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Fashion Hits a High Note

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Glamour and style return to the slopes this season

By Ellen Gray

Luxury is the operative word on the slopes this winter. Fashion-forward skiers will no doubt thrill to see the return of glamour, sophistication and high style, as skiwear takes a bow to both designer street looks and technical function.

Gone are the days when baggy pants and long jackets, often a staple of snowboard enthusiasts, ruled the slopes. Replacing the look are form-fitting jackets, adorned with fur, metallic finishes and jewel tones, paired with functional stretch pants first introduced by Bogner in the 1950s. In fact, when it comes to luxury, skiwear designers such as Bogner, Toni Sailer and Skea rule the day, with beautiful collections that are as eye-catching asthey are versatile.

ML Furs, a highly respected boutique in Denver’s chic Cherry Creek North, is the exclusive purveyor of the Bogner brand. The marriage of the upscale boutique with the industry’s most-respected skiwear designer is indeed a match made in heaven. As you head to one of Colorado’s fabulous resorts this winter, you’ll want to tackle the slopes in style, and the season’s beautiful collection will show off your moves both on and off the slopes.

Many of the pieces that will mark the slopes this season feature elements of fur. According to ML Furs, it’s runway on the slopes, and Bogner’s Fire + Ice collection is a prime example. Drawing inspiration from motor racing sports and the iconic style of Steve McQueen, the designs are incredibly intricate, using materials and threads that can take as long as 30 hours to assemble. The Fire + Ice line is pure street style, and highlights why the Bogner name remains the uncontested leader in ski fashion.

“Bogner Sport, the most sought-after ski brand worldwide, not only combines fashion and function, each piece is a work of art, a collector’s item, from the illustrious one-pieces, jackets and helmets, to the transitional mid and base layers that can be worn all year while hiking, biking or even golfing. Their brand boasts an aura of exclusivity, according to Ms. Gross of ML Furs.

Sleek fit rules the day, and established designers bring color and glamour to the season. Sophisticated skiwear transitions easily from slopestyle to après ski, with colors and fabrics that meld perfectly with runway fashion. In addition to a beautiful collection featuring contemporary styling, fabrics and design, skiing legend Toni Sailer is showcasing a smaller, limited line inspired by the “black blitz from Kitz,” a predominantly black collection that features luxurious materials including leather, lambskin and fur. Kitzbüehl, Austria being one of the most famous, demanding downhill’s in the world, often boasting the Men’s World Cup. Toni Sailer’s elegant women’s collection is both athletic and versatile, featuring four-way stretch material with a shiny, satin finish. Emphasizing femininity, the outfits showcase an elegant, athletic silhouette, including a stunning jumpsuitincorporating a blouson jacket.

Bogner, long recognized as the fashion leader in beautiful skiwear, once again delivers a fabulous lineup, with great looks that incorporate modern and biker black-and-whites, navy/denim and red-white-and-blue patriotic themes for the 2018 Olympic Games. Also big this year are eclectic metallics with gold and violet ash straight from the runway, bright pinks and darker mocha tones. Much of the Bogner Women’s line draws inspiration from the urban cowboy trend, merging the Bogner heritage of traditional ski and active sportswear in a relaxed and comfortable style.

Skea, another Colorado favorite, pushes the limits of function and style in this season’s collection featuring technical fabrics, customized trims, gorgeous prints and fashionable silhouettes. Skea designer and owner Diane Boyer, a Vail, Colorado resident and former freestyle skiing champion, understands what it takes to combine performance and high style. The designer’s line appeals to women of all ages, and the clothing works equally well in the big city or on the slopes of Vail. This season’s lineup features fun colors and textures, reflective and shiny touches, and even sequins on both base and mid layers. Look for beautiful accessories to complement the ensemble.

Just Fur Fun

At the end of an epic ski day, there’s an art to looking great when you come off the slopes. There are so many options, so we’ve narrowed down the field to help you select what to wear, whether on a ski holiday in the mountains or elsewhere in Colorado. To help us develop a template for winter après ski fashion, we turned to the experts at ML Furs, who have helped visitors from across the globe to look their cold-weather best.

The family-owned business works with national and international brands, and prides itself on remaining current and contemporary. A keen sense of understanding their customers and what they need is key to the company’s success since its humble beginnings in 1987. With a finger on the pulse of runway fashion, ML Furs caters to modern women who desire high-end outerwear or skiwear for the coming season. This season, the boutique is awash in beautiful style, including

 stunning fur, vivid color, denim, navy and metallic.

Forget the image of your grandmother’s fur coat, and look to celebrities and fashion models who more and more are incorporating elements of fur into their everyday wardrobe. Whether the goal is function or fashion – or a combination of the two, elements of fur are everywhere, and are being produced in highly regulated operations worldwide. The furs of today are very lightweight, and in many instances, are so highly styled that it takes a closer look to understand they are indeed the real deal. A huge seller at ML Furs is a reversible, easy-to-wear coat that is fur on one side and water-repellant taffeta or silk on the other. The coat can be worn with pants or a dress, and is the epitome of style and function. So just who is buying these pieces? “If you think back to the days when Sex and the City was on television, you’ll recall that fur was front and center in every episode. They all wore fur, and it was considered the height of fashion,” ML Furs Ms. Gross says. “Today it’s less about luxury and more about everyday style.”

The fur industry is a huge employer around the world, from Africa to Scandinavia and China. The industry employs millions of workers, and is a $15 billion industry worldwide. The U.S. fur industry represents about 10 percent of that number, so imports are a major factor in the business. The majority of skins are sourced in the United States, Denmark, Finland and Russia, all from places that are 100-percent regulated and monitored. “This industry is better regulated than any other,” Mr. Gross says. “You’re not going to find any leopard, or any endangered species. If they’re on the endangered or protected list, they are protected.”

