"The rate for Romance — $400"

by Geraldine Haldner, The Vail Daily, 1 February 2003

Mom lied.

While money might not buy everlasting love, $400 gets anyone in the door to romance — at the Lodge at Vail.

Just in time for Valentine's Day and in response to the intense popularity of ABC's reality romance show "The Bachelorette", the Lodge is offering the "Ryan's Romance Package," named after Vail's very own reality-TV celebrity Ryan Sutter.

Sutter, a Vail firefighter and part-time poet, has triumphed over a field of 22 eligible bachelors since the 6-week show went on the air Jan. 22.

Making a name for himself as the shy, quiet guy, Sutter has been courting the show's female star, Trista Rehn, with his own poetry and most recently an original piece of art he drew for her birthday.

The 28-year-old Vail resident now faces off against two more bachelors in the show's remaining two episodes.

If he makes the final cut, Sutter may be walking down the aisle on national TV two days before Valentine's Day.

While poetry has gotten him so far, a romantic getaway to Vail, shown during the show's most recent episode, certainly didn't hurt.

Rehn, a Florida native who now lives in Los Angeles, visited Vail with Sutter in September with a camera crew in tow. Though she described herself to Sutter's parents as a "warm-weather girl," she appeared to enjoy her time in Vail cuddling atop Eagle's Nest and luxuriating in a suite at the Lodge, one of Vail's premier hotels at the base of Vail Mountain.

Giles Priestland, director of sales and marketing at the Lodge, insists he is glued to the television every Wednesday. He isn't the shy type when it comes to hyping the lodge's latest "as-seen-on-TV" sales ploy.

"Obviously the emphasis at the moment, the buzz that has been drawn around this show was enough that we thought there might be people out there who would want to live out a bit of a fantasy," he said Wednesday.

"I think there is going to be a number of people that will be attracted to this sort of escapism. People, who watch this show seem to come from all different walks of life, I think there are going to be all kinds of people from all sorts of different backgrounds wanting to come to Vail to capture their own piece of romance."

Though he doesn't fancy himself a poet, Priestland can't help but sound a bit lyrical as he describes the "Ryan's Romance Package."

"Essentially it is two nights in a luxury suite with an oversized marble bathroom on top of a romantic dinner at our very lovely Wildflower restaurant," he said. "Breakfast is set in a slightly different atmosphere that is very cozy and mountain-warm. Obviously, the location of all this at the base of our beautiful mountain will only add to the feeling of opulence."

While the nights are guests' own, complementary champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and a copy of one of Sutter's poems leave as little as necessary to chance.

Anything to make couples and cupid come to Vail, starting at $399.

Subject to availability, the offer is good for Valentine's Day weekend, and from April 21 to June 21. For more information visit www.rockresorts.com.

A note of consideration: Sutter is not included in the package. And please refrain from pulling the fire alarm.

©2003 The Vail Daily



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