The 2023 Men’s Health Travel Awards

Some guys like to hike, bike, climb, and surf their way through vacation. Some are ready for Ashiatsu barefoot massage, Ayurvedic meditation workshops, and all-organic juice bars at the break of dawn. Others want to skip all the pretense and just chilllll. Whoever you are and whatever brand of getaway you’re into, there’s a hotel, resort, inn, or cruise out there for you.

But the world is a big place and your bucket list no doubt gets longer every year. So, how to know where to head next? Our crack team of travel-obsessed editors, writers, and staffers did the hard work of researching, comparing, and personally vetting many of the world’s best travel destinations and experiences over the past year (ya know, for science!). No matter what flavor of vacation you’re looking for, these 79 picks are guaranteed to please.

So, pack your bags and get ready to go! This is the 2023 Men’s Health Travel Awards.

Montage Big Sky

Tucked into Big Sky’s chic Spanish Peaks enclave, this poshest of posh hotels is the area’s first five-star resort. Expect world-class luxury, including no-request-is-too-much concierge service, excellent fine dining options, a solid cocktail lounge, and one of Montana’s best spas. Oh, and complimentary Cadillac ride service.

Discover Montana’s Best-Kept Summer Secret at Montage Big Sky

Nestled in the serene mountains of Montana, Montage Big Sky is the region’s pre-eminent luxury resort centrally located within Big Sky’s 3,530-acre Spanish Peaks enclave. The resort is home to 100 well-appointed guest rooms and suites with a premium selection of experiences for every season. While known as its world-class ski resort, this destination is just as thrilling in the summer months.

This summer, Montage Big Sky invites guests to enjoy:
• Embarking on a guided adventure hike into the Big Sky ecosystem of local wildlife, flora and fauna, and limitless exploration.
• Choosing an electric or analog mountain bike for venturing in Montana’s picturesque mountains and exploring the Spanish Peak trail system.
• Practicing backcountry and 3D archery and ax throwing in Montana’s great wilderness with the resort’s well-experienced Compass adventure guides by your side.
• Mountain boarding along diverse terrains without the need of black diamond slopes or concrete.
• Channeling the authentic spirit of the Mountain West on horseback through Montana’s mountain trails, wildflower-blanketed fields, and unspoiled wilderness.
• Yellowstone Wonders National Park tour: Journeying into the most scenic piece of Yellowstone National Park’s 2.2 million acres on a guided safari tour with moose, bighorn sheep, and elk viewings along the way!
• Exploring the rugged landscape full of wildlife moving against the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on the resort’s Southern Yellowstone Wildlife Safari (Hayden Valley) tour led by a professional naturalist tour guide.
• 4-wheeling through Montana’s wild lands on an UTV tour for a true backcountry ride with a GPS guided, off-road, and all terrain experience.
• World-class fly fishing with access to four miles of private riverways, where thousands of rainbows, cutthroats, and Montana brown trout swim in abundance.
• Experiencing a thrilling adventure through Big Sky’s only locally owned Gallatin River whitewater rafting outfitter. Raft the Gallatin River, made famous by the movie “A River Runs Through It”.

Experience the great outdoors where adventure meets luxury at Montage Big Sky. This summer, the upscale resort transforms into an outdoor adventurer’s paradise with endless outdoor activities, from fly fishing to white water rafting, and mountain biking to safari tours to Yellowstone National Park led by professional outdoor nature guides.  With these exclusive experiences, guests can immerse themselves in Montana’s stunning natural landscapes and learn something new, while absorbing breathtaking views of majestic mountains.

Big Sky leaders to teach hands-on wildlife safety

‘Mobile wildlife education center’ to inform visitors, residents and workers about local wildlife, backcountry safety

Charles Johnson paces excitedly around a trailer, quizzing EBS on paw prints, scat, pelts, and the difference between antlers and horns.

More than just a trailer, it’s a “mobile wildlife education center,” Johnson says. He’s leading an effort called Wild Big Sky, which aims to bring Big Sky’s visitors, locals and workers up to speed with the needs of our forest-dwelling neighbors. Beginning this week and running indefinitely, Johnson and other trained community leaders will host pop-up wilderness education around Big Sky, quizzing and teaching curious people “to better prepare the community and tourists with practices that mitigate potential human-wildlife conflicts,” according to a Wild Big Sky press release.

