by Terry Ward
What looks and operates like a luxury hotel near the base village at Steamboat is actually a complex of 86 studios and one, two- and three-bedroom luxury suites that feel more like proper condominiums.
Trailhead Lodge is one of several Steamboat Springs properties in the Wyndham Vacation Rentals portfolio, and while it may feel like a private apartment complex, it’s a luxury hotel all the same. And if you’re looking for someplace to stay in Steamboat that feels more like a home than a hotel and is a quick three-minute gondola ride away from the base village at Steamboat, this property, which opened in 2009 and still shows almost no signs of wear in its very comfortable accommodations, could very well be your place.
The pool area at Trailhead Lodge is particularly impressive, with a long heated lap pool buffered by a hot tub area with outdoor fireplaces, which makes for a delightful place to relax after a day on the slopes.
It’s important to note that there are no restaurants at this property, but all units have kitchenettes or full luxury kitchens with everything you need to prepare and enjoy meals.
The Wildhorse Gondola runs from just outside the front of the hotel to Steamboat’s base village, and you don’t need to show a lift ticket to ride up to the base village where you can arrange ski rentals and buy lift tickets.
In addition to the fabulous outdoor aquatic area, there’s a top-notch gym onsite and a game room for kids, too
Count on the helpful staff to provide tips for restaurants in town, as well as hot cocoa upon your return from the slopes or, on some mornings, surprises like free doughnuts.
Our Editor Loves
- Gondola from hotel to base village
- Outdoor hot tubs and heated swimming pool
- Free shuttle to downtown area and mountain
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The basic hotel room is a studio with a queen bed and a full-size sleeper sofa that can accommodate a total of four people. Studios have kitchenettes that are outfitted well enough for preparing meals, with a dorm-sized mini fridge and a two-burner stovetop. There's no oven, but you'll have all the pots, pans, plates and cutlery you need. Like all of the other suite options here (or condos, as they are often called), studios also have balconies and stackable washers and dryers.
The one-, two- and three-bedroom suites have a few standard things throughout, including full luxury granite kitchens with ovens, microwaves and four-burner stove tops, master bedrooms with king beds and pull-out sofas in the living room, in front of a gas fireplace.
The one-bedroom Den Suites have a king bed in a single room and a pullout sofa for two people in the main living room, as well as another sofa sleeper in a small den area off the living room that can sleep an additional two people but cannot be closed off (for a total of six people). There's one full bathroom with a shower and tub configuration in the one-bedroom suites.
The two bedroom Den Suites have two full bathrooms, a half bathroom, one king bed in the master bedroom and two full beds in another bedroom, with the same den area with a pullout sleeper sofa than can be separated from the living room, where there's an additional sleeper sofa (to sleep a total of eight people).
Then there are the Top Level Suites - the three bedroom den suites that have 4.5 baths and three bedrooms with king beds, as well as two pull-out sofas in the living room and a den area (to sleep a total of 10 people).
In addition to the Den Suite options, you can also choose non-den suites that lack the separate smaller den room with its pullout sofa, but are configured as follows: one bedroom, one bath suites that sleep four people; two-bedroom, two bath suites that sleep six people and three bedroom, three bath suites that sleep eight people. Most of the bedrooms in all of the suites have king beds or queen beds, but there are limited options that have rooms with two full beds, so if that's what you're interested in, be sure to call and specify when booking.
Modern dÃ©cor with comfy velour-style couches, gas fireplaces, granite kitchens and balconies are standard in all of the various suites.
We stayed in room 3113, the room was extremely dark. Very little lightning and what lights they did have were very dim. No lights in the closet or the laundry area. The shower water temperature would never reach the correct temperature. No one ever cleaned the room, the trash and dirty towels just piled up. And you had to go outside to get from the rooms to the lobby. The only plus would be the gondola that went to the base of the mountain was directly outside. I would not recommend the TrailHead Lodge.
by anna m
To be clear, the room and property are nice, and clean.
If I am paying close to 300 per night (hotwire secret rate too) for what is described as a 4 star hotel I would expect a 4 star hotel.
