This year’s annual ski trip took us to Keystone, Colorado. With my non-skiing wife bailing on the trip this year, it was just my two daughters and I this time. And it was a fairly quick trip with only a couple days of skiing.
With my companion pass expiring on January 1st, 2019, we were able to make one last use of it before it expired. We took Southwest nonstop flight from BWI to Denver on December 27th, 2018 and arrived just after noon.
After grabbing a quick bite to eat at Timberline Steaks & Grille in the airport using my Priority Pass card, our luggage and skis were waiting patiently for us at baggage claim. We hoped in the shuttle bus to the car rental complex and loaded up the brand new GMC Yukon XL (for only $357 thanks to Autoslash!) and was on our way.
The drive to Keystone was not nearly as bad as last year’s drive from Seattle to Whistler but not as quick as the 45 minute jaunts from Salt Lake City to Park City, Utah. The drive to Keystone ended up at just about two hours (we did stop for a quick photo off route 6 near Grays Peak).
The cast rate for our three night stay at Hyatt Place Keystone the week between Christmas and New Year’s was $1433 total including all taxes, resort fees, etc ($478/night).
The Hyatt Place Keystone is a category 4 which costs 15,000 points per night. Even better than using points is using the free annual night certificate that comes with the World of Hyatt credit card each year.
Let’s see what kind of value you can get here:
$478 /night / 15,000 Hyatt points = 3.2 ¢/pt which is very good and also double the 1.8¢/pt they are typically valued at.
We have been spoiled with on mountain accommodations in the past (Hyatt Center Park City, Westin Snowmass, Westin Whistler, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, etc). The Hyatt Place Keystone is definitely not ‘on the mountain’. While it doesn’t sound terribly far at about 1/3 mile from Hyatt Place to the Mountain House base camp – walking in ski boots while carrying skis makes it feel like a full mile.
The trail from the hotel to base camp even has a few steps and a bridge to cross. While there are supposed to be red wagons all around the resorts to put your ski gear in, we never saw them at the Mountain House base camp.
I wasn’t expecting much of the Hyatt Place Keystone as almost all Hyatt Places have a pretty standard configuration. But I was really disappointed at how small the rooms were – they were tiny. We could have never fit all 4 of us in the room if my wife came.
Don’t worry, the TV swivels.
Other than the two small drawers in the closet, there were no other drawers to put your clothes in. We ended up opening our suitcases on the couch.
I would have much preferred a furniture piece with drawers instead of desk.
There is very limited parking at Hyatt Place Keystone. There are a few spots underneath the building along with a very small parking lot behind it.
But don’t worry, if you can’t find a parking spot just leave your keys at the front desk and they will valet park it for free. Just call down 10 minutes before you want the car and it will be ready and waiting.
It was actually kind of nice to just pull up to the front of the hotel, hop out and leave the keys with the front desk.
Along with a few hot tubs throughout the building (upper floors and ground floor), there is a locker room in the basement of the hotel that you can store your skis and poles in. Just ask for a key at the front desk. The lockers surprisingly easily fit our three pairs of skis.
The other fairly consistent perk of Hyatt Places are the free included breakfasts. Breakfast was nothing fancy, but sure was enough to fill us up before heading out for the day.
They even had ‘monkey bread’!
The most valuable amenity is that kids 12 and under ski free when staying at Hyatt Place. Yes you read that correctly – FREE! This saved us $248 (the cost of a 2 day lift ticket).
At check in just tell them that you need a Kids Ski Free voucher. Take it to the lift window and they will load up your child’s Epic Pass lift ticket for free skiing. It was nice that they added both days of skiing at the same time so you don’t have to go to the ticket window each morning.
So how was the skiing? It was good. Not nearly as large as Whistler or Park City but large enough to keep us on almost all different trails during our two days of skiing.
The first night we were tired from traveling and just decided to order pizza. Pizza 101 is right next to the Hyatt Place Keystone so you can walk there. But it’s a counter service/pick up place only – there is no seating.
The pizza was actually really good. We got some wings which were also good. The best was the garlic cheese bread – with real whole roasted garlic cloves.
The second night the girls wanted to go ice skating at Keystone Lake. A quick ride down the road is the ice skating rink.
For being Christmas week, the place felt deserted. There was hardly anyone out.
After ice skating, we found the Bighorn Bistro and Bar. While the dining room had a 45-60 minute wait, we found a table in the bar area and had a delicious dinner. The $14 Bistro burger (roasted tomato, caramelized onion, arugula, brie, basil aioli) I had was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.
The last night we headed over to the River Run Village which is the main village area with the most restaurants and shops. After a little shopping, we tried to find a place to eat. But since the college football playoffs were on tv, it was hard to get in somewhere without a wait.
After putting our names down at Luigi’s Pastahouse, we found the Spoon Cafe that had an open table. The food and atmosphere weren’t very good:-(
The third night we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory. I would kind of describe it as a Canadian Olive Garden as their menu is ‘all inclusive’ in that they give you free with any entree purchase – bread, salad, ice cream and coffee for dessert. It wasn’t half bad – everyone enjoyed their pasta dishes. This was our 3rd favorite restaurant and was only $81 which includes a few cocktails. Great place to eat if you are on a budget.
if you are on a budget, the Hyatt Place Keystone with it’s free breakfast and free kids lift tickets is hard to beat – especially considering it only costs 15,000 Hyatt points per night (or a free annual night certificate).
The location from Denver airport is also not terribly far. But if you are looking for a luxury ski trips with ski valets and on mountain accommodations, look elsewhere.
Have you been to Whistler? What did you think?