The mobile wildlife education center includes animal skulls, scat molds, taxidermy and fur samples, a TV monitor showing slides to practice species identification, a remote-controlled, charging bear to practice deploying inert (non-active) bear spray, and a variety of informational printouts tailored for various audiences—from kids’ coloring books to printouts in Spanish.

Johnson is the director of security for the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, where a grizzly sow recently lumbered across a driveway with a her cubs—a reminder that humans only recently moved into that apex predator’s ecosystem, now living together on close quarters.

He spoke with EBS in the club parking lot as he prepared to host the first of two “train the trainer” sessions, he said. Any Big Sky community member who completes Johnson’s training will be able to rent the trailer, free of charge, aside from the cost of replacing inert bear spray. Johnson hopes community leaders will bring the trailer to community and business events, employee barbecues and schools.

The second training will take place on June 12. Those interested in becoming eligible to use the trailer can email Charles Johnson for more information.

The mobile wildlife education center. PHOTO BY JACK REANEY

The Wild Big Sky program is comprised of local employers: Town Center, Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, Montage Big Sky, Lone Mountain Land Company, Yellowstone Club, and Moonlight Basin launched the Wild Big Sky website last year “to centralize the best information available on safe human-wildlife interactions,” the release states. The mobile wildlife education center adds a hands-on, interactive learning environment.

“I need visuals,” Johnson said, holding up fox and bobcat skulls, and distinguishing between taxidermy grouse feathers. “I need the touching; I need the sight.”

He emphasized that Wild Big Sky’s main goal is not to scare people or deter them from exploring the outdoors. Rather, the program intends to spread awareness—not just the danger of bears but also moose, the importance of proper food and waste storage, and the need to give space to animals such as calving elk, Johnson suggests. He said grizzly bears get the most attention, but safe coexistence between humans and other animals is just as crucial as Big Sky continues to grow in population and visitation.

“With the potential to reach thousands of individuals each year, we aspire to create a more informed and responsible community that prioritizes both human safety and the well-being of local wildlife. With this resource, we hope the negative interactions with wildlife become a thing of the past,” Johnson stated in the release.

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks worked with Wild Big Sky to inform the quality of educational resources in the mobile education center. The nonprofit People and Carnivores provided a grant for the construction of the trailer, according to the release.

“The Mobile Wildlife Education Center is an innovative and practical example other resort communities should replicate to reduce human-wildlife conflicts,” stated Rosie Costain, program and communications coordinator for People and Carnivores. “It’s a win for the Big Sky community, visitors, and the local wildlife.”

“I am excited to see the impact the Big Sky community will have through their Wild Big Sky program,” stated Danielle Oyler, wildlife stewardship outreach specialist with Montana FWP. “The mobile wildlife education center will help spread the word that people living in and visiting Big Sky can be great stewards of our wildlife.”

Johnson said this is “an asset that we need” as a community. He looks forward to seeing the trailer in use at the weekly farmers market, Music in the Mountains, and at BASE.

Johnson gives a demonstration during the first of two “train the trainers” sessions, on May 30. COURTESY OF WILD BIG SKY

Various horns and antlers sit on a removable shelf outside the trailer. Johnson held up two antlers and asked which belonged to a mule deer and which to a white-tailed deer. He pointed out the difference, before lifting up a black bear pelt to show how its claws differ from a grizzly’s.

As more community leaders become trained in hands-on teaching through Wild Big Sky, the trailer could become a community fixture. And most anyone who spends a few minutes at the mobile wildlife education center is apt to bring new knowledge to the outdoors, helping keep Big Sky wild.

Why US ski resort Big Sky Montana should be on your radar

Aspen. Jackson Hole. Telluride. Park City. Start a conversation with avid skiers and snowboarders about which American resorts they love to go, and those five would be in the mix. But ski folks should also be talking about Big Sky Resort in Montana and trust me, once they go, they will be instant fans.

There is a lot to love about this Montanan behemoth. It’s easy to get to – an hour from Bozeman Airport (fly direct from DFW or LAX). It is a 45-minute drive from Yellowstone National Park so add some bison, moose and smoking geysers to your run list. And did we mention it was big? Huge. It has 2,367 hectares of skiable terrain, with the most technologically advanced lift network in North America. Thirty eight lifts that sweep and swoop around terrain that is all things to all people, from gentle greens for absolute beginners to thrill-seeking, hair raising couloirs and chutes that will test your mettle.

