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How To Find The Right Place To Stay In Keystone
If you want a Hotel Experience:
The only real option in Keystone for a hotel style experience is the Keystone Lodge and Spa. The spa services are good but pricy. The Lodge itself was built in the early 80’s and is owned and operated by Vail Resorts.
If you want a Vacation Home Experience:
Keystone is over 90% made up of condo’s, townhomes, and single family homes. Since these places are not hotels that control every element of the guest experience, there is a wide range in everything from size, proximity to the slopes and activities, unit configuration, and overall quality. Unlike hotels, older does not necessarily mean “worse.” There are some amazing older properties as well as some newer ones that are very average. So how do you solve the problem of finding the right place that suits your needs?
Also be careful to consider amenities. If you are looking for very “kid friendly,” then pick something that has a pool right at the building you are staying at and perhaps a kids splash pool. Good options for families are Springs, Red Hawk, Dakota, Expedition Station. If you are looking for ski-in / ski-out and total luxury then choose Lone Eagle or The Timbers. If you are looking for peace and quiet consider anything that does not directly over look a village or a business. Some businesses get early morning deliveries and/or snow removal.
Here are your RENTAL options:
1. Call Vail Resorts directly. They operate about 40% of the condo’s in Keystone. The advantage to using them is that they are a big company and it is easy. You decide how much this is worth to you as they are almost always the highest priced option. Vail Resorts will allow you to pick the “unit type” but not the specific building or the exact unit. Thus, you may get a great property or just an average property. They try to rank their properties as bronze, silver and gold. However, there is a great deal of variance even within a category.
2. You can get on VRBO or other vacation rental sites and search till your heart's content for the exact property that suits your needs. The up side to VRBO is that you can get exactly what you want and usually at very good to great prices. Keep in mind that each owners sets his/her own prices and thus, just because one property is priced higher or lower than another does not necessarily mean the quality is better or worse. Look at photo’s, videos, reviews and descriptions to make your comparisons.
3. Using a Keystone rental company: There are several companies in Keystone that rent out about 60% of the properties in Keystone. Each “shop” has its own selection. There is a different style and flavor to these companies. Some of them focus on reservations through their website. Others use more traditional human contact. Prices vary greatly from one company to another as they have different pricing philosophies. In general these companies provide all the same services that the “big dog” offers. Here is a list of several of the reputable operators in Keystone.
Sky Run: www.skyrun.com 877-SKYRUN1
Summit Cove: www.summitcove.com
Summit County Mountain Retreats: www.scmountainretreats.com 970-368-4800
Key To The Rockies: www.keytotherockies.com 800-248-1942
If you find a property from one of these companies, you may get a better deal if you call them directly.
HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST DEAL?
1. Avoid the following peak times. Christmas / New Year, MLK, Presidents Day, 2nd week of March through the end of March. The resort is fully booked at theses times and you will pay the absolute highest price and have to deal with the most congestion.
2. Be flexible. Reserve as close to your stay dates as possible. If you are willing to wait until a few weeks before your stay you may get up to 30% off. If you wait until just a few days before your stay, you may get 50% or more off.
3. Ask via phone or email if you can “fill a gap” in between rentals. Companies love this. It maximizes occupancy and can sometimes get you up to 50% off.
4. Split your stay between two places. Using # 3 above as a guideline, stay in 2 places for 2 or 3 nights each. Yes, you will have to move, but you could save many hundreds of dollars if it is a high priced time of year.
5. Stay during the week. Friday and Saturday are usually full. If you can take a vacation from Sunday through Thursday, you may get better pricing and you will certainly have less congestion.
6. Rent larger places with more friends and family to split the costs. Prices do not go up proportional to the number of bedrooms. A two bedroom may only be 50% more than a 1 bedroom and a 3 bedroom may only be 25% more expensive than a 2 bedroom.
7. If you don’t mind taking the quick shuttle that drops you off at the lifts, then seriously consider one of the large townhome properties like Ski Tip, Setters Creek or, Trappers Crossing. These properties are much larger than the condos and they have first rate finishings. The pricing is usually lower than something half the size and half as nice.
8. Consider the what makes the vacation special to you. If you are coming for great skiing or snowboarding, then rent something that does not have ski slope views. Prices are usually lower and there is more selection.
9. Ask about 6+ night discounts. The holy grail for a rental is 7 days. Most owners and or rental companies will offer between 10% and an entire night free.
10. For Dog Friendly look at sites like Bring Fido