Review: Wildwood Snowmass
On our weekend ski trip to Colorado, we were eager to book a Starwood Resort using Cash + Points to keep the costs down. Mainly based on availability, we settled on the Wildwood Snowmass for 4,000 Points + $60/ night. The alternative was paying $220+ a night, so the Starwood Points yielded about a 4¢ return — perfect use for Starwood Points.
resort hotel just reopened under the Starwood program in November 2012 after an extensive renovation. Before that, Trip Advisor reviews all cited the need for updating, accusing hotel management of letting the resort slip a bit.
We were excited to try it out during its inaugural season.
We got in late–very late–on Friday night and, at checkin, were immediately given our first dose of the Wildwood’s “resort mentality”: the $20/day resort fee. This is a hotly contested item among hotel guests, though I’m guessing there’s nothing contested about it among the hotel chains. The night-shift desk agent spouted off all of the amenities the resort fee includes:
- Aspen-Pitkin Country Airport pickup/drop off (NO USE TO US–we drove)
- Ski/bike storage (NO USE TO US–just skiing for 1 day)
- Internet access (NO USE TO US–already included for SPG Gold Members)
- Local telephone calls (NO USE TO US–seriously?! when’s the last time you made a call from a hotel room)
Well, once we realized the resort fee was about to royally screw us, time to ask about parking. $30 for a 7-day pass. Damnit! Screwed again. So, we ended up paying for all of the other guests to be picked up from the airport but they didn’t feel the need to return the favor for those of us driving. Thanks, Wildwood Snowmass, thanks.
They went with an interesting theme for the hotel: a retro 1970s ski-lodge. Whoever had the vision for the renovation was doubtlessly inspired while watching Hot Tub Time Machine and indulging in a little bit of recreational drugs.
That said, the lodge, featuring a bar and restaurant, was very well done. It had a cozy German beer hall vibe to it and was a great place to grab a beer (at least 7 New Belgium beers on tap at all times).
These guys spared no expense in the “attention to detail” category of all the common areas; they really did a great job. For example, the encyclopedias on the bookshelves were circa 1970s, along with the books. We sat down to play Trivial Pursuit, only to find that it was the 1977 version! And, as a result, we were answering questions about the USSR. If I blacked out and woke up here, it wouldn’t take much to convince me I was actually in the 70s. A+ job.
Making our way up to the rooms (McCown halfway expecting to see the Bradys at any moment) requires you to walk outside–yes, this “resort” has Best Western/Motel 8 style enter-from-the-outside rooms.
The rooms absolutely had a college dorm vibe to them–and a cheap college dorm at that. While everything felt and looked new (but also purposely 40 years dated at the same time) it was all so cheap, too. The bed, lamps, dresser, closets…well, everything felt like it was straight from IKEA. I just can’t imagine how anything will last for more than one season.
The location of the Wildwood Snowmass is perfect. It is right above the Snowmass Village Mall with all of the good restaurants and just about a 2 minute walk to ski rentals, lift ticket sales and the slopes:
BOTTOM LINE: Cool lodge with good beers and authentic retro-1970s style. The location and decent prices make it a worthwhile place to stay when skiing Snowmass. Just be prepared for the very cheap feeling Motel-8 style rooms and a miserable “resort fee.”