BY REBECCA TREON
When winter has worn you down and cabin fever begins taking hold, it’s time to take advantage of all the spectacular happenings at local hotels and resorts. From s’mores on the slopes to cog railroad rides through the snow, here’s a look at Colorado’s top spots offering exciting alternatives to spending the chilly season homebound.
Downtown Denver has plenty of options for those wanting a mini-getaway. Whether you’re simply treating yourself to a night of wonder or you want to be close to all that the heart of the city has to offer, these locales will make the winter season unforgettable.
The Art Hotel
Visitors will enjoy the spectacular art collection that gives The ART Hotel its name, the luxe rooms with deep bathtubs, and the rooftop cocktail lounge with multiple fire pits (wrap up in a cozy blanket with your loved ones while you enjoy happy hour in front of the fire). One of the biggest perks here is the proximity to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, where you can catch any number of Broadway hits. This season, enjoy faves like An American In Paris, Kinky Boots, and Mamma Mia, and brace yourself for Frozen: The Musical and Hamilton, both slated to debut this fall.
Brown Palace Hotel
From the first morning when the Brown Palace Hotel’s annual champagne cascade kicks off the beginning of the holiday season, Denver’s most elegant historic hotel embraces the warm and merry traditions of winter. With the lobby bedecked in sparkling lights on its grand chandelier to live music at high tea, families who love tradition will adore The Brown. Colorado families leave their holiday decorations up through the end of the National Western Stock Show in late January, and The Brown is no exception: It hosts a very special guest for photo opportunities—the event’s prize-winning steer has its own corral in the lobby for one morning only.
The Crawford Hotel
The Crawford Hotel is located right inside Union Station, which is the ultimate place to while away an afternoon. Union Station has a train that whisks travelers directly to Denver International Airport, making the Crawford the place to stay before you jet out of town. Amid the elegance of the sprawling and newly remodeled main terminal, lounge in one of the armchairs or play some shuffleboard with the family, take your pick from any number of top-notch bars and restaurants (we love Mercantile, James Beard-nominated Chef Alex Seidel’s brain child), or simply people watch. Those who book winter stays at The Crawford with the Winter Nights and City Lights package will receive a winter-themed gift, complimentary room upgrades, and two winter warmer cocktails at the swanky Cooper Lounge.
Looking to get out of town and still enjoy everything our state has to offer during the winter season? These spots both near and far have you covered. From Frisco to Steamboat, a weekend away will create treasured family memories in your new home away from home.
Town of Frisco
Start planning your next winter’s holiday getaway now. Just a stone’s throw from Denver, the town of Frisco goes all out for the holidays, hosting its annual Wassail Days. For the first two weeks in December, local restaurants and shops offer their own version of the traditional spiced cider served during the holidays. Sampling 12 different sips will earn you a commemorative mug, but stick around to see the light display at Triangle Park and the 600 luminarias that line the town’s quaint Main Street. There are carolers, visits with Santa, and the legendary Ugly Sweater Challenge – where guests take on holiday-themed challenges (think snow angels and eggnog shooters) while donning their favorite knit apparel. Active families will love easy access to tubing, Nordic skiing, and snowshoeing; there are horse-drawn sleigh rides, and even a soup-making face-off between restaurants and amateur chefs alike. It’s the quintessential Colorado Christmas.
Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch
A visit to the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch represents the ultimate in luxury. After being welcomed by Bachelor, their resident pup, hit the slopes just outside your door with the lodge’s unparalleled ski-in, ski-out access to Beaver Creek Mountain. Enjoy s’mores in front of the roaring fire pit while you warm your toes, play an old-fashioned board game with the kids, or take advantage of activity offerings like the Ritz Kids Program, night hike with their naturalist programs, and even booze-paired crafting for adults. The Ritz-Carlton has everything you need to create an unforgettable family getaway.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch
What better way to celebrate a Colorado wintertime fairytale than a stay at Devil’s Thumb Ranch? The 6,000-acre resort is nestled just a few miles outside Winter Park, but feels like it’s a world away. Wintertime outdoor activities in this wonderland range from ice skating and tubing to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, but don’t miss out on the geothermally-heated pool. All winter long there are also sleigh rides and s’mores at the stables—like something out of a John Denver tune.
A collection of Colorado’s ultimate resorts wouldn’t be complete without including The Broadmoor, a jewel in the crown of Colorado’s grand hotels. Colorado Springs’ legendary complex does every season right, and during the winter months, your new home-away- from-home offers everything from outdoor adventures like a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway to dance classes. Of course, you’ll need to make time to simply explore the resort itself, including the Play room (bowling, foosball, and more), the indoor pool, and the spa—perfect for a mom/daughter mani-pedi date.
After a stressful year, a retreat in Steamboat Springs may be just what the doctor ordered. At the Steamboat Grand, you’re right at the base of the mountain when you want to hit the slopes, but you also have easy access to a slew of family friendly activities. Adventurers may want a hot-air balloon ride or a snowmobile tour, but the more tame among us can enjoy tubing, night skiing, and gondola rides with a bird’s eye view. Things the whole family will love? Sleighride dinners, snowshoe or cross-country ski tours, and of course, a long soak in the beautiful natural hot springs at Strawberry Park.