The rooms all have kitchenette spaces (no oven). So definitely shop if you want to save money. There are no sundries or food available on site. Free coffee/tea in lobby.
The room itself is beautiful. Pool, gym, and hot tub very nice as well.
There is no housekeeping service unless you book and pay at least 24 hours in advance. I think this is absurd for what the room cost was and what the description we were getting was.
There is a gondola at the door of the hotel, this is a big plus. There are a couple stores at the base village.
Steamboat runs shuttle service to town for free.
If your looking for a self maintained condo stay this is great, but dont be fooled into believing it is a 4 star hotel.
Most families who come to the Trailhead Lodge are here to ski, and the hotel makes it very easy to do just that, thanks to a private gondola that runs for free from just outside the reception area to Steamboat's base village (where you can rent skis and purchase lift tickets).
Ski rentals can also be arranged onsite, with staff from a base village shop coming to your suite directly to fit you with skis or a snowboard. The concierge can also arrange lift tickets for you, with prior notice, so you don't have to wait in lines with the masses. There's a ski gear storage area in the hotel's basement that's free for all guests to use, and bellboys working in the lobby keep your gear conveniently stored on an outdoor rack if you come back midday for lunch.
When it comes to family activities on property, the outdoor pool deck is the main lure after a long day on the slopes (or to start your day, why not?). The heated lap pool, 5 feet deep, is surrounded by snowy views and it's a short pad from here up the steps to an area with three hot tubs and firepits keeping things warm for when you emerge from them into the frosty air. Plans are in the works for a separate zero-entry kids pool to open.
There's an outdoor grilling deck with huge high-end stainless steel grills and an outdoor fireplace keepings things cozy. If you'd like to have a barbecue or just grill up some meat to take back to your room, all you have to do is call down and ask the staff to fire up the grill for you and it will be ready for cooking when you arrive. Grill utensils are also available at the front desk staff -- just ask for them.
Families also make use of the hotel's game room, just off the lobby, outfitted with beanbags for crashing on the floor and taking in a movie on the flat-screen TV or playing some Wii. There's also foosball, a pool table, chess and other board games for passing a fun family game night in (or sending the kids downstairs to do their own thing!).
During the holiday season, the hotel plans themed events, such as S'mores around the outdoor fireplace.
And while the property itself does not offer a kid's club, 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 six years, as well as ski programs and camps for kids in first grade up to 15 years old.
There are no restaurants onsite at this property, but you can take the hotel's free shuttle either into town or to the Steamboat base village, where you'll find plenty of options for family dining.
Most families stock the refrigerators in their units before arriving -- the nearest super market is City Market, about half a mile away, and it's just slightly farther to Safeway.
There are vending machines off the lobby for grabbing a quick soda or snack in a pinch.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The hotel's free shuttle service takes you to the base village or downtown Steamboat, and runs from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily. The Wildhorse Gondola keeps running from the hotel to the base village for an hour after the ski lifts close for the day.
Parking is free for hotel guests in a secured underground garage, and if you have more than one car for your group, it's generally not a problem to park additional cars for free.
The hotel's fitness center is modern, with lots of natural light and stationery bikes, treadmills and all the free weights and weight machines you need. And there are separate men's and women's locker rooms with showers, hair dryers and lockers in case you want to change there before working out or heading to the outdoor pools.
Internet is free for guests throughout the hotel.
The Art of Smart Timing
Winter sees the biggest crowds in Steamboat and at the hotel, but Trailhead Lodge draws guests in during the summer months, too. Between Dec. 21 and Jan. 2, count on the resort to be packed with families celebrating the holidays. 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.
Another guaranteed busy time 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 round-trip) and for kids 6 to 12 years old, it's $18.15 ($28.60 for round-trip). 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
There's no spa here, but ride the gondola to the base village to hit the Rocky Mountain Day Spa for a good range of treatments to pamper yourselves aprÃ¨s-ski, including Swedish and hot stone massages, couples massages, facials, nail treatments, a hair salon, waxing and body wraps.
For a fun night 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.