by Terry Ward
A classy Starwood property and the only true ski-in, ski-out hotel of any scale in Steamboat Springs, the Sheraton Steamboat Resort is one of those sprawling properties with many different room and suite offerings that manage to appeal to families, couples, North Americans and international guests alike.
The behemoth brick building fronting the mountain smack dab in the base village is hard to miss — especially with the $16-million renovation that was recently completed in 2014 — but the rooms are actually divided between several towers and the inviting lobby, with its plush furnishings and fireplaces, as well as in the welcoming and modern guestrooms and suites are sure to please.
The hotel underwent a first round of renovations in 2009, but the real metamorphosis came via an $8.2 million renovation for the 2013-2014 ski season, which included the completion of 56 new luxury mountain suites, as well as a new entry area and outdoor heated pool and relaxation area with a dual-sided fireplace and fire pit.
There are several restaurants onsite, all with options for family dining, and a kid’s dining program means your children will eat free with a paying adult, a great option for cutting costs which you can, in turn, put toward your time on the slopes — after all, it’s the mountain’s great skiing that lures most families here.
The real attraction for families comes in just how easy the resort makes the skiing experience, whether you’re traveling as a family of 3 or 13. You can access a fully equipped ski and snowboard rental shop without even walking outside, and there’s a ski valet storage area here for your equipment, too. You can even buy lift passes at the rental shop. So in effect, you can arrive, check in, walk downstairs to get geared up and be out on the mountain in a matter of minutes.
Another highlight for families is the hotel’s free shuttle system that leaves regularly for the short ride (10 minutes) to downtown Steamboat’s restaurants and shopping. Between winter skiing and all the nearby activities of summertime (think hiking, mountain biking and swimming), it’s hard to imagine any family could find a boring moment here.
To learn more about Sheraton, please visit Sheraton.
Our Editor Loves
- Outdoor hot tubs and heated pool
- Free shuttle to downtown
- Game room
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Room options run a broad range from the hotel's 188 traditional guest rooms to luxurious mountain suites with one, two or three bedrooms, owner-owned condos with one or two bedrooms and decadent two- and three-bedroom villas in an entirely separate tower. In other words, however large your family may be, there's a configuration to accommodate all of you very comfortably here.
Let's start with the traditional hotel rooms, which you can request with two queen beds or one king. All of these rooms are located in the hotel's West Tower on the second to eight floors, and they're suitable for between two and four guests (or up to five people with the addition of a rollaway, which costs $25 per night). All of the rooms come with balconies overlooking the mountain or village, and all have empty mini-fridges ready to be loaded with your kid-friendly snacks; there are also coffeemakers stocked with supplies. There are ADA options in the traditional rooms, and connecting rooms (one king or two queens) are also available.
Moving up a level in luxury, you'll find the hotel's Mountain Suites in the East Tower on the second to fifth floors. Your options here are one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, with a maximum capacity of 8 people. All of the suites have balconies, stackable washers and dryers and full kitchens with the following amenities: a full-size refrigerator, oven, four-burner stove top, microwave, coffee maker, blender and all dishes, pots and cutlery you need to prepare and enjoy meals.
Studio Suites are also an option in the East Tower, and they are available with two queen beds or one king bed (the king room comes with a sleeper sofa for two). While the Studio Suites don't have full kitchens, they do have mini-kitchens with two-burner stovetops, full-size refrigerators, coffeemakers, cooking utensils, washers and dryers and smaller step-out balconies.
If you're looking for ADA rooms, your options here are a one-bedroom suite and a studio.
The owner-owned condos on the sixth and seventh floor of the East Tower are a good option for families with up to six people, with one or two bedrooms and full kitchens; some, not all, have laundry facilities.
Finally, there's the hotel's most luxurious offering -- on the second to seventh floors of the Morningside Tower, you'll find the luxury two- and three-bedroom villas. An $8-million renovation was completed in 2014, and all 21 villas were refurbished to match the new Mountain Suites. All have rooms with one king bed and queens in the additional room or rooms, in addition to a sofa bed in the living room, as well as full kitchens with stainless steel appliances and laundry facilities. With the addition of a rollaway (only one is allowed per villa), you can sleep between four and eight people here.
