After Los Angeles-based Laurus Corp. purchased the sprawling creekside hotel formerly known as Vail Cascade in 2015, visitors and locals wondered what would become of the property. The Cascade had been a South Frontage Road landmark since 1986, where its own chairlift (the only hotel lift in Vail) whisked guests to the west side of Vail Mountain, and its enormous banquet hall and ballroom hosted large events year-round. Stripping 30 years worth of Tyrolean-inspired decor from a 285-room resort takes time, however, and after two years of renovation, the space, rebranded as Hotel Talisa, opened its doors to guests in late November. 

Just about every aspect of the old Cascade has been upgraded, from the modern decor to luxe amenities like a slopeside ski valet and a contemporary fine dining room (Gessner) that would wow in Manhattan, Chicago, or L.A. Even après has been upscaled, beginning with a champagne sabering at 4 p.m. each afternoon in the resort's elegant social hub, the Fireside Lounge, followed by a marshmallow roast (hosted by an actual s'mores butler!) outside by the creekside firepit. Weekly activities include a Mats and Moët experience that combines yoga with post-workout bubbly, among others. While Opening Day on the mountain may have been lacking, the grand opening of Talisa, at least, has given this ski season some much needed luster. 970-476-7111,

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