When it comes to this type of apparel, each piece is a true work of art, from the dyeing process to matching up each piece for color and design. The pieces are put together by artisans, and represent hours of work and expertise. This season, designers closely follow the rest of the fashion world, featuring monochromatic jewel tones, muted earth tone palettes from Michael Kors, modern classics from Zac Posen, textures, color, camo, navy, horizontals, reversible, lightweight garments including sweatshirts, hoodies, ponchos, and sheared designs.

With options such as these it’s impossible not to look good. “If you aren’t a skier, we show you how to look good off-piste in some of our longer down garments with fur trim from Bogner, M. Miller and Guy LaRoche,” Ms. Gross says. And fear not, any contemporary fur coat will style well while sipping on a hot toddy! Looking for stocking stuffers or just a touch of fur? ML Furs carries a vast selection of accessories, including the locally distributed Hestra luxury brand dress and ski gloves for both men and women.

Of course, looking hot on the slopes is not just a woman’s prerogative. Highend designers pay homage to men, with high-tech fabrics, exquisite workmanship and sporty styles. Toni Sailer’s limited Montgomery jacket is a work of art, featuring details from hydrophobic reindeer nubuck, carbon zippers and lasered carbon logos. Add a hood, lined with Tuscan lambskin, and lightweight yet ultra-warm Francis ski pants, and this is a standout on the mountain.

Ultimately, the return of the stretch pant is what sums up the style stories.When Maria Bogner began experimenting with the sexy stretch pant material in 1952, little did she know that her innovation would turn the world of ski fashion upside down. Initially a favorite of leggy models, including Aspen’s Monica Brown and Stein Eriksen, the pants sold for a pricey $40 but were hugely popular. Racers immediately loved the new material, both for their sleek look and their aerodynamic qualities which meant faster times. The stretch pant became a permanent fashion craze, and even prompted ski legend Warren Miller to write, “I credit the growth of skiing during those years (the ‘50s and ‘60s) to Maria Bogner and her invention of stretch ski pants. Let’s face it, sex sells. Anyone who was in reasonable shape could put on a pair of her stretch pants and look as sleek and attractive as someone in a James Bond movie.”

Maria Bogner, the wife of Bogner founder Willy Bogner, designed skiwear until the 1970s, when her sons Michael and Willy Jr. took the helm. Willy Jr. continues to run the company, and his wife Sonia works on the design side.

Get the Look

BOGNER

ML Furs, 263 Josephine in Cherry Creek North    MLFurs.com

TONI SAILER

ML Furs, 263 Josephine in Cherry Creek North    MLFurs.com

SKEA

ML Furs, 263 Josephine in CherryCreek North    MLFurs.com

Christy Sports, Multiple locations in Colorado    ChristySports.com

MOUNTAIN VIEWS TO CITYSCAPES

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THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE TO COLORADO’S BEST GOLF COURSES

by DAVID R. HOLLAND

Miller Barber, the late PGA Tour player with 11 championships, said it best about travel and golf. “I’m happiest when I have a hotel room key in my pocket.”

Denver’s golf lineup has it all – beauty, challenge, history and perfect summer weather that extends well into late fall. But many visitors don’t know that golf can be played year round in the Denver area as long as the snow stays away.

17th at Inverness, sunrise

Get me talking about golf in the Denver metro area and I always return to the glory days of the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills Country Club, which brought together three modern golf legends: Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. If you know a member of Cherry Hills, try to snag an invitation.

After the crash and burn of The International, a long-running PGA Tour event held at the Golf Club at Castle Pines, welcome news came following the return of the PGA Tour to Cherry Hills with the BMW Championship in 2014. And one can’t forget that Parker hosted the 2013 Solheim Cup at the private Colorado Golf Club.

So what’s the good news? A couple of years ago it was announced that the state’s first new golf course in years will be built in Windsor, north of Denver. RainDance National Golf Club, designed by Fred Funk, will be located less than three miles from its sister course – the 27-hole Pelican Lakes Golf and Country Club.

Here in Denver, where the plains meet the Rocky Mountains, a travel golfer can stage his or her own bit of Colorado golf glory at a multitude of daily-fee and municipal golf courses. Here are some of my favorites.

Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton

You could wander the planet for 100 years and might not find a setting so incredible for a golf course. Located in Roxborough State Park just south of Denver, geologists say it took 300 million years for the slanted, jagged cerise rocks to form.

420 yd par 4

It took Robert Trent Jones Jr. a fraction of that time to design Arrowhead Golf Club, one of the most-photographed golf courses in the world. Jones said the cathedral-like conglomerate rocks and the rolling terrain make it a must-play.

“When I first saw the site of the golf course at Roxborough Park, I was overwhelmed by the magnificent gifts that nature has bestowed on the property. The cathedral-like rocks that jut up from the rolling terrain at the foothills of the Rockies is a majestic setting in which to establish a unique golf course,” Jones said.

Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield

Built in 1999 by David Graham and Gary Panks, the Omni Interlocken Resort has inspiring vistas of the Rockies between Denver and Boulder and is a year-round resort with only the best hotel amenities.

Eighteen-hole combinations measure more than 7,000 yards with the nines named Eldorado, Vista and Sunshine. The terrain is rolling hills and more than 300 acres, but was almost treeless until nearly 3,000 were planted.

CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora

CommonGround Golf Course is a prime example of what happens when you take an old Air Force base golf course that has already been renamed once and put it in the hands of Tom Doak, one of America’s best classical, minimalist course architects.

What you get is a parkland/links mixture that is walkable and affordable – just what the Colorado Golf Association, owners of the course, ordered.

This plot of land was once the Lowry AFB Golf Course, but when the base closed in the mid-1990s, the course morphed into Mira Vista Golf Course. The CGA’s and CWGA’s dream, however, was a completely new golf course. That’s when Doak and his Michigan-based Renaissance Golf Design team were hired to transform the 350-acre site.