Get peaky

There is one peak that stands out from the crowd in Big Sky. Lone Mountain soars to over 11,000 feet (3403 metres), and it is here that the daredevils go to take on gnarly chutes like the Big Couloir (google it). Big Sky Resort has 34 per cent expert (single black diamond), 13 per cent double black diamond and 5 per cent extreme terrain rated triple black diamond. Yep, triple black diamond – and all inbounds. This oxygen-depleting terrain is accessed by the famous 15-person Lone Peak Tram, which is being replaced next season (2023/24) by a bigger tram carrying 75 skiers and snowboarders. Even sightseers will be able to ride it, to get an eyeful of the incredible scenery from up top from the glass floored platform.

New Big (Sky) things

Apart from the new tram, Big Sky Resort has plenty of things to write home about, including the biggest – and probably fanciest – building in Montana – Montage Big Sky. The Resort’s first five-star hotel opened in late 2021 and is ski-in, ski-out. Everything about it is five star, from its service to its ski valet, its 100 guestrooms and 39 residences, its six restaurants and bars – Beartooth Pub and Rec even has a bowling alley – its spa, and its heated pools and hot tubs. It also has more than US$1million of curated art inside including remarkable photography of achingly beautiful landscapes, western photography of horses and cowboys (and cowgirls) and stunning wildlife shots, from a close up of a grizzly to a snow-drizzled bison.

Another five star resort will open in the winter of 2024/25, with One&Only Resorts opening their first US property – One&Only Moonlight Basin – close to the Pony Express and Iron Horse chairlifts. There are whispers about the Limelight Hotel and the outdoorsy Gravity Haus looking at building in Big Sky, which would add more beds to Big Sky Town Center, a blossoming town with shops, galleries and accommodation about 15 minutes’ drive down the mountain. The Wilson Hotel by Marriott opened there in 2019 and already has plans to extend to cope with the growing demand.

Big mountain fun

When not getting stoked on the mountain, exploring its many runs from Spanish Peaks on one side to Madison Base on the other, there are plenty of things to do. Don snowshoes, go snowmobiling, dog sledding, ziplining or take a horse-drawn sleigh through the forest for dinner in a rustic cabin. And with Yellowstone National Park so close, it is easy to book a day tour to see the world’s oldest national park with snow as added fairy dust. It’s definitely icing on the already delectable Big Sky cake.

Good to know

Eat:  Head for the Six Shooter chairlift and pick up a freshly baked sweet treat at Uncle Dan’s Cookies.

Ski/board: If you want to tackle the extreme terrain, book a Tram Guide. They’ll check your ability first then accompany you.

Ride: Rides on the new Tram will be charged per ride and are not part of the Resort lift ticket, or the Ikon or Mountain Collective passes. Swift Current 6 carries six people and is the fastest chairlift in North America. It is one of four bubble chairlifts with heated seats.

Where America’s Wealthiest Are Staying This Memorial Day

Hotel prices for Memorial Day Weekend pack a punch, but for America’s one per cent the inflated costs are no problem.

Consultants from Two Nights In – a luxury travel agency providing a VIP-style booking service – have revealed to the most sought-after destinations in the US for those with cash to splash this upcoming vacation period.

Coming out in first place is Aspen, Colorado, a location beloved by everyone from Beyoncé and Jay-Z to Gwyneth Paltrow and Paris Hilton, with the must-stay spot being The Little Nell.

Other locations making the haute hit list include the Big Sur in California, the Hamptons and the wilds of the Utah Desert.

Take a flight of fancy down to see some of the salubrious spots you can start saving for, if you want to rub shoulders and soak up rays with the rich and famous.

1. Aspen, Colorado – The Little Nell: From $599 per night

The experts say: ‘Aspen in Colorado is renowned for skiing, but it is also beautiful when the weather warms up.

‘Along with the stunning scenery, upscale accommodations like The Little Nell, incredible restaurants, and high-end shopping attract affluent travelers who love the outdoors.’

About The Little Nell: Aspen has long been the playground for celebrities, but even in a town awash with luxury hotels and exclusive chalets, The Little Nell is one standout place to stay.

Nestled at the base of the Aspen Mountain, the 92-room boutique hotel is the only ski-in, ski-out property in the infamous town.

