Colorado

Lodging Review: San Moritz Condos #K202, Crested Butte, Colorado

In February I spent a long weekend with my cousin and her family at Crested Butte ski resort in Colorado. Though Crested Butte is not far from Aspen/Snowmass as the crow flies, it’s a 4-5 hour drive away during winter and 3.5-4 hours in the summer. My cousin reserved an Air BnB in the San Moritz condo complex, unit K202. There are three buildings in this complex, each on situated above the other and ours was the building in the middle.

San Moritz Condos, Crested Butte, CO

Location

As you look at the Crested Butte trail map, the San Moritz condos are at the far right near the West Wall lift. The complex is ski-in/ski-out though not every unit is. Fortunately our unit was second from the end near the ski hill so it was a very short walk to the end of the parking lot. From there we could put on our skis and ski down to the West Wall lift. Coming home at the end of the ski day, it was not a simple thing to ski back to the same spot. It was easy enough to get back to the base of the West Wall lift but from there it was uphill to reach the parking lot of our building. It may be different in years when there was more snow but for less experienced skiers I’d recommend just walking back up the hill to the condos vs. trying to navigate down from the top. For true beginning skiers I’d recommend taking the complimentary shuttle to and from the base. The San Moritz staff can provide the details on that. Continue reading

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Lodging Review: King Accessible Tub Studio Suite, Homewood Suites, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Homewood Suites Steamboat Springs

Since I stayed at this property just two years ago, this review will be brief. I’ll only highlight the differences in the room. During my previous stay I was in a King Bed One Bedroom Suite but on this trip I had stayed in a King Accessible Tub Studio Suite, normally meant for those who need accessible amenities. Since I’d already reviewed this property, I’d planned to stay at the Hampton Inn in downtown Steamboat. But on Thanksgiving weekend I received an email stating that the hotel would be closing permanently as of December 1 (I think that was the date). As the email did not come from someone with a hilton.com or hamptoninn.com email address I was a bit skeptical but decided I should go ahead and move my reservation since there are very few properties in Steamboat that are available on points or by using a free night certificate (which I did). Thank goodness I swapped reservations quickly as I got one of the last available rooms and that’s why I ended up with an accessible room. I later learned the Hampton and a Fairfield Inn were being converted to employee housing.

The room was at the end of the hall. The door opened directly into the kitchen. The kitchen counter and appliances were all on the right and a door connected to the adjacent room was on the left.

Homewood Suites Steamboat Accessible Suite Entry

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Lodging Review: Storm Meadows Club A, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

In late February/early March I visited Steamboat Ski Resort with my ski club and we stayed in the Storm Meadows complex. We wanted ski-in/ski-out condos and technically that’s what we got though beginners shouldn’t even think about trying to ski in or out of these units.

Check-in

Check-in takes place at the Mountain Resorts main office which is technically located on Resort Drive but is visible from Mt. Werner Road, which is the main road to the ski resort when coming from Lincoln Ave/Hwy 40. There is a city bus stop right outside the office. (Note: Steamboat has a wonderful and free city bus system! As of my visit masks were required on city buses.)

I arrived before my condo was ready but I was able to hang out in the office until it was available. They have free guest wi-fi in the lobby but I found that the router was on the back side of the fireplace and when I was relaxing in the comfy chairs in front of the fireplace I had trouble getting the signal. The lobby also has restrooms with showers which is very nice. If you have a late flight and want to ski in the morning after checking out but before your flight, you can clean up before heading to the airport.

Once my room was ready, the office called for a shuttle to take me and my bags up to the Storm Meadows Club Condos which is about a 1.7 mile drive up the hill. There are three Club buildings and my group had units in both Club B and Club A, where my unit was.

Our group typically pays for porterage, which usually means our bags will be delivered to our room. I don’t know if we didn’t pay for it this time or if there was a difference in the definition of “porterage” or what but my bags and I were dropped at the front door of our building with no offer of assistance to get my bags to my room. I will say there was a shortage of drivers during my stay. The airport shuttle companies were slammed with business and not enough drivers to go around. The local taxi service did not run in town during the day as they were too busy with airport transfers. So that could be a part of it.