Today CommonGround is dedicated to growing the game with a learning center for kids and adults, plus a caddie program for girls and boys who have finished the eighth grade.

Red Hawk Ridge Golf Course in Castle Rock

Red Hawk Ridge Golf Course is a dream course that gathers sweeping views of the front range from Long’s Peak to Pike’s Peak. High points, rocky buttes, thick native grasses and scrub oak feature lots of wildlife. Fairways are wide with big landing areas framed by large, grassy moguls, bunkers, greenside lakes bumped against sand and stacked rock, and massive, contoured, bentgrass greens with tough, thick collars.

The City of Castle Rock wanted a fun course, and that’s what golf course architect Jim Engh delivered. Engh took city administrators to a high ridgeline that defined the back nine and pointed to placement of holes. The vision transferred from Engh to the administrators. Light bulbs went off in their heads – fun.

Fossil Trace Golf Course Club in Golden

Busy and fun, Fossil Trace Golf Club is in the shadows of Table Moutain, within sight of the Coors Brewery, and it only takes one stroke to notice the history of this land. The chimney of a brick kiln remains in the middle of the fairway on the par-5 first hole – right in the sightline of your second stroke.

Examine the 20-foot pillars of sandstone positioned in the fairway of the par-5 12th, and then determine how to hit over them on your journey to the green. This hole serves as a reminder of the property’s quarry history. Clay-mining equipment remains in place where, 64 million years ago, bird tracks, palm fronds and triceratops footprints were frozen in time. A split-rail fence near the green leads to a viewing area for the fossils.

Golf course architect Jim Engh, a native of North Dakota, built an impressive portfolio, beginning with offices in Colorado and now known throughout the world. His award-winners in Colorado besides Fossil Trace include the ultra-exclusive private Sanctuary in Sedalia; Red Hawk Ridge in Castle Rock; Four Mile Ranch in Canon City; Lakota Canyon in Newcastle; Redlands Mesa in Grand Junction; Harmony Club in Tinmath; and Pradera in Parker.

The Ridge at Castle Pines North in Castle Rock

Some dime novelists say Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody once described the area where The Ridge at Castle Pines North sits as one of their favorite stomping grounds.

The Ridge at Castle Pines North is considered by many as the premier upscale, public-access golf course in Colorado. Since opening in July 1997, the Tom Weiskopf design has won awards from just about every golf population – national and statewide – and was once ranked No. 49 on Golf Magazine’s list of top 100 public-access golf courses.

Look west and the panorama includes Pikes Peak, Devil’s Head and Mt. Evans. Look closer and you find front-range foothill scenes that feature sandstone rock formations, gambel oaks, Ponderosa pines and many varieties of wildlife. In fact, The Ridge left room to roam for migrating elk. Its double-loop layout preserves wildlife corridors.

Hilton Denver Inverness in Englewood

One of the only semi-private golf courses in the Denver area, this J. Press Maxwell championship course is beautiful, playable and challenging. It requires strategy and a thoughtful approach, thanks to gentle but unforgiving slopes, rolling hills and deep bunkers. Water comes into play on 11 of the 18 holes, and the golf course’s par-3 holes test the precision of even the best golfers.

As for the hotel, there’s a view of the Rocky Mountains in its front yard and an 18-hole championship golf course in its backyard. President Bill Clinton slept here and took on the tight, sloping fairways, rolling hills and fast, undulating greens.

Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Tom Babb opened the course in 1973 and did plenty for Colorado golf during his 27 years of working here. Babb served as director of golf at Inverness from 1973 to 2000. He was there from the very beginning, helping prepare the course for its opening, even to the point of operating some heavy earth-moving equipment as the holes were constructed.

Shortly after John Elway arrived to play quarterback for the Denver Broncos, his first contact to improve his game was Babb. The friendship evolved into the John Elway Celebrity Classic.

Today you can enjoy all the work and landscaping beauty of Babb and his associates with this classic golf course south of downtown Denver.

Did you know there are two excellent daily-fee golf courses near Denver International Airport? Here’s a synopsis of the two awesome layouts.

Murphy Creek Golf Course in Aurora

Bring your “A” game when you play Murphy Creek, a high-plains gem just minutes from the airport. It was opened in 2000 and was designed by Ken Kavanaugh of Arizona.

Murphy Creek is a high-plains test. It will also reward you with one of the most enjoyable, affordable rounds of golf you will find in a new golf course today. Watch out for its arroyos, wiry and thick fescue rough, and bunkers surrounded by more rough.

Be sure to spend some time in the clubhouse, dine in Murphy’s Tavern, and see the sites. The 1920s farmhouse decor includes white siding with steep-pitched green roofs, and the cart barn replicates a real barn. The range ball machine is housed in a silo, and former alfalfa fields are littered with old, rusting farm equipment, a horse-drawn wagon and an original barn.

Murphy Creek was ranked in Golf Digest’s “America’s Top 10 Best New Courses for 2002” and was the site of the 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver

Welcome to Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, Denver’s premiere golf facility. Just minutes from DIA, this beauty is home to an award-winning 18-hole Championship course, the popular 9-hole par-3 course, and a great practice facility.

It has also hosted the Colorado Open numerous times and was designed by Denver’s Perry Dye, son of legendary designer Pete Dye. This is big, bold prairie golf that was 12 years in the making.

The drive to the course is all prairie, then suddenly here’s a wall of old cottonwoods and wetlands. Six holes are sculpted around the protected native areas and offer strategic shots. No. 10, a 417-yard par4, is encircled by dense growth. Other holes present open prairie tests running along a ridge.

“Golf courses near DIA are just a natural for businessmen and their clients flying to Denver,” Dye said. “And at Green Valley Ranch you can’t even hear an airline. You are going to see more businessmen playing morning golf, then leaving for the airport and arriving at their gate in 30-40 minutes.”

