Enough is enough. For years, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about the little ski town of Jackson Hole and just a few weeks ago, I was finally able to find out for myself just how awesome the town and mountain was.
Two Lodging Options:
Hotel Terra was the first place on my stop in Jackson Hole. A LEED-Silver Certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and AAA Four Diamond hotel, Hotel Terra allows for luxury to take place right at the base of the rugged mountain whether you’re traveling alone or with your best girlfriends – the best of both worlds if you ask me.
After staying at the luxurious Hotel Terra a few nights, I couldn’t quite figure out why this place felt so much like home. I live in Houston, not Jackson Hole for starters. My townhouse doesn’t have an in-floor heating system, deep soaking Zuma Airbath or a ‘rainshower’ head in the bathroom nor is my bed a custom designed 100% natural mattress (known as the “Terra Bed”). There isn’t a top-notch Italian restaurant inside my building like Osteria or the organically relaxing Chill Spa, so if I don’t live with any of those amazing amenities on a daily basis, how did this feel like home?
Once guests have experienced Hotel Terra’s prime location at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, with it’s superior customer service and great offerings found at this world-class resort, many are making the decision to buy into real estate ownership opportunities, making Hotel Terra not only an investment opportunity, but a new place to call home. It was starting to make sense and I had to hold myself back from even imaging living here.
Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa, located just a stone throw away from Hotel Terra (and also owned and operated by MetWest Terra) is just as luxurious as the first, but with a tad more ruggedness and mountain feel to it. The expansive lobby with adorning fireplaces to kick back and relax after a long day on the mountain (or in the spa) is the perfect end to any day in Jackson Hole (or start, or middle, you pick). Also a positive was checking out the staff that was dressed out in red plaid shirts that just felt so mountainous, not to mention incredibly sexy.
The newly redesigned (interior and menu) Spur Restaurant & Bar with Executive Chef Kevin Humphreys was not only a great place for drinks and $4 bar bites for Apres Ski (you must try the deviled eggs), it’s the place to enjoy a plate full of “mountain cuisine” for a relaxing or romantic dinner. For dinner, this Texas gal highly recommends the SPUR BUFFALO SHORT RIBS (Zonker stout braised, Anson Mill grits, chard, onion marmalade), which will most definitely melt in your mouth.
Both Hotel Terra and Teton Mountain Lodge are in the midst of the Village, putting you in the middle of all the action for great lunch spots, cafes, Apres Ski libations and other bars, ski and snowboard rental shops (definitely check out Teton Village Sports– they gave me a beer while I was getting fitted for my board!) as well as some great shopping.
Aside from hearing over and over about how beautiful Jackson Hole is, I’ve heard just as much talk about the rugged and advanced terrain that makes up Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. It wasn’t until I was attempting to gracefully shred down the mountain on my snowboard that I heard one of the instructors yell, “lets go try out the ‘all new true blue’ on Casper!” Puzzled, as that’s not a phrase I’d heard before, it all clicked after going down Casper.
The typical blues at Jackson Hole are probably more closely aligned with black diamonds at other resorts, and in order to placate newer skiers and boarders, Jackson Hole recently created more “true blue” runs, like Casper. The runs are wide open, have just enough steepness to them and go on forever – everything we can all enjoy.
We visited from a Wednesday through the weekend and although there wasn’t any fresh snowfall and the temperatures were incredibly warm, the longest we waited in a lift line was the time it took us to skate through the ropes – what a nice and welcome change from some of the overly crowded mountain resorts I’ve come to expect.
I didn’t think a mountain town could satisfy foodies quite the way Beaver Creek did, but Jackson Hole is right there at the top. Probably tied, if not an inch ahead.
Dinner at Spur (listed above) was not your typical mountain cuisine, but I hope it soon becomes the standard. Lunch at Couloir, where you can “dine with altitude” at the summit of the Bridger Gondola at 9,095’ is one of Jackson Hole’s most unique dining experience and was recognized by Men’s Health Magazine as the “Manliest Restaurant” as well as many other notable awards due in part to Executive Chef Wes Hamilton’s commitment to local ingredients whenever possible.
If you’ve got the budget, definitely check out the romantic sleigh ride and home cooked dinner with AJ Derosa along the majestic Snake River at the Tipi Camp. If I were to ever be proposed to, this might be the absolute ideal place for such, just a head’s up.
If you’re looking for a place for small bites and delectable wines by the glass or bottle, Bin22 is a must while visiting Jackson Hole. Part of Jackson Hole’s Fine Dining Group, Bin22 reflects a sophistication that can only be described as something straight out of New York City, but still within the confines of the quaint town of Jackson. Recently opened, this cozy downtown spot is small, but the warmth and vibe of the place is anything but. Guests can enjoy great happy hour prices and a diverse Spanish and Italian style tapas along with craft beers and other artisanal spirits, before a quick walk to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Another great spot for dinner (mentioned above) is Osteria, which brings all your favorite Italian tastes to Teton Village, just a 20-minute drive from the airport (and town). Osteria, located on the lobby level of Hotel Terra has delicious aromas emanating out of the restaurant doors at pretty much all hours of the day. This is a place where you can trust your wait staff to pair a glass of wine with your meal (the house-made pizzas and pastas are to die for!). Talk about carb reloading after an exhausting day on one of the most beautiful mountains in North America.
A Few Tips For Enjoying Jackson Hole:
- On the flight in, keep your window shade up. The views are too beautiful to miss.
- Act like a local, dress like a local, talk like a local (basically means, you can and should feel at home while visiting Jackson Hole).
- Get a smoothie and a Tram Bar (Kate’s Pocket Meal) from Terra Café inside Hotel Terra (it’s all about indulging while on vacation).
- Check out the Elk Refudge Adventure with over 24,700 acres of intermountain valley.
- Don’t count calories – there is so much good food and so much beautiful land to walk around, they’ll probably cancel each other out!
- SPA TREATMENT – get one! Whether at Chill Spa at Hotel Terra or Solitude Spa (ask for Jackie) at Teton Mountain Lodge – you can’t go wrong. It should be part of your girlfriend getaway regime while in Jackson Hole.
Since ski season is coming to a sad close, keep this place in mind for next year’s planning season.
Jayme Lamm is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Houston focusing on travel writing and is in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Be sure to follow Jayme’s travel and sports adventures on Twitter @jaymelamm.