It’s also the only hotel with both a five-star and five-diamond rating.

While the stunning hotel’s first-class design, amenities and hospitality go above and beyond, the property manages to feel intimate yet fun and is much of a destination as the beautiful mountains that look down on it.

Oenophiles will be in their element, as the hotel has an extensive wine selection, a cellar tasting room and a squad of sommeliers to steer what you sip.

2. Florida – Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club: From $1,650 per night

The experts say: ‘Miami properties like the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club are well known hotspots for the rich and famous.

‘This hotel in particular offers great privacy and it is home to one of the US’s most jaw-dropping penthouse suites, which starts from $40,000 per night.’

About The Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club: The Surf Club in Miami opened its doors on New Year’s Eve in 1930 and now it is part of the upscale Four Seasons portfolio, offering 77 guest rooms, including five beachfront Cabana Suites and 31 Private Residence suites. 

The most expensive room is the three-bedroom Marybelle Penthouse Suite, which starts from $40,000 per night.

Designed for entertaining friends and family the suite features multiple communal spaces, including a media room, a dining room, a large living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a sprawling rooftop.

On the dining side of things, the hotel boasts a one Michelin star restaurant masterminded by famed chef Thomas Keller, along with a more informal Italian eatery and a palm-fringed champagne bar.

This iconic beachfront spot has welcomed everyone from Frank Sinatra to Elizabeth Taylor and it continues to draw high society from far and wide. 

3. Big Sur, California – Post Ranch Inn: From $2,550 per night

The experts say: ‘The Route 1 road trip is a great American classic, but those in the know head to the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur.

‘With the best view along the coast and a fantastic cliffside restaurant, it’s easy to see why it is a great escape from Los Angeles.’

About the Post Ranch Inn: This slickly designed hideaway has 40 guest rooms perched 1,200ft along a dramatic promontory above the ocean.

Guests can soak up the views from the comfort of their beds thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. The rooms are also decked out with private hot tubs and there are two communal infinity pools, along with a lap pool.

In terms of activities, there are free yoga sessions and nature walks on offer, or falconry sessions for a unique vacation takeaway.

To replenish energy levels, there is a Wine Spectator award-winning restaurant serving up complimentary daily breakfasts as well as seasonal lunch and dinner menus.

4. The Hamptons, New York – Topping Rose House: From $1,595 per night

The experts say: ‘Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the start of the season out east in the Hamptons.

‘Summer-long rentals are the name of the game here, but boutique hotels like Topping Rose House also offer a stylish stay by the beach.’

About Topping Rose House: Priding itself on being ‘the only full-service luxury hotel’ in the Hamptons, Topping Rose House is home to 16 spacious guest rooms and six one-bedroom suites blending historic elegance with contemporary comforts.

The main house dates from the 19th century, while a number of contemporary buildings have been added to create a stark contrast in design.

Catering to refined tastes, the hotel has a restaurant serving farm-to-table cuisine with the dishes masterminded by Michelin-stared chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Other perks include a serene heated lap pool, lush gardens, a fitness studio, a spa and a luxury car shuttle running to a spread of the local beaches.

5. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee – Blackberry Mountain: From $1,895 per night

The experts say: ‘Popular among celebrities, Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain are sister resorts known for their farm-to-table food and breathtaking natural beauty.

‘In 2019, Gwyneth Paltrow hosted the first GOOP Escape retreat at Blackberry Mountain.’

About Blackberry Mountain: Blackberry Mountain makes for magnificent venue set amid 5,200 acres of private land in the Great Smoky Mountains.

On the accommodation side of things, the high-end resort serves up 18 large cottages, 14 treehouses, six classic cabins and multi-bedroom homes.

The hotel’s flagship restaurant, Four Sisters, offers inventive four-course rotating menus with a focus on seasonal produce. Meanwhile, the Firetower is set inside a former 1950s lookout tower so guests can feast on the views and for a more casual atmosphere, the Sycamore eatery has a bistro-like atmosphere.

To work up an appetite, there a dozens of activities on offer from fly fishing to horse back riding. And for a spot of relaxation, there is a state-of-the-art wellness center.

6. The Utah Desert – Amangiri: From $4,200 per night

The experts say: ‘The Utah Desert is home to one of America’s few ultra-luxe Aman properties, Amangiri, and fans of this flawless brand will travel far and wide to experience the offerings.

