by Terry Ward
To be sure, planning a ski vacation with your entire family involves a lot of logistics — from making sure everyone has mittens on backup to organizing rentals and lift tickets. Perhaps no other North American ski resort makes it as easy and all-around entertaining for traveling families as Beaver Creek in Colorado. And you can position your entourage slopeside next to all the action with a stay at The Osprey at Beaver Creek resort — North America’s closest-to-the-chairlift, ski-in/ski-out hotel. The Strawberry Park Express lift is literally right out the hotel’s back door (some 15-feet away), so you can snap into your skis and, with just a few pushes with your poles, be on your way up the mountain. And just across the street (a one-minute walk, accessed by a skier’s bridge if you please) brings you to the main base village and lifts.
Renovated in 2008 to the tune of $7 million, The Osprey, a Rock Resorts property, manages to blend boutique character with big-luxury hotel amenities. There are 45 rooms, most with pull-out couches in a small living area, as well as two separate penthouse residences with two bedrooms that can accommodate up to six people (in rooms without pull-out couches, a rollaway bed can be requested). Gas fireplaces behind glass walls in some of the rooms are positioned to be out of reach of small hands, without sacrificing the ambiance and warmth of a roaring flame.
It’s these types of special touches that define the Osprey, which manages to be family friendly on all accounts without losing sight of the sophisticated perks that mom and dad look for to soothe their own souls on vacation. Most rooms enjoy views of the slopes, and a small heated pool alongside a large hot tub is situated outside on the ground level and well used by slope-weary guests. From the hotel, it’s just a short walk or free shuttle-ride to all of Beaver Creek’s restaurants, shops and activities, including tubing, ice skating and various daily activities such as on-hill story time and a nighttime ski down the mountain with glow sticks in hand.
Beaver Creek has become known and beloved for its cookie time tradition. Every afternoon around 3 p.m. during the ski season, the resorts’ chefs proffer hot-from-the-oven treats from silver platters to guests in the base village. It’s a small gesture that means a lot, and very representative of the attention to detail that keeps families from around the world coming back every year to this topnotch mountain resort.
Our Editor Loves
- Closest ski-in/ski-out access in North America
- Outdoor heated pool open to children
- Two-bedroom residence-style rentals with full kitchens
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
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The hotel's 45 rooms come in two categories, with either a king bed or two queens and a twin pull-out sofa bed. Muted earth tones -- tan, dark browns and silvery blues -- make for a color scheme that's soothing and organic-feeling. Wall-to-wall carpeting keeps things cozy, and luxury touches like granite in the bathrooms, birch wood, leather headboards, and stack stone walls inlaid with gas fireplaces behind glass (select rooms) add to the decadence.
All rooms come with plush robes, flat-screen TVs with DVD players, MP3 docking stations and complimentary coffee and tea-making facilities. The mini fridge is stocked with pay-per-item treats that can be removed if you want to fill it with your own food for the family. The hotel is happy to provide cribs for no additional charge. And while four people can be accommodated per room, a fifth guest is welcome for a small additional charge. Another option is to rent one of the hotel's two penthouse suites, which offer two bedrooms that can sleep up to six people total, in addition to a living area, gourmet kitchen and a balcony with a view of the mountain.
We stayed at the Osprey while attending a wedding in Beaver Creek. The room was spacious, comfortable and clean. The bed was an above average on the comfort scale. We loved the old school vibe of the place.
The staff was amazing. From the check-in personnel to the housekeeping staff everyone was friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable. While the village has an e client shuttle service to and from local destinations, the staff insisted on transporting us at every opportunity.
This is definitely an establishment at which we would stay again.
by Maxine K
Super clean hotel with small pool, hot tub and steam/sauna. We went in July when it was quiet in the hotel so we had the pool and steam room to ourselves which was lovely as the pool is in the mountains. Rooms lovely - clean and comfy with nice toiletries and views of the mountains. Across the road are plenty of eateries and live entertainment, plus ice rink. So good we stayed there twice on our break in Colorado.
