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Grand Hyatt Vail and Vail Epic Discovery: A Colorado Mountain Vacation Families Will Love

Vail Summer

The mountains loomed large above our moonlit path in Vail, their imposing limestone monoliths framing the sky as a few stars further crowded the view. Life was calmer here following our frenzied week of welcoming our Swiss exchange student Maelle into our family for the academic year. After a few days of jet-lag recovery, she was launched onto her first Johnson Family Roadtrip that led us here, smack in the heart of Vail Valley. As far as adapting to the USA  goes, Vail’s Bavarian-inspired village dotted with Alpine hotels, hanging baskets, farmhouse-style architecture and Alp-englow made for a rather seamless transition.

(Vail Village. Credit: Vail)

As we milled along Gore Creek, the sky turned from cobalt blue to black and we joked that we hoped ritzy Vail didn’t have muggings at night, which prompted Maelle to timidly inquire, “What is mugging?” which prompted me to demonstrate on her very fragile frame. 

It is a word (and night), she’ll likely never forget. 

We were staying at the Grand Hyatt Vail a grand hotel that overlooks the towering forest on the banks of Gore Creek. Imagine, if you will, planning your Sweet 16 bash for years, spending a lot of time perfecting all the details and just when you’re ready for your big debut, the world shuts down. This is the story of my daughter’s 16th birthday during a pandemic but it also tells the tale of when the beautiful Grand Hyatt Vail opened in summer 2019 after an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation. And then came 2020.

The good news is this 285-room, ski-in/ski-out resort that sits at the base of the iconic Vail Mountain is now ready for its Grand [Re] Opening and it was the perfect destination for our newly-minted family of five!

Exclusive deal! Colorado residents can now get 20% off this exclusive property (scroll down for details).Grand Hyatt Vail

The Inside Scoop at Grand Hyatt Vail

After a busy day in Vail, we nestled into the cozy chaises at the Grand Hyatt Vail’s Fireside Lounge for memorable après-play that consisted of card games, delicious food and live music. Our daytime was dedicated to Vail Epic Discovery (a first-of-its-kind comprehensive on-mountain summer adventure on Vail’s rooftop). Afternoons and evenings were dedicated to exploring the adjacent Gore Valley Trail’s 12 miles of paved multi-use recreation paths that connect to the Vail Pass Trail into Summit County to the east and to the Eagle Valley Trail towards Glenwood Springs to the west. 

The Grand Hyatt Vail is the second Grand Hyatt hotel in Colorado and the first in a U.S. mountain resort destination. Its bold, vibrant architecture is inspired by its scenic locale and has a great setup for families. Not only is the location idyllic and convenient, but it is also family-friendly with adjoining rooms or suites, many of which have balconies with mountain views and fireplaces. Parental privacy is as easy as shutting the door.Grand Hyatt Vail

The property features three dining venues, The Spa at Grand Hyatt Vail, a fitness center featuring Peloton bikes (make sure to bring your cleated biking shoes) and inventive après ski offerings. Grab the family and roast s’mores by the firepit or soak in the hot tub. In the summer months, play in the infinity-edge pool (open year-round) and indulge in a Pulled Jerk Chicken Sandwich from Tiki on the Creek Bar & Grill (open through August 31). 

Insider Tip:  In the winter, the Grand Hyatt Hotel offers guests their own ski lift, Chair 20, for convenient access to world-class skiing and snowboarding. Sure, most resorts offer ski-in-ski-out lodging but this ski lift helps you avoid the onslaught of crowds at the Vail Villages and expensive parking (there’s even a ticket office at the base of Chair 20!) It is also a local’s secret; many take the bus and get dropped off nearby so you know it’s gotta be good. 