Cribs are available upon request in all of the rooms at no extra charge, and DVD players can also be delivered on request.
The area is ideal but the rooms are old and in desperate need of updating and the lobby floor of the hotel is being renovated so you have to go outside to access the gym and activity center. A very strange way to handle a renovation to force your guests to go outside for hotel amenities. You may wish to wait until the hotel renovation is complete and the rooms are refurbished before you stay here.
Despite the construction in the lobby and surrounding areas, this resort was perfect for our family of four. We stayed in a 3 bedroom/3 bath condo-style unit in the Morningside tower which provided more than enough room. The Sheraton is definitely in the best location in terms of proximity to the mountain/skiing and the service was phenomenal.
There were several Sheraton employees that I felt went above and beyond during our stay. First, Ella Gagne at the activities center treated us so well and she was so kind and generous to my children. My son loved blowing the steamboat whistle and he continues to talk about how much he enjoyed it. Second, Joey and Anita in housekeeping were amazing! Not only did they do a great job cleaning the villa but they were a joy to have around. Finally, Kyle (Director of Operations) went out of his way to ensure we had the perfect family getaway. My family and I couldn't have asked for more during our stay and we look forward to many future stays at the Steamboat Sheraton.
Primarily considered a ski hotel, the Sheraton is a hotel where guests mainly have one vacation focus, at least during the winter, and that's schussing down Steamboat Mountain. And while getting everyone geared up and onto the mountain is probably the biggest stressor for families on ski vacations, the Sheraton makes the logistics as easy as possible. Steamboat Ski & Sport, a gear rental shop located on the hotel's ground floor (with direct access out the door onto the snow and to the gondola) has everything you need in the way of rental equipment, as well as facilities for storing your skis and snowboards (it's okay to wear your boots up to your room, but other equipment should be stored here).
In-room fittings for equipment can also be arranged for hotel guests and are free of charge -- imagine, you check in, head up to your room and someone arrives to get you all geared up for the next day. It can be that easy.
The resort has two outdoor hot tubs on a second floor rooftop with partial mountain views that are open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily (kids will need to be supervised by an adult). And a new pool deck, added in 2014, features an outdoor heated pool that ranges between 3 and 5 feet deep -- be aware that there's no lifeguard surveillance. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Off the lobby, there's a well-outfitted game room that has flat screen TV's and poof chairs to lounge in while watching movies, as well as a pool table, poker table, shuffleboard and lots of board games to play. And while the hotel itself does not offer a kids camp, Steamboat Resort does run a summer Kids Adventure Club, as well as extensive winter programs that include child care for kids between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. Additionally, ski programs and camps for kids in first grade up to 15 years old are available.
It's worth becoming a Starwood Preferred Guest member if you're traveling as a family to take advantage of a great deal for kids' dining. Kids ages 12 and under whose parents are members in the program can take advantage of three free meals a day at this hotel, as long as they are accompanied by an adult who purchases an entrÃ©e.
There are two main restaurants. Breakfast is served from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Sevens Mountain Grill, located right off the lobby in a bright room where many of the tables look directly onto the main Steamboat slopes. The continental buffet is an option for around $12 per person, with options like cereals, bagels, oatmeal, fruit and yogurt, and there's a full buffet option with hot foods like eggs, pancakes, bacon and more for $21 per person. You can also order a la carte from the breakfast menu, choosing from things like eggs benedict, omelets, pancakes and biscuits and gravy.
Sevens is closed for lunch, but opens again for fine dining from 5 to 9 p.m. (it's really more of an adult-dining affair with menu items like trout and bison steaks).
For family dining for lunch and dinner, head to Saddles, the hotel's main restaurant that has lots of tables in a big open space right off the lobby, as well as an outdoor deck fronting the mountain that's great for aprÃ¨s-ski hot chocolates and snacks. There's all-day dining here, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with menu items basically the same for lunch and dinner; they include personal pizzas, burgers, wraps, chicken pot pie, nachos, quesadillas and pot stickers.