Longing For Some Competition?

The Colorado Open heads a list of many tournaments scheduled each year in the Denver Metro area. The Colorado Open is a yearly championship staged for seniors, women and adults. 2017 marks the 14th men’s running of this championship at the beautiful Green Valley Ranch Golf Club.

City Park Golf Course also hosts the Denver City Amateur Championships each summer with men’s and senior’s divisions. Call for information.

There are also countless charity events, so if you want to play Sanctuary, a bucket list golf course, just give them a call and ask about scheduled charity events.

Sky Ridge Medical Center is also hosting a tournament series this summer that includes four separate events staged at Inverness, The Ridge at Castle Pines North, Blackstone Country Club and Colorado National Golf Club. Another worthy tournament is the 15th Annual Ortho Colorado Triple Play Golf Tournament benefiting The First Tee of Denver, set for June at City Park Golf Courses.

Welcome To The Home Ranch

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SUMMER VACATION AWAITS IN CLARK, COLORADO

by MONICA PARPAL STOCKBRIDGE

When it comes to vacation, many people just want to get away from it all. Whether that means powering down from a high-stress job in the city, or physically abandoning day-to-day obligations, we often feel compelled to leave home in order to relax, rest and perhaps even enjoy a new adventure.

Arriving for the first time at The Home Ranch – the state’s only Relais & Chateaux affiliated guest ranch and all-inclusive, family-friendly summer vacation destination – there’s a very real, very refreshing sense of isolation. Nestled in the heart of the Elk River Valley, 18 miles north of Steamboat Springs and bordering thousands of acres of Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest land, you immediately feel a long distance from wherever you journeyed. But that distance is welcome. You begin to unwind from the bustling, city-light drenched, mile-a-minute lives we lead. Fresh mountain air expands your lungs, and blue skies dazzle your view. As General Manager Brooks Bradbury and Guest Services Manager Selina Heintz greet you upon check-in, they take your bags with warm smiles and a delightfully unexpected greeting: “Welcome Home.”

Finding Home in Clark, Colorado

It all began nearly 40 years ago, when Toledo, Ohio residents Ann and Steve Stranahan (brother of George Stranahan of Colorado whiskey fame) met Ken and Sharon Jones, cattle ranchers from Montana. The four decided they would start their own ranch. The Stranahans were vacationing in Steamboat Springs with their four children when they discovered a 580-acre swath of alpine ranchland in the Elk River Valley, in a small settlement called Clark. This was during what locals call a “Three-wire-winter” – meaning the snow was so high that it reached the tops of the barbed-wire fences separating the roads from the cattle ranches.

From first glance, the Stranahans were transfixed with the area. Later, Ann would write a poem about the experience of seeing the land for the first time, exploring the several hundred acres on cross-country skis with Steve.

The Stranahans purchased that land, “laying impermanent claim,” as Ann writes,  to the natural beauty they discovered there. The land they would eventually transform into a guest ranch would change their lives, and change the face of Clark itself. It was here they established The Home Ranch.

Staying at The Home Ranch

The owners intentionally modeled the ranch after early western homesteads – not the imitation ski chalets popular in the late 1970s, but a more rustic, low-lying look somewhere between a high-country cabin and a farm cottage. As the property has grown, they have added private cabins alongside the main lodge house. Today, there’s a barn that hosts Wednesday night dances, and a spot for weekly bonfire cookouts. There’s a garden and greenhouse, a downright swanky chicken coop, and a hay pasture for grazing horses – 78 of them to be precise, including an irritable yet adorable miniature horse and a beloved donkey named Poncho.

All of this creates a summertime playground for guests of all ages and abilities, who plan their weeklong stays with equal parts respite and recreation. You might learn to fly fish in the gently babbling Elk River, or perfect your horsemanship skills on long back-country rides. You might choose to join a guided hiking trip along the 11-mile Zirkel Circle – practically untouched by Front Range 14er-baggers – or charter a hot air balloon ride for an exhilarating journey high above the rugged peaks. There are constant diversions for kids, from horseback riding to pond fishing to arts and crafts – and, of course, plenty of afternoon ice cream breaks at the local Clark Store.             

For many, simply wandering the property between hearty gourmet meals proves fulfilling. That’s because The Home Ranch treats guests to all-inclusive haute cuisine by Executive Chef Jonathon Gillespie, who sources locally (and we mean locally) as much as possible. Beef comes from neighboring Sand Mountain Cattle Company, and charcuterie is made in-house. Pork, poultry and produce, including lettuce, carrots, corn, peas and radishes, along with herbs and flowers, are raised and grown onsite. Plus, desserts by Pastry Chef Douglas Short round out every meal, and freshly baked cookies stacked on a platter in the foyer make irresistible late-night snacks.

During meals, guests sit at long community tables, sipping rare wines and Colorado craft beers, unwittingly laying the foundation for lifelong friendships. What might begin as a conversation over breakfast flapjacks and fresh-squeezed orange juice will often continue over barbecued chicken and grilled whitefish on the patio at lunch. By dinnertime, over dishes of Colorado lamb chops or Parisian-style gnocchi with Home Ranch garden greens, those same guests are exchanging family photos and email addresses, already making plans for a return trip at the same time next year.

The Ranching Way of Life

Part of the magic of The Home Ranch is how it trots the line between high-class and high-country. There’s an admirable success in providing a luxury experience on an otherwise harsh landscape (the growing season is an impossible 59 days, and winters regularly reach 40 degrees below zero). Yet, that unflinching emphasis on hospitality lives alongside an undying respect for the land and those who have lived and worked it for generations.

In fact, the Home Ranch and its neighboring ranches have made it a mission over the years not only to create a destination getaway for discerning travelers, but to protect and preserve the surrounding land and ranching way of life by placing more than 8,000 acres of the Upper Elk River Valley into a permanent conservation easement, meaning the land will remain undeveloped for generations to come.