‘With striking architecture that blends into the rugged landscape, Amangiri offers a secluded and tranquil retreat in the middle of the desert.’

About Amangiri: Amangiri, from the luxury hotel brand Aman, seamlessly blends into the wild Utah landscape, thanks to understated architecture and various tented structures.

Described on the website as ‘one of the world’s most dramatic secluded settings,’ the high-end camp is home to 34 accommodation units comprising ‘pavilions,’ ‘suites,’ and ‘homes.’

All of the simple yet luxurious structures boast outdoor lounges, sun roofs and private pools.

This hotel makes for a great place to explore some of America’s top natural wonders, with Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park just a stone’s throw away.

Despite being in the middle of nowhere, the cuisine adheres to the Aman’s high standards, with the main restaurant serving artfully presented cuisine celebrating Native American flavors.

7. Lāna’i, Hawaii – Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort: From $1,080 per night

The experts say: ‘Lanai is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and offers a secluded atmosphere compared to the more built up islands.

‘The Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort is an incredible offering, allowing you to pair a beach vacation with a luxury wellness retreat.’

About Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort: Tucked away amid lush foliage on the secluded Hawaiian island of Lāna’i, this hotel is described as being ‘one of the most unique wellbeing retreats in the world.’

The resort was the result of a unique collaboration between wellness brand Sensei (established by Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who also owns the majority of Lāna’i), the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and celebrated Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa.

There are 92 rooms and four suites in total, with neutral cream and sandy tones running throughout.

One of the resort’s unique features is an 18-hole golf course, with one of the teeoffs taking place 150ft from a cliff above the ocean.

8. Montana – Montage Big Sky: From $618 per night

The experts say: ‘Montana is known for its rugged beauty and expansive landscapes, offering outdoors activities like hiking, horseback riding, and fly fishing.

‘Montage Big Sky is just 45 minutes from Yellowstone National Park, where you can live out your Dutton family fantasies.’

About Montage Big Sky: This photogenic alpine-style resort invites guests to experience the rugged beauty of Montana’s Big Sky Country.

Framed by the Spanish Peaks mountain range and located just 45 minutes from Yellowstone National Park, all of the 100 artfully designed guestrooms and suites serve up exceptional views of the surrounding scenery.

There are also 39 residences for longer-term stays.

Come summer or winter, the hotel prides itself on being able to an ‘unparalleled array of experiences for every season,’ with some of the highlights including ski-in, ski-out access, three world-class fly-fishing rivers, a private 18-hole golf course, a 11,000sqft spa, and six dining destinations.

9. Napa Valley, California – Auberge Du Soleil: From $1,575 per night

The experts say: ‘Nothing feels more luxurious than wine country.

‘Auberge Du Soleil is an iconic, adults-only luxury property that makes guests feel like they’re far away in Europe.’

About Auberge Du Soleil: Set amid rolling vineyards, Auberge du Soleil is not a winery, but a resort.

It started life as Napa Valley’s first fine-dining restaurant thanks to the vision of French restaurateur, Claude Rouas.

In 1981, with business partner Bob Harmon, Rouas opened the venue in a bid ‘to reflect a taste of Provence in California wine country.’

The immediate success prompted the addition of the Inn of the Sun five years later. Today, there are 50 contemporary guestrooms and suites set on a terraced hillside and framed by 33 acres of olive and oak trees.

To accommodate all of the guests, there a now two dining options, both with breathtaking views. If you’re feeling flush, you can eat at the Michelin-starred restaurant (the original) or you can stop by the more casual bistro which has a wraparound deck, more than 40 wines by the glass and is a great spot for sunset watching.

10. New York, New York – The Mark: From $1,020 per night

The experts say: ‘New York City always offers a vibrant scene for America’s wealthiest, with world-class dining, exclusive boutique, exquisite galleries, high-end shopping.

‘There are dozens of luxury hotels to choose from, but one of our favorites is The Mark, for old school glamor and a great uptown location.’

About The Mark: Slap bang in one of Manhattan’s most exclusive neighborhoods, the Upper East Side, the Mark Hotel has been luring well-heeled guests for more than a decade.

Housed inside a historic building dating back to 1927, the hotel offers 100 classically-styled guestrooms and 53 suites.

Along with its slick interior design, other lures include a restaurant masterminded by top chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a salon which is home to ‘the world’s most famous hairstylist,’ Frédéric Fekkai.

