With the holidays behind us and a long stretch of winter still ahead, it’s easy to slip into a seasonal slump. Travel can be the ideal cure for any post-holiday blues. While many will have the urge to head to warmer locales and tropical destinations to pass the time beachside and beneath palm trees, this week’s Bucket List prescribes a different antidote. From wilderness lodges to ski resorts, these seven U.S. accommodations are perfect for celebrating winter, not escaping it.
Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.
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The Arrabelle at Vail Square is arguably one of the most idyllic winter resorts in the country, if not the world. Located in Vail at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola, this lavish ski resort pulls its inspiration from the historic alpine resorts of Europe. It offers 81 guest rooms and condominiums with gas fireplaces and balconies, in-room iPads, heated bathroom floors, rooftop hot tubs and pool, a grand lobby complete with a fireplace, indoor and outdoor dining, spa, fitness center, ski deck, grocery delivery service, ski equipment rentals and picturesque views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains to name a few. The hotel is located in the heart of Vail Square, which includes 33,000 square feet of shopping, dining and art galleries, its own ice skating rink and fire pits, as well as an escalator right to the base of the mountain.
Photo Courtesy Arrabelle at Vail Square
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With a name like Fireside Resort and a location like Jackson Hole, it should be no surprise why this hotel made the list. It perfectly pairs rustic nature with relaxing luxury, offering 23 cabins complete with fireplaces, full kitchens, private decks with grills, as well as outdoor fire pits. The resort is just minutes from Grand Teton National Park and provides ample opportunities for enjoying alpine activities across 2,500 acres. There are 12 lifts and 133 trials for downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, to name a few.
Photo Courtesy Fireside Resort
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If you want wilderness within reach, but don't yearn to be too far removed from reality, head to Utah's Washington School House. This recently restored Park City boutique hotel dates back to 1889 when it was built to serve as one of the city's original three school houses. Today, it is anything from old school or uncool. It features 12 rooms, a heated pool perched on a hillside terrace, fireplaces, private chef and more. Throughout the property you'll find charming antiques and interesting relics like an outdoor fire that burns from a steel Olympic torch from the 2002 Winter Olympics, a giant crystal-adorned antler chandelier and a massive mirror imported from a French opera house. There's also a ski valet and in-house lift ticket purchasing, 24-hour concierge, in-room massages, along with access to all the alpine snow activities one could desire like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. The hotel is also surrounded by all the many attractions Park City has to offer, including museums, spas, art gallery, shopping and fine dining.
Photo Courtesy Washington School House Hotel
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Don't let the name deceive you, Suncadia Resort is a winter paradise. Located in the Cascade Mountains just 80 miles east of Seattle, the resort is surrounded by more than 6,000 acres of winter wilderness. Suncadia offers multiple accommodation options, including the stunning Lodge. Perched above the Cle Elum River Valley and Tumble Creek, the 254-room hotel offers impressive mountain views. When you're not enjoying the menu of outdoor activities that includes everything from skiing and ice skating to sledding and tubing, you can enjoy the full-service spa, fitness center, as well as multiple dinning options.
Photo Courtesy Suncadia Resort
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It doesn't get much more ideal than a winter escape to Yosemite National Park and the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (previously the Ahwahnee Hotel) is the place to stay. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a designated National Historic Landmark and is gorgeous inside and out. The Majestic Yosemite Hotel dates back to the late 1920s and is located in the heart of Yosemite Village near the Shadow of the Giants Trail, Yosemite Falls and the Yosemite Museum Gallery. The hotel is just the right amount of rugged without foregoing luxury and comfort. Aside from the countless attractions the sights the park itself has to offer, don't miss a meal or two in the hotel's 130-foot-long Grand Dining Room, which features 34-foot-high ceilings and breathtaking views of Yosemite Falls from its massive alcove window. Cracking a book or relaxing by one of the two large fireplaces in the hotel's massive Great Lounge is another must. In the past, the hotel has hosted an impressive list of guests that includes Walt Disney, Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, John F. Kennedy, Steve Jobs, Ronald Reagan, Charlie Chaplin, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lucille Ball and Judy Garland.
Photo by Geoff Livingston, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Whiteface Lodge is a picturesque mountain resort located within the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park in upstate New York. The accolade-earning resort features a timber wood exterior that looks like something out of an oil painting. Don't let the rustic facade fool you, this Lake Placid resort offers all the modern amenities you could want during your stay and plenty of activities to keep you busy. After a full day tobogganing, dog sledding, skiing or snowshoeing, you can head inside to warm up in one of the spa's steam rooms and saunas or relax at the movie theater and bowling alley. According to the resort's website, you'd be in good company. Past guests have reportedly included Ralph Waldo Emerson and members of the Vanderbilt family.
Photo Courtesy Whiteface Lodge
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You might recognize this resort, but know it by another name. Oregon's Timberline Lodge served as the exterior of The Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, but a stay at the real resort is anything but scary. Located at 6,000 feet above sea level on Mt. Hood, Timberline Lodge offers the longest ski season in North America, the largest vertical terrain in the Northwest and is home to 41 trails, multiple life systems and a total of 1,415 skiable acres--and that's just outside this grand National Historic Landmark hotel. It comes complete with a heated pool, spa and sauna, several dining options serving northwest alpine cuisine, as well as an inviting lobby with three large fireplaces. For a truly unique experience, opt for a night in the lodge's Silox Hut. Located at 7,000 feet, the overnight hideaway includes dinner, lodging and breakfast before returning to the main lodge via complimentary transportation.
Photo Courtesy Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon