To call Caldera House a boutique hotel would be doing it a disservice. With only eight suites, each with the proportions of a Tribeca penthouse and a members’ lounge, granted, it is part-hotel—but it is part-chalet and part-club as well. This was the concept of Wesley Edens, co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, who wanted to bring something different to the Wyoming resort which already has an Aman and a Four Seasons at the top end of its accommodation options. He sought to bring the wonder of the Alpine chalet experience– family-sized kitchens, balconies with hot tubs and fire pits, TV rooms away from cozy, open-fired sitting rooms—and complement it with the spa treatments, dining options and on-site equipment services offered by the world’s best ski-in, ski-out hotels. The addition of a club lounge would bring a sense of community in which guests and members (which include roving entrepreneurs and adrenaline-hungry business leaders) can hang out by the fire, and if some light networking or new-found friendships come about over an Aperol Spritz, all the better.
Style & Surrounds
The design? California-based Commune, the studio responsible for the Ace hotels in LA, Palm Springs and Chicago, designed all of the common areas including the lobby, lounge, restaurant and gym, as well as two of the large 4000 sq. ft. suites, Newberry and Taupo, in its distinctive modern nomad style. Using blond oaks, stone fireplaces and Moroccan rugs, they drew on the 50s, 60s and 70s (the golden age for alpine chalet) for inspiration, before adding acutely contemporary pieces by some of the most collectable names in furniture, including Axel Vervoordt, John Pawson and George Nakashima. The remaining six suites are designed by local firm Carney Logan Burke, heavy on natural materials including stones, skins and light woods making a nod to the ranching culture of the Rockies. These sit surprisingly comfortably alongside Commune’s designs.
The scene? In addition to the Silicon Valley execs and their families, expect to see Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller and Free Solo’s Oscar-winning director Jimmy Chin, who have both hosted events. Once the lifts close for the day, the lounge takes off with a happy hour of sorts in which guests and Alpine Club members listen enviously to the local-legend guides who stop by to share stories of heliskiing and off-piste adventures.
The dress code? Plaids and polo-necks, thick knits and Redwing boots with down jackets and padded gilets. The Mudroom, the on-site ski hire and shop, operated by the genial Gov Carrington, sets the tone with its racks of Colorado-based Aztech Mountain ski and après wear. I arrived without gloves but on Gov’s recommendation picked up a warm and breathable pair by the Swedish brand Hestra.
The surrounds? Teton Village is a further 20 minutes from the airport than the main hub of Jackson. But Caldera House’s position, next to the Aerial Tram which whisks you to the top of the mountain in under 10 minutes, is unmatched. As a life-long Alpine skier but a first-timer in the USA, I was bowled over by the snow quality. On the first runs of the day there was seemingly no ice on the shaded black runs, and the low temperatures meant little to no afternoon slush. In terms of terrain, it reminded me of Verbier in the Swiss Alps for its bird’s eye valley views, challenging gradients and predominance of red and black runs.
Day beyond the hotel? For a change of pace, there are plenty of backcountry trails. In spring and summer, there is everything from fly fishing to hiking and whitewater rafting which the concierge can arrange.
What character from fiction would set up camp here? A retired Jason Bourne would be in good company with all the real-life action heroes that hang out here.
The room: The lounge in my 4000 sq ft, four-bedroom suite, Pacana, paid tribute to 1950s with its broad brick chimney breast as a defining feature. A cloud-like ceiling lamp made of 30 glass balls (by New York firm Apparatus) hung above the 8-seater dining table and the charcoal black, Boffi kitchen had a wine fridge, cocktail trolley and room at the breakfast bar for four. The suite accommodates 10 people across the four suites and children’s bunk room. With a private boot room, TV room, balcony including a hot tub, and chef on hand, you don’t really need to leave the suite. But it would be a great shame not to see the members’ lounge and restaurant in full swing.
