Aug182010

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in HD (Hotel Detail)

The screeching tires on the road outside woke me at 1:30am.  I sat up in the roll-away bed placed beneath the open room window at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in time to see two red foxes running on the rock embankment above the hillside road. The foxes appeared playful and carefree running along the rocks, chasing each other through the illuminated area visible to me in the service truck’s headlights. The idling, stationary truck remained stopped for 15 to 20 minutes on the road at 8,100 feet in elevation providing a prolonged view of July wildlife activity in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

I drifted back to sleep feeling blessed by machine and nature on this “glamping” excursion into the high country.

Red Fox standing on top of rocks across the street from Park Hyatt

Red fox on top of rocks in center of picture

Beaver Creek Resort Location

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is located within Beaver Creek Village on the hillside in unincorporated Eagle County, Colorado above the town of Avon and about ten miles west of Vail.  Vail Resorts owns and operates five major ski resorts with four in Colorado at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Heavenly at Lake Tahoe, California-Nevada.

Beaver Creek ski slopes in summer

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is located about three miles south side from I-70, through five road roundabouts (warning: easy to turn on the wrong road), up Village Road that terminates in the Beaver Creek Village. There is a gated security entry to Beaver Creek Village Road. The paved road goes up to the Village and unpaved service roads go higher up the mountain.

Beaver Creek Resort is a large ski and summer resort complex encompassing several square miles. Several hotels are within the gated resort including the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Beaver Creek Lodge, The Osprey at Beaver Creek, The Pines Lodge (member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts) and several other condo timeshare complexes.

Beaver Creek Village - Park Hyatt Hotel on right

From Denver the drive to Beaver Creek is about 110 miles (DEN Airport = 120 miles) or around 2 ½ to 3 hours in good weather and road conditions. Take the I-70 Avon #167 Exit.

Eagle/Vail Airport (Eagle County Airport = EGE) is about 20 miles west of Beaver Creek in a location more out of the steep Rocky Mountains surrounding Vail/Beaver Creek/Bachelor Gulch. Vail is 10 miles east of Beaver Creek.

Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch (TripAdvisor.com # 3 of 22 Avon hotels-Aug 18, 2010) is located on the hillside of the adjacent mountain valley west of Beaver Creek. You will see Bachelor Gulch Road as you drive to Beaver Creek Village.

The town of Avon is down in the valley by the river and the Westin Riverfront (TripAdvisor.com # 2 Avon hotels-Aug 18, 2010) is on the north side of the river. The Sheraton Mountain Vista (TripAdvisor.com #14 Avon hotels-Aug 18, 2010) is located by the I-70 freeway.

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek – Loyalty Traveler Hotel Review (TripAdvisor.com # 4 of 22 Avon hotels-Aug 18, 2010)

Arrival: I read on FlyerTalk about free parking possibilities in the Village public lot, but under the circumstances of accompanying guests and a physically challenged mother-in-law I opted for the direct drive to the hotel and valet parking at $20 per day. While I had initially planned to visit the Westin Riverfront and Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, I never asked for my car during the three days. There were plenty of activities to occupy my time in the Beaver Creek Village.

Valet parking entrance for Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Check-In: 5-stars for accommodating my last minute request for a handicap accessible room. This was a trip with the in-laws. The 4th floor corner handicap accessible toilet room I first saw had the best view of the resort, but we needed a roll-in shower. While the nice feature of a handicap room was the corner view in two directions, the drawbacks were no balcony (dozens of rooms have balconies and some second and third floor rooms have large balcony patios) and the room with the roll-in shower was the farthest away from the elevator (about 100 yards). The elevator distance wasn’t a concern to me, but exhausted my elderly mother-in-law using her walker. The front desk agent even brought out a wheelchair at my request, although my mother-in-law refused to use it.

8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill: The Park Hyatt 8100 Bar had Happy Hour from 5:00pm to 7:00pm and again from 9:00pm to 11:00pm when the bar closed.  Food was not discounted, but drinks were.

We had a good selection of appetizers in a nice environment. A couple of the menu items allowed a sampler selection from a variety of cheeses and pâté. We were let down when the young waiter could not identify the selection of cheeses and pates we ordered. We were guessing the names of which items were the ones we liked best in case we wanted another order.

8,100 Mountainside Bar & Grill was also the location for the morning breakfast buffet. As a Gold Passport Diamond member I received complimentary breakfast coupons for the three people in each room in my reservation. The breakfast value alone was worth about $250 over the two days.

I had read about the biscuits and gravy at breakfast and I did enjoy them one morning. The second morning there were pancakes instead of biscuits.

Hotel room: The basic room was a comfortable size with chairs, desk, and bed. Some rooms face the mountain slope looking upward, some rooms face the village businesses and ice rink. One of my two rooms faced the road and hillside to the east with a balcony. The handicap accessible corner room looked east and up the mountain slope from two windows, but no balcony.

The Beaver Creek Resort kept us sufficiently occupied that we didn’t spend all that much time in the room. Swimming, hiking, dining and drinking filled the day. We never got around to riding the gondola up the mountain, cycling, ice skating, playing the pool table or morning yoga.

Altitude Warning:  Hats off to someone who can fly in from coastal California or Florida and ski Beaver Creek on a weekend trip. I got head rushes when I stood up too quickly at 8,100 feet in elevation. And I had been in Aspen prior to arriving in Beaver Creek. The ski slopes go 2,000 feet higher and terminate in Beaver Creek Village. This is the kind of place you want a week for acclimating to the altitude.

