A visit to Jackson Hole, Wyo., begins the moment the airplane door opens, revealing a stunning view of the snow-peaked Grand Teton mountains.
So stunning, in fact, that the flight crew has to instruct passengers before deplaning not to stop along the tarmac on the way to the terminal to take photos.
Jackson Hole, actually a valley between several mountain ranges, is an outdoor enthusiasts' playground with a world-class ski resort; endless trails for hiking, biking and snowshoeing; and miles of rivers for fly-fishing, canoeing and rafting. It is also the southern gateway to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
The town of Jackson exudes old Western charm sprinkled with stylish boutiques and gourmet restaurants.
River’s Edge Lodge combines modern aesthetics with a rustic lodge feel.
Properties' wow factors, Western-style
During a short visit to Jackson, I toured a handful of Clear Creek properties. Read More
When it comes to high-end accommodations, Jackson has no shortage of options, including Amangini and Four Seasons. But as part of Teton County, the wealthiest county in America, Jackson also has an impressive array of high-end rental properties for travelers looking for additional space and absolute privacy combined with high-end amenities.
When it comes to finding the right villa rental, Jackson's Clear Creek Group is the place to look. For 10 years the company has not only managed and maintained a portfolio of high-end rental homes but also offers customer service and home maintenance to the standards of the finest hotels.
In fact, having stayed at quite a few luxury villas over the years, I can attest that the Clear Creek Group is the most hands-on property rental manager I've encountered.
When it comes to villas, even at the highest end, you don't always know what you are getting in terms of sheets, towels, bathroom products, welcome amenities and housekeeping standards. Management companies often allow the owners to decide what the rentals will include. The management companies might insist things be of a certain level, but it is generally not uniform even within a portfolio.
This is part of the wild-card factor that has made it difficult for travel agents to feel comfortable recommending villas to their clients. That wild card does not exist with the Clear Creek Group.
"Everything is in-house," said Morgan Bruemmer, a partner and co-founder of Clear Creek. "We don't compromise because we've built a brand. It's not unlike the Four Seasons."
A home on the 1,300-acre Shooting Star development, located at the base of Teton Village. Clear Creek represents 13 Shooting Star homes.
Behind the modern, sunny front of Clear Creek's office in Jackson — the company is also a real estate brokerage and property management company — the operation unfolds. In one room there are folded stacks of clean, white sheets wrapped in plastic; in another there are baskets of Molton Brown bath products and numerous items the company provides guests, anything from sleds and bicycles to humidifiers and travel cribs.
"Our guests don't even anticipate needing the things we think about," he said.
In another area, carefully marked groups of luggage are prepared to meet their owners when they arrive at the villas, another service Clear Creek provides.
When asked, Bruemmer said he has never heard of any other villa rental company that does what Clear Creek does to this extent.
"Nobody's doing it, because it's hard," he said. "We've been in the business 10 years. And we still sit around every day and talk about touch points and details like ways to make the arrival better."
With this experience, Bruemmer and his team have learned, for example, that three things that make "a huge difference" for guests upon arrival in the winter are prestocked groceries, lift tickets on the table and a ski concierge who comes to the home if they need rental equipment.
"[Guests] can take the kids right to ski school or just hit the slopes," he said.
Someone from Clear Creek greets every group upon arrival at the home with amenities like home-baked dog treats or gift bags for the children.
"We find out how old the children are, and their names and genders, and personalize the bags," Bruemmer said.
"Our reservationists know what questions to ask."
When the portfolio was smaller, Bruemmer was even more hands-on; he'd personally bake chocolate chip cookies for each arriving party.
Despite all they do, Bruemmer and his team want to be even more involved.
"We'd like people to take advantage of our concierge services more," he said.
One of those services is providing vehicle rentals. "We'd like to have our amenities like water bottles and lip balm waiting in the car upon arrival."
Clear Creek pays 10% commission. Visit www.theclearcreekgroup.com or contact [email protected].