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Snowboard and be Pampered in Old World Elegance
by Lauren Traub Teton
posted 12/5/05

Click for Full-Size Photo

Click for Full-Size Photo
The Mount Washington Hotel Mount Washington Hotel Lobby
Many people in the Northeastern US have heard of the Mount Washington Hotel and the Cog Railway that climbs the highest peak in the northeastern US. The railway has been chugging since 1869, and the grand hotel has been operating since 1902 in New Hampshire.

Much younger, is the nearby Bretton Woods Mountain Resort. Opened in 1973, this is the largest snow resort in New Hampshire and one of the newest ski and snowboard resorts in New England. Service is a priority, with 60 Mountain Hosts on staff to greet visitors and maybe lend a hand unloading your gear. If you ask directions, you will probably be taken to your destination instead of just pointed in the right direction. There is snowmaking over 92% of the 434 skiable acres, and Bretton Woods has the longest ski season in N.H.

I stayed in the grand old Mount Washington Hotel during my visit. The hotel was beautifully decorated for Christmas with twinkly lights and a roaring fire in the lobby fireplace. The service at the hotel was fabulous. I would say the service was among the finest of any hotel I have visited in my world travels. Valets, housemen, front desk staff - everyone was doing their job carefully and cheerfully. Some have been there for 20 years or more, if that gives you any indication that people like working here.

For example, I needed some copies made. No problem. Instead of sending me off down a long corridor to some business center, the front desk staff made me the copies on the spot! I needed my snowboard from my car so I could take the shuttle over to the mountain. No problem. I read the valet my ticket number, and it was delivered!

Staying at the Mt. Washington Hotel is not the same as staying at the Hilton. First, there is the breathtaking view of the hotel, nestled at the base of Mt. Washington that you will see as you turn onto the rambling driveway. Take a deep breath and prepare to relax.
 
Then, there is the fact that the rooms are not carbon copies of each other. They are different, to fit the shape of the hotel. They are renovated and sparkling, but decorated individually and traditionally. My bathroom floor hallway had the tiniest tilt to it, reminding me of the long history of the hotel.

Walk down the grand, central staircase from your room to the lobby, and you will turn to see a huge picture window framing Mt. Washington and the lovely back acreage of the hotel, including the steaming outdoor pool. In the dining room, the male guests wear jackets, and there is dancing. There are wide curving verandas for sitting outdoors in the front and back of the hotel. And a cozy bar looking out on the back veranda and mountain, for winter sipping.

Speaking of its long history, I spent the "foliage season" working at the Mt. Washington Hotel when I was 17 years old. The clientele then was "mature" and of a "steamer trunk" class that has since died out. The hotel was fighting then, to avoid becoming dingy with age.

But with the loving care that the new owners have lavished on this grand lady of a hotel since the 80's, and the new affluent class of traveler, the hotel is happily thriving. It has been restored to what it must have looked like in the early 1900s, but now with high speed dataports and electronic thermostats in each room. Thankfully the old radiators still work, as they are the best place to dry out your snowboard gloves and pants. I was really glad to see the place looking so good!

Step into old world elegance, where you will be entertained by a staff who cares and wants you to relax and enjoy yourself. When was the last time you could say that about a hotel stay or a snowboarding trip?
http://www.brettonwoods.com/

If you are going to stay at the Mount Washington Hotel, (you are lucky!) drop me an email and I will give my colleague there in public relations a heads up about your visit.
Lauren@snowboardsecrets.com
 

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