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You’re paying for location, and the basic rooms don’t warrant the high price tag, but the on-property amenities make for an enjoyable stay.

My aunt and I had talked about taking a ski trip forever, and I was determined to make it happen in 2018. Once we committed to a timeline in late February, we kicked around a few possible destinations and settled on Beaver Creek, Colorado — home to a ski-in, ski-out Park Hyatt I’d been hoping to visit ever since I first saw photos of it on TPG. I finally had my opportunity, and got to use the Citi Prestige Card’s 4th Night Free benefit, to boot!

Booking

Skiing, especially in a picture-perfect destination like Beaver Creek/Vail, is not cheap, so we were prepared for a blow to our wallets when booking this vacation. For our travel dates in late February, the rate for a standard double room was $749 a night, with plenty of extra charges — including a $50 daily resort fee — tacked on.

I was able to soften the blow a bit by using a credit card perk. While I’ve benefited from the Citi Prestige’s 4th Night Free perk on stays in the past, I only recently opened the card myself, and my Park Hyatt Beaver Creek stay was the first time I made an eligible booking myself. For those who don’t know, this $450-a-year premium card lets you get the fourth night free on paid hotel stays booked through Citi’s concierge service. The 4th Night Free rebate doesn’t include taxes and fees, but it still takes a good chunk off the price tag of your stay, especially at expensive properties.

If we’d been able to book an award stay, the Category 7 Park Hyatt Beaver Creek would have cost 30,000 points per night. While there were no awards available for our specific dates, I actually found there to be decent availability throughout the high season. So, even if you want to stay during the thick of ski season you’ll likely be able to snag an award without too much hassle if you have some flexibility in your travel dates. Category 7 is the highest tier in Hyatt’s award chart, but given that you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio (and that UR points can be earned with several top cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred) it’s relatively easy to get the required points for a night or two.

Location

The hotel is about a 30-minute drive from the Vail-Eagle airport (EGE). It’s a quick drive, but an expensive one — I made the mistake of not booking the Colorado Mountain Express ahead of time, and when I arrived on a flight from Newark (EWR) in the evening, there was no space left on the next shuttle, so I ended up taking a $100-plus taxi. Uber doesn’t do pickups at EGE, and if I didn’t have such a big checked bag with me, I would have walked a bit to try and get the ride-share app to work.

As for the location throughout our stay, it was perfect for skiing Beaver Creek. You’re literally right next to the mountain, with the lifts a few steps from the hotel. Après action is also very much within reach — there are plenty of restaurants and bars in Beaver Creek village, though nothing stays open late. We had to put on our best pathetic/hungry faces to get seated at the Italian restaurant Toscanini on the day I flew in and didn’t get to the hotel until around 8:30pm.

Vail is about a 15-minute drive away, so skiing there and visiting the town is quite doable as well, either by rental car or a quick Uber.

Check-In

My aunt arrived at the hotel before I did (I called ahead of time to add her to the reservation), and for both of us getting a key from reception was quick and easy.

I rented ski clothes through a company called Mountain Threads, and the front-desk staff helped me track them down. I expected to find them at check-in upon arrival, but it turned out my package was dropped off with the porter. Everyone was helpful, and perhaps a tad amused at my panic when I thought my ski essentials hadn’t made it in time.

The Room

I didn’t expect many frills in the room, having looked at photos on the hotel website — I wasn’t surprised.

That’s not to say it wasn’t comfortable, but there was very little in the way of extras. We’re talking two beds, a TV, a desk and a decent-sized closet.

The bathroom was pretty standard as well, and the shower took a while to get hot — two strikes!

The most exciting aspect of the room was the balcony. We were overlooking the main entrance of the hotel so the view wasn’t as great as it could have been, but we could still see plenty of snowy mountain peaks.

I will say that the bedding left me a little chilly — I would have appreciated a thicker comforter or at least a blanket in the closet. The mattresses were comfortable, though, and it wasn’t hard to get a good night’s sleep after skiing all day.

Food and Beverage

Imagine this lobby bar full of hyperactive children.

We ate out (or on the mountain) for most of our meals, but we did head to the lobby bar several times after skiing to unwind with some sparkling rosé. The first day we went, the bar was incredibly crowded, with lots of families. There was even a woman changing a baby’s diaper in a corner, no joke. I couldn’t wait to leave that day, but the following day things were much tamer. There were lots of families at the hotel throughout our stay, but things seemed to calm down a few days in.

Amenities

As a ski-in, ski-out property, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek naturally has a ski valet, where you can store your equipment overnight and pick it up before hitting the mountain. It’s located just off the lobby, and everyone we interacted with at the valet station was very friendly, even offering to help take off guests’ ski boots.

You can pick up and drop off your skis and poles outside and then head directly inside for your boots.

When we booked this property, I knew I’d have to fit in a treatment at the hotel’s Allegria Spa. By my last day of skiing, a massage sounded like the best thing in the world, and I’m very happy that I splurged on an 80-minute custom treatment ($235). The spa’s accessible through the hotel lobby (just past the ski valet), and the staff was outstanding. After my massage, I enjoyed the various thermal baths — it was early evening and I was one of the few customers at the spa, so the whole experience felt very zen and private. There’s also an outdoor pool and jacuzzi for those who want to take a dip, though I didn’t use this amenity during my stay.

Perhaps the nicest touch we enjoyed during our stay was the “cookie service” available mountainside. Each day around 3:00pm, Beaver Creek mountain staff hand out warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to skiers and snowboarders at the bottom of the mountain. This isn’t really a feature of the Park Hyatt itself, to be fair, but it definitely makes you feel good about choosing the mountain as your ski destination — they coddle you every step of the way!

The outdoor fire pit is a cozy spot, and you can even roast marshmallows with the complimentary s’mores kits.

The hotel itself does offer complimentary s’mores kits (meant for mostly for kids, presumably) that you can assemble and roast over the outdoor fire pit. We made friends with the bartender, who gave us each a kit, but we didn’t get a chance to use them before the end of our stay. I still ate some of the “raw” ingredients, though.

Bottom Line

I had an amazing time at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, thanks to an ultra-convenient setting, plenty of perks on the mountain and a lovely spa, but I would never pay upwards of $700 (plus a daily resort fee!) per night to stay here again. The rooms, at least the base ones, in no way warrant that kind of rate — and overall the vibe was not quite as luxurious as you’d hope. (And is it just me, or are those sculptures of children playing kinda creepy?) In short, it’s all about location. 30,000 points for an award night is still steep, but more reasonable in my mind. All that said, if I head back to Beaver Creek I’ll probably look into Airbnb options before going the hotel route.

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