Vail Gay Travel
Experience luxurious Vail gay travel with advice from wolfyy. Top luxury hotels, Vail’s gay scene, experiences & travel tips.
The Gay Travel Experience: Vail, Colorado
It only took me one day to realize why everyone loves Vail so much. Beautiful hotels packed with amenities, gorgeous mountainside vistas, delicious restaurants and abundant style. Even without the sports and outdoor activities, there is plenty to do.
If you’re not a skier or snowboarder, don’t discount Vail gay travel so fast. While Vail is not necessarily a prominent LGBT destination, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find camaraderie with some other gay travelers.
Firstly though, note the specific demographics of typical Vail travelers. Wealthy individuals or those who prefer lavish cool-weather getaways notoriously frequent this ski resort town. You’ll find the majority of them to be at least into their thirties. These people typically have the means to afford an expensive destination such as Vail. Suites in the best luxury resorts can easily exceed a few thousand dollars per night!
Travelers in Vail tend not to segregate into gay and straight establishments. Vail doesn’t have any official gay bars, for example, and there isn’t any apparent gay scene. Gay travelers here are pretty much left to their own devices (maybe quite literally) to connect with other gay travelers, if they desire to do so.
In my opinion, if you’re considering a visit to Vail and prefer to pal around with other LGBT travelers, I would consider bringing along a friend! If you’re looking for a cool-weather destination with a more robust gay scene, you could also explore nearby Aspen or even Montréal.
Why Is Vail So Popular?
First-time travelers may not be able to tell exactly why someone may highly prefer Vail as opposed to Aspen, or vice versa. Until you actually see the town for yourself, it can be hard to see why so many people love it. To help you understand, here are a few quick things you should know about Vail’s history and why the town is so unique.
Basic Facts About Vail, Colorado
Until the early 1900’s, Vail was simply a mining area, as were many Colorado towns. Resources were quickly depleted and the sleepy town was home to ranchers until the 1940’s. The concept for a ski resort came about in the 50’s, was constructed in the 60’s and by the 70’s, skiers began to discover the desirable slopes. Construction boomed in the 90’s, creating most of Vail’s infrastructure, which was then largely renovated after 2005 with Vail’s Billion Dollar Renewal plan.
This rapid late-century growth and subsequent extensive renovation explains why Vail feels like a brand-new town altogether. Many equate the ambiance of the town center to the streets of different European cities considering Vail’s amalgam of architectural styles. While there isn’t a rich cultural history, the village’s modern designs and conveniences make a desirable countryside escape.
Gay Vail: Where to Stay
The majority of Vail accommodations are all within close proximity to one another, as the town is quite compact. There are a different few pockets of hotel and resort developments. They are all robustly connected via public transit, private hotel shuttles and a large main roadway.
Before selecting a Vail hotel, consider whether you prefer to be right on the base of the mountain, or if you’re comfortable with being a 5-minute shuttle bus ride away. The most expensive and luxurious resorts are in the town center, at the base of Vail mountain. The entire town is pedestrian-only, which is pretty awesome in my opinion.
If you prefer something slightly cheaper, yet still luxurious, I recommend the Grand Hyatt Vail. They have many of the same incredible amenities and a modern design, but are just a few minutes away from the town center.
Frequent shuttle busses make it easy to get into town anytime. Keep in mind it may be quite advantageous to stay nearby one of the “In-Town” bus route stops. More on this in the travel tips section of this guide.
Lodge at Vail is a great in-between, balancing good comfort and amenities with a location in the town center. You’ll have dozens of other choices for accommodations. But, overall, you’ll need to find the right balance of location/convenience and level of luxury.
Vail Experiences for the Gay Traveler
You might have the impression that Vail is only a winter travel destination. While winter is definitely most popular, tourists visit the town year-round. When there isn’t snow on the mountain, visitors hike the majestic mountainsides, ride bikes along vast trails and dine in style in the center of town.
After finishing outdoor activities, the second aspect of your Vail gay travel will be enjoying the wonderful ambiance of the town center. There is so much energy and life flowing as everyone enjoys themselves. It’s quite a magical experience!
Grab cocktails at one of the many hotel bars in close proximity, or window shop while meandering the quaint European-esque pedestrian streets. There are a lot of pubs and breweries around. I stopped at Hermits 7 Brewing for a few dark beers with my boyfriend Michael and his family.
Skiing Vail Mountain
You will firstly need to purchase a Vail Mountain lift ticket to get on with your adventure. For the 2020/2021 season, you must purchase your tickets online. Keep in mind that there are single-day lift ticket passes and Epic Day Passes, which work differently.
Be sure to read all the Vail Mountain lift ticket FAQ’s, as there are fine details you should be aware of. Specifically, they note that tickets may not be available day-of, and you’re encouraged to buy in advance for the days you want to ski.
For renting skis, you can visit any local ski shop or one of the various Vail Sports locations in the area. In addition to their traditional locations, the Ritz-Carlton, Arrabelle and Marriott Hotels have locations on-site. You also have the option of renting skis online ahead of time, but it’s probably simpler to just do it in person.
Restaurants In Vail Village
My absolute favorite restaurant in Vail was Alpenrose Vail. They’re a German restaurant with mouth-watering choices, including vegan dishes. The décor was stunning and the staff all wear traditional German attire, which was pretty fun. Alpenrose is also a fantastic spot to grab a few glasses of wine before dinner, as they have a pretty interesting wine list.
I also must recommend the French restaurant, La Tour. Another establishment with stellar service, my favorite part of my meal at La Tour was the delicious cocktails. Their dishes are divine, and I’d say if the waiter or waitress has a suggestion, definitely take it.
There are literally dozens of restaurants to choose from in the Vail Village town center alone. They span the spectrum of cuisines, from Japanese to Italian.
Keep in mind that restaurants tend to close earlier than you may be used to if you’re from Europe or a large American city. By 9PM, most places are closed, which makes sense given everyone wants to be up bright and early for another day of adventure.
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Vail Gay Travel Tips
Firstly, if you’re visiting Vail in the spring or autumn, remember to pack tons of clothing layers! Temperature fluctuations are quite drastic here in the mountains, and once the sun goes down, you might find yourself pretty cold!
Most people dress for comfort, donning long sleeves under puffer jackets and such, as opposed to pea coats or higher-fashion outerwear.
Vail has a significant amount of parking; however, it’s confined almost entirely to a couple of large parking garages. It’s not typical, or usually even possible, to park on the street near a restaurant or bar. With that, you should plan to either park in one of the garages and take a short walk to your destination, or take the Vail shuttle bus from your hotel.
Some parking in Vail is free and some is paid. This can change from season to season as well. The main parking garage for the Vail Village town center is called Village Parking Structure. You’ll end up parking here if you’re going into town.
Lionshead and Red Sandstone are two other large parking garages commonly used. Check the Vail Parking Portal for current information.
Bus Routes In Vail
You can find bus routes and times on the Town of Vail Website. The “In-Town” bus line is the only route that passes through the pedestrian-only part of the town. Booking a hotel nearby one of the stops on this route will be much more convenient. Otherwise, you may have to transfer busses to get into town via public transit.
Your hotel may provide a private service however, but those busses will only be able to stop at the town entrance since they cannot enter.
I hope you’ve found this Vail gay guide helpful. Enjoy your time in this beautiful town! Don’t forget to subscribe to wolfyy for more the latest gay travel information & special travel invitations.