Summer tubing VailVail Epic Discovery

One day, we took the Grand Hyatt Vail’s free shuttle to Vail Epic Discovery at Lionshead Village, the ultimate family-friendly destination in Vail for summer and fall.  This mountaintop playground is housed at 10,000 feet up the Eagle Bahn Gondola and an all-day Adventure Pass gives you access to this mountaintop wonderland that includes:

  • Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster: Enjoy the thrill as it winds its way 3,400 feet down the mountain, following the natural contours of the landscape through the forest. The coaster is the perfect activity for families and adrenaline-seekers alike
  • Bungee Trampoline: Bounce, flip, and soar skyward on this trampoline.
  • Eagle’s Nest Tubing: Grab a tube, hop a lift, get a rush! Adventurers young and old will love taking thrilling runs down the 550 ft-long tubing hill. Music entertains you the whole way down, while the Adventure Bahn carpet ride will take you back to the top. 
  • Marmot Mini Kids Tubing: Grab a tube and glide down the mountain on a thrilling, adrenaline-fueled ride. The multi-lane tubing hill features two runs, and easy-access surface lift gets you back up top fast. 
  • Little Eagle Zip Line: Kids can soar through the air above 11,000 feet!
  • Paramount Peak Climbing Wall: Harness your adventure while scrambling up to new heights.

Vail Mountain CoasterInsider tips: Eagle’s Nest deck has fantastic views from the summit. Epic Discovery will switch to weekend operations (Friday-Sunday) after Labor Day weekend. Arrive at the base of Lionshead Village early to avoid the ticket office and gondola lines. Plot your course and hit your preferred attraction first. The Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster had the longest line and was our #1 on our bucket list (the thrilling downhill was well worth the wait).

Fortunately, we still had plenty of time to hit the bungee trampoline, the tubing hill and the climbing wall before a storm blew in, pausing operations. If you’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains long enough, you know that storms are frequent at higher elevations so be sure to get there early!  Also, remember that temperatures tend to be 10 degrees cooler on top of the mountain so dress accordingly. And relish in those cooler temps on a hot summer day.

You can also enjoy more than 20 miles of hiking trails on the mountain. Berrytricker Trail is a legendary 7.9-mile butt-kicker that starts at Lionshead Village and steeply winds to Eagle’s Nest. If you’re visiting in July, hike to China Bowl for an explosion of waist-deep wildflowers. In mid-December, the aspen trees turn a brilliant gold. And then, ski Vail Mountain’s legendary bowls and powder in the winter. You can’t go wrong no matter the season at Vail Mountain!

Fall Fun at Grand Hyatt Vail

Here are a few ways Grand Hyatt Vail offers Denver families the chance to soak in the autumn hues:


For an alpine adventure workout amidst fire-y hued foliage, the resort’s adventure outfitter – Venture Sports – created a private guided bike tour of Vail Pass, showcasing awe-inspiring views of the Gore Mountain Range and Vail Valley. The tour includes transportation to the top of Vail Pass, gourmet snacks and bottled water and first-aid/CPR-certified guides for an easy to moderate 25-mile bike ride downhill along a paved bike path on the guest’s choice of a comfort cruiser or mountain bike.

Guided Nature Walks:

Join a local guide for a guided nature walk in the Vail Valley, open for all levels. This activity is offered Mondays and Wednesday from 5 – 6 p.m.


Namaste in nature with Yoga on the Gore Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. while enjoying the lulls of neighboring Gore Creek and the serene golden foliage of Vail Mountain.

View images courtesy of Grand Hyatt Vail here and fly-fishing demo video here.

Exclusive Grand Hyatt Vail Discount for Coloradoans

We want you to enjoy a fall getaway in Vail! Colorado residents can reserve the Colorado Resident Rate which rewards neighbors with 20% off best available rates and a 2 p.m. late checkout. Use Special Offer code: COLOC when searching for availability online at Fly Fishing in Vail

Grand Fall Colors Package

The Grand Fall Colors package showcases iconic alpine views of Vail’s Gore Range amid fall’s golden horizon. The resort has partnered with its adventure outfitter, Venture Sports, for an unforgettable experience on two wheels with a guided Vail Pass downhill tour. Guests will embark on a two-hour guided excursion beginning atop Vail Pass situated at 10,600 feet to descend down into Vail on an e- or regular bike making it accessible for all levels. Travel package starts at $249 and includes:

  • A complimentary accommodation upgrade to a Mountain or Creekside view
  • 20% savings on the Vail Pass Guided Downhill Bike Tour, per person with Venture Sports (weather dependent)
  • $50 resort food and beverage credit (the resort is home to Colorado’s first Moët & Chandon vending machine for bubbly enthusiasts)

Beyond the resort, travelers can enjoy the allure of the Vail valley’s culture, arts and cuisine, along with upcoming area events including the ongoing Vail Farmer’s Market, Gourmet on Gore, Taste of Vail, Vail Oktoberfest and more.

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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