From spot-on service to the creature comfort of egyptian cotton sheets, bedding down in high country's most luxurious digs is one of the true highlights of a ski vacation. But when the snow's falling, the best of the best-the hotels just off the lifts that you ogle while struggling past with skis and poles-can easily run $500 and up per night. When the snow disappears, however, so do those high prices: Come summer, you can enjoy the same marble soaking tubs, mountain views and turndown mints without straining your wallet.
What's the deal? Though the resorts have all beefed up their warm-weather offerings, most ski areas are significantly underpopulated from May through August. Accordingly, they'd rather have you pay $245 for a deluxe room at the Lodge at Vail during July-a room that goes for $575 in February, mind you-than let it sit vacant. And while there are exceptions to the rule-namely Aspen, Jackson Hole and the Lake Tahoe region-the best that most mountain villages can often manage is about 40 to 50 percent of their winter capacity.
True, you won't be skiing, and to some, that's a deal-breaker. But at the hotels we've rounded up-each among the finest at its respective resort-you'll be glad for the excuse to hole up inside your suite. But if ennui sets in, there's a mountain's-worth of hiking, biking, shopping, concerts, festivals and more right outside your double-paned (and likely soundproofed) picture windows-surely enough to wear you out in time for your next massage.
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Rates are per room, per night, unless otherwise noted.