This wasn’t always a popular notion in a place where land developers mine profits in hills that were once mined for gold. Finding like-minded individuals to keep the land pure and undeveloped, however, has enhanced the beauty of the landscape. Over its lifetime, The Home Ranch has grown from 580 acres to 4,000 – land that encompasses hayfields and hillsides where horses graze and calves are born in the spring, where herds of deer gather and graze, and where guests can hike, bike, and fish on land that likely will remain this beautiful for centuries.

Welcome Home

It may seem impossible that this place – with its vibrant green hills, distant frosted peaks, gentle horses and graceful river – could ever truly be home. But in the communities that form over meals and around bonfires, in the shared experiences on the land, and in the stories of days gone by, there lies an inescapable sense of belonging. You may be far from home, but you’re right where you need to be.

Learn more and book your stay at homeranch.com

A Home of Your Own

Some guests visit The Home Ranch year after year before finally deciding to move permanently to Clark. For those who cannot imagine life anywhere else, there’s the Murphy-Larsen Ranch: a conservation-oriented residential project managed by The Home Ranch that offers ownership opportunities in a breathtaking setting. Learn more at www.murphy-larsen.com

A Winter to Remember

in Attractions/Front Range Attractions/Front Range Hotels & Resorts/Hotels & Resorts/Mountain Attractions/Mountain Hotels & Resorts/The Colorado Blog by

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.

Staycation

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.

www.thearthotel.com

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.

www.brownpalace.com

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.

www.thecrawfordhotel.com

Farther Away

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.

Frisco, Colorado, Winter
Frisco, Colorado, Winter

www.townoffrisco.com

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.294351_extracted

www.ritzcarlton.com

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.AA-1734-55y

www.devilsthumbranch.com

The Broadmoor

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.

www.broadmoor.com

Steamboat Grand

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.

www.steamboatgrand.com

Robot Hotels

in Hotels & Resorts by

BY ANGELA YOUNGMAN

meet-connie

     Are robots the future of the hotel industry?

     The Hilton McLean in Virginia now has a robot concierge. Powered by Watson, a cognitive computing technology platform enabling her to understand the world through learning and experience, Connie works alongside human team members to answer visitor requests, provide information, plan trips and make recommendations about hotel features, amenities and where to dine. The more guests interact with Connie, the more she learns, adapts and improves her recommendations. All her knowledge is drawn from W
ayBlazer travel domain sites.

     “We’re focused on re-imagining the entire travel experience to make it smarter, easier and more enjoyable for guests. By tapping into innovative partners like IBM Watson, we’re wowing our guests in the most unpredictable ways,” says Jonathan Wilson, vice president of Hilton Worlrelay-deliverydwide.

     By using information gained from the log of questions asked and Connie’s answers, the hotel is able to improve guest experiences before, during and after their stay.

     Requesting items from the front desk at 10 hotels in America can result in a robot delivery. Savioke has developed a Relay robot, which takes orders from the front desk and then delivers the toiletries, linens and other sundries direct to guest rooms. During 2015, it made over 11,000 guest deliveries with the most popular delivery being tubes of toothpaste. Relay also delivers coffee from the Starbucks in the lobby to guests at the Marriott Los Angeles LAX. Many of the Relays have been given names – the robot at LAX is called Wally, while at the Crowne Plaza it is called Dash.

     Over in Japan, one hotelier has gone one step further. Henn-na hotel in the Huis Ten Bosch theme park is staffed almost entirely by robots. Before booking in, guests are told by the hotel that they should “feel free to enjoy conversing with these warm and friendly robots as they efficiently go about their work.” Robots undertake the cleaning and provide room service.  Luggage is taken by automated trolley direct to your room. No key cards are used, just facial recognition technology. Integral computer systems within each room adjust the temperature to the guest’s body heat.

     relay-being-loadedWant to know the time or the weather forecast? Just ask the small pink robot with three hearts adorning its forehead seated beside your bed. It will also automatically turn the lights off when you go to bed, or on when you get up.

     Perhaps the most dramatic change is at the reception desk. Guests have to choose their receptionist with care. The 72-room hotel is staffed by a trio of receptionists – including a robotic dinosaur. Fortunately the velociraptor is a friendly one.  All three dinosaurs speak English, Japanese and Korean. Their appearance is quite lifelike as they seem to breathe and blink as they politely greet guests.

     Hideo Sawads, president of Huis TenBosch, believes that “in the future, 90 percent of the hotel’s services could be carried out by robots.”

     What is certain is that robots do lack the personal touch. For non-techies, this could well be one step too far, especially if you want comfort, luxury and service.

Curtis Hotel – An Icon of Pop Culture

in Front Range Hotels & Resorts/Hotels & Resorts by

BY MONICA PARPAL STOCKBRIDGE

     Picture this: you’ve just arrived in Denver for a long weekend — or maybe you’re a local taking a staycation — and you know you’re in for a treat the moment you lay eyes on your lodging for the weekend: The Curtis Hotel, smack in the middle of Denver’s hip theater district. From the 42-foot All Together Now sculpture standing like a tower of children’s blocks on the street corner, to the sound of clinking martini glasses from The Corner Office restaurant and martini bar, the area is buzzing with the sights and sounds of urban Mile High.

CHECKING IN

From the second you step inside The Curtis, you can tell this is no “traditional” hotel. Is it the pop of the bright orange accent colors? The “world’s largest Lite-Brite” art hanging inside the lobby lounge? The reception clerk challenging guests to games of rock-paper-scissors upon check-in?