Storm Meadows Club A Condos

The Club A building is actually the middle of the three Club buildings. The main entrance is in the center on the second floor. On the lower level is the ski locker room, the coin laundry and, in winter, a small hot tub that will hold about 4-6 people. At one end of the first floor is the exit to the slopes which I’ll discuss below. Condos are on all four floors.

Storm Meadows Club A
(photo from stormmeadows.com)

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Lodging Review: Holiday Inn Express, Gunnison, Colorado

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison

I stayed here on two separate nights on either side of a ski trip to Crested Butte Resort, which is about 35-40 minutes away.

Airport Shuttle

I had called two days prior to my arrival (a Monday) to ensure the hotel had an airport shuttle. They asked for my name and flight info and I provided that. However when I arrived on Wednesday and called after collecting my bag, the message had not made it to the proper folks. There are only three people who are allowed to drive the shuttle and fortunately one of them was available to come pick me up but I did have to wait.

Before checking out I made sure to go ahead and schedule the shuttle for the following Monday morning. There is no local taxi service and only one Lyft driver in the Gunnison area so if you don’t have other transportation you’re out of luck.

Side note 1: the Gunnison airport is still a major construction zone as of February 2022 and will be for several more months. The only food & drink available is from vending machines so plan accordingly.

Lobby

I arrived in the early afternoon and was welcomed right away. The lobby is large with a couple of seating areas and a faux fireplace. The business center is off to one side.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Lobby

Behind the fireplace is the breakfast area. There were a few skiers there on the one morning I ate breakfast at the hotel but it was by no means crowded. Though I didn’t get photos of the breakfast buffet there were several hot items, three types of cereal, some just-add-water containers of oatmeal, pastries and fresh fruit along with juices, coffee and tea.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Breakfast Dining Area

Just beside the front desk is a mini-mart with packaged food and drinks for sale.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Mini-Mart

Side note 2: in general, masks are not a “thing” in Gunnison in February 2022. I can count on one hand the number of people I saw wearing masks in town, including wait staff.

Guest Room

The room I had for my first stay was on the ground floor, immediately behind the front desk. This was actually quite nice as the main bag I had with me was my skis bag and I’d packed it quite full. So not having to drag it very far was a win for me.

The hotel seems new and the hallway seemed fresh with decorative carpeting and matching walls.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Hallway

My room’s layout was standard: a short entryway with the bathroom on the right and the living area behind that.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Guest Room Entry

The king bed was quite high off the floor and might be difficult to get into if you’re someone who is very short or has mobility issues. But it was very comfortable. I liked that each side of the bed had two pillows and they were even labeled as “soft” or “firm” so I didn’t have to guess which one I’d prefer. Each side of the bed had a night stand with two electrical outlets as well as a USB charger, which is fantastic.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison King Bed

In the corner beside the bed was a chaise with a side table. I used this to eat a fast food lunch and it was adequate though not ideal.  While the room has an under-the-window HVAC unit, at least it has an actual thermostat where you can set a temperature and put it on “auto” as well as selecting heat vs. cold. I hate it at some hotels when you turn the thermostat down a few degrees in the winter and the A/C automatically comes on rather than just letting the room cool down naturally.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Chaise Longue and HVAC

Across from the bed was a furniture piece that consisted of the wardrobe, a low shelf with hooks above it and a section with three drawers and the TV mounted above them. Since I only had a coat to hang I didn’t bother with the wardrobe but used the hook for my jacket. I put my carry-on luggage on this shelf, which I found very handy. Another chair was between this furniture and the outside wall.

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The bathroom had a counter that stretched the length of the room with a sink in the center. If you didn’t want to turn on the fan, the only light was the one around the mirror. That light was great but the room was lit up much better with the overhead light on. I just wish I could have turned that light on without the noisy fan. There was no under-cabinet storage so all your toiletries had to go on the counter. The hair dryer was in a bag that was hung either on the back of the door or on one of the towel pegs.  This room had only a standard shower stall, no tub. The shower head could be adjusted both for location and for type of spray. However even in its most concentrated form it did not spray as hard as I’d have liked. But at least the water was hot and I never ran out of it!

For toiletries, two bars of Oasis hand soap were provided. The shampoo, conditioner and bath gel were all in wall-mounted bottles in the shower. They’re JR Watkins brand and I liked their smell just fine. There was also a tiny bottle of JR Watkins lotion (not pictured) that I really liked and took with me.