Topping things off, The Mark is home to the most expensive hotel suite in America. The Mark Penthouse costs an eye-watering $75,000 a night and it is where Meghan Markle hosted her lavish baby shower.

The Best Places To Stay In Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park, the United States’ original national park, is a bucket list trip for visitors from around the world due to its otherworldly geothermal features and western lore. Over 4 million people on average visit the park each year, and there are many ways to experience it, from wildlife spotting on the road to hiking through the wilderness and finding solitude in nature.

Lodging options in and near the park immerse guests in the magic of its pristine landscape. While at times rustic, park hotels place guests next to the national park’s greatest treasures, like Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Properties just outside the park—still within the greater Yellowstone ecosystem—offer additional amenities, from gourmet dining and spa treatments to guided experiences like horseback riding, whitewater rafting and fly-fishing.

Visitors can access the park by flying into Yellowstone International Airport in Bozeman, which is an hour and a half drive from the North entrance. Here are the best places to stay in Yellowstone near the popular North, West and quieter Northeast entrances.]

Best Luxury Hotel in Yellowstone National Park: Montage Big Sky

Who Will Love It: Luxury vacationers; golfers; spa seekers, skiers and snowboarders

All-Star Amenities: 10,000-square-foot Spa Montage; private Tom Weiskopf Signature Golf Course; bowling alley, ski-in, ski-out resort access; Kids Paintbox Program

What Not To Miss: The slate of daily events from culinary to live entertainment; creating a bespoke hat at Montana Territory Hat Co.; curated local art throughout the interior

Location: Big Sky, Montana

When the Montage debuted in 2021, it marked a new high point in luxury Montana lodging. The expansive half-a-million-square-foot ultra-luxury resort is on the slopes of Big Sky Resort just an hour from the park’s West Entrance. The hotel has 100 guest rooms and suites and 39 residences featuring modern wood and stone décor and all the luxe amenities travelers could wish for. The hotel’s seven restaurants range from casual fare to exceptional cuisine with open spaces for taking afternoon tea or sipping craft cocktails with a view.

Beyond local guided hikes and outdoor activities, the resort also offers private guided Yellowstone safari tours coordinated through the concierge. Additional Montage Hotel experiences include the private 18-hole Tom Weiskopf golf course, indoor and outdoor pools, a bowling alley and in the wintertime, ski-in/ski-out access. Families will appreciate the hotel’s signature Paintbox program with outdoor and indoor crafts and games for kiddos. The 10,000-square-foot Spa Montage and fitness center stands alone in the region and hels travels adjust to the arid mountain West. The treatment menu includes a variety of massages, facials and Performance Recovery treatments geared towards strenuous outdoor activities and High-Altitude Acclimation.

How One Resort Is Changing the Montana Ski Scene in Just Its Second Season on the Slopes

Perched on 3,530 acres of Montana’s Spanish Peaks mountain range, Montage Big Sky has managed to swiftly redefine luxury skiing in the area since opening in December 2021.

Checking into Montage Big Sky this past December, I was immediately blown away by the resort’s design. Natural wood and stone blend seamlessly with modern touches to create a charming and sophisticated mountain retreat just an hour south of Bozeman. The resort boasts 139 guest rooms, suites, and residences, and oversized windows throughout the property ensure that guests can enjoy the breathtaking peaks towering in the distance. If my entire time at Montage Big Sky had been spent in just the lobby and my guest room, I would have walked away raving about the experience. However, the rooms are just the start of what makes the resort so special, and my adventure was just getting started.

There are a myriad of winter activities to choose from at Montage Big Sky from November through April. Guests can enjoy a classic ski day with ski-in/ski-out access to Big Sky Resort, but Montage also offers snowshoeing, tubing, and even ice skating for those looking for something different to try during their stay. Even just exploring the hotel is an activity in itself — from the artwork by local creators, to the on-site boutiques and bar and lounge areas, to the bowling alley. I was excited to experience as much as possible, but my first priority was taking advantage of the clear skies and pristine slopes with a beginner ski lesson.

