Jackson Hole has long been on my bucket list. I opt for an alpine getaway over the beach any day. For simple proximity reasons, Colorado or New Mexico has been my go-to when I’m feeling restless in the city and need a reset, but I was pleased to discover jaunting off to Jackson Hole, Wyoming was fairly seamless, thanks to a direct flight. And, according to the locals, the “in-between” season was actually a perfect time to go. As the jewel of the West is prepping for ski season, taking a respite from the summer rush, I was able to experience the glitzy yet rustic offerings at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole.
The mountain resort, just 12 miles from Jackson Hole’s timeless town center, rests against the Grand Tetons, with vast sights of the unspoiled wilderness. Spending as much time outdoors as I could, I even experienced the area’s first snowfall of the season at the summit of Rendezvous Mountain, located in the backyard of the resort. From exploring the historical treasures that embody the Wild West to a mystical, locally-inspired spa treatment, this Texan got the ultimate first-time take on Jackson Hole.
The Hotel’s Backstory
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole opened in December 2003. Although it’s nearly two decades old, all rooms and suites received a multi-million dollar makeover ahead of summer 2022. I’m anxious to go back in the winter as the property features ski-in/ski-out access and a prime slope-side position at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Every person I spoke to about the snow scene says this is the most challenging ski terrain our country has to offer. Being a novice skier, I think I’d be interested in checking out the dogsledding, snowmobiling in a National Park or alternate mountain adventures that don’t require as much skill. For any season, the property boasts close proximity to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
The Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole Aesthetic
As soon as I made my way up the winding path in Teton Village to the resort, I instantly felt the mountain magic I craved. If I could sum up the vibe of the resort, it would be modern mountain chic. Upon walking into the lobby, you’re instantly handed a glass of Huckleberry lemonade — I quickly learned the berry is a unique mountain treasure. From Huckleberry sloshies (adult beverage slushies) to Huckleberry chapstick, there are some very inventive takes on the local fruit. The next things I noticed, after the refreshing sips, were the gigantic windows framing views of the surrounding lush mountain landscape.
And of course, I love the mountain lodge feel with towering fireplaces, wooden accents from floor to ceiling, and flower arrangements touting the local, freshly picked seasonal favorites. Visiting in between seasons, the oversized halls never seemed crowded. I felt as if I were the guest at someone’s sprawling summit mansion, with all the luxuries and amenities at my fingertips.
The Little Things
I was thrilled upon walking into my room and noticed a fireplace. Nothing is more synonymous with a mountain vacation than curling up to a fireplace and feeling cozy. The room naturally mirrored the grand entrance to the lobby. A clean, mountain chic aesthetic.
I was pleased to discover luxury bath products from CODAGE Paris, paired with a deep-soaking tub. Something else I discovered, which I’d never seen before, was a book bundle under one of the nightstands. The books were nestled together, titles stretched across each spine in bold letters. I felt as if I had my own little personal library. Although I had a full day ahead of me to explore Jackson Hole, I was almost eager for nightfall so I could curl up by the fire and enjoy a book.
The first night, returning to my room from dinner, I noticed classical musical notes dancing around the softly-lit room. My slippers were nestled next to my bed, urging me to unwind for the evening.
Four Seasons Jackson Hole Exclusives
The property offers a variety of seasonal, complimentary programming. From yoga, wine, and whiskey tastings to seasonal activations such as guided hikes and access to e-bikes, the property keeps guests’ days and nights busy. In addition to the complimentary offerings, the team will curate some of the most over-the-top bucket list experiences. In fact, for fall 2022, guests can now book a “Day with the Wolves” experience, which involves a private plane and a naturalist guide seeking out wolves in their natural habitat.
On my personal bucket list for the trip was fly fishing. The last time I fished was when I was five years old with my grandfather in California. I knew this experience, not involving live bait or a dock, would be quite different. The local guide rolled up in a Mercedes G-Class SUV, accompanied by a pristine wooden boat that looked like it leaped out of a storybook.
Included in the Four Seasons-curated experience was a gourmet picnic, fishing license, and your own private tour from the region’s most talented and knowledgeable anglers. Of course, anything caught in the river was catch-and-release, but this moment made my Jackson Hole trip worth the wait. It was the epitome and essence of how I envisioned Jackson Hole, amidst abundant views of nature.
Dining at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole
The hotel offers multiple dining options at all hours. The hotel’s marquee restaurant, Westbank Grill, was my first culinary experience in Jackson Hole.
I scouted out the menu prior to arrival and was pleased to see a variety of locally-sourced produce and meats from nearby ranches, in addition to local spirits such as Wyoming Whiskey and locally-produced wines from Jackson Hole Winery. I didn’t want to partake in something I could likely get back at home in Texas. As the meals are often my highlight of any trip, I wanted to learn more about the local fare and libations. Jackson Hole Winery features grapes from Napa Valley that are produced and cellared locally in Jackson Hole, resulting in a unique flavor profile. I enjoyed some of the local wine on the Snake River, accompanied by the gourmet picnic.
Also on property is The Handlebar, which is more casual and known for its signature hearty, whimsical fare. I could see how this would be the go-to après gathering spot post-skiing during winter on the mountain. Perhaps one of the most iconic items on the menu — and the most delicious I sampled — was the signature mustache-shaped, handmade pretzel.
I was surprised to discover mountain Mediterranean-inspired options on the menu of Ascent Lounge, which offers light bites and cocktails to match. Naturally, I found the fireplace in Ascent Lounge and divulged in the hotel’s famous Cowboy Cookie (worth it). The property is very conscientious about food waste — all extraneous food is sent to Haderlie Farms to participate in their compost collection program.
The Four Seasons Spa — A Retreat Within a Retreat
Wanting to sample something that adhered to the spirit of the region, I indulged in the Turquoise Sage Ritual. It could also be titled 100 minutes of bliss.
The treatment began with a full body scrub, followed by a steamy shower. The bulk of the time in the 100 minutes involved a head-to-toe massage where I nearly drifted off in a state of serenity. And if that wasn’t enough, the spa therapist wrapped me in warm, Willow-soaked blankets, and she told me it would feel like a warm hug. The purpose of the Willow ingredient is to aid in reducing any inflammation or toxins. If I were to do it again, I would save this for the evening so I could wander up to my room and relax afterward and drift off to sleep.
Another signature treatment that piqued my interest included the Wildcrafted Facial, using locally sourced ingredients from the Jackson Hole-based Alpyn Beauty.
The Spa also offers hydrotherapy, perfect for relaxing after a day of hiking, biking or skiing. I often am worn out, or sore, from a day on the mountain, so this sounded like the ultimate remedy.
Exploring Jackson Hole
The last few years, I’ve been seeing friends post photos of the iconic antler arches in the town square. Admittedly, I was eager to check that off the list. It seems like a Jackson Hole right of passage, so this was the first stop arriving into town.
Second, my good friend told me I had to snag a seat at Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. But it’s not just any barstool. In true cowboy fashion, all the bar seats are saddles. After I was properly fueled for my tourist musts, I explored the square leisurely, drifting in and out of shops, art galleries, and restaurants. I kept repeating that the square reminded me of Santa Fe’s. And some of the aspects I love about Santa Fe, and other mountain towns, shared many parallels with Jackson Hole. The turquoise jewelry, the handcrafted leather goods, and the menus of local eateries offering authentic alpine-inspired cuisine.
As the newcomer to town, all the folks I met were eager to share the must-eats with me — the echoing recommendation was Snake River Grill. As a first-timer, I had no idea this was the most coveted reservation in town. If I had stuck around eight more days, I could’ve snagged a seat. But no such luck with the time I had allowed for my Wyoming adventure.
Another must-do recommendation was to ride the tram in Teton Village to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. The ticket would get me 10,455 feet high, and in line for the fluffiest waffles at Corbett’s Cabin. The view from the top was completely cloudy, but I wasn’t upset as the weather resulted in the season’s first snow. I wasn’t expecting to see snowflakes during this September visit, but I considered it an added Jackson Hole bonus.
One last popular activity for out-of-towners is Wildlife Safaris, which are available every season. I was fortunate to spy moose, elk, and bald eagles in their natural habitat, even without an official tour. I can’t imagine ever getting used to those views.