Small and Swank

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An exceptional small hotel isn't easy to find. After all, going small sometimes means sacrificing space, privacy or amenities. Not at these top 10 hostelries: Our picks offer all the bonuses of being small-excellent service, intimacy, pampering, personal touches-and many extras usually found only at larger properties. Some are bona-fide boutique hotels, with spas and concierge services. Others are handsomely maintained country inns that possess a quirkiness only time can bestow. Our search for the best has yielded a hotel of Olympic heritage, a deluxe dude ranch and a former governor's mansion. As different as they are on the outside, each of these properties provides the kind of personalized service that makes a getaway truly special. And while some of them do not come cheaply, justifying the rates isn't hard. (Prices listed are per room, per night and reflect the range of least expensive rooms in low season to most expensive rooms in high season.)

Hotel Telluride
Telluride, Colo.

Downtown Telluride
The small-hotel stakes are high in Telluride, so the new Hotel Telluride raised the bar by striking a balance between Old West and Old Europe. The result? Overstuffed couches and antler chandeliers combine with real antiques and reproductions to create a rustic yet elegant atmosphere. Best of all, the low-rise, three-story, 59-room hotel is just a few blocks from the gondola-and every place else that matters in town. Your guestroom greets you Euro-style, with a featherbed, 250-thread-count cotton sheets and a down comforter. The bathroom is equally impeccable, with a granite countertop, Italian tile and a rain shower head. And the pièce de résistance at 9,000-plus feet: A built-in humidification system. After a day of blissful punishment on runs such as Plunge, release lactic acid in the exercise room, enjoy a massage or simply adjourn to the alfresco hot tub. Rates: $165-$355.
Information: 866-468-3501 or 970-369-1188; www.thehoteltelluride.com.

Goldener Hirsch Inn
Deer Valley, Utah

Slopeside at Deer Valley
When it comes to successfully transporting the Austrian ski experience to the American West, the Goldener Hirsch Inn takes the Sacher torte. Operated by the people who own the Salzburg property of the same name, the hotel's pedigree is impeccable. And from outside and in, the white-stucco-and-wood chalet certainly looks the part. Within, 20 whitewashed guestrooms are appointed with warm folksy hand-carved Austrian furniture and thick down comforters on king-size beds. Spring for a suite, and you get a fireplace and a balcony, too. At first glance, the dining room, with its dirndl-clad waitresses, is a quick trip to the old country, but you'll find Wasatch trout as well as Wiener schnitzel on the menu. Discreet Euro-service has elevated the inn to its new Relais & Chateaux status. You'd be humming Mozart here even if the hotel didn't have ski-in/ski-out access. Rates: $100-$900. Information: 800-252-3373 or 435-649-7770; www.goldenerhirschinn.com.

Notchland Inn
Hart's Location, N.H.

Midway between Attitash Bear Peak and Bretton Woods
This granite mansion, which dates to the 1860s, has sheltered guests from White Mountain storms since the 1920s. Today, woodburning fireplaces in each of the 12 guestrooms make Notchland Inn an ideal skier's retreat. All are spacious, elegantly appointed and feature sitting areas, while some offer balconies and jacuzzis, too. Notchland's most remarkable room, however, is the front parlor-a wood, stone and copper masterpiece designed by Arts & Crafts master Gustav Stickley. There's also a music room, with a piano and fireplace, and a sun room, perfect for cozying up with a good book in the company of the owners' Bernese mountain dogs. At day's end, relax into a romantic, five-course dinner as you watch the moon rise over Mt. Crawford and Mt. Hope. Rates: $175-$285 (breakfast, but n dinner, included).
Information: 800-866-6131 or 603-374-6131; www.notchland.com.

The Castle
Proctorsville, Vt.

Three miles from Okemo
Closer in style to an English manor than an actual castle, this stone inn was built in 1904 as the residence of Vermont Governor Alan Fletcher. From the baronial entry hall, the library with cathedral-like windows and the oval dining room, the inn is grand without being grandiose. You reach your room, one of 10, by ascending a stately staircase. The rooms are New England formal, which means polished hardwood floors and Oriental carpets. Six of those rooms boast working fireplaces worth ponying up for, if only to have the quintessential Vermont winter weekend experience. A stay here is an architectural treat, thanks to the original oak and mahogany paneling, lighting fixtures, cast-plaster ceilings and even some wallpaper dating to 1905. The oval dining room is a Vermont treasure, where excellent food is paired with fine wine for a memorable dining experience. Rates: $89-$229.
Information: 802-226-7361; www.thecastle-vt.com.

