We originally booked into the Aspen block four years back, and then bought a timeshare unit on eBay dirt cheap for Week 8 in the BIrch building every year.
Bear in mind that these units are worked hard by skiers and boarders in the winter, and bikers and hikers all summer and they actually stand up quite well. They're not to the usual Marriott Vacation Club five star standard, but then you're probably not looking for somewhere like that if you book into West Vail.
The units are smaller than the Marriott standard sizes, with the one beds being around 860 square feet. They have two queen beds in a single bedroom, with a small kitchenette and a bath/shower room. The rest is an open living/dining area - table, chairs, breakfast bar, sofa, coffee tables, large TV, open gas fire in the corner and a small balcony to admire your icicles.
In 2008 the Birch units are being upgraded by Marriott to have new furnishings, tiles, plasma TVs etc. This refresh should give them a new lease of life. Don't get me wrong, they're fine, but they're more functional than the last word in luxury. At twenty years old, very few of us looked as good as when we first came into the world.
The clubhouse - which is shared by all five buildings - was refurbed in 2007 and looks good. There's a fine kid/teen area with free Nintendo Wii replacing the slots in spring 2008. The decks been rebuilt and the pool cleaned up. the reception is now very Marriott, and best of all, there's a fitness centre stuffed full of top-of-the-range machines. No bar or restaurant, bit as they point out, nobody would use them even if they had them.
Face facts here - no one goes to this end of Vail for straight luxury. You go because the snow, golf and fishing are great and the mountain's extensive. What you want is somewhere, comfortable and secure to stay - and that's what Birch offers.
Reviewers who say there's nothing around the area obviously never took the two minute walk under the I-70 to Bagalli's Italian Kitchen, the Westside Grill or the Sandbar Sports Bar. The Sandbar is probably the best proper sports bar in Vail (rather than just a bar with TVs in every corner) after Garfinkels in Lionshead .
Anyway, the Marriott lay on a shuttle bus to the slopes FOC every ten minutes during peak times, and in the evenings it's every half hour to either Lionshead centre (Vail's new dawn) or Vail Village. As a service, it's brilliant - no drink-drive fears, friendly and reliable to the minute.
Birch - unpretentious, decent pricing, the right size and service. It's my kind of place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Marriott's StreamSide Birch at Vail is the perfect Colorado retreat. Tucked neatly in Vail, Colorado, our rooms are accented by the cool breezes throughout our picturesque Vail resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marriott`s Streamside Birch At Vail Hotel Vail
- Marriotts Streamside Birch Vail
- Marriott Vail
- Marriott Vacation Club Vail
- Vail Marriott