On Top Of The World

Article and Photos by Camille H. Miller


World Class Lodging 

Old World warmth, comfort, and charm. The West Wing has it all. 


A picturesque penthouse suite atop the Ritz-Carlton in Beaver Creek, Colorado, the West Wing is just what you expect from a room at a world class lodge. Upon entering the hotel, guests are immediately greeted by a smiling valet dressed in a picturesque duster who provides not only transportation arrangements but also a snack for the adults and cowboy hats and badges for the kids. The Lobby is brightly lit by a wood-burning fireplace, and visitors are welcomed by the smiling Guest Services Manager, who takes care of all checkin arrangements in advance. A tour of the hotel’s highlights is available while bags are taken to the penthouse. Beautiful artwork and shops on the main floor whet the appetite for the finer things in life.


Among the many perks the Ritz-Carlton provides, guests are most taken with the ski-in, ski-out access and a gondola just steps from the door. Friendly smiles and intuitive services are offered by every staff member. A two-story fireplace in the Great Room welcomes the pink-cheeked to sit nearby and enjoy a steaming beverage. People gather around the fire pit, or join friends for a taste of buffalo or bison at the Buffalo Bar. Weary skiers and snowboarders relax in the treesheltered hot tub after a long day of exertion on the mountain. The atmosphere is engaging, refreshing, and care-free.

The upper floors of the Ritz-Carlton are privately-owned penthouse suites, providing the very best in accommodations and service. From the ski lift just steps from the door, to the signature copper soaking tub in the full-service spa (available for couples as well!), a stay here is an experience that you will never forget.


However, take a step inside the West Wing, and the atmosphere deepens to a richer sense of Old World warmth, comfort, and charm. It is still a lodge in the mountains, but everything inside, from the authentic woven snowshoes on the wall to the mohair and leather furniture speaks of the owner’s devotion to the pursuit of material comfort.

Every detail soothes the senses: a wooden table, smoothly inlaid with bits of old chalets; king-sized beds with silky linens and down pillows to spare; an exceptional welcoming spread of fruits, cheeses, crackers and other tasty delights in the gourmet chef’s kitchen; the soft sounds of light jazz playing through the superior sound system; an enticing baby-grand Steinway piano waiting in the living room for the touch of loving hands; an impressive collection of wines and spirits housed in a custom-built cove; original artwork on the walls showcasing the talent of famous international artists; the view from every window of the beauty, peace, and profound wonder of the mountain wilderness. The spacious but cozy rooms all highlight the very best in design and convenience, finely tuned to meet and exceed every visitor’s expectations.

An impressive, 4,450 sq ft, two-story custom-built residence, the West Wing was created as a penthouse suite within the Ritz-Carlton in Bachelor Gulch. It provides a fully-stocked private mountain retreat for owners and guests alike. It boasts four large, decadent bedrooms with inviting views of the ski slope and four baths with two jacuzzi tubs and steam showers to take the chill off. Two private terraces offer beautiful vistas of both pristine groomed ski runs and the peaceful mountain valley below. Access is gained through a private residents’ elevator, and guests are catered to by both hotel staff and private services with the utmost care and professionalism.

The owners who generously share their beautiful home have seen to it that every desire is met in the West Wing for groups of all sizes, accommodating as many as twelve guests at a time. They are eager to share it with others who appreciate the finest delights Colorado has to offer, and have made it available to people from all over the world, many of whom return year after year to create memories in lavish ease.


You won’t find the West Wing in the average rental ring, though. Arrangements are made through LaCure, a luxury villa rental company that has a stunning portfolio of residences that spans the globe. At the time of booking, a concierge is provided to make any preparations in advance, such as stocking the fridge or arranging lessons with a ski instructor. Any other needs that arise after checking in are met by another private on-site concierge, who is able to arrange a wide variety of services from hiring a babysitter to renting and delivering a favorite movie.

Vail & Beaver Creek Selected to Host 2015 FIS Alpine World Alpine Ski
Championships >>>>>>

The 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek will showcase over 700 athletes from more than 70 nations. These World Championships represent the largest and most impressive collection of ski racing talent in the world, second only to the Olympics. Races include the Ladies’ and Men’s Super G, Giant Slalom, Super Combined and Downhill and will take place on various courses in Beaver Creek and Vail. The 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships last two weeks from the opening ceremonies on Monday, February 2 until closing ceremonies on Sunday, February 15, 2015. Interested in seeing the events in person? The Vail Valley features an extensive network of vacation rental condominiums and townhomes, providing not only an enhanced lodging experience, but in many instances, a more cost-effective option for guests. For more information

please see the Vail/Beaver Creek 2015 website

This exquisite piece of mountain country was once inhabited by only a handful of men, the “Bachelors” of Bachelor Gulch. At least one of the bachelors’ cabins still stands today, offering a memorable location for intimate luncheons. After the bachelors departed, lettuce farmers took up residence until the Great Depression forced them to abandon their fields.

The land slept, largely unnoticed, until the 1970’s when President Gerald Ford made this “land of breathtaking beauty” his second home and Colorado won the bid for the 1976 Olympics. Though the Olympics were ultimately held in Austria, the surrounding slopes were enthusiastically developed into a series of alpine runs that have continuously attracted not only the most passionate skiers from around the world, but A-list celebrities, notable political figures, elite athletes and more.


