. We hope it makes it a really fun place to stay as well.

Rob

Why choose between wine or yoga? Enjoy both at the Antlers at Vail!

Yoga

The Antlers at Vail hotel offers complimentary yoga classes for guests Tuesday and Fridays from 4 to 5 pm.

Winter and snow brings back the return of some fantastic complimentary amenities to enjoy during your stay at the Antlers at Vail hotel. Complimentary yoga for guests began this past Friday. Classes are held every Tuesday and Friday from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm in the Whitetail room, and are appropriate for a wide range of ability levels.

Our guest wine & cheese receptions also returned last night. Approximately 25 people mingled and enjoyed wine and delicious food from Chef Barry last night. We were very happy to welcome some friends from the Vail Marriott. The wine & cheese receptions are held every Monday from 5:00pm to 6:00pm in the Millie Barela Board Room.

Your Antlers condominium comes with a fully equipped kitchen. If there is something that you would like, but is not already in your condo, please contact the Front Desk. We have spices, aluminum foil, saran wrap, crock pots, mixers, food processors, cappuccino/espresso makers, rice cookers, real tea pots and other small kitchen appliances available by request. If we don’t have something, and it seems like there’s a chance that other people will appreciate it too…we’ll go buy it! (How do you think we wound up with a cappuccino maker?)pdp_image_HERO3Plus_silver_45

Want to capture your epic ski day? Starting Friday, January 10 we will have GoPro cameras available at the front desk.

For those of you who may not have had the chance to meet the Antlers’ General Manager, Rob LeVine, or to have asked him a question, you may not know that you will consistently hear him say, “The answer is “yes”, now what is the question?” The culture at the Antlers is to do what we can to make sure that our guests feel welcome and at home during their stay with us. We offer many complimentary amenities, but if there is something we don’t yet offer that you would like to see, please let us know.

A Hotel Bucking the Trend of Charging for “Extras”

As savvy travellers know, the advertised price of travel increases significantly with all of the fees that most hotels, except the Antlers at Vail, add on.

As savvy travelers know, the advertised price of travel increases significantly with all of the fees that most hotels, except the Antlers at Vail, add on.

In today’s travel environment, savvy travelers have come to expect annoying fees on top of whatever base price is advertised. Airlines tack on baggage fees, reservation change fees, movies, WiFi, upgrade fees for additional leg space, and more.  Rental cars?  Forget it!  Hotels charge for WiFi, parking, movie rentals, and many even add on resort fees. Well, not at the Antlers at Vail Condo Hotel… Our philosophy for the past 40 years has included exceeding expectations and not nickel and diming our guests. We do this in part by offering almost all amenities or “extras” at no additional cost. These free amenities include:

  • NO RESORT FEES!;
  • Free WiFi;
  • Free parking in our heated underground garage (1 car per condo);
  • A free Vail Athletic Club membership during your stay;
  • Free yoga classes twice a week;
  • A free shuttle to the grocery store to stock your full kitchen with groceries;
  • Free newspapers;
  • Free movies;
  • Free bike rentals in the summer;
  • Free snowshoe rentals in the winter;
  • Free GoPro camera rentals;
  • Free luggage storage (from year to year);
  • And, just added to the list, free late check-out on Sundays!

Add up the cost of what you would pay for all of these extras when you stay elsewhere, and WOW, what added value or savings you receive by staying with us! And, did I mention that we are pretty darn fun too! I hope you will make an Antlers condo hotel suite your home in Vail this summer. We look forward to sharing our home and community with you!

Do you want to read more about those annoying extra travel and hotel fees that you can avoid when staying at the Antlers at Vail Condominiums and Conference Center? Travel + Leisure and TIME Magazine just published recent articles on the subject.

Tell us below the most annoying travel fee you have ever been charged.

 

Post by: Liana, the Antlers’ marketing gal