Part of Beaver Creek Resort, the Osprey offers a few activities of its own for families, but also uses its concierge service to enlist visiting families in all that the greater resort has to offer. For starters, the hotel's outdoor heated pool, unsupervised, is a popular place for families to unwind after a day on the slopes. The adjacent hot tub is open to kids, too. And while mom and dad break for an apres-ski beverage in the Osprey Lounge, with its pretty onyx bar, children can be just a few-steps away in the hotel's social room -- enjoying a board game with friends, watching a movie on the big flat-screen or testing their skills with the free selection of Nintendo Wii video games. Hot cocoa, coffee and cookies are among the complimentary offerings in the hotel's lobby when you come in from skiing, and on Thursday and Friday afternoons, you can slip into a massage chair in the lobby to relax with a free back and neck massage.
Ski and Snowboard School
The resort's ski and snowboard school, The Ranch, is known for its excellence, and is the place for your kids to learn the slopes' ropes from experts on a World-Cup mountain. The school has a dedicated gondola where the kids are always escorted and never have to wait in line with the masses, and there are even some beginner trails where they can practice their turns from way up high on the slopes. The Ranch, a 4000-square-foot facility, is located at the top of the Buckaroo Express Gondola and surrounded by slopes with beginner-oriented terrain. Here, you can choose to enroll your kids in private or group lessons, with courses available for kids between the ages of 3 and 18 (full or half-day, with our without lunch).
Additional Outdoor Fun
While the most popular activities on the mountain are skiing and snowboarding, they are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all there is for families and kids to do at Beaver Creek. Even if your kid is adverse to downhill activities, there's plenty of entertainment on offer. There's an ice skating rink right in Beaver Creek village as well as a tubing run. And daily activities scheduled throughout the week include a disco-themed ice-skating night, free family snowshoeing tours (with all gear provided and hot cocoa and cookies upon your return), and Saturday's Family FunFest with music, face painting and other activities in the village. There's even a weekly story time event at The Ranch for kids ages 3 to 6, with no skis, boards of lift tickets required.
Even infants and toddlers are accounted for at the resort at the Small World nursery, with child-care facilities for kids ages 2 months to 6 years. Located in the village, the center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (parents should bring disposable diapers or pull-ups, a change of clothes, shoes for wearing indoors and a sleep toy or blanket for their kids).
When it comes to summertime activities at the resort, there's almost as much to do on the mountain as during the winter months. The Centennial chairlift stays open to whisk you to the top of Beaver Creek Mountain for spectacular views. And other activities that can be arranged by the hotel's concierge include mini golf, nature walks, mountain biking, horseback riding and visits to working ranches to see cattle drives and try your hand at fly fishing or clay shooting.
During the holiday season, the hotel organizes kids' programs onsite that might include craft making cookies or caroling, as well as seminars for adults such as lessons on how to use GoPro cameras. And if you're up for a movie in your room, there's a kiosk right off the lobby that rents DVDs for free. All you have to do is insert your room key and choose your flick. (There are plenty of G rated movies among the offerings.) The Osprey's concierge can help you book any and all activities.
Best of All
Perhaps best of all, the hotel's ski valet takes care of all the board and ski logistics for your family, making it hassle free to get out to the slopes in the morning -- slip into you pre-warmed boots before making your way to the lift! Ski and snowboard rentals can be arranged at one of several shops in the base village, and the concierge can also arrange ski delivery to the hotel so you can be fitted right in your room.
The Osprey Lounge
The hotel has just one restaurant, the Osprey Lounge, located just off the main lobby and adjacent to the ski room that connects to the Strawberry Park Express lift. With mostly tapas-style dishes offered, the small dining area has a few banquette-style couches against the wall and a communal high-top dining space that feels like a bar but where families are most definitely welcome.
The breakfast buffet served here every morning is excellent, and kids eat for less than half of the cost for adults. There's a selection of cereals, fresh juices, bagels, alpine-style meats and cheeses, as well as traditional American breakfast standards such as pancakes and bacon and eggs. In-room dining is also available, with typical selections such as cereals, English muffins, eggs cooked your way and fruit plates making for a lighter start to the day.