 

Just beside the bathroom was an area with a microwave, a Keurig and a mini-fridge (empty).

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Guest Room Appliances

Across from that was a corner shelf with the ice bucked and some cups and the wall-mounted mirror.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Mirror & Ice Bucket

My second night’s stay

The second room I was assigned was on the second floor, located above the pool. Having the pool below means the room stays warmer but it also means that when there are folks in the pool at night you can hear them, not clearly but muffled voices, when you’re trying to sleep as the pool doesn’t close until 11 PM. Next time I will specifically ask not to be right above the pool, especially if I have an early flight.

This second room also differed from the first in that there was a desk positioned between the drawers and the outside wall (forgot to take a photo of that). In the bathroom there was very little counter space and the toilet was positioned beside the sink instead of on the wall between the sink and shower. The shower also had a small seat along its back wall and a grab bar. I didn’t manage to photograph that either.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Alternate Bathroom

Gym

The gym is quite small but surprisingly well-equipped. There’s a treadmill, an elliptical and a recumbent bike for cardio, a weight bench and dumbbells as well as some fit balls, medicine balls and a BOSU trainer. Elastic bands and yoga mats are also available. You can also get free disposable ear buds at the front desk if you want to plug into one of the machines. The gym is open 24 hours and those 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Pool

The pool is open 7 AM – 11 PM and those age 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult. It appears to have a hot tub built in and pool towels are available on site.

Location

The hotel is located at one end of town on US 50 and is next to two fast food chains and Western Colorado University. As there’s no lunch or dinner service at the hotel, it’s about a 6-block (some very short blocks) walk to the nearest restaurants. To get more to the center of town (where US 50 and CO 135 intersect) is about another 5 blocks. It was quite cold during my stay (below zero overnight) but with no wind and bundled up properly I really did not get all that cold walking to and from dinner. As mentioned above there is no local taxi service and only one Lyft driver (who doesn’t work all the time) so either bring/rent your own vehicle or be prepared to walk.

In the end

There are limited hotels in the Gunnison area where points can be used for stays. I used an IHG free night certificate for one night and points for the other. With a free airport shuttle and free breakfast this was a good place for me even if it’s not the most convenient to other parts of town.

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Lodging Review: Andaz Savannah

Southeastern US Road Trip
Andaz Savannah
Embassy Suites Charleston Historic District
Anderson Ocean Club and Spa
Country Inn & Suites Asheville Outlet Mall

Our road trip was planned with the idea of using as many of our free-night certificates as possible. I only had one Hyatt certificate as I earn new ones in December and I’d already spent the 2019 certificate at the Hyatt Place Denver Airport in early 2020. But I have plenty of Chase Ultimate Rewards points so I transferred enough to my Hyatt account and we booked the Andaz Savannah using one night on points and one night with the free certificate earned from renewing my Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card.

Hyatt Andaz Savannah

The hotel has a great location in the heart of the historic district. This also means there’s no free parking. The hotel offers valet service but there’s a garage practically next door so for us the valet service wasn’t worth the extra money ($37/day). I will say that despite the fact that we didn’t use the valet service, the valets were always super-nice, opening doors for everyone and ensuring our stay was a good one. They also helped us load our luggage on to a cart before parking the car.

The front desk is located just inside the lobby and the associates were always very friendly. She thanked me for being a Discoverist and we were given a room on the fifth floor. She pointed out that the mini-bars were empty but if we needed any of the complimentary items usually found there (water, soft drinks) that we could just ask at the front desk. She also told us of our welcome amenity of a free beer or champagne (or soft drink for me) and we took advantage of that. Though I wasn’t sure I’d need it, she gave me a complimentary 2 PM checkout time as well.

