The Perfect Ski Getaway

The Dreamiest Lodgings
Nothing cures muscle ache quite like fine linens.

Every ski town in the northeast is suddenly bursting with "luxury" lodges—and no shortage of underwhelmed guests. Stowe Mountain Lodge, though, is the real thing. It all begins when you meet snowflake-sweatered Peter Mix (part of the in-house "Alpine Concierge Team"), who guards the gateway to the six-story, 139-room behemoth that neatly sidesteps a megahotel vibe. Mix can expound on the resort’s various trappings—ski valet, in-room fireplaces—but we uncovered a few less-obvious gems.

Although the Solstice restaurant serves hunky chef Sean Buchanan’s excellent local fare, we prefer the atmosphere at Hourglass, the cozy tapas bar. Don’t miss Solstice’s generous brunch, though, complete with its life-changing take on hot chocolate.

For premium repose, the well-connected head to the private Front Four lounge, where VIPs like Tyra Banks have stopped in for a spell. If you can’t finagle the requisite access, console yourself by sinking into the sumptuous leather pedicure chair at the Vermont outpost of Salon Mario Russo, where the diligent technicians will have you looking like a toe supermodel in no time.

Perhaps the best Stowe Mountain Lodge pampering option is underground, in the locker room. It goes a little something like this: Sauna. Hot tub. Steam room. Repeat. These are no ordinary amenities: Each is the finest we’ve seen in New England. (A helpful staffer also pointed out an exclusive "Indian shower" that sprinkles a misting rain. We couldn’t figure it out, but it sure sounded nice.) The sprawling spa is a tad hard to find, so flag down Peter Mix. He’ll show you the way. -Sascha de Gersdorff

7412 Mountain Rd., Stowe, VT, 888-478-6938,