You might think Vail doesn’t need yet another luxury hotel, and you might be right. But spin through the revolving doors of the Hythe, a recently debuted Luxury Collection Resort by Marriott in Lionshead, and that thought evaporates. The space, all done up in neutrals and naturals (grays, creams, wood, stone, and leather accents), exudes an almost spa-like serenity. It’s quite a shift from the dark and tired Marriott that the Hythe has so gracefully replaced—amazing, really, what $40 million can do.
The 344-room property has a distinct and polished contemporary Colorado aesthetic (no lodgepole beams here). There are, of course, the mountains that beckon beyond the windows, but there are also nods to the ski resort’s origins. Instead of feeling trite, the mentions are woven in with historic photos and art installations—nods to the 10th Mountain Division and Pete Seibert, Vail’s locally famous cofounder, who was a soldier in the 10th. After returning from the war, Seibert and other veterans brought the hospitality of European après-ski culture back with them. That essence is an inviting undercurrent, and no matter the season at the Hythe—an old English term for “haven”—a sink-in-and-stay-a-while vibe awaits.
Up a set of floating stairs sits Revel Lounge, the hotel bar which already has been colonized by locals, given that it’s the only craft cocktail bar in Lionshead. It doesn’t hurt that the consulting mixologist happens to be Sean Kenyon, the lauded longtime Denver pro who, in 2014, was named the best American bartender of the year. (Kenyon’s Denver speakeasy-style lounge, Williams & Graham, has received similar top honors.) At Revel’s horseshoe-shaped bar, the cocktail offerings are deep, with both signatures and classics that are stirred and shaken with mostly Colorado spirits. Don’t miss the Hugo—prosecco poured over the top of a waldmeister sorbet (waldmeister being a spring herb that grows in forest clearings in alpine regions). Paired with the provisions board—cured meats, dreamy Tête de Moine cheese, bread spiced with fenugreek and fennel, house-pickled veg—this could easily replace dinner.
Assuming you don’t spoil your dinner, walk a few strides to the hostess stand and check in to the Hythe’s signature dining room, Margie’s Haas, an homage to a local who took it upon herself to cook, feed, and rejuvenate the soldiers of the 10th at her mountain home. Her house was located near Camp Hale, the 10th’s winter training ground outside of Leadville, and it became home base for troopers in need of a just-like-Mom-cooked meal.
Now, executive chef Patrick Dahms assumes that role. Dahms’s high alpine–
inspired dishes are more posh and nuanced than Margie’s, of course, but they still inspire comfort. This style of cooking comes naturally to Dahms, who was born in Lübeck, Germany, and attended culinary school in Hamburg. His menu weaves in the flavors and textures he experienced as a child in the Italian and Austrian Alps. Simply put: Do not miss Dahms’s spätzle, which sits under a wild boar schnitzel topped with a dollop of huckleberry jam, just the way his grandmother made it. If that sounds too heavy for summer, it’s still worth ordering but sharing around the table. The spätzle—those tiny little buttered dumplings made by running batter through a colander perched over a pot of roiling salted water—are the very essence of handmade comfort.
Lighter, but no less impressive, fare includes dreamy white asparagus risotto with seared scallop and aged Gruyère, or Tyrolean knödel (a Bavarian dumpling, not unlike a matzo ball) on sautéed morels with dehydrated speck and nasturtium pesto. The latter would be especially excellent on a mountain evening cooled by a rainstorm. There are also a couple of mainstream choices on the menu (e.g., wedge salad, steak), but the dishes that lean on the Alps are the ones that really shine.
After dinner, retreat to 10th Mountain, the five-seat nook of a whiskey bar in the lobby. (While Revel Lounge is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., 10th Mountain moonlights between 5 and 9:30 p.m.) The space is a partnership with 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company (a Gypsum distillery that has a tasting room in Vail Village), and a small menu touts classics like the boulevardier and the old-fashioned, as well as a barrel-aged cocktail of the month. Sip your excellent drink in the lobby, or belly up and engage the bartender. Ask questions, and you’ll receive a crash course in the distillery’s spirits, which range from bourbon to vodka to moonshine.
In the morning before heading down the river or up the hill, you can dash into Mountain Ration for coffee, fresh juices, and grab-and-go items. (The spot is named after M-rations, the canned battlefield grub eaten by the 10th soldiers, but the fare is much better.) Mountain Ration is good for a snack, but to miss the breakfast buffet at Margie’s Haas would leave a giant hole in your culinary itinerary, not to mention a void in your belly. It’s hard to think of anything the buffet doesn’t offer, but if you do, there’s also a full menu. Enjoy your breakfast with natural inspiration at one of the tables along the windows to plan your day’s adventure—and a return to the haven.