Lodging options in the Vail Valley run the gamut, ranging from crashing on a friend’s couch to luxuriating in a slopeside villa that’ll set you back $20,000 a night (see below). However, there’s only one place where you can book a room that’s roughly the size of a linen closet.
Avon’s Cohabit Pod Hotel, which opened in late January, is the brainchild of Carryn and Bret Burton. Both have worked in real estate and hospitality in the Vail area for more than 15 years; they also own and manage nine long-term rental properties. The couple wanted to get into the short-term market in the area but had no desire to go the Airbnb route. Inspired by Tokyo’s capsule hotels, they sketched out a business plan for Cohabit, an inn with individual sleeping pods that were a bit bigger and “more comfortable,” Carryn says. “Really tiny, but really nice.”
The long-vacant commercial space in Chapel Square, which once housed an Outback Steakhouse and then Red Mountain Grill, suited their needs. It was big enough to house the pods (custom-made by a tiny home builder in Lakewood) and required minimal upgrades. Seven months later, Cohabit Pod Hotel is officially a thing.
Unlike a traditional hostel with communal bunkrooms, Cohabit quarters guests in a hive of double-occupancy pods (two bunks in standard and XL sizes, $100 per night) equipped with reading lights, USB chargers, memory foam mattresses, luxury linens, and towels.
Community spaces include an expansive lounge with mountain views and a lobby with a cozy fireplace. The décor is sleek and modern (polished concrete floors, corrugated metal wainscoting, and upcycled furniture), and even the communal bathrooms seem more like spas. Guests can store luggage in personal lockers and secure their skis and snowboards on locking racks; a coffee bar and wine/beer taps are coming soon. Free Wi-Fi and parking complete the attractive package. With smart locks that allow 24-hour access from a mobile device, Cohabit is perfect for those who want to spend more time on the slopes they came here to ski than in a New York City-priced hotel room they’ll barely use.
“It’s not really about affordability, it’s about preference,” Carryn Burton says. “I just feel like you’re seeing people that don’t care about the hotel room, they want to be outside. They’re here to ski (and) want to spend money on après or on concert tickets or doing other things.”
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Luxury rentals are nothing new in the Vail Valley. However, the opportunities to sleep in some of the highest-end homes in the area are expanding—if you have the budget.
Over the summer, Airbnb launched its Luxe tier featuring the world’s most extraordinary (and expensive) DIY vacation rentals with “five-star everything, incredible service, and experiences for the most discerning guest,” says Michael Bong, who represents Airbnb Luxe through Weber Shandwick. Of the 300+ Luxe listings worldwide, not surprisingly, 38 are located in and around Vail, including a slopeside ski chalet off Born Free with its own private wellness center that sleeps 14 and costs $20,000 a night, with a five-night minimum. Add on the hospitality fees ($500) and occupancy taxes and fees ($15,600) and your five-night Airbnb in Vail costs almost as much as a performance edition Model X Tesla ($114,000; $280 ski/snowboard carrier not included).