As it was only my second time skiing, Montage Big Sky helped craft the perfect ski itinerary for my novice skill level. After getting fitted for boots and skis at the on-site outfitter Compass Sports, I warmed up with a private coach on the magic carpet just outside the resort, practicing my turns, speeding up and slowing down, and most importantly, making sure I was able to stop. After my refresher course, we headed up the chairlift to ski a short blue run on the beautiful Lone Peak. The snow-capped skyline views alone made the adventure worthwhile; looking up at this monstrous natural wonder reminded me how big and beautiful this world is, and how fun it is to explore it and try new things (even when I’m not very good at them).

After a hearty lunch stop at Everett’s 8800, Montage Big Sky arranged for its complimentary Cadillac service to pick me up and drive me back to the hotel instead of having me ski back, which was a bit above my level. It was a much-appreciated personalized touch and another example of how the property caters to all experience levels and individual needs.

As much as I enjoy channeling my adventurous side on the slopes, I have to admit that my favorite part of a ski vacation has been learning the art of après-ski, and Montage Big Sky perfected its après-ski offerings this winter with the opening of newest dining concept La Grand Après at Backcast. The chic outdoor dining space and champagne bar features elevated mountain cuisine and the best of the bubbly, Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame.

During my visit, which marked both the launch of La Grande Dame 2015 and the celebration of Veuve Clicquot’s 250th anniversary, guests indulged in stunning seafood towers, tasty sliders, pumpkin fondue, and a cinnamon roll that I still dream about today. To wash down the delicious bites, Oscar Chinchilla, the director of beverage at Montage Big Sky, took us through a remarkable wine flight of Veuve Clicquot treasures. Finally, a saber demonstration on a bottle of La Grande Dame topped off the lavish affair as my fellow guests and I toasted to a fabulous opening.

La Grand Après at Backcast was idyllic for a post-ski jaunt after a morning on the slopes, but the magnificent cuisine options only continued inside the resort. Every morning I headed to the Wildflower Market, where I picked up a flaky pastry and warm latte for breakfast, and for dinner I enjoyed a state-of-the-art dining experience at the resort’s signature restaurant, Cortina. I was treated to mouth-watering Sicilian scallop crudo, rack of venison, and tiramisu, as traditional Italian cuisine was expertly prepared with a Montana flair. It’s no surprise that the eatery picked up an Editor’s Pick Award for Outlaw Partner’s Best Restaurant in Big Sky 2022 the weekend I happened to visit.

As someone who is new to ski-centric travel, I won’t pretend to be an expert on the luxury ski experience. But the beauty of Montage Big Sky is that you don’t have to be an expert to know it when you see it — the resort has created the ideal ski vacation for every type of traveler, no matter their experience level on the slopes. From the adventure-seeker who wants to spend all day in the snow, to the guest who is just there to “après and chill,” and everyone in between, Montage’s definition of luxury is fulfilling whatever unique vision you have for your visit. The emphasis on creating a personalized experience for every guest is what puts this resort in its own category of excellence, and what made my experience unforgettable.

The glamorous US ski resorts the hoi polloi don’t know about

“No, that’s not true,” said the Lone Mountain Land Company representative. “The Yellowstone Club does not have a satellite monitoring its ski area for intruders.”

I can’t say I’m not disappointed that despite it being a scurrilous rumour, the most exclusive and expensive ski resort in the world doesn’t have a satellite, let alone a laser beam zapping those who stray onto its private mountain in southwestern Montana. But it’s easy to be duped about ‘YC’ excess, whose members are reported to include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake, and J. Lo.

Neighbouring the ‘YC’ is the ski resort of Big Sky, where the adjoining Moonlight Basin and Spanish Peak clubs do open their doors to wealthy outsiders. Moonlight Basin offers luxury rental apartments and lodges, while the five-star Montage hotel in Spanish Peaks has rooms at $2,000 and penthouse suites at $15,000 a night.

However, matching the range of Vail, Aspen’s or Deer Valley’s density of luxury hotels isn’t the aim in this corner of Montana: it’s the quality, exclusivity and laid-back approach that draws in a certain kind of well-heeled, quiet American.

Tom Weiskopf, Padraig Harrington, LPGA founders lead list of 2024 World Golf Hall of Fame inductees

Tom Weiskopf and Padraig Harrington lead a group who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2024. The ceremony will be held in Pinehurst, N.C., next summer in conjunction with the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

Weiskopf and Harrington join Sandra Palmer, Beverly Hanson, Johnny Farrell and the seven remaining co-founders of the LPGA not already in the Hall of Fame: Alice Bauer, Bettye Danoff, Helen Detweiler, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Shirley Spork and Sally Sessions.

