At Caldera House, a private balcony with a fire pit overlooks the slopes.

Travel

Suite Sleeps in Jackson

Luxe lodging in and around Wyoming’s top ski town.
By Larry Olmstead
It’s called “The Big One” for a reason. Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Mountain Resort nickname refers to its immense 4,139 feet of continuous vertical skiing, the most of any US resort. And this season the mountain’s brand-new, state-of-the-art beginner learning area, with its own lodge and gondola, has elevated its world-class ski school to the next level. But “The Big One” could also be applied to the area’s newest set of suites—four 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom giants at the eight-suite Caldera House. Rick Reichsfeld, owner of custom ski vacation planner Alpine Adventures, finds his clients prefer the extra space and privacy that come with residences, and in the case of Caldera, they also enjoy the full hotel amenity and dining experience. “Caldera House’s service is top notch along with a primo location,” he explains. “We also book the Catamount house for large families and the Granite Ridge homes, which are just a slight step below that but have an excellent ski-in/ski-out location.” As much as extreme ski terrain is the draw to Jackson Hole, many of the area’s lodging options are among the top in the country—an enticing mix of ski-in/ski-out resorts; a proper hotel in town; a quiet, minimalist escape; plus, plush vacation home rentals. Here, an insider’s best of the best.
The LEED-certified Hotel Jackson

IN TOWN


Twelve miles from the slopes, Old West charmer Jackson is laid out around a town square, famous for welcome arches made of shed elk antlers on all four sides and easy foot access to a vast array of restaurants, cafés, bars, shops, and galleries. Hotel Jackson (hoteljackson.com) is the town’s only Forbes Four-Star/AAA Four-Diamond option. Opened in 2015, it was built to be a green project and reflect its Western setting, so the LEED-certified design used an impressive 26,000 feet of reclaimed barn board. The owner-operated passion project has just 55 rooms (four of them are large suites) with gas fireplaces and espresso machines. Omnipresent General Manager and Co-Owner Sadek Darwiche built the property with his father, and service is always attentive without being overbearing. The hotel has a rooftop spa with mountain views from the hot tub, a full fitness center, and a Mercedes-Benz guest shuttle to and from the ski resort. Restaurant FIGS, a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern tapas restaurant and craft cocktail bar, is one of the top dining choices in town. But the number one reason to stay here is its unrivaled location in the heart of Jackson. One popular option is to break up a weeklong stay into a few nights in town and a few slopeside.

The kitchen of the four-bedroom Valles suite at Caldera House

IN TETON VILLAGE


At the foot of the slopes, ski-in/ski-out options in the pedestrianized enclave Teton Village cater to the skier set, with increased staff and skier-oriented services during the winter months. Built primarily as a luxury hotel and private club base facility for members (it sold out almost immediately), with extensive locker facilities, a ski concierge, parking, fitness, and dining amenities, Caldera House (calderahouse.com) has arguably the single best location in Jackson, immediately next to the base of the resort’s famous tram, the “Red Sled,” and steps from the main gondola. Its eight lavish rooms opened to the public in 2018 as a new kind of high-end lodging unknown in American skiing. The $100 million building houses four 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom apartments ($2,500–$4,500 nightly) and four 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom giants ($8,500–$15,000), each uniquely and meticulously decorated with designer fabrics, fixtures, and furniture. The larger units have complete gourmet kitchens, wood-burning fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling windows to showcase the views, private laundry rooms and mudrooms, and large balconies with fire pits, gas grills, and heated floors to keep them snow-free. Master bedrooms have hot tubs and master baths offer oversize soaking tubs. The smaller units (still generous in size) have many of the same features, including commercial-style kitchens, jetted tubs, and snowmelt patios. Guests have access to the gym, yoga studio, sauna, plunge pools, and locker facilities, complete with heated boot and glove dryers, as well as Caldera’s member’s dining room and bar. The facility also houses Jackson’s finest ski shop, Mudroom, with world-class tuning and demos, and a public-facing Italian restaurant, Old Yellowstone Garage. This locally beloved institution was in the town of Jackson, but closed for several years before Caldera brought it back as an immediate hit.