Kick back and read a book by the fireplace when you need a rest

Pool and Jacuzzi: The pool area offered drink and food service in the afternoon until 4pm. The fitness center area had towels and changing rooms. There are five Jacuzzis. There were children around the pool most of the day. The pool was relatively lively social area during the stay.

Fitness Rooms: The hotel has one of the largest fitness facilities I have seen in a hotel with at least three rooms containing weights, yoga equipment, bikes, treadmills and such.

 

Allegria Spa: Time and money kept us turning right to the fitness rooms and pool rather than left into the spa.

Smores Hour: A nightly social gathering around the fire pit from 7pm-8pm (summer hour) happened when trays were brought out to the firepit containing dark and milk Hershey’s chocolate bars, graham crackers and marshmallows with plenty of children carrying sharp sticks. Dusk was a good time for seeing deer on the hillsides around the hotel.

Hotel Structure: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is a six story building with hotel guest rooms on floors 2 to 4 and residences on floors 5 and 6. The lobby is a high-ceiling chalet lodge style with distinct sitting areas positioned throughout the open space for a good use of grouped seating arrangements.

The hillside ski slopes are outside the south side of the lobby. The northwest side of the lobby has a stairway leading down to the Village ice rink and shops.

The highlight of the hotel stay for us was using the empty hotel lobby as our exclusive hangout for hours late into the night. We felt like we had our own 5,000 square foot living room.

 

The Village: There were children’s activities like mini-golf (pretty cheap looking design); bungi trampoline and climbing wall right along the walkway outside the Park Hyatt. In winter there is a children’s ski school.

The ice rink is open evening hours in the summer.

There is a conference center with occasional concerts and performances.

Starbucks is about 200 yards from the hotel lobby which is a good thing if you want to buy coffee outside of the hotel. There is no complimentary coffee at the Park Hyatt hotel lobby in the morning.

There is one small grocery store with basic food items and 3.2% beer.

The popular Blue Moose Pizza is immediately outside the Park Hyatt Hotel. Within a couple hundred yards of the hotel are an upscale Italian restaurant, Japanese food, a fine dining steakhouse, and several other restaurants and bars. There were lots of happy hour specials between 2pm and 7pm for discount food and drinks.

 

My impressions of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

There are only five Park Hyatt hotels in the U.S. to represent Hyatt’s luxury brand. Park Hyatt Beaver Creek met my expectations with the hotel design and facilities.

But being a luxury hotel brand also creates high guest expectations for outstanding hotel service. Service started out great the first day with a helpful valet staff and front desk, but serious incompetencies led to a high degree of disappointment during the hotel stay with regard to hotel service levels. Specifically housekeeping and poor waiter service in 8100 restaurant. On two occasions involving several different staff members we had to order an item three times before the order actually was delivered to the table.

The incredulous aspect of the hotel stay came the second day with housekeeping. Kelley and I had stayed up late, energized by the high mountains and Colorado beer and a feeling of finally having a real summer vacation. I woke up early in time to eat breakfast with my mother-in-law in the restaurant. Then I went back to bed around 9:30am to catch more sleep.

We all went out again to find breakfast for Kelley around 11:30am. The complimentary breakfast coupon was invalid after 11am. We took the room “privacy” sign off the door and I saw housekeeping down the hall as we left. The nearby room my other guests were staying in was serviced between 9 and 10am while we were at breakfast.

At 2:00pm we returned to the hotel to find our room had not been serviced. A few minutes in the room and we were outside swimming for the afternoon. We came back at 4:30pm and the room had still not been serviced. A phone message from housekeeping just ten minutes earlier said the room was not serviced due to the Privacy sign on the door. The message said to call if I wanted the room serviced. I called Housekeeping and received no response. I called the Front Desk and was put on hold, then disconnected. The Privacy sign had not been on the door since 11:30am.

Kelley reached housekeeping a few minutes later to explain she had dropped a perfume bottle in the bathroom and glass needed to be vacuumed off the marble floor. They told her they would be right up.

We walked around the Beaver Creek Resort for an hour. At 5:30pm we returned to see the room still had not been serviced. I went to the front desk and talked to the manager on duty. I heard her tell housekeeping to go service our room. Kelley and I went out to dinner.

At 8:30pm we returned from the restaurant to find the room still not serviced. I made another trip to the front desk. I told the manager on duty I write hotel reviews.

Two women finally arrived from housekeeping and vacuumed up the glass shards. They walked out of the room at 9:01pm.

What can I say? This was the most difficult time I ever had getting a room serviced.

The front desk manager knocked off about $100 in room service charges and parking fees.

Repeating directions is to be expected when working in a public school with children, but repetitive requests being unfulfilled is not acceptable when dealing with hotel staff while vacationing at a luxury resort.

The housekeeping incident is just one for the record book of odd hotel events. The bad service was a serious blemish but ultimately did not overshadow the wonderful resort setting of Beaver Creek.

Fortunately my good company, good beer, beautiful resort facilities and eateries and a fun vacation are the primary memories I am left with after my stay at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek.

My glamping vacation view on a rollaway bed at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is a Hyatt Gold Passport category 6 hotel award for 22,000 points per night. During my July stay the rates were relatively low at $171 AAA rate and as low as $143 for a senior rate. Room rates will be significantly higher in winter ski season. There is a $12 per night resort fee in summer or $18 per night in winter season.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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