Whatever it is, The Curtis Hotel’s independent and funky spirit shines through in all these ways and more. Opened in 2007 on April 19 (which happens to be Bart Simpson’s birthday, if that tells you anything), The Curtis has always been a bit of a maverick in the hospitality world. Though it became a DoubleTree by Hilton in 2010, it’s never lost its hip sensibility thanks to Denver’s own Sage Hospitality and a commitment to keeping alive the original idiosyncrasies.

     Inside the recently renovated lobby you’ll find glimpses of local art alongside funky orange light fixtures, tufted leather armchairs, and a wall of pop fiction books and classic board games. The check-in desk is another major touchpoint for showing off that personality, and again the fun and games shine through. Want an upgrade to your room? Challenge the receptionist to a hula hoop contest. During the recent Summer Olympics, people could enter $5 to guess the latest gold medal counts for a chance at a free stay. The money collected went toward Sage Hospitality’s Dollars for Dreams, which supports different charitable recipients each quarter.

     Along with the fun and philanthropy, the hotel recently announced the implementation of Digital Key access for each of its 336 guest rooms. This allows guests to check in, choose their exact room from a digital floor plan, and request a Digital Key all through the HHonors app.

     “Most of our loyal guests are incredibly tech-savvy,” said General Manager and “Starship Captain” Scott Sloan. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer HHonors members this cutting-edge Digital Key technology and give them an easier, more convenient stay.”

THE GUEST ROOMS

Once you check in, ride the talking elevator (which announces each stop with cartoonish voices overhead) to your floor, where the fun really begins. In 2014, each of the guest floors at The Curtis was renovated to reflect its own music, film, or pop culture theme intended to deepen and differentiate the hotel experience.

     From the Sci-fi floor, to the Chick Flick floor, to the Dun Dun Dunnnnn! floor occupying the 13th story, each is decorated with movie posters, custom art, and thematic touches to bring out the different motifs. While every room offers modern amenities balanced by touches of retro pop art, the 13 “hyper-themed” rooms and three 1-bedroom suites take it to another level entirely. In these rooms, every detail is fine-tuned to fit the topic, from the wall vinyls to the curtains to the art on the walls.

     For instance, the 15th Mad About Music floor features a hyper-themed KISS suite, fittingly decorated with KISS concert photos, a face-painted panda, and black leather furniture fit for a rock star (no smoking guitars or pyrotechnics required). In the 13th floor’s Ghostbusters-themed room, green “Slimer” floor tiles and ghostly 3D art add spooky touches.

     But it’s the sixth floor that garners the most attention. “The Fun and Games Floor is by far our best-selling floor,” says Marketing and Graphic Design Manager Ty Shell. “It’s very popular with families, and always fills up when Comic Con comes to town.” Step onto the sixth floor landing and you’ll feel like you’ve tumbled into a game of Pac-Man, complete with ghost-shaped room number placards and joysticks on the console tables.

     The best part? The rooms and floors at The Curtis are constantly evolving. Later this year, the eighth-level Sci-fi floor will transform into a Star Wars versus Star Trek theme, while the 10th floor theme will soon be renewed to reflect the city’s local heroes: The Denver Broncos.

DINING AT THE CURTIS

Be sure to spend a meal dining at The Corner Office, accessible through the hotel’s lobby. Here, Chef Rich Byers leads the global comfort food concept, with a menu that changes quarterly with updates to items every few weeks to reflect the change in seasons. Servers like Nate Gray may point you in the direction of the sweet and smoky Duck Skewers and Brazilian Cheese Bread. He’ll also recommend one of the cocktail “experiences,” like the Four Kingdoms Sake Martini which you customize with a spritz of “hibiki harmony” (peated Japanese whisky) from a miniature spray bottle. Of course, the entire cocktail experience at The Corner Office is first-rate, with all the traditional favorites enhanced with rare liqueurs, housemade tinctures, and even an impressive mezcal list.

     For dinner, the sizzling rice bowl with marinated steak, zucchini, rice, and a poached egg is a savory delight, served piping hot in a Korean granite bowl. Tikka Masala and Moroccan Crusted Lamb Rack offer creative takes on traditional dishes.

     The Corner Office is also known for its showstopping Disco Brunch, featuring “I Will Survive” bottomless marys and mimosas, irresistible red velvet waffles and apple bread pudding French toast, and savory chorizo quiche—just to name a few.

     From the lighthearted lobby to the one-of-a-kind guest rooms to memorable meals, The Curtis Hotel does everything it can to help its guests “stay happy.” And whether you’re a loyal guest or first-time visitor, there’s always something new to discover at this pop culture paradise.

  

Colorado Luxe

in Hotels & Resorts/Mountain Hotels & Resorts by

BY PAIGE SLAUGHT

The Arrabelle Hotel exterior in the winter.
The Arrabelle Hotel exterior in the winter

The Arrabelle at Vail Square

Whether you desire a dream vacation where indulgence and pampering are top priorities or prefer to stay active and fit during your holiday, look no further than The Arrabelle at Vail Square. Located in the beautiful Lionshead Village of Vail, Colorado, The Arrabelle spills over with luxury of all kinds, tailored to the needs of spa enthusiasts and sports superstars alike! It matters not whether you are staying here with your significant other, friends or your entire family; you’re going to find it all –- pampering at the spa, proximity to trails and shopping, and outdoor activities galore. At 8,022 feet of elevation, this property will literally take your breath away.

     The Old-World charm The Arrabelle delivers is reminiscent of Europe’s grandest resorts. Modeled after the Swiss ski town of Zermatt, the architectural style that inspired Vail in its earliest days clearly carries on throughout the guest rooms, suites, and private residences at The Arrabelle. Outside, Vail Square maintains the iconic mountain chateau look, featuring an ice rink and fire pit, with a terraced area full of fountains and year-round concerts. Although built in 2008, The Arrabelle was updated this past June to give a new look and feel, including a fully renovated workout facility and new hydrotherapy spa equipment.   