Chill Spa’s lounge at Hotel Terra

There are a handful of upscale resort hotels in Teton Village clustered on the other side of the tram base from the Four Seasons, all of them ski-in/ski-out, the most noteworthy of which is Hotel Terra (hotelterrajacksonhole.com). Built as a condo hotel, the rooms and suites are very well equipped. Most everything above the basic guest room features full kitchens, furnished balconies, dining rooms, and gas fireplaces, while even the basic rooms are extra spacious with the same spa-like bathrooms featuring heated floors, oversize rain showers, and jetted soaking tubs. The main restaurant, Il Villagio Osteria, is operated by Jackson’s preeminent restaurateurs, the Fine Dining Group (Rendezvous Bistro, Bin 22, and others) and has long been one of the best choices in the village. The Terra recently brought the company in to open the more casual Bar Enoteca, a wine and tapas eatery. Just steps away in the Terra’s sister property, the adjacent Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa, is another standout, Spur, an excellent restaurant that is also one of the top après-ski bars. Many repeat guests come for the eco-friendly Chill Spa on the top level, with its natural products and open-air rooftop hot tub, and the Terra also has a full ski concierge and rental shop.

The five-star Four Seasons Resort & Residences

Four Seasons Resort & Residences Jackson Hole (fourseasons.com), one of only four Forbes Five-Star ski hotels in the country (along with Aspen’s Little Nell and Deer Valley’s Stein Eriksen Lodge and Montage Deer Valley), was purposefully built to take full advantage of its setting—running along a ski trail at the base of the mountain, it does not get any more ski-in/ski-out than this. Among the 158 units (from $650), 18 are suites and 34 are two- to five-bedroom residences available for rent; the largest residence (from $12,000) includes complimentary use of a Mercedes-Benz G Wagon and two loaner pairs of custom skis. Last winter the hotel launched a program with local ski-maker Sego to build custom men’s and women’s models specifically designed for the Jackson terrain. These cannot be purchased but are available for rent to hotel guests. Base Camp, a well-equipped ski concierge facility spills out onto the snow, as does the hotel’s extremely popular pub and restaurant, The Handle Bar. Run by Michelin-starred celebrity chef Michael Mina, it is Teton Village’s top après-ski hot spot. The hotel offers immediate access to the gondola and a short downhill slide to the tram, and for this season is adding a Moët & Chandon igloo bar to its outdoor heated pool deck and hot tub area. In addition to having one of the largest spa and fitness facility in Teton Village, one of the special touches at the Four Seasons is a wide array of immersive specialty programs such as private, naturalist-led wildlife safaris into the National Parks and guided stargazing.

Hot tub with a spectacular view at Amangani

FARTHER AFIELD

Forty-suite Amangani (aman.com) was the first US property from Singapore-based Aman Resorts. It’s located on a secluded mountainside neither in town nor at the ski resort. For those who prefer privacy and escapism to slopeside convenience and the après-ski scene, the property lives up to the chain’s lofty reputation for high-touch service, exquisite design, large luxurious rooms, and a standout spa, and it offers frequent shuttle service to and from the ski resort (a 20-minute drive), plus a small, private ski concierge facility at Jackson’s base.

HOMES TO RENT

The other top Jackson lodging option, especially for groups, families, and multi-generational trips, is a rental home, and there is an abundance of excellent choices. The ski resort itself operates many, the best of which is Granite Ridge (jhrl.com). This enclave of luxury cabins and homes ranges from two to five bedrooms, but most have at least four, and they are all ski-in/ski-out, situated next to the Four Seasons, along the Teewinot Trail, with a private surface lift for the farther removed homes. Each is unique, but they tend to feature Western décor, lots of space, outdoor hot tubs and indoor whirlpool baths, full gourmet kitchens and dining rooms, and master bedrooms with fireplaces. Another very good choice is Shooting Star (shootingstarjh.com), an exclusive, private golf community immediately adjacent to the ski resort, which converts its Tom Fazio–designed course to a Nordic ski center in winter, runs continuous shuttles for the very short ride to the base, and has a selection of medium to large deluxe custom homes. Many are handled by The Clear Creek Group (theclearcreekgroup.com), a high-end realtor that has most of the best vacation listings, including the five-bedroom Catamount house, which many consider the finest rental property on the mountain, sitting alongside Granite Ridge.

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