I stayed at the top 2 Colorado ski hotels on points — here’s which one is better

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The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek vs the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch. How has nobody written a comparison post of these two resorts?? These are perhaps the two best hotels you can book in Colorado with either Marriott points or Hyatt points. If you’re after a ski vacation, which one should you choose?

I booked a fairly lengthy stay at these properties for the explicit reason of analyzing which one is better. If you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself. Unless you’re an MMS reader, then you can just read the blog every day.

We won’t go too terribly in-depth, but we’ll hit the important features, such as:

  • Price
  • Location
  • Elite status benefits
  • Room quality
  • Room service
  • Vibe
  • Money-saving opportunities

Both of these resorts are at the top of their respective award charts. Generally, you’ll pay 30,000 points per night for the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (4-star hotel), and 85,000 points per night for the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch (5-star hotel). If you open one or two of the best hotel credit cards, you can secure a free stay at these hotels pretty easily. Read our posts on how to earn Hyatt points and how to earn Marriott points.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Great Room at the Ritz-Carlton. (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek vs Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

First, a few quick notes about Beaver Creek — the ski resort where you’ll find both of these hotels.

This is the only resort I’ve visited in Colorado, so I won’t do a great job at contrasting it with surrounding areas. I have heard it described a few times as the rich version of its elder sister, Vail. Taking one glance at food/hotel/amenity prices in the village, I can totally see that. It’s painful.

Beaver Creek is a small village peppered with gorgeous tabletop fires every couple dozen feet. It’s got a beautiful ice rink in the center, as well as live music, a fancy decorative water fountain, and creative sculptures.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

One of the best aspects of Beaver Creek to me is its heated walkways. The snow stays where the snow belongs, and accumulates nowhere else. You can see the steam billowing from the warm stone paths.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

There are oodles of restaurants in town — one of our favorites named Blue Moose Pizza (not unique to Beaver Creek, but honestly its Cowboy pizza was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had).

Price

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek generally charges $700+ during ski season — pretty prohibitive for a median income earner. But you can reserve the same room for just 30,000 Hyatt points per night — giving you a value of 2.33 cents per point. We estimate Hyatt points to be worth 1.5 cents each, on average. In other words, this is a fantastic use of points!

Plus, if you’ve earned at least 50 elite night credits in a calendar year, you’ll receive a couple of Suite Upgrade Awards, which allows you to upgrade to a standard suite. That’s what I did — making the cash price for the room ~$1,370 per night. That comes to a value of 4.56 cents per point!

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

The Ritz prices their rooms even higher. You’ll generally spend $900+ per night during ski season.

Unfortunately, you’ll pay the resort fee whether you’re using cash or points. By using 85,000 points, I saved $854 per night. That comes to a value of 1 cent per point — a decent value, considering we estimate Marriott points to be worth 0.8 cents each, on average.

Winner: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Location

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

The Park Hyatt is located literally in the center of Beaver Creek. Its back door is just a few feet away from the crown jewel of the village, the gorgeous ice rink. This means you’ve got plenty of restaurants, activities, and shops nearby. It’s fantastic just to walk around the area. The Hyatt’s location is unbeatable.

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

The Ritz-Carlton is effectively on its own island. It’s a several-minute drive from Beaver Creek Village, meaning it’s a bit of a pain to reach. Some may prefer that, as the property is more secluded and serene. There is no bustle when you walk out the door. Personally, I think I prefer being near stuff.

However, you don’t have to retrieve your car from the valet — there are Bachelor Gulch shuttles that will take you between the hotel and Beaver Creek Village for free, hailed by an app similar to Uber. You tell them where you are, and a shuttle will appear within minutes.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Winner: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Check-in

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

The Park Hyatt greets you with this truly amazing light/smoke feature that looks like a strip of fire at the very front of the lobby. From watching videos of the hotel prior to arrival, I thought it was actual fire — but once there, watching four or five kids waving their hands directly over the smoke, I could understand why they opted for the illusion.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

The front desk explained the hotel ad nauseam, while also providing us with mountain and village maps, s’mores kits, and filling our arms with water bottles. Five-star check-in experience.

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

When pulling up to the Ritz-Carlton, the valet attendant greets you by name. This is one of those five-star experiences that makes a hotel stay stand out. The Ritz has its own vehicle checkpoint a mile or so down the road from the resort, so they probably just radio ahead, but I still thought it was magical.