Vail Twilight
Vail Twilight

     First things first: let’s talk about location. Tourists from all over the world come to Vail to experience more than 5,200 acres of skiable terrain, seven legendary Back Bowls, and the most groomed terrain on the planet. For access to this, The Arrabelle at Vail Square provides the perfect ski-in, ski-out location for you and your family to enjoy. Take private ski lessons with your kids, or embrace your inner Lindsey Vonn by gliding down the iconic Champagne Glade.

     With more than 300 days of sunshine in Colorado per year, you are likely to get one of the classic “blue sky, powder days” at Vail –- an experience so surreal you will have to ski it to believe it. Note: be sure to pick up a complimentary GoPro camera at the front desk so you can document your entire day’s adventures!

     At The Arrabelle, no family member gets left behind or forgotten. Before heading out on the slopes, drop your furry friend at the doggie spa where Fido will receive his very own water bowl, bed, homemade doggie treats and a midday walk while you’re out adventuring. No, we’re not kidding.

     Later, when it comes time for après ski, head back inside for some rest and relaxation at the award-winning Rock Resorts Spa. The full-service, 10,000-square-foot spa is the perfect way to unwind. Signature treatments include a fruit and spice body wrap and the antioxidant glow facial. Guests can also choose from three in-room spa offerings -– including one for kids –- which can be ordered up right from the in-room iPad. Be sure to book your appointments early, as they do fill up! 

     In short, The Arrabelle does everything possible to make sure guests can wake up feeling refreshed and recharged in order to make the most of their vacation!

http://arrabelle.rockresorts.com

The Limelight Hotel

Nestled in the heart of the white River National Forest, Aspen is the epitome of luxury when it comes to Colorado mountain towns. Although originally founded as a small mining village, Aspen has grown to become the fabulous resort town it is today, while still remaining true to its rustic charm and elegance. A stay at the downtown Limelight Hotel will place you perfectly in the center of adventure headquarters, while still letting you feel wonderfully pampered and relaxed.

Skiing on a sunny day at Aspen Highlands
Skiing on a sunny day at Aspen Highlands

     The Limelight Hotel is an eco-friendly resort at the base of Aspen Mountain, but not the typical ski chalet you might think. There are no wooden beams or bear-skin rugs; instead, you’ll find an array of modern decor, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, shiny furniture, and bright orange accents. The building is an art piece in itself, with spacious seating and lookouts to take in the wonderful world outside. For these reasons, the Limelight attracts an eclectic and adventurous clientele – you can’t get more hip than this.

     With recently updated amenities, the guest rooms at the Limelight are full of things you will love: king-sized beds, flatscreen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and plush robes. The hotel also features an outdoor pool, two hot tubs, a rooftop terrace, a lobby fireplace, and a lounge with live music. A resort fee covers shuttle service, use of the fitness center, ski lockers and continental breakfast. However, be careful not to spend too much time basking in this modern comfort, for the world outside is probably what you came for!

     At the Limelight, there is a certain emphasis on “Limelightitude”, that is, the attitude of saying ‘yes’ to adventure, lightening up, and enjoying the present. In Aspen, you are smack in the middle of a Mother Nature masterpiece, and there is an entire bucket list of things to do.

     During the fall, a full array of autumn colors is on display, bringing many so-called “leaf peepers” to the area (visitors who come specifically to look at the changing leaves). Regardless of your outdoor ambitions, you are sure to find something that will excite you. From rafting along the Roaring Fork River, to rock-climbing near the Maroon Bells, hot-air ballooning to paragliding, the fresh air and gorgeous natural surroundings create the perfect place to get outside and explore, all within steps of the Limelight.

  In the winter, Aspen comes alive in the form of a snow globe, the beautiful scenery and open spaces lending themselves to be the focus of cold-weather recreation.  The Limelight is pleased to offer guests complimentary snowshoe tours, taking you along mountain streams, over ridgelines, and through valleys, while learning about mountain ecology and environment. Cross-country skiing, and of course, downhill skiing, also are popular activities for tourists and locals alike. It is no wonder that “I came to Aspen for the winter, but stayed for the summer” is a popular saying among those who have lived in town for a while. 

     After a long day on the mountain, what better way to enjoy the afternoon than relaxing in the Limelight Lounge, indulging in well-earned, free cookies and a new specialty hot chocolate bar. Mouths start watering just thinking about it.

     As a vibrant and lively music town, keep an eye on the Limelight’s website for information regarding upcoming events. Some highlights this fall and winter include cruiser bike adventures, “Paint N Wine” nights, the annual Christmas Tree lighting, and the return of the ESPN Winter X Games come January!

https://www.limelighthotel.com

Omni Interlocken Resort

The award-winning Omni Interlocken Resort  is a hotel, golf club, and spa located in beautiful Broomfield, Colorado – a suburb of Denver with a Rocky Mountain backdrop. Named one of the top 10 best hotels for families by Child magazine, the Omni Interlocken Resort is the ideal place to stay for a family vacation or a business trip.

     With its striking scenery and a challenging 27-hole championship golf course, this property welcomes you to a retreat into modern luxury. Settled just outside the nearby college town of Boulder, this year-round Colorado hotel offers a wealth of onsite pleasures, as well as offsite adventures.

     Golfers will love the picturesque golf course, with its striking scenery and more than 400 feet of elevation changes. Designed by Graham & Panks International, (a partnership between David Graham, 1981 U.S. Open Champion and PGA Senior Tour player, and Gary Panks), Omni Interlocken Golf Course was ranked third in the “Best Resort Courses of Colorado” survey. The course consists of three individual regulation nine-hole courses – Eldorado, Vista and Sunshine.