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Lodging Review: Torian Plum Condos, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Our club stayed here as we enjoyed a week of skiing the Champagne PowderⓇ  at Steamboat resort in north central Colorado. If you choose to fly to Denver it’s a 3+ hour drive so the preference is to fly into nearby Hayden (HDN) which is about a 35-minute drive from the resort. We’ve stayed at this property a number of times and one of the main things we love about it is that each morning you take the elevator down to the ground floor, walk across the plaza and you’re on the snow and can ski down to the lifts from there. In the afternoon, as long as you be sure to stay on the skier’s right at the end of the day you can ski right up to the plaza too. It’s a location that’s hard to beat! The property is comprised of two towers: the Plaza Tower and the Creekside Tower. The Creekside tower, which is slightly uphill from the Plaza Tower is approximately 10 years newer than the Plaza Tower. The Plaza Tower has the parking garage beneath it. The garage is accessible to both towers, it’s just a slightly longer underground walk to the Creekside Tower.

Aerial view of the Torian Plum and the plaza between it and the snow

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Lodging Review: Homewood Suites Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Update March 2022: Since this visit I have also stayed in a King Accessible Suite.  You can read that review here.

For my second ski trip this year I visited Steamboat Springs, Colorado. My group was arriving on Saturday and since I was the assistant trip leader I wanted to be sure I arrived before or at least with the group. To be certain of this I flew out Friday night and spent one at the Homewood Suites Steamboat Springs.

Homewood Suites Steamboat Springs

I arrived on a group shuttle from the airport sometime after 10 PM so things were fairly quiet at that point. (Side note: due to the hotel’s location, it’s very possible you’ll be the last stop on a shared shuttle ride.) I was assisted promptly, my Diamond status was recognized, and I was directed to a room on the third floor. The hotel has two elevators, one on each side of the lobby and I was helpfully shown the one that would be closest to my room. The hotel is laid out in a gentle V shape with the lobby, bar and breakfast area in the center. A free parking area is in the back of the hotel. There’s a small market with snacks available next to the front desk.

Lobby area

The hotel is relatively new; this is only its second ski season. As such almost everything is still in very good shape and the decor looks modern. My room was only a short walk from the elevator.

Guest Floor Hallway

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Lodging Review: Hyatt Place Denver Airport

To wrap up my ski trip to Copper Mountain that included a couple of nights at the Hyatt Place Keystone and a week at the Village Square Condos, I spent the last night of the trip at the Hyatt Place Denver Airport. I’d hoped to be able to ride back to the airport with my ski club but my flight was much earlier than theirs. There were no shared shuttles leaving Copper in the wee hours of the morning so I’d already decided to use my free night certificate at this hotel. It turned out to be a good move because there was another snow storm due to arrive the day of my flight and it turned out some friends with a car were driving back to Denver that night too so it all worked out well.

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Lodging Review: Village Square Condos, Copper Mountain, CO

I stayed here for a week this winter as my ski club visited Copper Mountain. I don’t believe there is any true ski-in/ski-out lodging at Copper Mountain but there are several buildings of condos located in Center Village that are just a short walk away. There are also several restaurants and shops in Center Village, making this a nice convenient place to stay, especially if you don’t have a car.

Check In

Check in takes place about a quarter mile away from Center Village in the building that houses the Athletic Club and the spa. If you’ve booked through the main Copper Mountain reservations, you’re entitled to use the athletic club at no charge. The spa offers massages, saunas and hot tubs within the locker rooms.

Main Check-in and Athletic Club

I arrived well before the official check in time as I was coming over from skiing at Keystone the day before. I was able to leave my bags at the bell stand in this main building and walk around Center Village while waiting for my group to arrive. Once our condo was ready the bell staff brought my skis bag and my giant clothes bag all the way up to my room for me. Continue reading

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Lodging Review: Hyatt Place Keystone

I stayed here for a couple of nights on a ski weekend. The hotel has a great location, right on Highway 6 and there are a couple of easy ways to get to the slopes.  The hotel is on the ski shuttle route and it’s only one stop to the River Run base area. If you have gear for several people, grab one of the red wagons to help cart your stuff around. Ingenious idea! When returning to the hotel you may find it more convenient to choose the stop across the highway from the hotel then use the crosswalk. That’s certainly faster but depending on your ski party that may or may not be the best option. If you stay on the shuttle it is probably another 10 minutes or so before it circles back around to Hyatt’s side of the street.

Hyatt Place Keystone

Note that you don’t have to take the shuttle to reach the slopes. There is access to the area with the Argentine and Peru Express lifts that’s just a little bit of a walk away. But I was set to meet folks who were driving up from Denver and parking at River Run so taking the shuttle made more sense in my situation. Continue reading

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