At the time that the Ritz-Carlton was being built in the early 2000’s, the owners of the West Wing were traveling around the state looking for a mountain town that fit the fun-loving personality of the family. They eliminated the idea of buying a single-family home when the Ritz-Carlton in Bachelor Gulch began advertising their upper floors as suites for resident buyers. It was a bold and unusual purchase at the time.

They were one of the first families to move in, before the hotel even had a service staff. While the relationship between hotel and residents was developing, key decisions were made concerning what services the hotel would provide and what amenities would be made available to penthouse owners.

The venture has paid off handsomely and the residents’ relationship with the Ritz-Carlton has benefited both sides so well that penthouse ownership opportunities are now offered in hotels around the world. The level of attention provided to guests and their needs is truly extraordinary.

The very best of everything is available at a moment’s notice, arranged by the West Wing’s exclusive access to the on-site manager. 


Tips and Hints When Visiting….

Celebrating a Special Occasion?
Take full advantage of the personalized services of your exclusive concierge. They can arrange everything from musicians, to holiday decor, to the company of the lovable lab Bachelor, on loan. There is plenty to do, but if you want something extra-special, don’t hesitate to ask.

Suffering From a Headache?
25% of all visitors sleeping above 8,000 ft (2,500 m) in Colorado suffer from altitude illness while adjusting to the thin atmosphere. Symptoms are similar to an alcohol hangover: headache sometimes accompanied by fatigue, loss of appetite, or nausea. Don’t worry, it usually resolves itself with 24-72 hours of acclimatization, and the effects can be kept in check by drinking plenty ofwater. The Ritz-Carlton provides oxygen upon request.


“The level of attention provided to guests and their needs is truly extraordinary.”

A table at the restaurant Spago to enjoy the culinary masterpieces of Wolfgang Puck is made available to residents of the West Wing even on short notice Christmas Eve.

Friendly drivers are on call to drive guests from Bachelor Gulch to posh shopping destinations or the quaint skating rink in Beaver Creek and back again without having to navigate snowy mountain roads. Ski valet service is available as soon as the slopes open, and a basket of marshmallows with roasting sticks is set out at sunset for those wishing to warm up around a crackling fire after a day of taking in the mountain’s delights.

Guests traveling with children have access to an in-house babysitter, or a ski-nanny, who is available to care for and entertain children while the adults go out to play. Canine friends are made welcome with dog treats from the valet and a deep cushion to sleep on in the kitchen.


When asked why they share their one-of-a-kind home in this way, the owners reply, “When you are blessed to have such things in life, material or otherwise, that blessing is multiplied when you are able to share it with other people.” This attitude has endeared both them and their home to the many guests who have stayed in the West Wing over the years. They come from around the world, usually to take advantage of the “home away from home” to celebrate special events such as holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, and reunions.

The West Wing has been designed to provide an extraordinary setting for extraordinary memories. Friends can enjoy a glass of wine and a movie in the den. Couples can indulge in romantic in-room massage services. A private chef can be arranged to cook a scrumptious meal while families just relax by the fire, play games together, and enjoy the views. When the owners themselves occupy the home, they make a point of getting in some time on the mountain nearly every day, whether in hiking boots, snowshoes, or skis. One year they even hired a dog-sled team to take them through the forest.

The list of available amenities and activities is fantastic and lengthy, so much so that guests will wish for a blizzard to keep them from departingfor a week or more.


Decisions, Decisions…


Whether guests come seeking stimulation or serenity, they will find it in the West Wing. Outside, the mountain beckons, and all the fun, relaxing, and challenging activities that could be asked for are only an elevator ride away. However, the chief draw of the West Wing lies inside, where the warmth that envelopes residents and guests alike makes this home in the mountains the perfect place to let go of responsibility, create unforgettable memories and rejuvenate the soul.

For rates and availability of the West Wing, please click through to their website2014-01-SpringIssue

Your Own Peace in the Mountains
In March, Beaver Creek Village in Colorado still looks like a winter scene from a Currier and Ives postcard. A few people with rosy cheeks are gliding round and round the skating ring in lazy circles. Regular snowfall still blankets the village buildings like icing over gingerbread houses. It’s quiet, and peaceful. This is the time of year when locals come out to play, knowing that if they patiently wait, the crowds of the early ski season will break up, and they can easily claim a piece of the mountain for themselves. Only a few steps from the village center a gondola waits to take visitors to the summit. It’s a thrill, once at the top, to look out over the Rocky Mountains and take in the grandeur of the high peaks and steep valleys. The thickly fallen snow muffles every sound and white slopes below hint at the exhilaration to come. After a few thrilling runs in the crisp mountain air, the fireplace beckons. With a cup of hot cocoa in hand, you can’t help but sink into the luxury of weariness. Just letting the mind relax and the quiet settle into the soul is a most profound indulgence. It’s true that Beaver Creek Village is a delight to visit year round. However, the best thing about visiting in early spring is the opportunity to appreciate the mountains at their best: in peace.



Spring Edition 2014


Camille H. Miller writes about unique vacation rentals and luxurious villas all over the world. To see where she’s been recently, visit her blog



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