Mittwoch, 28. Januar 2015

ALPEN TRAVEL TIPS & PICKS: Five Paw Alpine Luxury at the SONNENALP in Vail, Colorado

Lapping it up in European Luxury - 
There's no place better than
The SONNENALP in Vail, Colorado
Reminiscent of five star European Alpine luxury, the Sonnenalp Resort in the heart of Vail, Colorado takes the cake.  With its whitewashed walls, rustic beams, rounded arches, wooden  and classic “Bauernhaus”  (farmhouse) furnishings, one feels transported right into the Bavarian Alps.
Pet Friendly staff greeting DaVinci and Valentino

Alpine furnishings
adorn the hallways
The boys, Valentino and DaVinci, were greeted with smiles and welcoming pets as we trundled into the lobby after our long drive from Telluride, Colorado. Having enjoyed living 16 years in Europe, the Sonnenalp enveloped us with relaxing warmth and Gemüetlichkeit that is standard in Alpine classic country resorts.

Impressive professional staff wearing classic Alpine boiled wool vests offered the boys treats and the Concierge generously offered to walk the pups, should we be gone for any extended period of time at dinner, shopping, hiking or skiing.

Alpine fireplaces and wooden
Schranks complete the European
look and feel

The rooms are luxuriously large, complete with wooden European furnishings, romantic balconies and warm inviting fireplaces.

The boys enjoying our spacious room

The beds are super comfortable ...
Testing out the bed. Yup! Just right!
and the bathroom palatial - complete with jaccuzi tub and separate shower and WC.
Palatial bathroom

The robes they provide tempt one to take a warm bubble bath...

 or relax in their world class European SPA.

The Sonnenalp SPA boasts an indoor-outdoor serpentine heated pool

and indoor-outdoor hot tubs.

As with all fine European SPAS, the Sonnenalp Spa is designed around the Zen of ultimate relaxation, healing, and health. It even boasts a rather large fire place with comfortable seating on which to relax in between soaks or treatments. Their juice bar offers light healthy snacks as well as signature cocktails for that romantic evening spent with one's partner. Lawrence and I spent a magical evening in the spa unwinding and dreaming of our next trip back to Europe.

The Sonnenalp is  the last Family owned and operated hotel in Vail, run by the second generation of its German founder who created the first  Sonnenalp Resort in Bavaria, Germany. Pictures of the original Sonnenalp adorn the walls of its Vail counterpart. The Bavarian Sonnenalp was founded in 1911 when an old Bavarian farmhouse was converted into the first hotel.

True to its German environmentally conscious roots, the Sonnenalp is a 100% green hotel  - in fact the only 100% green hotel in the whole of Vail Valley! 

Valentino and DaVinci exploring the river bank
 behind the Sonnenalp
The resort is nestled next to the Gore River and offers ample places on either side of the river to allow one’s pup to romp and play without fear of cars or traffic. Each am and pm we took a quiet stroll on the lawns opposite the hotel , along the river leading into the core of downtown Vail with its many quaint shops and restaurants – to include the pups favourite – The Pet Boutique of Vail.
The Pet Boutique of Vail is a darling pet boutique with all sorts of yummy treats and toys…not to mention their fine selection of European collars,  leashes and cowbells from Alpen Schatz

Getting yummy treats from
Deena, the owner
Deena, the owner, warmly welcomes people and their pets alike. In fact, Valentino and DaVinci know exactly where the boutique is, and hardly able to contain their enthusiasm, always break into a canter once we reach the pedestrian zone leading to their favourite shop.

182 Gore Creek Drive, Vail, CO

Mouthwatering Seared Ahi Tuna Salad, warm Artichoke Dip
and scrumptious Cobb Salad
For restaurants, one need not go far. The Sonnenalp itself boasts TWO fantastic restaurants: The Swiss Chalet and Bully Ranch. At both of these fine establishments, one can dine happily with their pup in tow on one of their two outdoor patios. One evening we encountered FOUR other Bernese guests dining with their owners between both restaurants. My boys were in Berner heaven!

During my stay, I sampled both restaurants and had the most amazing traditional Swiss Fondue at the romantic Swiss Chalet and at the more rustic Bully Ranch German-style "Stube" restaurant, I savoured the most amazing Seared Ahi Tuna salad - wonderfully fresh and seared to perfection.

Both located in the Sonnenalp Resort Hotel, Vail
Reservations 970-479-5429


Across the street from the Sonnenalp is another great pet friendly restaurant:  The Alpenrose.  The Alpenrose is not just a restaurant, but bakery as well. Here one can dine on German-style cuisine with their beloved pup(s) in tow. The Alpenrose takes dog dining seriously as they even offer a Doggy Menu, complete with Brats and  Brotchen served on porcelain so that Fido won’t feel  left out.

100 East Meadow Drive, Vail, CO


On our morning walk, we discovered Loaded Joe’s - a great place to get a quick morning coffee or tea and light breakfast sandwich or croissant. The privately owned cafe is situated right across the famous Covered Bridge in the Vail Village Core. It is next to a small riverside lawn complete with picnic tables.  

Loaded Joe's offers a tasty selection of breakfast, lunch and late night dining options. This quaint Vail cafe also doubles as a late night joint, offering food up until 2am when the bars have closed. Needless to say, I did not experience their late night "after hours" cuisine, but their breakfast and tea is always a perfect way to start the day, dining on one of the picnic tables with my pups, Valentino and DaVinci frolicking on the lawn and chasing Vail squirrels up the trees lining the banks of the Gore river.
DaVinci looking for Squirrels

227 Bridge St, Vail, CO

President of the Vail Valley Foundation checking out
Alpen Schatz goods at the FIS Expo at the Sonnenalp
We love the Sonnenalp so much, that we have stayed multiple times, both in winter and summer.  My visit last summer, happened to coincide with an Alpen Schatz business trip to attend a Sonnenalp hosted gathering of the Who’s Who of Vail and the surrounding towns who are involved with the exciting upcoming 2015 FIS WorldSki Championships.

With the European flair of this event, typically taking place in Europe, the local organizers invited AlpenSchatz to “show and tell” its European imports in light of making custom European gifts, giveaways and souvenirs for the event. 

My pups and I exhibited our European made Alpine Pins, Hats, Steins, Dog Collars and Cowbells and strategized on how we could best customize these items for the shops in Vail to sell.
The Sonnenalp is one of the main sponsor hotels for the event, and it is no wonder with its Alpine style that it will be hosting some of the European teams competing. See our posting on the FIS Event and the Sonnenalp's participation HERE.
We LOVE the Sonnenalp!
It get's a FIVE PAW rating from us every visit-
Valentino and DaVinci
 All in all, our pups, my fiance, Lawrence, and I always look forward to our next visit to this delightful bubble of European luxury nestled in the heart of the bustling village of Vail, Colorado.

European Luxury in the Heart of the Rockies
20 Vail Rd, Vail, CO

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