Aspen Times Weekly: A Double Take That Didn’t Disappoint
A DIFFERENT KIND OF CLASSIC
The Food & Wine Magazine Classic at Aspen is a highlight of my summer. I love it all — but especially the Grand Tastings in the big tent in Wagner Park. So when I learned that Beaver Creek was hosting its annual Wine & Spirits Festival during my week-long “vacation” in Vail this summer, I felt compelled to check it out. Set in a small tent at the base of the Beaver Creek ski area, it was immediately clear this would be a bit different than the Aspen Classic. And while there were fewer offerings than“our” festival, and the crowd was a bit more subdued than the annual throwdown Food & Wine has become for Aspenites, this party had flair. It was intimate, easy to navigate and — at the end of the day — it lived up to its name. There were dozens of winemakers pouring generous tastings, and spirits ranging from bourbon and vodka to tequila and sake on hand. And the food...well, that was a highlight, with more than a dozen of Vail and Beaver Creek’s finest restaurants serving up tasty treats. So good, in fact, I’ll go back for seconds next year.
Back in May, I vowed to return to the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Beaver Creek. My logic at the time was to experience this stellar property at its prime; the offseason weekend we were there was clouded in the typical Colorado mud-season mix of rain, snow and the occasional burst of sunshine. It was great to get away — any trip past the roundabout is a good trip in my world — but to be honest, an offseason weekend of messy boys’ lacrosse didn’t do the trick.
Plus, I knew this Westin was something special; I could tell from the minute we checked in that this was the type of place where I could enjoy some serious “me” time.
From the chic but lodge-inspired lobby and perfectly appointed rooms to the upscale spa and contemporary restaurant and bar, I only had to spend one night there to know I wanted more. To me, more meant enjoying a cocktail on the sprawling deck of the Maya Restaurant (see Libations, page 18), strolling the riverside path before diving into the massive lap pool, and hunkering down under fluffy blankets in an air-conditioned oasis. You get the idea. Thus, it became a bit of an obsession.
Lo and behold, fate intervened. This time by way of boys’ hockey; a week in Vail was on the summer calendar — and the Westin Riverfront was only a hop, skip and a jump away from the condo where we were staying.
Now truth be told, I couldn’t pull off a real vacation to the Westin, but the power of a mini-escape — day at the spa; drinks on the deck; evening in friend’s room — cannot be underestimated.
My suspicions were confirmed: this is a resort to book … in offseason, on-season, any season. And it’s close to home, which has led to my next vow: A girls’ trip to Beaver Creek (no sweaty boys, thank you very much), where I can immerse myself all the amenities I’ve tasted – but not truly enjoyed — in my last two visits.
Stay tuned …
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Although travel restrictions are easing, this is still not the time to be winging one’s way to an international vineyard. Instead, for now, world wine experiences are best served either virtually, vicariously or simply inspired by what’s in a glass.