Chateau at Casteel Creek, a Hideaway for Billionaires
By Brian E. Clark
There are vacation rental homes and then there are vacation rental homes. The luxe Chateau at Casteel Creek surely belongs in the latter category.
This 30,350-square foot manor is located near Edwards, Colorado and is a 40-minute drive from the Beaver Creek Ski Resort. It looks out over the Sawatch Range, borders National Forest land and features nine bedrooms, eight full baths, five baths and can sleep 22 guests.
Then there’s a 5,000-square foot guest cottage, which can sleep six-plus more. Another feature is the 27,850-square-foot Coyote Lodge, a barn-like structure that has a lap pool, hot tub, steam shower, arcade room, game room with a pool table, ping pong and foosball tables, a full-sized bar, plus a living room, dining room and more.
Outside, there’s a grill, a fishing pond stocked with trout and a soccer field, to say nothing of numerous hiking and cross country trails that loop through the 450-acre estate.
Depending on the season, it rents for (drum roll here) between $15,000 and $40,000 a night.
Once owned by a billionaire who used it as his private alpine enclave, the posh villa is now one of 215 ski country rental properties offered by Steamboat Springs-based Moving Mountains (movingmountains.com). The company has been around for 25 years and was started by Robin Craigen and his wife, Heather. Before they had children, the couple navigated a 72-foot sailboat through the waters of the British Virgin Islands for wealthy travelers and their fortunate friends and families.
While some of the apartments they represent have but two or three bedrooms, Craigen said some people are looking for much larger dwellings.
“What we’ve uncovered is that there are large groups seeking to travel together and be under one roof,” he said.
“We find that 50 percent of the time, we rent what we call ‘Grande’ properties (two adjoining units) as one whole property. Often it’s multi-generational family groups. Grandparents traveling with kids and grandkids is very common now. But we’ve also seen some corporate travel groups, too, that want larger homes.
“One of the themes that came through during the pandemic was ‘don’t wait to enjoy time with your offspring because no one really knows what the future holds.’ We’ve seen some corporate travel desiring large homes and we have lots of flexible configurations possible.
“Mostly, though, we are all about helping people create memories in exceptional homes, which are a great environment for families to be together. You don’t want those moments to slip by. And when families are together, you probably won’t have to worry about who’s going to watch the kids. The homes we represent offer a safe and secure feeling, as well as privacy and exclusivity.”
Craigen said the Chateau at Casteel Creek was built in the 1990s and is decorated in what he described as a contemporary and luxurious style.
To get to the home, guests drive through a forest on a private road over a curved bridge that cost $1 million to build, he said.
Craigen said the Chateau has many outstanding attributes and delivers a “wow factor many times over. It is one of the most uncommon vacation rental properties in North America. That’s what got us excited.
“This is not the only home of its type or size in the area. But typically, billionaires who own these kinds of estates would never dream of renting them.”
Because of its size, he said it also delivers many different experiences depending on where you are in the home or on the property.
“You could have fun getting lost there,” he quipped.
For starters, Craigen said the Chateau’s magnificent entry features a grand double staircase that climbs up two levels to the main living area. (If you don’t want to make the hike, a convenient elevator is available to take you upstairs.) From the staircase, the focus is on a dramatic Chihuly glass chandelier hanging above an elegant dining room table that seats up to 18 guests.
“The dining room is a very formal space, but there is also a fun ice cream parlor,” he said.
“And a workout room that would rival any gym in the area.“
“One of the best things is a 200-foot-long cantilevered viewing bridge that extends out toward the mountains with two chairs at the end. That in itself is exceptional, kind of like sitting on a runway that leads out into the middle of nowhere with perfectly framed alpine views and the creek running nearby.”
Craigen acknowledged that the cost of renting the home is quite high for the average person, but he said the wealthy might view it in the same context as chartering a super yacht with a crew.
“When those yachts go off the dock in the summer in the Mediterranean, the cost can approach $1 million a week. So renting a private estate like this is less expensive and more exclusive and expansive. It’s not exactly a value proposition, of course, but it’s not over-priced either in the luxury context.”
Though Craigen and his family now live more than 1,000 miles from the closest ocean, he said he misses his sea-faring days.
“We’re working on getting back into sailing,” he said. “We plan to unveil something called ‘Moving Oceans’ fairly soon. In fact, we’re in the midst of building a 65-foot catamaran to be our flagship to get back into chartering in the BVIs in the summer of ’24. So stay tuned.”
Brian E. Clark is a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer and photographer who contributes to the Chicago Tribune and LA Times on a regular basis. A native of Iowa, Clark is a University of Colorado, Boulder, graduate who focuses on adventure travel. He’s a veteran whitewater kayaker and skier who has lived in Norway, Sweden, Brazil and Bolivia. He worked for newspapers in Washington State and California for 25 years, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, before returning to the Midwest. He manages to head back West several times a year when he’s not off in other corners of the globe. Or poking around Wisconsin.