The actual entrance to the hotel is magnificent — considerably better than the Park Hyatt. I’d rank the check-in service at the Hyatt higher than the Ritz, though. Not much explanation of the property or information given. They also handed out the s’mores equipment at check-in.

The entrance to the Ritz-Carlton. (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Winner: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Elite status benefits

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

The Park Hyatt offers top-tier Globalist elite members free breakfast every morning, which saves considerable money.

While Hyatt offers complimentary room upgrades at check-in (when available), you’re able to use Suite Upgrade Awards to secure a Park Fireside Suite (as I did above). This hotel was previously exempt from accepting them, so it’s great to finally have that ability.

Globalists even get free parking on award stays, saving $30 per day. The daily resort fee is also waived on award stays (though that’s for everyone, not just Globalists).

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

I’ve got Marriott Titanium elite status. This status gives you the privilege of being upgraded to a standard suite at check-in at Ritz-Carlton hotels, when available. Any lower status doesn’t qualify for this benefit. I got diddly at the front desk (as I suspected, from reading numerous FlyerTalk accounts).

Ritz-Carlton doesn’t offer free breakfast to elites, either. Frustratingly, there’s really no advantage to Marriott elite status when staying at a Marriott hotel. I only received two vouchers for one free item from the resort restaurants’ “secret menus.” Options included a skillet cookie, an appetizer of some sort, and a number of alcoholic drinks.

Winner: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Room quality

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Booking into the Park Fireside Suite, its only standout features were a fireplace and a balcony. Those were great — everything else was average, I’d say. The ceilings were low, the bathroom belonged in a three-star hotel, and the suite measured incrementally bigger than a regular room. Also, the fireplace wicked every last drop of moisture from the air. The room comes with a sizable humidifier, as you’d expect, but it wasn’t enough. This didn’t strike me as a suite.

However, I do want to point out something huge about the Park Hyatt: You can book into a room with two double beds with the same number of points as a standard room. That’s amazing for those traveling with friends or family. Booking two queens at the Ritz-Carlton will cost you 40,000 more points per night. Forget it!

The Park Hyatt also furnished better in-room amenities, such as actual glasses — a rarity I’ve found in hotels nowadays, as they lean toward disposable material, or just exclude the item from the room altogether.

Park Hyatt Fireside King “suite.” (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

I liked the feel of the Ritz-Carlton’s standard room better than the Park Hyatt. The room wasn’t necessarily special, and it was certainly smaller than the Park Hyatt suite, but it felt higher quality. More luxurious decor, a comfier bed, and higher ceilings.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

The bathroom delivered the standard fabulous white marble you’d expect in any other Ritz-Carlton — and it was worlds ahead of the Park Hyatt. It had a separate bath and a glass-door shower. Any hotel that’s got a shower curtain is automatically disqualified as a luxury hotel, in my opinion.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Winner: Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

View from room

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

A room with a view is never a given.

With our mountain-facing balcony, the views from the room were pretty spectacular. A bit noisy from all the excitement, which only added to the experience. The view toward Beaver Creek village I imagine is just as exciting.

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

I think we may have had one of the worst room views the Ritz-Carlton had to offer — and it was still very pretty. The street below is the entrance to the hotel grounds. Off in the distance is a defunct ski lift. A fun window to peer through for about 15 seconds.

Winner: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Proximity to ski lift

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Step out the back door of the Park Hyatt and you’ll find yourself on a patio with fire pits and meat smokers. Just 50 yards away is Haymeadow Express, the lift that delivers you to the runs that are perfect for beginners. The more fun runs are accessible by the Centennial lift, a good 150 yards to the right. That’s the one you want to reach the top of the mountain.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

The lift at the Ritz-Carlton is equally close to the back door. This is the Ritz-Carlton’s own lift — you won’t be standing in gigantic lines as you might find at the Park Hyatt.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Winner: Tie

Slopes

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

I’m no piste connoisseur — I’ve got no right to compare slopes at two different mountains. But here we go.

As previously stated, the Park Hyatt is in Beaver Creek, so it’s got the benefit of being the destination of a large number of runs fed by more than one ski lift. The mountain is higher than the one at the Ritz-Carlton, as well, and it’s wonderfully scenic. I’m not great at snowboarding, so taking the serpentine routes down the mountain are like a relaxing mountain tour.

