by Terry Ward
The Sebastian, a Timbers Resorts property, features a prime central location in Vail Village that puts you within a short walk (about five minutes) to the base of the mountain and even closer to restaurants, nightlife and shopping. For families in search of a comfortable, upscale setting that manages to exude both a classic lodge vibe as well as contemporary style, it’s about the best pick in town. In the lobby, open fireplaces, plush couches and vaulted ceilings pair with original artwork that adds a definitive class and originality to the place — the Mexican owners have impeccable taste and are keen collectors of contemporary paintings, sculpture and antiques, all of which can be seen throughout the hotel’s public spaces.
The overall look at this AAA Four-Diamond property doesn’t scream “family environment,” but that’s precisely the reason many families choose to stay here. But the hotel’s room options — with everything from standard rooms and studios to four bedroom suites complete with full kitchens and laundry facilities — are what really makes it inviting to settle in and stay a while with the whole gang.
You’re not ski-in/ski-out here, but the Sebastian Base Camp Ski Valet, “the hotel’s private mountain club at the base of the mountain’s main lifts,” is the next best thing for easy access to skiing. At the end of a day on the mountain, you retire your skis, boards and boots here and return the next morning to find them waxed up, warmed and ready to slip into for another excellent day on the mountain (there’s even a pop up spa at the base camp so you can get a foot massage as soon as you’re off the slopes).
As for the hotel’s onsite amenities, the standard luxury offerings are all found here — from an outdoor heated pool surrounded by three bubbling hot tubs to a full service spa and fitness center. Vail’s free shuttle service, with a stop just out the hotel’s back door, means it’s a cinch to get all around town and to nearby Lionshead, too. But you can also just request a complimentary ride for your family in the hotel’s six-person luxury SUV which can deliver you all the way to Golden Peak, the easternmost of the Vail base villages, too.
For families in search of a world-class hotel with a boutique feel that’s within easy access by foot or complimentary shuttle of every Vail attraction, there’s hardly a more apt address.
Our Editor Loves
- Located in Vail Village
- Sebastian Base Camp steps from gondola
- Suites with full kitchens and laundry facilities
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The Sebastian has 100 rooms and seven suites with ample configurations to accommodate your family whether it's just the three of you or a group of 13. As for room and suite decor, think classic yet contemporary heavy, wooden furniture, and leather chairs pair with starch-white beds and throw pillows here and there for splashes of color.
The standard hotel rooms are equipped with either two queen beds or a king, and rollaway cots as well as luxury twin blow-up air mattresses can be delivered. Docking stations for iPods, work desks, and entertainment centers with flat screen TVs and DVD players are standard in all rooms, as well as Nespresso coffee machines, mini fridges, and humidifiers to help moisten that dry mountain air.
As you step up in room level, amenities such as balconies, and, in the case of studios, kitchenettes with microwaves, make it even easier to settle in and stay a while. Things get really luxurious when it comes to the hotel's suites, available with one, two, three or four bedrooms, as well as with fully equipped kitchens, laundry facilities, dining rooms, living areas, and balconies overlooking the pool and mountains. The suites also have pull-out couches. For larger groups, it's possible to arrange a standard hotel room that connects to one of the suites, though these are often in high demand so be sure to book well in advance.
Fabulous stay! The staff was EXCELLENT!! In addition to the rooms, food, overall property. We had many last minute changes and they jumped thru the hoops to make everything happen without a hiccup. Truly exceede our expectations.
Excellent staff and accommodations! Great location, easy in and easy out and within walking distance of great shops and restaurants. The rooms were very spacious and well kept....loved the robes, pillows and turndown service especially!
Ski and Snowboard
Most families come to Vail to ski or snowboard and Vail Resort, world-class ski resort that it is, has lessons and activities for nearly all skill levels and ages. Kids and teens can choose group or private lessons, and there's even a special girls-only program: Ski Girls Rock. The program was designed by hometown champion Lindsey Vonn for girls ages 5 to 15; it's limited to four girls per lesson, and is led by female instructors.
While you're on the mountain for the day, you can arrange babysitting through The Sebastian's concierge for your youngest family members who won't be skiing. Another option is the childcare and nursery facility at Golden Peak, open to kids ages two months through 6 years. At the childcare center, there are separate playrooms divided by age group with infants and kids up to 15 months in one area, another room for toddlers aged 16 months to 29 months, and yet another area for preschoolers between the ages of 30 months and 6 years.
One of the biggest perks at The Sebastian is Sebastian Base Camp located at the foot of Vail Mountain. Here, your skis and warm boots will be waiting for you each morning. Within a few pushes of your poles, you'll arrive at the Gondola One lift. The hotel is about a five-minute walk from the Base Camp, but you can also arrange for the hotel's complimentary SUV service to take you there. A warm welcome at the end of your day on the mountain comes in the form of chocolate chip cookies and a cup of hot chocolate at the camp. The ski valet is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the winter season as well as from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer for guests wishing to store mountain bikes and other toys in proximity to the lifts.
