SNOWMASS VILLAGE, CO. — I wake up to the giant aspens quivering just outside.
We’re in one of the most amazing rental houses we’ve ever been privileged to visit—and we’ve been to a lot of places from houses in the Caribbean to ski condos in Colorado and Utah and Vermont to apartments in Paris and Rome.
The benefits are obvious—especially when traveling with kids or extended family. You have a lot more space. You don’t have to eat every meal out (usually a hassle with kids, not to mention a lot more expensive!). You have a washer and drier (or one accessible). And you’ve got more than one TV. You have room to hang out and be together other than in a hotel lobby.
But this place is different. It’s part of the Portico Club collection of more than 200 vacation homes around the world (70 destinations to choose from—a house in the Cayman Islands; Sonoma, CA, or Sea Island, GA; an apartment in Paris or New York, Snowmass or Jackson, Wyoming…exotic locales like the Maldives.
Guests join the Portico Club ($2500 a year) and that gives them access to not only these remarkable properties.
I’m writing this sitting at the counter in the airy gourmet kitchen. Decks run around the house—there’s even a heater on one of them for the cool evenings. We love the antler chandelier over the dining room table, the leather couches ideal for sinking into and the spectacular mountain views everywhere we look. When we woke up, we saw a deer out the big window in our bedroom!
But unlike other rentals, here we were assigned an “escapist” to take care of all of our concerns—everything from suggesting hikes and restaurants to taking care of some wine we’d shipped that had gone astray. The idea is to create a highly personal experience. They would have stocked the kitchen, had I wanted that.
Thanks to a partnership with the national house wares chain, Sur La Table, we’re treated to a box of gourmet offerings—think gourmet mustard, balsamic vinegar, pancake mix and Vermont maple syrup– that guests can order for a little more than $200—and even recipes from chefs to enable visitors to experiment with regional cuisine. Here we have recipes from Aspen chef Andreas Fischbacher (grilled Elk Strip Loin or Pork Tenderloin medallions). Had we wanted it, we could have arranged for a chef to cook for us.
Thanks to Sur La Table, the kitchen is well equipped with everything we might need. I was so inspired; I invited local friends to join us for a barbeque.
I think Portico is right on the money. Well-heeled families are looking for new experiences to share with extended families and multigenerations. Often, they want to cook together on vacation rather than go out, seeking out local ingredients. And for those who can afford it, Portico makes it easy.
Come the holidays, certain houses—including this one at Snowmass–will be decorated for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah and the kitchens equipped with cooking tools from Sur La Table to create memorable holiday meals. With top of the line brands like KitchenAid, Le Creuset and Kuhn-Rikon
Portico COO Cathy Ross jokes that thanks to daily housekeeping, you don’t even have to do the dishes. Sounds good to me!