The lifts in Beaver Creek offer enclosed gondolas. They’re not warm or anything, but they’re good for beginners whose thought of dismounting a chairlift intimidates them.

The mountain goes much higher than this — you just can’t see it through the whiteout. (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

While the Ritz-Carlton’s mountain is smaller, it’s also the resort’s own runs with an exclusive ski lift. There were fewer people, which translated to significantly less populous runs. Bachelor Gulch also has these really cool wooden bridges and tunnels. I tried to record a few good ones, while also trying not to kill myself or drop my gimbal. The end of the video shows the approach back to the Ritz. It’s really quite stunning.

Pro tip: turn the YouTube video on 1.5x speed to make it look like I’m a skilled snowboarder.

Winner: Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

Room service

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

This is based on experience, not food quality.

After ordering room service breakfast (currently free with Globalist status, by the way, thanks to the restaurant coronavirus capacity controls), we heard a knock at the door. I opened the door to find a paper bag with a packaging seal. Discreet delivery and zero interaction with anyone.

They’re doing this in an effort to make guests feel safe. I had no problem with the bag, though the food was in cardboard containers with plastic flatware. That wasn’t great.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

The Ritz-Carlton took the opposite approach. Room service breakfast was full-blown, with a wheel-in table. All food was Saran wrapped, in their effort to keep guests safe. We ate with actual silverware and glasses, and even a decorative succulent made it on the table.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Winner: Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

Restaurants

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

The Park Hyatt really only has one main restaurant, 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill, which is not cheap. With an appetizer, two entrees, dessert, and a few alcoholic drinks, you’re flirting with $300 after gratuity. While the food was above average, I wouldn’t use the term “worth it” either.

Elk sausage appetizer from 8100. (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

There’s also an in-house marketplace where you can buy prepackaged food. The only other dining option is Brass Bear Bar, which serves less fancy meals like chicken wings, chili, and hamburgers. It’s gorgeous.

Reservations were mandatory at the Park Hyatt, presumably because of coronavirus and reduced capacity. I could not make reservations through the Hyatt app’s chat feature.

Brass Bear Bar (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

The Ritz-Carlton restaurants are next level. They’re stunning, all four of them, and they’ve got unique food to back up the aesthetic. They encouraged us to make reservations here, and I was able to make them through the Marriott app’s chat feature, no problem.

Buffalos, the casual restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton. Lunch here cost me $130 after gratuity. (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

WYLD, the fanciest restaurant on-site, was perhaps slightly more expensive than 8100 at the Park Hyatt. However, we received so much food. We placed an order for duck carnitas ($125, advertised as dinner for two), which came with a legit whole duck. Between the two of us, we ate 10 tacos, and still had about half a duck left. We boxed it up and threw it in the fridge. This was a meal for four people.

Duck carnitas at WYLD. (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Winner: Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

Breakfast

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Park Hyatt’s breakfast is in the 8100 restaurant, and it’s buffet style. Again, for Globalists, breakfast is free. During coronavirus, there are two or three restaurant staff that dole out the food for you. The food tasted fantastic and appeared to accommodate all diets.

(Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

The Ritz-Carlton doesn’t offer free breakfast to any elite status level. Their breakfast was restaurant-style, and the food was spectacular — notably better than the Park Hyatt. Below is french toast, chicken sausage, elk sausage and sourdough toast.

I enjoyed the breakfast much more at the Ritz, but I’d prefer a delicious free breakfast over a $70 fantastic breakfast.

Winner: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Pool

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

The Park Hyatt has one big heated pool and five hot tubs. They close at 10 pm, and they’re beautifully illuminated at night. Forgot to take a picture, sorry.

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

The Ritz-Carlton’s got a larger heated pool than the Park Hyatt, but it’s only got four hot tubs. The atmosphere is ahead of the Park Hyatt, I’d say, as the resort’s heated ground wafts steam in every direction. Three of the hot tubs are also literally a couple of feet from the snow, so you’ll have skiers whizzing by you now and again.

One problem: These all close at 7 pm. One of the most fun après skiing experiences is an evening soak, man! Extremely disappointing.

Here’s a video of the back patio and the pool/hot tubs. Ignore the labored breathing, I sound like I just extended my chest across the Boston Marathon finish line.