At The Sebastian itself, there's plenty of off-mountain entertainment for families. The hotel's pool is heated year-round and surrounded by two oversized hot tubs as well as an adults-only hot tub well suited for some alone-time soaking under the sun, stars or falling snow. Kids love ducking their heads under the waterfalls in the main pool.
Inside the hotel, you can rent a film from the hotel's complimentary DVD kiosk off the lobby and enjoy a family movie night in your room or suite. And while there's no dedicated kids' club at the hotel itself, the concierge can arrange day programs involving arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, and other on- and off-mountain activities through activities centers at Vail Resort and in Vail Village.
The best onsite program for kids at The Sebastian is the Little Chefs of Vail program -- a children's culinary program that takes place in the hotel's restaurant kitchens. Kids don a chef's hat and coat for the 2.5-hour long weekly classes where they'll learn from professional chefs how to prepare from scratch fun foods like homemade ice cream, pasta and sushi.
Recreation at Vail Mountain
When it comes to activities beyond skiing and snowboarding at Vail mountain, the list is long. At Adventure Ridge, Vail's family activity area, you'll find a kids' snowmobile track, daytime and nighttime tubing, snowshoeing tours, dog sledding and other specialty programs such as nature walks to look for mountain dwellers like weasels and owls. During the summer, families enjoy hiking, horseback riding, rafting, festivals, fishing and more.
You can go through The Sebastian's concierge to book on-mountain activities and dining reservations on Vail Mountain, equipment rentals and lift tickets, as well as programs at the hotel and other area venues.
Breakfast at The Sebastian
Families usually start their days with breakfast at the atmospheric cafe with a beautiful buffet spread of muffins, bagels, meats and cheeses in addition to an omelet making station and classic items like pancakes and waffles (kids can make their own waffles at the do-it-yourself machines). Kids can always find something to eat from the sweet pastries to cereals and classics like bacon and eggs. Breakfast is available from 7 to 11 a.m.
This tapas bistro serves lunch from noon to 4 p.m., and features items like soups, salads and sandwiches. The kids' menu includes things like burgers, chicken fingers and mac and cheese.
If you're at the Sebastian Base Camp, be sure to check out the Beignet Cafe right next door where you can snack on light, powdered donuts made famous in New Orleans along with a hot espresso drink or a refreshing smoothie.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
There's no resort fee at The Sebastian and wireless Internet access is complimentary. You will, however, be charged a fee per night to valet your car (there's no self parking option on the property). There is a pay lot near the hotel that charges the same nightly fee. You won't find public laundry facilities onsite but the hotel's complimentary SUV shuttle service can deliver you to a nearby Laundromat if you wish to wash your clothes, or you can pay to have them sent out to be cleaned.
Babysitting services with trusted sitters from the area can be arranged through the concierge.
A complimentary "around town" shuttle is available to guests.
Pets are welcome to stay here for an additional fee.
If the mountains don't provide enough exercise opportunity for you the hotel's fitness center will, with a good range of cardio and strength training machines and personal trainers are available at your request.
Cookies and Milk
You can request to have cookies and milk in the room on arrival as a welcome amenity for your children, but the nightly turndown always comes with a treat of a cookie or candy, too.
The Art of Smart Timing
The winter ski season is far and away the busiest time of the year at The Sebastian, but the hotel is open year-round. The ski resort and hotel are at their most crowded during the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Years, February and spring break. Visiting on weekdays always means shorter lift lines than on weekends. Presidents' Weekend in February is also particularly busy. For a quiet retreat, visit during the summer months, a beautiful time to enjoy Colorado's mountain highlights, too.
The Sebastian is located two hours west of Denver International Airport. 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 Sebastian. Private shuttles also operate from Denver to Beaver Creek, including Mountain Star Transportation and Colorado Mountain Express, which often offers half-off transport deals for children.
For less time in transit, fly into Vail/Eagle County Airport located just 35 minutes from the resort, and ask the hotel concierge to arrange a shuttle transfer from there (car rentals are also available onsite).
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. Vail's free bus service transports you all around and the many restaurants, shopping and entertainment options in the village center are just a short walk away. You'll want to rent a car, however, if you plan to explore farther afield in Beaver Creek and surrounding towns.
For Mom and Dad
Thanks to the hotel's babysitting services, it's easy enough for parents to arrange a night away from the kids. And with the world-class dining options at both Vail and nearby Beaver Creek, you'll have plenty of classy restaurants to choose from when planning an adult night on the town.
The Sebastian's spa, Bloom, is a decadent spot for couple's therapies or your own private treatment. The spa features the standard facials, scrubs and massages as well as altitude-inspired treatments to help your body acclimate to the Rockies' heights with things like oxygen inhalation therapy and high altitude massages. A really nice touch, all guests are welcome to use the steam bath and sauna facilities here whether or not you've booked a spa appointment (just call ahead to reserve a time).
And after a night on the town (and while the sitter is still on duty), make one last stop at Frost, the hotel's bar, off the main lobby, for a nightcap a deux; the bar is popular with Vail locals and visitors for its high design and art-glass decor as well as the signature Scotch selection.