Colorado Vacations 
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Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Family Vacations at the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort

Families looking for a luxurious resort tucked deep in the Vail Valley will find that the Vail Cascade takes care of families with style and a true attention to details.  




Photo Credit: Chris McLenne
Photo: A Vail, Colorado ski vacation offers incredible experiences for kids as well as their adults. 

 





Photo: In Vail, Colorado, Kids and their families can see the famous clock tower, as well as lots of Tyrolean-looking buildings along streets where no cars are allowed. 






Kids play in the Vail Cascade infinity pool on a snowy day.
 Photo:  Nothing like a warm pool when it's snowing outside to invite the kids to play. For families on vacation in Vail, the Vail Cascade Resort's infinity pool is a winner. 

Outside, cloudy skies plopped their snowy load right on top of our ski resort, piling every tree, rock, and lawn chair with thick layers of whipped cream. A ski lift glided upward just beyond the hotel’s gardens, its seats covered with thick, white pillows.


It seemed a cruel twist of fate that nature should deliver such a bounty on the day we had to head home.



Looks of Surprise


The kids slowly packed their bags with the kind of melancholy that sets in at the end of a great vacation. 


They knew the drill: scoop dirty and clean clothes together and pile them with ski maps, souvenir keychains and water bottles, stray cuddly animals, postcards, tooth brushes, and those little shampoo bottles pinched from the hotel bathroom all into their suitcase and get it shut before I start yelling about checkout time. 


They looked at me with surprise when I asked them if they wanted to get on their swim suits and head down to the pool for one last dip. 



Very Family Friendly


At the Vail Cascade Resort, checkout time is a very family friendly twelve o’clock noon.


In the pool, that last morning, warm steam swirled heavenward, while snowflakes poked our foreheads with dots of icy fire. The pool was populated with families laughing and playing in the warm water and snowfall. As naturally as breathing, children from different states and even countries found each other and began to dive and splash together as if they had been friends for years. 


Then all at once the kids rose from the pool and scurried to the hot tub, hugging their waists in the icy storm. They plunged into the hot foam with squeaks of pleasure. 


We parents relaxed and chatted about skiing, the hotel, and our home cities while the kids bobbed and floated around us. Soft flakes floated into Gore Creek, which ran, splashing over rocks, near the hot tub.


The Setting

Deep in the Vail Valley, the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa curls up at the foot of Vail Mountain. It lies removed a bit from bustling Lionshead  and Vail Village by a tree-covered bulge of hill. The Vail Cascade is designed to be a vacation destination unto itself.


A campus of buildings surrounds the main drive that takes you to the hotel entrance, at the heart of the resort. There, a tasteful stone and wood beam porte cochère in the resort’s comfortably sophisticated ski lodge style welcomes you.


The main part of the hotel stretches along Gore Creek, a burbling little waterway festooned with boulders and overhanging pines. Soaring windows in the library, Fireside Bar, and Atwater Restaurant bring in views of the stream and the forests rising steeply behind the building. 


The property lies at 8,000 feet above sea level. Hills just across the creek rise over 1,000 feet up to Vail Mountain. 

The Accommodations


A variety of accommodations allows families to choose the best arrangement for their situation. In the Cascade Village near the hotel, large private residences are available, as are condominium units. In the hotel building itself, guest rooms can have a view of either the courtyard or the mountains, and with a balcony or without. Additionally, large suites (up to 800 square feet), each with separate bedrooms, are also available. 



Tiny Blessings


The Vail Cascade’s guest rooms are designed and outfitted with a number of tiny blessings to make the stay special for parents as well as kids.   


Handsomely furnished, the hotel rooms are also really spacious. In fact, the Vail Cascade has the largest average room size in Vail. 


Granite counter tops, a stone floor in the bathroom, and dark wood framed mirrors feel luxurious, and I loved the big, squishy pillows and the cuddly down comforters on the beds. Many of the rooms at the Vail Cascade Hotel have balconies, and ours was a wonderful place to take a nature break -- a kind mini-retreat to listen to the sounds of the forest and the stream. 



Details, Details


All rooms also include, a mini refrigerator and a coffee maker, room service from 7am to 9pm, high-speed internet access, a big flat screen TV, Nintendo, an iron and ironing board, a hair dryer, and a sitting area with a leather chair. 


Cribs and bed rails are available for families with babies and toddlers, so the little ones can sleep safely through the night. 


Families can control the temperature of their own room with their thermostat, and the excellent HVAC system kept our room very comfortable - silently. We didn’t have to deal with a noisy fan unit that so many hotels use. 


Supporting the Vail Cascade’s commitment to sustainability, each room in the hotel has a ceiling fan which in the summer may be all the air conditioning a family needs in this mountain town. 


Families on vacation in Vail are likely to have a bunch of stuff along - toys for the kids and their parents to play in Vail’s beautiful outdoor setting. In the hotel room, this stuff can be a big hassle. 