The Home Ranch
Clark, Colo.
18 miles from Steamboat
If you think "dude ranch" is a euphemism for roughing it, think again. Elegant comfort and hospitality have earned The Home Ranch coveted Relais and Chateau status for 12 years. And although the service is reason enough for a trip, you'll be wowed by the place, too. Situated in the gorgeous Elk River Valley, the ranch boasts rugged Mt. Zircle as a backdrop to the hotel's interior splendor. In winter, three of the ranch's eight cabins are available, as well as six guestrooms in the main lodge. You're greeted by four-poster king-size beds, vaulted ceilings, antiques, Indian rugs and down comforters. If you've booked a cabin, you'll enjoy a wood-burning stove and a private hot tub, too. Alas, while there's no horseback riding in winter, you'll hardly miss it, what with the ranch's cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and Steamboat skiing 20 minutes away by shuttle. From the well-appointed lodging to the award-winning dining, this is home on the range as you've never experienced it. Rates: $250-$375.
Information: 970-879-1780; www.homeranch.com.

PlumpJack
Olympic Valley, Calif.
Just feet from the Squaw Valley tram and gondola
This 61-room hotel was originally built in 1959 as a home for the 1960 Olympic delegation. But in 1995, it was bought by Gordon Getty and completely renovated. Now the hotel is defined by down comforters, terry-cloth robes, exquisite cuisine and spacious California casual rooms with contemporary furniture and understated colors. If the name PlumpJack rings a bell, that's because it's part of the restaurant and vineyard empire of the same name. The good news is that this PlumpJack Cafe features a menu that rivals that of its renowned sister restaurant in San Francisco. As for the great wine list, it includes offerings from PlumpJack's Napa Valley winery. In just a few years, this hostelry has set Olympic standards of its own here in Squaw Valley. Rates:$130-$625.
Information: 800-323-7666 or 530-583-1576; www.plumpjack.com

The Rusty Parrot
Jackson, Wyo.

15 miles from Jackson Hole; a few blocks from Snow King
The Rusty Parrot's biggest asset is its location: Unlike Jackson's other high-end hostelries, it is within walking distance of Town Square and such après-ski hotspots as the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. The magnificent stone-and-log building contains 32 rooms, a spa and a restaurant. Guestrooms are handsomely done, if not exactly spacious, featuring handmade furniture and Native American-influenced fabrics. If you're feeling flush, book a room with a fireplace and whirlpool. Whatever you do, don't skip breakfast, where you can indulge in specialties such as eggs Benedict infused with caviar or smoked trout-the kind of fuel you can only justify with a big day on the hill. At day's end, indulge in a seaweed wrap, honey facial or Moor Mud body wrap-or just wander downtown. You're within serious credit-card-damage range of the town's best shops. Rates:$145-$500.
Information: 800-458-2004 or 307-733-2000; www.rustyparrot.com.

Sardy House
Aspen, Colo.

Three blocks from Aspen Mountain
If you ever doubted that Aspen is a community and not merely a resort, gather 'round the Colorado blue spruce in front of the Sardy House in early December. The lighting of the tree brings every local worthy of that title to the doorstep of Aspen's favorite Victorian house. Built in 1892, the Sardy House takes the best of its heritage-Victorian Eastlake bed reproductions and cherry-wood armoires complement the maple-wood floors and the original oak moldings-and blends in modern amenities to create an elegant yet comfortable experience. Vaulted ceilings, wooden shutters, pedestal sinks and whirlpools are hallmarks. Jack's, the Sardy's restaurant, serves delicious fare: Wine lovers appreciate the extensive wine list, honored by Wine Spectator Magazine for the past three years, while morning folk have a hard time choosing between the hotel's signature French toast and its blueberry pancakes. If the very word "inn" gives you goosebumps, don't dismiss the Sardy House: Its 20 rooms are a favorite with Aspen movers and shakers who cherish their privacy. Rates: $195-$850.
Information: 800-321-3457 or 970-920-2525; www.sardyhouse.com.

The Summit Lodge
Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C.
Two blocks from the Whistler gondola
Occupying that sweet spot between a condo and a large hotel are the 81 suites of the Summit Lodge in Village North. This high-end cocoon debuted in 1998, with the express purpose of defining what a boutique ski hotel could be. Well, admit it, there's nothing more luxurious than having a suite to sprawl in after a day on the slopes. You get a kitchenette with granite countertops, a main room with cherry furniture, a balcony and a fireplace. The duvets are a nice touch, as are the kimonos, which you can don after an eternity in your Japanese-inspired soaker tub. The gondola is only two blocks away, but the free shuttle will take you there and back, keeping you pampered in a manner to which you'll quickly become accustomed. Rates: $80-$465.
Information: 888-913-8811 or 604-932-2778; www.summitlodge.com.

