We are back from our ski vacation to Avon, Colorado. The reason that we decided to go to Avon was an invitation from The Westin. Both my husband and I are in the Starwood preferred guest program. I got an invitation to book a $449 vacation package that includes 5 days’ and 4 nights’ accommodations at The Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas in Avon, Colorado and a $75 resort certificate with no string attached. It was a deal hard to pass. The regular nightly rate is $411 during spring break. By the way, this is not the first time that we have accepted the invitation from the Starwood program. We had stayed at The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale and the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas in Orlando. The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale is excellent. I will write about that when I have time. I would not recommend Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas in Orlando. We were extremely disappointed at the quality of the Sheraton villa in Orlando. The villas are old and outdated. I would say that you probably won’t go wrong staying at The Westin. However, with Sheraton hotels, you do have to do more research. The quality of the Sheraton hotels varies. The Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa at Kaanapali Beach is great. We stayed at a honeymoon suite there with an oceanfront view.
The invitation offered a one bedroom villa at The Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas in Avon, Colorado. The room has a full size kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, traditional oven, coffee maker, dish washer and all the necessary china, cutlery, utensils, tableware and dinnerware. There is also a stackable washer and dryer. It has a dining area and a living room with a queen size sofa bed, an HDTV (most of the TV programs are HD), fireplace and a walkout balcony from the living room and the bedroom. The bedroom has a safe and another HDTV. One feature we really like is the ample closets throughout the room. In addition, it has complimentary wireless high internet service. There is one bathroom accessible from either the bedroom or the hallway. It has a toilet, a shower room, a whirlpool bathtub, and double sink vanities. It is spacious. I love soaking in the hot tub. It is so relaxing. I did it twice a day while I was there.
The private walkout balcony faces the mountains and the panoramic mountain views are breathtaking. It is a tranquil ski-in/ski-out retreat. The villas are conveniently located with easy access to the mountains. We only have to walk across the railroad tracks in front of our room to the shuttle bus stop. The shuttle bus is free and comes every 10 minutes in the morning starting at 8am. The shuttle bus takes us to Beaver Creek Village. There is a ski and snowboard school in the Village and it offers a half-day, a one-day or a 3-day children or adult lesson. You can choose either private or group lessons. My son and I took the one day ski group lesson. I should have taken a half-day group lesson. One full day lesson was just too much for me. I was dying. I get nervous very easily. My instructor is a tough guy who likes to push people to their fullest potential. I was completely exhausted in just two hours and could hardly move. He finally had to drag me downhill. He told me to sign up for the next day for level 2. I really doubted that I passed level 1. Anyway, it is just too expensive to take the ski lesson. For a full day adult’s group ski lesson, the cost is $220 including lift and ski rentals. For a full day kid’s group ski lesson above age 7 and below age 12, the cost is $210 including lift and ski rentals. For a full day kid’s group ski lesson under age 7, the cost is $190 including lift, lunch and ski rentals.
After a day’s ski lesson, my daughter still had trouble gliding not to mention stopping. We have to sign her up for another lesson. She was screaming and kicking when we left her to the ski instructor. She told us that she hated skiing because she fell twice. I told her that I had fallen 8 times (but on purpose because I was afraid that I couldn’t stop and would bump into people). I always made sure that enough people were clear out of my way before I skied. Oh, I forgot to mention that the lift ticket is $98 per adult and $62 per kid and the ski rentals are $52 per adult without helmet and $36 per kid with helmet. Even though I was really nervous to ski downhill, I was brave enough not to wear a helmet. I still struggle to get off the lift. I only had one chance to practice. The next day, Lift #2 in the area where we skied was closed due to snow condition. I didn’t realize that and headed down to the path where the snow was kind of sluggish and icy. I was puzzled why nobody skied passed me. Luckily, I didn’t fall outside of the path. The outcome would be detrimental. Beaver Creek Mountain isn’t a really safe ski area. There is no safety device to prevent you from falling over a drop-off or a cliff. I couldn’t imagine the deadly outcome. You need to use your best judgment when skiing.
If you are not taking the ski lesson, you can take the Buckaroo Gondola #1 up to the mountain or Lift #6 - Centennial Express Lift. You can also take Lift #8 – Cinch Express Lift after Lift #6 to the very top of the mountain. You will be surprised that at the very summit of the mountain, the area is designated specifically for beginners and slow, controlled skiing. It is also known as the Family Zone.
Other than the free shuttle bus to Beaver Creek Village, there is the free Riverfront Express Gondola #7 right outside The Westin hotel next to the villas that will take you to Beaver Creek Landing. Once you get to Beaver Creek Landing, you can then take Lift #15 – Lower Beaver Creek Mountain Express Lift up to the mountain.
The Westin has an outdoor heated salt water pool for lap swimming and three spacious outdoor Jacuzzi hot tubs. Can you imagine soaking in the hot tub while the snow is falling? The outdoor Jacuzzi hot tub and the in room whirlpool tub rejuvenated me and enabled me to continue skiing the next day. The spa treatment also sounded nice and I was so tempted to get one.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the restaurant Avondale inside The Westin is a pretty nice restaurant. I really enjoyed the food there. It also has a fire pit outside the restaurant. If you have a chance to look at the pictures I took, you will see a game room/library at The Westin, perfect for winding down the day. If you would like to sneak away with your significant other, you can always leave your kids at the kids club, which provides stimulating activities to the kids. The cost is $50 for 3 hours and a 20% discount for an additional sibling. You cannot get such a cheap childcare anywhere else. Overall, we had a very good experience staying at the villa.
On our way back home, the road condition was pretty bad due to the snow. Trucks were forced to put on their chains. We also encountered an avalanche control, which reminded me of the traffic control at the tunnel in Taiwan while we were driving from Taipei to Yilan and then to Taroko Gorge. In addition, two semis ran into each other with severe damages which caused us to take a detour. Luckily, we were able to get to the airport in time for the take off.
If you ask me whether I would come back again, my answer would be yes. This is one of the best vacations that we had. We will definitely come back to ski and stay at The Westin Riverfront Mountain Villa again. Hopefully, I am not too physically unfit to ski at that time.
Links to pictures of our ski vacation: http://elisaenglish.pixnet.net/album/set/16023574
Links to The Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas
** 版權所有 – Elisa English