Harrington, 51, is a three-time major winner and six-time Ryder Cup player for Europe before moving into the senior phase of his competitive career. The Irishman won back-to-back Open Championships in 2007 and 2008, when he also won the PGA Championship.

Of Harrington’s 21 professional victories, 15 came on the European tour and six on the PGA Tour. The Dublin native also captained the European team at the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. Last year, Harrington won four times on the PGA Tour Champions including the U.S. Senior Open.

Harrington plays part-time on the DP World and PGA tours and made the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill last week. He tied for fourth place at the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

“This is very exciting, obviously a huge honor,” Harrington said. “It’s somewhat humbling. At this stage of my life, it gives me some validation to what I’ve done in golf. Brings back a flood of memories. This is a deep-down satisfaction, and I’m very proud to be included with the players before me. Seeing your name beside the names that I’ve looked up to as a boy and young golfer, it’s very nice. Everybody on the ballot deserves to be there. It’s unfortunate that everyone can’t be in, but it’s great to be included in the Class of 2024.”

Weiskopf won 16 times on the PGA Tour, although his most famous victory was the 1973 Open Championship at Royal Troon, where he defeated Neil Coles and Jonny Miller by three shots. Miller had won the U.S. Open a month prior to the Open at Troon. Weiskopf died in August 2022 at age 79.

Palmer, 79, won two majors in her career, including the 1975 U.S. Women’s Open, among 19 LPGA victories. She also claimed LPGA Player of the Year honors in 1975. Palmer collected 28 total professional victories and won twice in Japan.

“I’m overcome with emotion and very grateful,” Palmer said. “It gives me an opportunity to thank the people that have helped me along the way. I just couldn’t believe it when I got the call, this is my sixth time to be nominated. What an incredible group of women that I played with over the years. I’m definitely going to have some champagne. It’s one of those times that you sit down and your whole career comes before you. I think about the people along the way that I’d like to thank.”

Among Farrell’s 22 PGA Tour wins was the 1928 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields near Chicago, when he defeated Bobby Jones by just a single shot in a 36-hole playoff.

Hanson won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1950 and went on to win three majors, including the 1955 Women’s PGA Championship among her 17 LPGA wins. In 1958, she was the leading money earner and won the LPGA’s Vare Trophy for having the lowest scoring average for the year. She died in 2014 at age 89.

In 1950, the LPGA was founded by 13 original LPGA players. Bauer, Danoff, Dettweiler, Hicks, Hill, Sessions and Spork join Patty Berg (1974 inductee), Marlene Bauer Hagge (2022), Louise Suggs (1979), Babe Zaharias (1974), Marilynn Smith (2006 Inductee) and Betty Jameson (1998) in the Hall of Fame.

“We owe the LPGA’s long and illustrious history to the dedicated efforts and incredible commitment of our 13 Founders,” LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said. “Their leadership created the most successful women’s sports organizations in the world, and they made it possible for women to pursue golf as a passion and as a career.”

The other finalists were Peter Dawson, Jim Furyk, Butch Harmon, Cristie Kerr, Dottie Pepper and Jay Sigel.

The 2024 World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be June 10, 2024 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. The U.S. Open will be held at Pinehurst No. 2 later that week and the new Hall of Fame Museum and USGA Pinehurst campus will both be opening.
On The Market: Luxury Vacation Getaways

824 Settlement Trail #2A, The Inn Residences at Montage Big Sky, Montana

DESTINATION: Located just over an hour south of Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and an hour north of the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky offers a spectacular setting of natural beauty and bountiful wildlife.

RESIDENCE: Designed by Poss Architecture, the four-bedroom, 2,392-square-foot residence comes fully furnished with well-appointed appliances, contemporary kitchen and dining area, and lock-off bedroom. Owners have access to the inn’s private amenities, including an après ski lounge and terrace with firepits, a lobby bar, ski lockers, fitness center, outdoor hot tubs, and concierge services.

TO DO: Resort amenities include six dining venues, a 10,000-square-foot Spa Montage, Montage’s signature children’s program, and ski-in, ski-out access to Big Sky Resort. Owners can also enjoy the benefit of membership at Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, which includes a Tom Weiskopf Championship golf course.

INQUIRIES: $2 million/deeded quarter-share interest