Winner: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Spa

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

The Park Hyatt’s spa wasn’t fully operational due to COVID-19 (the sauna and steam room were closed), but we loved those stations that were available. The grotto, a hot tub, heated stone chairs, and some kind of multi-directional shower. A day pass cost $22.

Grotto at the Park Hyatt. (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

The spa at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch may be the single most praised aspect of the hotel. My wife and I could not wait to see what the big deal was. Even better, access is included in the daily resort fee, so you don’t have to pay extra!

Unfortunately, the entire spa was for some reason closed due to coronavirus. You could still schedule massages, but all other indoor spa facilities were off-limits.

Winner: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Vibe

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Many other reviews I’ve read about the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek liken the resort to an imposter Hyatt Regency. I agree that this could easily be perhaps a Grand Hyatt rebranded with the word “Park” just to inflate the price tag. Park Hyatt is the best experience Hyatt has to offer, and this didn’t feel like it reached the goal.

The resort makes good use of wood accents and subtle reminders now and again that you are in the Colorado wilderness. It feels a bit like a business hotel converted into a ski lodge.

If this hotel was called the Grand Hyatt Beaver Creek, I’d have totally swooned. The name Park Hyatt means something, and I don’t think this hotel lives up to it.

Antler chandelier at the Grand Staircase leading out to Beaver Creek Village. (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is miles ahead of the Park Hyatt in terms of ambiance. It feels like quality. All the materials the hotel is made from look really heavy, if that makes sense; massive wooden beams and thick stone walls.

There are several indoor fires at the Ritz, and most of them are actually wood-burning. That made an impression on me. The scene has more of a log-cabin vibe than the Park Hyatt. That’s what it is — a luxury log mansion.

I took a quick video of the Great Room (an area with live music every night, and food/drinks if you like), along with a quick look at WYLD, and the entrance to the hotel. Again, very distracting Napoleon Dynamite-esque breathing. Sorry!

Winner: Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

Money-saving opportunities

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is the place to go if you’re on a budget — although if you’re in financial turmoil, you probably shouldn’t be in Beaver Creek in the first place. Here are some facts:

  • The Park Hyatt offers Globalists free parking on award nights. The Ritz-Carlton charges up to $60 per night for parking
  • The Park Hyatt is in Beaver Creek, meaning you aren’t captive to the on-site restaurants. You’ll find cheaper options by walking literally 50 feet out the door
  • The Park Hyatt has a laundry room that takes quarters. The Ritz-Carlton will do your laundry for you, but they charge like $50 per load
  • The Park Hyatt offers free breakfast to Globalists
Laundry facilities at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets)

Winner: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

How to earn hotel points quickly

Hyatt

If you’re wanting to stay at the Park Hyatt, you can earn the welcome bonus from the World of Hyatt Credit Card. However, we prefer to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. They’re easier to accrue than straight Hyatt points.

Here are a few credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can instantly transfer to Hyatt:

Read our full post on how to earn Hyatt points

Marriott

The fastest way to earn Marriott points is by opening their credit cards and earning the welcome bonuses:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card – Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus free night award (redemption level worth up to 85,000 Marriott points) after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Resort fees may apply. Offer ends 11/3/2021.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card – Earn 125,000 bonus points + 1 free night (valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 in the first three months from account opening (total of up to 175,000 bonus points).
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months. (Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50,000 points. Certain hotels have resort fees.) Offer ends 11/3/2021.

Read our full post on how to earn Marriott points.

Bottom line

Here’s the final tally:

  • Park Hyatt Beaver Creek: 9 category wins
  • Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch: 5 category wins

The Park Hyatt appears to win handily — but if I were to return, I’d choose the Ritz-Carlton in a nanosecond. It wins in all the critical categories, like food, ski runs, and overall vibe. You aren’t going to experience five-star glamour at the Park Hyatt. Which is fair enough — they categorize themselves as a four-star hotel. But they charge paid and reward prices as though they are a five-star hotel.

One problem with the Ritz-Carlton: It’s nearly impossible to save money.

The Park Hyatt is family-friendly and (relatively) budget-friendly. The Ritz-Carlton is glitzy, dimly lit, and romantic. That’s what you need to know.

Let me know if you’ve been to either of these hotels — or if there’s an important comparison category missing from this list! For more travel tips and tricks, make sure to subscribe to our email newsletter.

All photos provided by the author.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Annual fee

$450

Welcome offer

Limited Time Offer: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

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Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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