The rooms Of the eight, four are 5,000 sq ft four-bed suites and four are two-bed 1,500 sq ft. Only two of the suites were designed by Commune. Taupo stands out for its bathroom of irregularly shaped slate tiles, reading nook, moss green drapes, and cow hide rugs and Navajo blankets.
Bolt-hole, palatial or something in-between? In terms of scale it’s on the palatial end, but despite the wide corridors, high ceilings and cavernous bathrooms it still manages to be cozy.
Room with a view? The gigantic windows of the suites follow the path of the Aerial Tram to the top of the mountain.
Tub, towels, and toiletries? Sitting in the Japanese-style soaking tub, listening to Pavarotti and having a glass of champagne felt almost as good as the first run of the day.
If you could, what would you take home? The bath tub.
Lobby, Bar & Amenities
If you weren’t staying here, would you go to the restaurant? The Old Yellowstone Garage was a local institution that was briefly shuttered and revived in its new home within Caldera House. The chef, Jeremy Williamson, serves the kind of comfort food you crave after a day on the slopes, including bison ragu fusilli and wood-fired pizza.
If you weren’t staying here, would you go to the bar? I would follow the members to the copper bar in the Alpine Lounge for a drink by the fire at après hour.
The breakfast? Self-service, buffet-style, including pastries, and build your own granola and yogurt bowls. Or there’s the option of a grab and go burrito from the public facing South Cable Café, also run by Caldera House, which you can eat on the gondola.
Room service One lazy evening a chef from the Old Yellowstone Garage cooked for us in the suite. The kitchens are so well equipped he was very at home preparing three courses including a whole trout.
Bring a bathing suit? Certain suites have a private hot tub and there is an outdoor plunge pool in the spa for those that don’t.
Salon, spa and treatments: In addition to the gym, Peloton bikes and treatment rooms, there is a cedarwood sauna and a yoga studio. One indulgent evening, I requested the masseur bring his table to my room so that I could roll straight into bed after my deep tissue massage.
Be warned about: The steepness of the runs and the level of difficulty. This is not a resort for beginners.
The Green Card
PRIOR preferences hotels with green credentials who give back in a real way to their communities. The following criteria were modeled in partnership with Bouteco, an enterprise celebrating truly sustainable hotels.
Community engagement: Caldera House encourages guests and members to use reusable bottles and refill them at water stations. Caldera House reduced the use of plastic water bottles on-property by making reusable bottles and water stations readily available to guests and members. Part of the turndown service for guests includes a carafe of fresh Jackson tap water bedside. The hotel stocks paper instead of plastic water bottles.
Caldera House also supports Vertical Harvest, a greenhouse and hydroponic farm in Jackson Hole, to supply Old Yellowstone Garage with lettuce, tomatoes and microgreens.
Caldera House has also teamed up with non-profit advocacy group Protect Our Winters, which focuses on the legislation regarding climate change. Caldera House offers guests the opportunity to book a ski day with mountaineer Kit Deslauriers for $10k with all proceeds going to Protect Our Winters.
Environmental responsibility: Each year it hosts a fundraiser called “Skiing with the Stars” with The Coombs Foundation, whose mission is to give low income children the chance to join their peers in activities including skiing and rock climbing. The event successfully raises enough money to sponsor over 50 children.
Address Caldera House, 3275 Village Drive, Teton Village, WY 83025, USA
Check-in 4 PM
Check-out 11 AM
Number of rooms Eight suites, four 4,000 sq ft and four 1,500 sq ft
Other amenities Rates include non-alcoholic drinks and unlimited nuts and chips.
Activities Exploring the Teton Valley and the Phelps Lake in the warmer months.
Restaurant The Old Yellowstone Garage serves restorative Italian classics like pasta, pizza and local trout.
Children The larger suites have bunks for children.
Andrew Barker is an award-winning editor, content creator, and consultant. Prior to joining C Magazine as Chief Brand and Content Officer, he was Editorial Director of Mr Porter in London where he was voted 2017 BSME Editor of the Year in the Style category by his UK industry peers.