Vail Mountain Lodge
Vail, Colo.
Four blocks from Vail Mountain
When it was called the Vail Athletic Club, it sounded more like an offshoot of Gleason's Gym than the sybaritic retreat it is. In addition to a more fitting name, the new owners have injected $25 million to renovate the 24 guestrooms-which now look like the upscale offspring of Yellowstone's classic hotels-and updated Terra Bistro, a landmark Vail restaurant. They've also enhanced what has long been one of the greatest health clubs and spas at any American resort. Just ask Britney Spears, who recently used it to work on her dance routines. If you've never attempted a Pilates workout, scrambled up a climbing wall or enjoyed a tension-releasing Shiatsu massage, there's no better place than this 25,000-square-foot facility. When you're finally able to drag yourself away from the mountain-view Solarium, the Vista Bahn quad is just a few hundred yards away. Rates: $295-$2,100.
Information: 800-822-4754 or 970-476-0700; www.vailmountainlodge-spa.com.

Travel Hit
Starting Oct. 31, United's schedule has 27 percent fewer departures. Total scheduled departures for a typical weekday are 1,654 flights, down from about 2,400 before Sept. 11. Source: United Airlines

Check out more Small and Swank properties by clicking on the slideshow to your right.ustify with a big day on the hill. At day's end, indulge in a seaweed wrap, honey facial or Moor Mud body wrap-or just wander downtown. You're within serious credit-card-damage range of the town's best shops. Rates:$145-$500.
Information: 800-458-2004 or 307-733-2000; www.rustyparrot.com.

Sardy House
Aspen, Colo.

Three blocks from Aspen Mountain
If you ever doubted that Aspen is a community and not merely a resort, gather 'round the Colorado blue spruce in front of the Sardy House in early December. The lighting of the tree brings every local worthy of that title to the doorstep of Aspen's favorite Victorian house. Built in 1892, the Sardy House takes the best of its heritage-Victorian Eastlake bed reproductions and cherry-wood armoires complement the maple-wood floors and the original oak moldings-and blends in modern amenities to create an elegant yet comfortable experience. Vaulted ceilings, wooden shutters, pedestal sinks and whirlpools are hallmarks. Jack's, the Sardy's restaurant, serves delicious fare: Wine lovers appreciate the extensive wine list, honored by Wine Spectator Magazine for the past three years, while morning folk have a hard time choosing between the hotel's signature French toast and its blueberry pancakes. If the very word "inn" gives you goosebumps, don't dismiss the Sardy House: Its 20 rooms are a favorite with Aspen movers and shakers who cherish their privacy. Rates: $195-$850.
Information: 800-321-3457 or 970-920-2525; www.sardyhouse.com.

The Summit Lodge
Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C.
Two blocks from the Whistler gondola
Occupying that sweet spot between a condo and a large hotel are the 81 suites of the Summit Lodge in Village North. This high-end cocoon debuted in 1998, with the express purpose of defining what a boutique ski hotel could be. Well, admit it, there's nothing more luxurious than having a suite to sprawl in after a day on the slopes. You get a kitchenette with granite countertops, a main room with cherry furniture, a balcony and a fireplace. The duvets are a nice touch, as are the kimonos, which you can don after an eternity in your Japanese-inspired soaker tub. The gondola is only two blocks away, but the free shuttle will take you there and back, keeping you pampered in a manner to which you'll quickly become accustomed. Rates: $80-$465.
Information: 888-913-8811 or 604-932-2778; www.summitlodge.com.

Vail Mountain Lodge
Vail, Colo.
Four blocks from Vail Mountain
When it was called the Vail Athletic Club, it sounded more like an offshoot of Gleason's Gym than the sybaritic retreat it is. In addition to a more fitting name, the new owners have injected $25 million to renovate the 24 guestrooms-which now look like the upscale offspring of Yellowstone's classic hotels-and updated Terra Bistro, a landmark Vail restaurant. They've also enhanced what has long been one of the greatest health clubs and spas at any American resort. Just ask Britney Spears, who recently used it to work on her dance routines. If you've never attempted a Pilates workout, scrambled up a climbing wall or enjoyed a tension-releasing Shiatsu massage, there's no better place than this 25,000-square-foot facility. When you're finally able to drag yourself away from the mountain-view Solarium, the Vista Bahn quad is just a few hundred yards away. Rates: $295-$2,100.
Information: 800-822-4754 or 970-476-0700; www.vailmountainlodge-spa.com.

Travel Hit
Starting Oct. 31, United's schedule has 27 percent fewer departures. Total scheduled departures for a typical weekday are 1,654 flights, down from about 2,400 before Sept. 11. Source: United Airlines

Check out more Small and Swank properties by clicking on the slideshow to your right.