First Images: The Plush New Hythe Hotel Opens in Vail

Though the word “Hythe” sounds like it could be the moniker of a mythical Icelandic warrior, it’s actually a small market town on the South Coast of Kent, England, whose name refers to it as being a “haven.”

It’s also now the name of a hotel in the center of Vail, Colorado, which just opened its doors in time to catch the upcoming ski season – and most definitely fits the description of a “haven.” Previously the decidedly less spectacular Vail Marriott, the Hythe Hotel (part of The Luxury Collection) is now the product of a $40 million renovation, with gorgeous interiors by Sonoma’s Wilson Ishihara Design.

Resisting any temptation to mod the place up, they instead looked to the town’s 1960s inception, imbuing the spaces with a kind of rustic contemporary historicism. The elegantly welcoming lobby is built around a prodigious, strikingly stylish fireplace (that’s a lot of glass); but most of the materials and techniques are specifically meant to evoke local heritage – for instance, Colorado calacatta marble quarried directly from the Rocky Mountains, carved black stone walls, Douglas fir siding wood panels, and marble flooring which has been textured, if you can believe, to feel like a snowy landscape. Even the traditional carved wood Arborglyphs technique can be seen in the featured art.

The 344 rooms are done up in an understated, what might actually be described as “bucolic chic,” with wood, stone, leather, and faux fur employed in the service of invitingly masculine color schemes. Generous windows frame those enchanting mountain views that one most definitely comes to Vail to experience – with Timberline Suites boasting a pair of balconies for the best snowy one-eighty vistas. Three and four bedroom panoramic Penthouse Suites have their own fireplaces, plush sofas, and range from 1100 square feet all the way up to a whopping 3595, the size of a small mansion, really.

Vail is most definitely a social town, though – and the cavernous 10th Mountain Lounge is perfect for a spot of winter-sporty people watching, under the watchful “eyes” of a pair of artfully pattered deers head sculpts. The cocktail program features a partnership with local distillery 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company (thus the name). A second bar, the Reve Lounge, is a more intimate spot for lingering over sophisticated après-ski tipples.

But the hotel’s signature restaurant Margie’s Haas also plays on local history, named as it is for the woman who famously prepared home-cooked meals for the 10th Mountain Division Troopers who were stationed nearby for training during WWII. German Exec Chef Patrick Dahms boasts the likes of the St Regis Aspen and DC’s Willard Intercontinental on his exceedingly impressive CV, and here he updates classic Alpine cuisine inspired by his travels in the Austrian Alps and Italy’s South Tyrol region.

The Hythe is actually the perfect Vail hotel for those who aren’t necessarily fanatical skiers, as its cosseting vibe begs hours of just lounging about, perhaps with a good book from the selection in the lobby. And really, with the shopping possibilities of Lionshead Village just a ten minute stroll away, all that swishing and swooshing can just seem like such a bother sometimes.

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