Our Roots Run Deep
No one ever imagined the Sonnenalp would be in Vail.
When the small bed and breakfast that inspired the Sonnenalp first opened in Germany in the early years of the 20th century, Vail wasn’t even on the map. As that humble German inn transformed into what would become a celebrated hotel and resort, its founders envisioned bringing their legacy of European hospitality and superior guest service to the United States. In the 1960s, the burgeoning village at the base of the Vail Ski Resort became the ideal location.
Vail and Sonnenalp grew up together.
The modest lodge our founders established 40 years ago led to the hotel and resort that rests at the heart of Vail Valley today — a renowned, destination intertwined in the fabric of an iconic community. Even though the two hotels are a world apart, they share a welcoming spirit cultivated by a history of family ownership and management that makes staying at the Sonnenalp an unforgettable resort experience.
FOR FIVE GENERATIONS THE FAESSLER FAMILY
has set and maintained the highest standards of hospitality and service at their Sonnenalp Resorts in Ofterschwang, Germany and Vail, Colorado
Both the Sonnenalp in Vail and the Sonnenalp in Germany celebrate anniversaries. Sonnenalp Vail observes 40 years of hospitality in the U.S. while Sonnenalp Germany recognizes 100 years of history.
Explore Sonnenalp Stories to commemorate a few of the stories we’ve had the pleasure to be a part of over the years!
Sebastian marries Esmarie Van Zuylen at the hotel. Esmarie and Sebastian assist Johannes and Rosana in operating the Sonnenalp–Sebastian in Business Development and Esmarie as the hotel’s Director of Marketing. Francesca continues her studies at the University of Denver.
FOURTH AND FIFTH GENERATIONS 2016
Sebastian Faessler joins his parents Johannes and Rosana in managing the Sonnenalp in Vail as the hotel’s Leisure Sales Manager. Francesca is currently at the University of Denver.
Vail and Beaver Creek host the 2015 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships for the third time since 1989. Second to the Olympics, it is the largest ski racing event in the world. The Sonnenalp Hotel was honored to host the German National Ski Team for the event, including
The Sonnenalp Resort Celebrates 30 years of welcoming guests from around the world to Vail. Since opening in 1979, the hotel has received many accolades and recognition for its achievements from publications such as Travel & Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler. In 2001, the Sonnenalp became a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World collection.
In a third major expansion, a new wing of the hotel is built along Meadow Drive that adds 42 new units comprised of 29 suites and 13 hotel rooms. The project also creates an enhanced, upscale pedestrian experience with new retail shops, gardens, heated surfaces and the new Swiss Chalet Restaurant.
The second phase of the Bavaria Haus reconstruction includes the creation of a spacious spa facility featuring an open lobby with fireplace, health bar, treatment rooms and an indoor – outdoor pool. Outside, sunny patios and flower gardens were created along the bank of Gore Creek.
Between April 1992 and November 1993, the Bavaria Haus is completely rebuilt in two phases. The original hotel is replaced with an iconic Vail landmark consisting of 88 guest suites,
2 hotel rooms, the new Ludwig’s and Bully Ranch restaurants, multiple conference rooms and a luxurious new spa.
The Sonnenalp in Bavaria creates the Quellengarten, an impressive water park and spring garden consisting of indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms with cold plunges and an exotic solarium.
The Faesslers purchase Singletree Golf Course in Edwards, Colorado and rename it the Sonnenalp Golf Club. While county covenants require that the popular course remain semi-public, the Sonnenalp is able to offer preferred tee times to hotel guests and club members.
Their three properties are renamed Austria Haus, Swiss Haus and Bavaria Haus, creating the Sonnenalp Family of Resorts and Hotels. The Talisman Lodge is transformed into the Swiss Haus, with 56 hotel rooms, a spa, outdoor pool and the Swiss Chalet Restaurant. Until its closure in 2004, the boutique hotel welcomed guests with relaxed European charm.
FOURTH GENERATION 1986
Johannes Faessler, son of Karlheinz and Gretl, takes over management of the Vail Sonnenalp properties with his wife Rosana in 1986. The Faessler Family expands its Vail Village presence by purchasing the Kiandra and Talisman Lodges along Meadow Drive.
Intrigued with success of the Vail Ski Resort, Karlheinz and GretlFaessler purchase the Wedel Inn Motel next to the Covered Bridge. They remodel its 38 rooms and rename it the Hotel Sonnenalp. In 1986, the name changes to the Sonnenalp Austria Haus. The Austria Haus Club and Hotel occupies the site today.
A golf enthusiast, KarlheinzFaessler opens the Sonnenalp “Ofterschwang,” a 6,500-yard, 18-hole championship golf course designed from plans drawn by legendary golf course architect Donald Harradine.
The Sonnenalp Resort of Bavaria welcomes the new year with 180 employees and an international reputation for setting a new standard for luxury and privacy. Guests enjoy outdoor family-oriented activities promoting health and wellness.
Tragedy strikes the Sonnenalp Resort of Bavaria
when a fire destroys the restaurants and 120 bedrooms in the main hotel. The hotel was immediately rebuilt and opened in time for the holiday season that year.
Eleonore and Adolf turn over management responsibilities to their son Ludwig and his wife Resi the same year Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected 32nd President of the United States. Over the next 20 years, the industrious and personable young Faesslers add 80 beds and register the Sonnenalp name.
The original Sonnenalp Resort of Bavaria is founded in the picturesque Allgäu Alps in southern Germany when Eleonore, an innkeeper’s daughter, and Adolf Faessler, a baker, purchase a small ranch house with acreage and eight cows in the Bavarian Alps.
FIRST GENERATION 1919-1932
Adolf and Eleonore Faessler
For five generations the Faessler family has set and maintained the highest standards of hospitality and service at their Sonnenalp Resorts in Ofterschwang, Germany and Vail, Colorado