Review: Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, Vail, Colorado, USA

This post is one chapter on our trip to Colorado, United States on Alaska Airlines. This trip was booked and credited to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan using a two for one Companion Fare courtesy of the Alaska Airlines credit card. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, Vail, Colorado, United States

Somewhere through the merger of the Marriott and Starwood program, I learned of the value of the Marriott Flights and Nights travel packages. This program required you to stay a minimum of 7 consecutive nights in a hotel on a reward stay. I don’t usually stay anywhere for that long so it was challenging to identify some opportunities. It eventually dawned on me that I could use a 7-night voucher for a ski holiday. As skiers and snow boarders know, the pricing of hotels near the ski hill is over the top thanks to a supply and demand scenario…

I ended up doing the research and booking the Marriott well in advance in October; long before the ski season started. Marriott allowed you to book rewards reservations in advance, without paying out the points for them. I reserved the room in October 2017, then called January 2018 to apply the e-certificate. In turn, for 130,000 Starwood points that were converted to 390,000 Marriott Rewards points (at the flat post takeover 1:3 ratio), we got accommodation worth $4,214 USD, AND 120,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles worth about $2,280 on a $0.019 cent valuation. All in, the redemption was about a monetary value of $6,490 USD, or a solid 5 cents a point.

I love the caution about the $4,626.98 cancellation “fee”…

Vail Marriott Mountain Resort
Studio King 

Arriving to the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort:

Travelling up from Denver on Interstate I-70, we eventually found our way to the resort in the Lionshead neighbourhood, which was pretty easy to find thanks to a little advance reconnaissance work.

On arrival, the bell captains were very friendly in assisting to get the skis unsorted and out of the ski bags. The valet staff unpacked the skis out of the ski bags (the bags were left in the car) and they made arrangements to get the skis over to the opposite site of the hotel where the ski valet was located. I left MrsWT73 to supervise most of this while I went to handle the check in process. The check in area is in a large, but in a some what dated looking space.

Our Free Night Award certificate had us booked into a base level room. I usually make it a point of not staying at the Marriott’s so I didn’t know how far the Marriott Platinum Elite “Upgrade to Room at Check in” would get us. Pretty much the second thing out of my mouth after I had handed over a credit card and ID was that we had booked a room with two doubles but we would gladly exchange for an upgrade opportunity with a king and a sofa bed or rollaway. Since WT73jr was outside at the car, there was no opportunity to dispute the negotiation. The front desk agent was kind enough to do some room Tetris and was able to get us a three category upgrade from base room to a Studio King. Score. Although there were some “residence condos” available, they were almost double the posted average daily rate that we had booked under. They were probably well beyond a “standard suite” as well that is typically within the upgrade parameters as well.

A local beer serving was also provided at the front desk; along with a keepsake Vail Marriott Vail Brewing Corporation branded pint glass. A sheet was also provided explaining the resort fees chargeable at $40 per day. As was typically the experience, the hotel itself offered extremely little “resort” other than a few activities (Smores between 1-3 PM) and a tired looking pool.

In lieu of any substantial Platinum Benefits (there was no included breakfast as it was a “resort” per Marriott terms and conditions at the time of writing), the hotel also offered $35 credit towards the SPA, the in house Avalanche Pizza or Room Service. I was further offered an additional 500 Marriott Reward Points or an additional $10 voucher. Given that 500 Marriott Rewards Points are worth only 160 SPG Starpoints, I ended up taking the $10 and we saved it towards a dinner after skiing. I also later learned that we got a bit of a break on the mandatory valet parking. It was posted at $50 per day; we were charged $35. I didn’t pick up on the difference until I got home but I suspect this was due to our Platinum status.

Our bags were brought up and we were led into the room #505.

The Room: A Studio King

The room décor was typically Marriott. This meant reds, browns and beige tones everywhere. The Trip Advisor reviews had been recently quite negative on the whole property but our room was in really good condition with carpets free of stains, walls free of scuff marks and couches and linen that were comfortable. For a free week’s reward stay, I didn’t really have too much to complain about. For someone that was paying $600 USD a night for this room, it wasn’t a terrific value.

Check in beer ‘sample” in a plastic cup on the table; part of the added value of your resort fee! LOL.

The wine was ours from AppleJacks, but the coffee maker was with the room.

The bathroom was relatively spacious. Although the pictures of Thyme and Parsley on the walls have been a bit out of style since the nineteen nineties.

Toiletries were THANN branded. We didn’t really use them all too much or take them home.

Lots of hooks by the door for ski stuff.

A Room with a View:

The view from the room was pleasant, and had peek a boo views over to the mountain. There was minimal road and interstate noise; the I-70 interstate is behind the yellow Ritz Carlton and brown building in the photo.

Around the Resort:

Around the hotel there were some fire pits outside of the concierge door on the way to the pools. Unfortunately, the fire pits did not have a view of anything, other than other buildings.

The Vail Marriott Mountain “Resort” has an outdoor pool. It’s definitely an older variety and was looking pretty tired on our visit. It actually looks more impressive from the second floor as pictured here. Unfortunately, it does not over look the view, a ski run, a mountain vista or anything spectacular. Instead, it overlooks the hotel back door so all the guests can see you frolicking in the tub after dinner. It also seems to be a bit of a shady space that doesn’t see sunlight all too often thanks to the buildings and the North facing slopes of Vail mountain.

The Avalanche Bar is the lounge of the hotel. It was the home of live entertainment (lounge singers) during the apres ski area. It was a nice but lacking a little bit of soul. We ended up redeeming our rewards points there on a pupus’ dinner one evening. Dinner for three came to about 90 USD$. Overall, the service and the lounge, the concierge and the hotel reception was very good to excellent. It was clear that the property spends quite a bit of effort in training in this area.

The resort fee included this wonderful “Games Room”. I presume a part of the $40 a day kept the Ms PacMan rental going all these years.

On the second floor above the lobby, there was a small business center with free printing.

There was also a half stocked Starbucks Coffee outlet that had a limited breakfast menu so that it did not compete with the First Tracks Restaurant next door. The muffins were all shrink wrapped (not in a display case) and I found that they often ran out of supply. What you see in those small display cases is pretty much what you get.

We settled in and had an early night since we were all tired from an early rise.

My thoughts on the Vail Marriott Resort:

Overall, the hotel was a pleasant, if not unexciting place to stay for a week. It was one of the view reasonable point options in the Vail valley, of which we took full advantage. Thankfully, they will be fixing the no breakfast at resort properties for Platinums moving forward so there are opportunities to get even great value on a stay next ski season.

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