Most families opt for breakfast at Sevens, lunch somewhere on the mountain and then an easy dinner either in their suite or at Saddles. High chairs, booster seats and crayons and paper are available at all of the restaurants.
The new Breezeway Cafe, completed in spring 2014, sits poolside and offers families snacks, sandwiches and drinks daily.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
A $20 per-day resort fee includes ski storage, self parking, bottled water, Internet in your room and shuttle service to downtown Steamboat. The shuttle is available from noon to 11 p.m., and leaves at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour from the hotel; you can call to request pick-up back to the hotel. Free 800 and local calls from your room are also included in the resort fee.
There's a fitness center located off the lobby with top-notch cardio and weight machines, as well as free weights, workout balls and yoga mats. The 2014 renovation added men's and women's locker rooms to the fitness center, complete with steam rooms.
The concierge can provide you with a list of trusted babysitters in the area.
Valet parking is available for $15 per day.
Guests get a discount (preferred greens fees) at the Sheraton's partner 18-hole golf course, Rollingstone Ranch Golf Course, during the summer months.
Laundry facilities are available for guest use and located on every floor in the hotel, except the second and sixth floors. You can get change from reception, and a full load costs between $4 and $5 to wash and dry, including detergent.
The Rocky Mountain Day Spa is connected to the hotel, although independently operated, and offers a good range of treatments to pamper yourself aprÃ¨s-ski, including Swedish and Hot stone massage, facials, nail treatments, haircuts and styles, waxing and body wraps.
The Art of Smart Timing
Winter sees the biggest crowds here, but the Sheraton does good business during the summer months, too. Between Dec. 21 and Jan. 2, count on the resort to be packed to the rafters with families celebrating the holidays. Speaking of the holidays, the resort goes all out with special Christmas and New Year's Eve dinners for families, as well as events like breakfast with Santa and hot cocoa and caroling in the lobby.
Early December, however, sees very few crowds and often gets good early snowfall, making it an appealing time to visit before the holiday rush. Rates are also far lower in early December -- this is the best time to score a deal.
Spring Break crowds reach the boiling point around early March, when the hotel is also very crowded. And another guaranteed busy time here and on the mountain is the first weekend in December, during the annual Texas-themed MusicFest.
Another good shoulder season timeframe for visits is April and May, at the end of ski season and before summer travel kicks in.
Weather in Steamboat follows classic mountain town patterns. Count on cold and lots of snow from as early as November and on through April. The summer months, especially July and August, see lots of sunshine and warm temperatures, and make for a lovely time to visit.
Visitors to Steamboat are best off flying into the local airport in Hayden (Yampa Valley Regional/Hayden Airport), with regular flights on United from Denver and other seasonal flights from U.S. cities offered during peak ski season months.
GO Alpine shuttle service is the go-to operator for rides between the mountain resort and downtown Steamboat Springs and Hayden Airport -- the rides take around 40 minutes. One-way rides for adults cost $36.30 ($57.20 for a round trip) and for kids 6 to 12 years old, it's $18.15 ($28.60 for a roundtrip). Kids 5 and under ride free with a paying adult.
Another option is to fly into Denver International Airport and either take the shuttle for $90 each way for the 4 to 4.5-hour ride to Steamboat, or rent a car at the airport and drive there on your own.
Car rentals are also available at the Hayden airport. But if you're staying in town or near the mountain, you can use the free public transport bus or your hotel shuttle to get most anywhere you'd want to go, and a car really isn't necessary.
For Mom and Dad
If you can sneak away from the kids for bit, it's fun to join the Sheraton's regular Social Hour, held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the bar just off the lobby in Saddles Restaurant. For $5, you'll get a tasting of two wines that have received a 90-plus rating from Wine Spectator.
For a fun night out at the most romantic and best-loved restaurant in town, reservations are a must at CafÃ© Diva, where the elk tenderloin is a local favorite.