Taking Off The Ritz
Photos Courtesy of Vail Resorts
At the turn of the 20th Century Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz, knows as the “king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings” inspired the term “putting on the ritz” by redefining luxury accommodations with the Hotel Ritz in Paris and the Carlton Hotel in London. It was reportedly the first hotel in Europe to provide a bathroom en suite, a telephone and electricity for each room. Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway lived there for years. Its opulence appears in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night and Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, as well as three Audrey Hepburn films. The Suite Impériale, with its soaring ceilings, gold-frame Baroque mirrors, baldachin bed and ornate furnishings is a National Monument of France.
But such ostentatiousness eludes the Vail property. Thankfully. The architects graciously allowed Mother Nature herself that honor. As such, mountain views are the greatest indulgence. Each residence is custom designed in neutral, earthy colors and finishes with personal touches. During my stay, I actually read Miro: In His Studio, which inspired my next mural project, and a vintage book on rattlesnakes. There are equal nods to modern and mountain tastes, but mostly the décor serves as a backdrop for easy living—and those views. A pimped-out game room, heated pool and outdoor hottubs, kids programs, on-site ski and bike rentals, and a small salon entertain should you tire of said views. (I didn’t.)
Rest assured you’ll find every amenity from complimentary shuttles throughout town and ski in, ski-out valet service to pre-stocking your groceries and state-of-the-art fitness facilities with on-site personal trainers, movement classes and nutritionist. Spa treatments, full-service concierge, great room, reading room, video library, bar, high-speed wi-fi—they’re all there, as expected. It’s the feeling that a place opens its arms and massages your shoulders and rubs your feet and says “Ahhhh” when you come in for the night. And it says “Rise and shine! Let’s hit first chair,” when you awaken in the morning. It’s the feeling that everything is just right.
Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson wrote: [http://www.rickhanson.net/just-one-thing/be-home]
“When the mind is not disturbed by threat, frustration, or rejection, then most people settle into their resting state, a sustainable equilibrium in which the body refuels and repairs itself and the mind feels peaceful, happy, and loving. I call this our Responsive mode of living. It is our home base.
Happily, the Responsive mode is the resting state, the default, of body and mind. It’s what you return to when you’re not rattled. In the language of systems theory, the Responsive mode is the most fundamental “strange attractor” in the dynamic processes of your brain. Therefore, this mode is your underlying nature. You don’t have to scratch and claw your way to the mountaintop; if whatever is disturbing you comes to an end, you’ll soon come home to the lovely sunny meadow that has always been here—even if it was hidden by the fogs and shadows of a troubled body or mind. Your deepest nature is peace not hatred, happiness not greed, love not heartache, and wisdom not confusion.
As soon as you have a sense of home . . . you are home! Because body and mind are inclined toward the Responsive mode, any sense of ease in the body or feeling of calm, contentment, or caring in the mind will start activating some Responsive circuits in your brain. This will naturally light up associated circuits with a cascading, snowballing effect throughout the Responsive network.
Your body and mind want to come home: that’s where energy is conserved for the marathon of life, where learning is consolidated, where resources are built rather than expended, and where pains and traumas are healed.
Your whole being is always leaning toward home. Can you let yourself tip forward into your deepest nature?”
The Lionshead Collection of Ritz-Carlton Residences in Vail, Colorado, is that place.
Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn and Apprentice winner Bill Rancic and his wife, E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic, are frequent guests, likely because the off-the-beaten track property is quiet and quite private. There are 71 designer-furnished whole-ownership residences and 46 available for rent, ranging from two to five-bedrooms, so you can call it home, or just home away from home.
For more information, visit http://www.theresidencesvail.com.
Megève is the chic French village at the base of Mont Blanc and two of its best spa resorts offer very different approaches to relaxation.
Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper – Alberta
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