Lunch and Dinner
On the lunch menu for kids, you'll find they typical kids-fare such as grilled cheese, burgers, quesadillas and flat-bread pizzas. High chairs are provided on request, and crayons and paper keep the kids entertained. Lunch and dinner items for adults include a delicious range of tapas that are best shared, with items such as lobster nachos, sweet potato ravioli, seared diver scallops with polenta, and braised short ribs on the menu.
If you're staying at the Osprey for any length of time, you'll want to venture away from the hotel to try some of Beaver Creek's favorite family-friendly restaurants. In Beaver Creek Village, the Beaver Creek Market is a good quick stop for groceries, deli sandwiches, smoothies and the like. Blue Moose Pizza, near the ice skating rink in the village, draws families for NY-style pizzas and pastas in casual surroundings. And Coyote Cafe is popular for apres-ski margaritas, as well as family-style Mexican eats. On the mountain itself, families like the interactive dining concept at Mamie's Mountain Grill where you can grill your own burgers and hot dogs at the top of Bachelor Gulch.
Planning & Tips
Planning & Tips
If you arrange a transfer from Denver's international airport or the airport at Eagle/Vail, you could easily make do without a rental car during your stay. Free shuttles transport you all around Beaver Creek Resort, and the many restaurants, shopping and entertainment options in the village center are just a short walk from The Osprey. Additionally, the hotel runs a complimentary car service in its Cadillac Escalade to transport you on-call to areas around the resort as well as to the nearby town of Avon. You'll want to rent a car, however, if you plan to explore further afield -- in the town of Vail (about 15-minutes away).
A resort fee at The Osprey covers Internet and underground, heated valet-parking. There are complimentary laundry facilities (a full-size washer and dryer) on the second floor of the hotel, available on a first come/first served basis. Dry cleaning services are also available.
All about the Extras
Babysitting services with licensed sitters can be arranged through the concierge by the hour (request in advance).
There's no dedicated spa onsite, but the hotel's fitness center has cardio and weight-lifting equipment, as well as a steam room and sauna that make for a very welcome wellness detente after a day on the mountain. For a real grown-up treat, in room massages can be arranged.
Arrival amenities for kids include chocolate chip cookies and milk. And there are always hot chocolate, coffee, tea and light snacks (fruit or cookies) available in the hotel lobby throughout the day, as well as in-room coffee machines stocked with Starbucks blends.
The Art of Smart Timing
The winter ski season is by far the busiest time of year at the resort, but The Osprey is also open during the summer months (check ahead of your visit to be aware of any closures between the changing seasons). The resort and hotel are at their most crowded during spring break in February and March, the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year's, and President's Weekend. Lift lines are always shorter on weekdays.
The Osprey is located two-hours west of Denver International Airport, which is serviced by most major US carriers including American Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and others. All major car rental companies can be found at the airport. Alternatively, you can contact the hotel's concierge to arrange a shuttle from the airport to The Osprey. Private shuttles also operate from Denver to Beaver Creek, including Mountain Star Transportation, which often offers half-off transport deals for children.
For less time in transit, you can choose to fly into Vail/Eagle County Airport, just 35-minutes from the resort. Ask the hotel concierge to arrange a shuttle transfer from there (car rentals are also available onsite).
For Mom and Dad
Thanks to the hotel's babysitting services, it's easy for parents to arrange a night away from the kids. And with the world-class dining options in both Beaver Creek and nearby Vail, you'll have plenty of classy restaurants to choose from when planning an adult night on the town. For a different on-mountain experience, book at table at Beano's Cabin, accessed by an open-air sleigh that's pulled up the mountain by a snow cat (children are also welcome). Five-course dinners are accompanied by live music, and if you arrive before sunset, you'll enjoy excellent mountain views. In The Pines Lodge, Grouse Mountain Grill makes for a quieter, more romantic dinner with seasonal specialties, candlelight and a roaring fire. And if you venture to Vail, don%2527t miss Sweet Basil or the Swiss alpine specialties at the Swiss Chalet.
For some spa time together, it hardly gets more decadent than at the Allegria Spa, right across the street from The Osprey at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek where you can take a dip in the mineral pools and then indulge in a lavender body scrub and Swedish massage.