When choosing a travel destination or a home, is it the sight of the deep blue sea…or the majesty of mountains…that moves you most? Julie Goraj, a South Dakota native, had trouble answering that question definitively. So she bounced – like a basketball – to the eastern seaboard to work in marketing for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden; but then after a few years slid back – in time for ski season – to Vail, Colorado. Her bite of the big time is not limited to the Big Apple, though, since her position as senior marketing manager of The Sebastian – Vail puts Goraj at the luxury boutique hotel Conde Nast Traveler Magazine’s readers picked as the “best in the west.” And while Goraj had been courtside with the likes of Spike Lee, Al Roker and Howard Stern, now she’s slope-side with The Sebastian’s celebrity guests including the likes of First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Natalie Portman, and the Jonas Brothers.
“The Sebastian subtly displays millions of dollars worth of commissioned paintings, sculptures and custom details plus pieces from the personal collection of our owner the Ferruco family. Virtually everything at this property is a pure work of art,” Goraj says while walking past a 20-foot high, 1,000-bottle glass wine tower in Leonara, the hotel’s restaurant named after the artist’s whose creations are the property’s most pervasive and prominent. “Even the faux icicles adorning our cool ‘Frost Bar’ are made of individually hand-blown glass.” As a spot for nightlife, “Frost” is hot.
The eye candy portends, without being pretentious, the creature comforts, too. Upon arrival at The Sebastian, in the heart of Vail Village, guests needn’t touch their skis, or the equipment they rent right on-site, until they’re stepping into their warmed boots and onto the Gondola One lift at the nearby, private “Sebastian Base Camp” which also welcomes returning skiers with hot chocolate and a place to shed clothing layers. The “Battle Mountain Kids Camp” frees parents to explore Vail Mountain or dig in to the meeting or conference they’re attending.
Settling in with a book in the cozy Library Room, choosing a spa treatment, or taking a dip in the mountain-view swimming pool and hot tubs serve as fine rewards after a day of zip-lining, hot air ballooning, kayaking, fly fishing, hiking, climbing, or horseback riding scheduled by The Sebastian’s “adventure concierge.” Golf is available at the low-lying, walk-able, and believe it or not bike-able, scenic Vail Valley Golf Club thanks to specially built “golf bikes.” You’ll want a power cart up on the mountainous, nearby Beaver Creek GC.
A celebrity athlete fix, should Goraj be nostalgic for it, is blocks away from The Sebastian at John Elway’s steakhouse, where the former Denver Bronco superstar quarterback is said to favor the bone-in ribeye, but the menu bills “#7’s Favorite Burger” as featuring smoked gouda, bacon, and an over-easy egg, with shoestring potatoes and garlic aioli between the buns.
Visit thesebastianvail.com and Elways.com for more information.
Michael Patrick Shiels may be contacted at InviteYourself@aol.com or via TravelTattler.com His talk show can be heard weekday mornings in Lansing on 92.1 FM.