My mother always called me a "bon vivant." I guess she was right.
bon vivant - /bän-vē-vänt, bōⁿ-vē-väⁿ/ n. a person who enjoys the good things in life, especially good food and drink.
Guilty. When my son and I first came off of the #5 Lift on our first full day of snowboarding in Telluride, I really felt like I was in a movie scene. At about 11,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by giant mountain peaks in every direction, this mountain top would be breathtaking if there were nothing at the top except the trail map. But 50 yards away from the lift, lies an oasis that seems like a mirage.
Bon Vivant is a huge open air patio set up in middle of the snowy plateau. The giant deck is enclosed and features a big circular wooden bar that features buckets of Belgian beers and dozens of bottles of fine wine sitting in crushed ice and waiters bustling around dressed up in grey wool vests and fancy hats, giving a very European "Alps" vibe to the place.
This "restaurant" sits impossibly in a place that is normally below 30 degrees in the winter but also has very bright sunshine on some days. Bon Vivant accomodates both extremes with space heaters everywhere that create a perfect temperature anywhere you sit and when the sun is too bright, they open a massive, 40-foot umbrella unlike any you've seen at any hotel.
We just stopped for a hot chocolate and a bathroom break but the minute you walk under the wooden archway and onto the deck, you realize you're not leaving right away. The menu features classic country French cuisine, hand made crepes made on demand (with Nutella, or berries or cinnamon) and the best hot chocolate you've ever had.
My son opted for a hot chocolate and I had a La Chouffe Belgian beer. Across the bar, we spotted actor Dennis Quaid who we of course did not disturb, but the sighting fueled the feeling that we were in a really special place. My wife and daughter are not usually mountain top skiiers but I insisted they had to see this place. So we returned the next day and the four of us enjoyed crepes, delicious french onion soup and a cheese platter. Where are we?
The combination of an amazing restaurant with great food, exceptional service and a location like nothing else in the world makes this a bucket list stop. Get to Telluride. Take the #4 lift to the #5 lift and go to Bon Vivant. Sit at the edge of the deck by the glass facing the best view (they're all good). Don't leave without having a hot chocolate and a crepe.
Oh, and use the bathrooms in the adjacent "cabin". You haven't seen bathrooms this clean and awesome anywhere, much less in a cabin sitting 2 miles up the mountains.
If you own or manage Bon Vivant at Telluride, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.