The Deal: Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole
THE BACKSTORY: When the slopeside Four Season Resort Jackson Hole opened in December 2003, the smart money said the hotel would have trouble making the cut in this hardcore ski town. After all, a brand that epitomizes all that is luxe had the temerity to build on a mountain that is a testosterone testing ground, an unrelenting assortment of cliffs, chutes and moguls bigger than a HumVee. But Jackson is also an island of wealth in tax friendly Wyoming, the preferred habitat of species such as the Waltons (as in Walmart), Harrison Ford and Dick Cheney. Jump cut four plus years down the road. Not only has the Four Seasons become an integral neighbor in the ski village (it dutifully provides guests with information about avoiding grizzly bears). The hotel is unquestionably at the top of its game. From the apres-ski sushi bar in the lounge to the service at The Peaks (a casual bar-like space with light fare for lunch and dinner where local ski bums now feel at home) to the ever-smiling ski valets who eagerly rush out with your boots and offers to help you get them on, the fabled Four Seasons service aesthetic is in full flower.
THE ROOMS: The overall look is stone, dark wood paneling and Navajo-esque prints on carpets. It is subtly and quietly glamorous. It’s hard not to love the rooms (there are just 124), with their gas fireplaces, ottomans and comfortable chairs, as well as marble floored entry ways and baths with deep soaking tubs. At 500 square feet, the standard room is spacious enough so that you could easily spend a day reading by your fire, watching the snowfall and nursing your aching quads. This is noteworthy, because most ski hotels, maximizing their real estate, give you only enough room to sleep but not enough to live. The difference is crucial, especially in Jackson, where three hard charging days of skiing may leave you drained by day four, with a spa session and downtime in your room a good way to recover.
MORE REASONS TO STAY: The spa offers a seamless experience. It’s smooth sailing, from the clubby locker room complete with hot tub and an ice cold plunge pool (the latter a European touch too rarely seen in ski spas) to the stack of folded peppermint towels to accompany you into the steam room and the discrete attendant who’s always keeping things shipshape. There are 18 therapists, 16 treatment rooms, and a dish of sorbet served to you after the treatment. What could be better? That the toughest of ski towns has a softer side shouldn’t really surprise anyone. The reverence for the outdoors and the focus on staying uber-fit (you can’t throw a snowball without hitting a former Olympian in this town) has lead to exploring all aspects of fitness and health.
INSIDER TIP: A deep tissue massage at the spa redefines the genre.
CAVEAT: What recession? Definitely not for the weak of wallet.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Slopeside at Jackson Hole is about as good as it gets.
THE DETAILS: Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole 800-914-5110