At the Vail Cascade, large closets and shelving areas provides space to stow all that gear, making the hotel stay less cluttered, and therefor less stressful. It is a small detail that means a lot. 



Catch the Door!


And finally, what I consider to be one of the most family-friendly characteristics of our room at the Vail Cascade: Not once did my boys have to listen to their mom hiss at them to be considerate of other guests and close the door slowly. The mechanical door-closer worked perfectly so that when the kids went barreling out of the room it quietly shut the door behind them with satisfying “click”. 


The Amenities


The goal for the Vail Cascade is that once you arrive, you need never leave the property if you don’t want to. And because the  folks there are especially skilled at noticing details, whatever you need is waiting for you, before you even knew you needed it.  


Guests who arrive by car are greeted by friendly and very capable valets. These men and the other hotel staff whisk your skis to the ski storage area and luggage to your room with practiced efficiency. The covered parking garage is available for both self parking and valet parking. 


The hotel welcomes families with a giant stone fireplace and includes several public gathering spaces.



Dining


For dining, the casually elegant Atwater Restaurant has a reasonably priced kids menu, chef-prepared cuisine for mom and dad, and high chairs for little diners. In the summertime, the restaurant opens its doors that run along the balcony to let the fresh mountain air inside.  


In the more relaxed Fireside Bar guests order soups, sandwiches, salads, and pizza while relaxing on leather couches and chairs. 



Photo: The Fireside bar at the Vail Cascade Hotel offers a relaxed 

spot for families to order pizza or a cup of soup.


Library


A welcoming library offers families a place to rendezvous with several comfortable seating areas. A selection of books fills built-in bookcases lining the walls. Mountain artwork decorates the room, including several wooden sculptures of forest animals that particularly enchanted my ten-year-old. 



Market and Retail Shopping


In addition to the restaurants, the property features a small market and cafe. Here families can purchase items they may have forgotten, plus other necessities for mountain recreation - like water bottles and sunscreen. 


A deli case offers light snack items as well as pastries created by the Vail Cascade’s in-house pastry chef. Sandwiches and wraps are available for a quick to-go lunch or evening snack for hungry teen-agers. 


A small liquor section makes it easy for parents who want to share a bottle of wine to find one right on the premises, without having to go into town. 


Adjacent to the market is a lovely shop with a variety of commemorative items from t-shirts to jewelry. 



Ski Shop


In addition to the market and gift shop, an on-site equipment rental and ski shop offers families the convenience of renting their skis close to the Cascade’s private ski lift. Knowledgable staff help kids and big people find the right size boots, poles, and skis. Forgot your warm hat or want a souvenir sticker? It’s right there in the shop. 


Shuttle to Town


When families want to venture to Lionshead or Vail Village, the Vail Cascade shuttle makes it easy. The little mini-bus has racks for skis on the outside and comfortable seats lining the walls inside. The drivers are knowledgable about the town and know where to let you off if you are looking for a specific establishment in Vail. The resort also provides a shuttle from the condominiums and private homes in the Cascade Village to the hotel.



Rest and Recreation


The hotel is connected to the Aria Spa and Fitness Club by an enclosed glass walkway. At the club kids find basketball courts, squash and racquetball courts, outdoor and indoor tennis courts, and a game room. Although the games were all coin operated, a change machine is there to facilitate the fun. A pool table dominates the center of the room, with air hockey, pinball, and old video game machines like Ms. Pac Man around the perimeter of the room. 


A table in the game room was covered with splotches of paint and dried glue. It was evidence of the activities offered through the Cascade KidVenture program. Aimed at kids ages 5 to 12, entertainments range from arts and crafts, to professional children’s entertainers to hot chocolate and snow play. 



Steaming Waters


However, some of the best fun for the munchkin set involved the steaming infinity pool set on a stone terrace in the back yard of the Vail Cascade Hotel. 


Vail Cascade infinity pool on a snowy day


In testimony to the luxury resort feel of the place, I saw giggling girls wrapped in giant plush cotton robes walking from their room through the hotel to the pool. On the way the kids in flip flops passed bundled up skiers and then an elegantly dressed couple on their way to a fancy event. 


In addition to two outdoor swimming pools, the resort also has two outdoor hot tubs set in secluded rocky alcoves. One is just a few feet away from Gore Creek. 



Peace of Mind


Although we hope it never happens to our families on vacation, there is always the chance that a little one might get so sick in the night that they need a doctor. It is for situations like this that parents can find peace of mind in knowing that one of the best amenities at the Vail Cascade may be one we hope to never use: 24-hour front desk and concierge services.




Back Door Access to Vail Mountain Skiing




The resort is the only lodge in Vail served by its own ski lift. The ski mountain runs a little booth at its base for purchasing lift tickets. Then, just five or six steps from the hotel’s east-end door, you snap into your skis and catch a 4-person chairlift up the mountain. No hauling equipment long distances, no long lift line.


And for families with different schedule priorities, this handy lift is brilliantly convenient. In our case, Mom could linger over breakfast and take her time getting ready while Dad headed up early for first tracks and scouting out the best runs for the boys. What a relief for both of us.



Ski Out - Ski In


At the end of the day, skiers can either ski down the easy Cascade Way ski run or ride the Cascade Village Lift back down the mountain to the hotel. 


In early season and late season, when snow cover is thin at lower elevations, skiers may have to walk a few hundred feet to reach the hotel. 



Ride the Chairlift Down


On the other hand, the chairlift ride down the mountain is definitely not for acrophobia sufferers. Going up you don’t notice how steep the hills are, but when coming down, thin air is all you see beneath your skis. Depending on your tolerance for thrill rides at the amusement park, the trip down is either nervous-making or a lot of fun. 


View of the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort from the Cascade Village Lift


But the view of the resort is fantastic. At first cars looked like tiny toys and people looked like ants, then we started identifying spots, like the restaurant, pool, and our room’s balcony. We enjoyed a lovely perspective of Gore Creek and the bike path that runs along side it. I’d recommend the trip down on the Cascade Village Lift any day. 



The Service


The Vail Cascade is a four-star inn dedicated to insuring that, summer or winter, the whole family enjoys their Colorado vacation. This resort artfully delivers on that promise. 


From the friendly doorman, who startled my son by coming around and opening his car door for him, to the evanescent maid who turned down our beds at night, the people were helpful to a T. 



Atwater Restaurant Service


The servers in the Atwater Restaurant were perhaps a bit stiff and over solicitous. My ten-year-old giggled when our waiter called him “sir”. Yet, he was knowledgable about the menu and our dinner was served promptly and smoothly. Our water glasses were kept full and the food was outstanding. 


The Vail Cascade's Atwater restaurant offers families an elegantly comfortable place to eat dinner.


As for atmosphere, the understated mountain decor was lovely, but outshone by the vista of the stream we had through the picture windows near our table. 



Ski Concierge


One of the nicest aspects of the Vail Cascade’s service is the ski concierge. 


At the far end of the hotel, closest to the chairlift, a large room has convenient benches for putting on ski boots.  An attendant there has cubbies to warmly store after-ski boots while guests are skiing. When guests are done skiing for the day, the cubbies hold their ski boots. 


Guests’ skis are stored in large racks along one end of the room, and the ski concierge has a system for identifying skis for a quick recovery. 




Especially for Families


The Vail Cascade likes to promote itself as a family-friendly resort. They understand that taking care of the kids is taking care of the parents as well. 


Moms and dads who want to exercise in the club or indulge in a little self-care at the Aria spa know that their tots are also cared for in the on-site nursery. 


While babysitting with licensed caregivers is available, most families don’t need it because the resort offers so much for entertainment for the kids. 



Cascade KidVentures 


Cascade KidVentures is an activities program for guests ages 5 to 12 years old. With diversions like pottery painting, tennis lessons, and professional children’s entertainers, there are plenty of options for fun. 


Saturday nights kids gather from 6:30 to 8:30 for a G-rated movie, pizza, popcorn, and soft drinks, giving mom and dad time to enjoy a quiet dinner on their own. 


In the summer the resort sponsors “Dive In Movies”, with large inflatable movie screen in the back yard. Kids lounge on floaty toys and watch the show from the pool. 


After-ski and evening activities are popular. On Friday evenings from 5 to 6pm, staff hosts marshmallow toasting and s’more making at the fire pit on the back terrace. 



Poof, Ooph!  


On Saturday afternoons, just after skiing from 3:30 to 4:30, kids can join the KidVenture counselors and head through Cascade Village to Donovan Park, for snow play on excellent new playground equipment. 


“It’s really cool there,” reports Christopher T., age 8. “Cause they have slides there that are tunnels with such sharp curves that you slide way up the side!” 


I could only imagine how much fun that would be in slick ski pants. 


“Oh yeah,” he continues, “There’s another slide that’s so slippery and it has bumps that you go poof, ooph, and it goes a long way!”


When it’s time for the rosy cheeked guests to take a break, Cascade staff serve them hot chocolate to warm their insides. 



Snowflakes and Eyelashes


In the snowstorm on the last morning of our stay at the Vail Cascade, I watched softly falling powder disappear into playful Gore Creek. 




The kids, up to their chins in the swimming pool’s warm water, tipped their heads back and caught snowflakes that fell on their tongues and eyelashes.  “These are a few of my favorite things...”  began to tinkle in the back of my brain and stayed with me through the day. 


Considering the European Alps feel of Vail, and the luxurious atmosphere of Vail Cascade Resort, the song fit my mood exactly.





For information, contact the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort at 800.282.4183 or at http://www.vailcascade.com



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