     Spa enthusiasts can escape into a world of relaxation at the on-site Mokara Spa, complete with a jacuzzi and full range of treatments for both men and women. Downstairs, you will find two resort-style pools and a whirlpool, surrounded by mountain greenery and gentle waterfalls. Unlike many other pools in Colorado, the pool at Omni is open year-round, 24 hours a day. This means more time lounging, less time stressing. As you meander around the lush grounds, views of the nearby Flatirons mountain range provide a breathtaking background.

     Foodies will enjoy dining at one of the delicious restaurants on the property, whether it be in the hotel, near the pool, or at the golf club. Of special note is the Meritage restaurant, a casually elegant atmosphere that features an expansive menu and an “Art of Breakfast” buffet. The assortment of exquisitely prepared local cuisine creates flavorful meals with perfectly paired wines. If you would rather enjoy delicious cuisine in the privacy of your room, 24-hour guest room dining also is available.

     Children will be happy to learn of the special kid’s bags they will receive upon check-in, complete with books and board games for added entertainment during the day. Families are encouraged to attend the weekly dive-in movie shown at the outdoor swimming pools. While lounging poolside – or even inside the pool – guests enjoy complimentary popcorn while they watch a movie on the specially constructed big screen. Be sure not to miss out on the milk and cookies offered in the lobby!

     On top of all of this, the Broomfield location of Omni provides perfect access to nearby hiking and biking trails, as well as skiing and shopping. Whether your day trip takes you to an outdoor patio in Boulder, up to Eldora Ski Resort, through Estes Park or even further into the Rocky Mountains, the luxury accommodations at Omni Interlocken Resort are sure to make your vacation memorable.

https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/denver-interlocken

Luxury in the Rockies

in Front Range Hotels & Resorts/Hotels & Resorts/Mountain Hotels & Resorts by

Sophisticated travelers know that when it comes to a great hotel, experience goes hand-in-hand with top-of-the-line accommodations and superior customer service. Here we bring you the inside track on some of our favorite Colorado resorts.

By Ellen Gray

Beaver Run

If you’re looking for a getaway that is sheer fun, you need look no further than the fabulous Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. More than a hotel, this is a resort that is always bustling with activity, yet the setting is serene and the scenery stunning.

Whether you’re staying at this mountain paradise for fun or for business, you’re going to find it all – proximity to scenic hiking, great skiing and winter sports; swimming, tennis and pampering at the spa – in short, anything you can dream, you will find at Beaver Run. And the best part is, 008-2014 BR Hot Tuball the fantastic amenities are located under one roof, so getting around is never an issue!

     Travelers who have stayed at the resort come back time and again because this is truly a one-of-a-kind getaway that has it all – the world-class Breckenridge ski area on one side of the property and the charming town of Breckenridge on the other. And that’s what we love … location, location, location!

     The historic town of Breckenridge is actually a genuine old mining town, and its personality shines through at every turn. From unique bars and restaurants to local shops, this is one fun town that is a local’s favorite.

     But back to Beaver Run. The resort is nestled at the bottom of Peak 9 at the base of the Beaver Run Super Chair, and access to top-notch skiing, hiking and biking is steps away. The Base 9 Bar off the lobby is sheer fun, with pool tables, darts, TVs and a popular craft beer program. The rooms are open and contemporary with a mountain flair, and the feel is vastly different from a hotel. Because this is operated as a condo/hotel, each room is a bit unique and accommodations run the gamut from a single standard room to a studio with efficiency kitchen to spacious four-bedroom condos.

     The spa is full-service with all the bells and whistles, and there are pools, tennis, hot tubs and even an arcade and indoor mini-golf on property. Truly anall-around experience for both business and pleasure travelers!

Beaverrun.com

Hotel Boulderado

For decades, the Hotel Boulderado has held a special place in the hearts of Coloradoans, whether they came to know it as a student at the University of Colorado, a transplant to the eclectic city, or a local who grew up in the presence of this well-known icon. Easily recognizable for its distinctive Victorian architecture, this historic hotel recently underwent a substantial renovation that artfully melds past and present.

 Boulderado-031 (1)    Opened in 1909, the Hotel Boulderado has played host to an impressive array of personalities, including conservationist Enos Mills, actors Ethel Barrymore and Douglas Fairbanks, lawyer Clarence Darrow, poet Robert Frost, and Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan. Today the hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a City of Boulder landmark.

     The distinctive building has lost none of its charm, and today represents a unique combination of Old-World dignity beautifully intermingled with contemporary sophistication and amenities. The result is a one-of-a-kind experience, where past and present conjure up memories of the good old days, and adventures that are yet to come.

     The hotel’s elegant Victorian-inspired rooms boast large windows, with stunning views of downtown Boulder, the foothills and the majestic Boulder Flatirons. The newly updated rooms feature a color palette of warm greys, crisp linen whites, rich blues and luxurious camel, complemented by nickel and brass and a touch of leather. Custom millwork handcrafted by local craftsmen adorns the bathroom vanities, and locally sourced artwork hangs in tandem with some of the hotel’s original historical pieces.

     Of particular note is the Presidential Suite, an elegantly appointed large corner suite that boasts living and dining area, premium linens, plush robes, elegant bath and (a personal favorite), gourmet chocolates. All this plus knockout views of the city and the mountains!

     Business travelers will appreciate the newly renovated meeting and event spaces, which were redesigned and updated to offer a more upscale and inviting environment.  Wood-paneled wainscot and traditional moldings were added to the 3,000-square-foot ballroom, and new touches were put into place in the executive boardroom.

     Foodies will love the hotel’s three great dining options, which include Spruce Farm & Fish Restaurant, Corner Bar Restaurant and License 1 Bar. All three are run by Concept Restaurants, Inc., one of Colorado’s most-respected and established restaurant groups.

     Just steps from the fun and fabulous Pearl Street Mall, the “place to be in Boulder,” the Hotel Boulderado is minutes away from great shopping, dining, hiking and sightseeing. This is a jewel that has stood the test of time.

Boulderado.comCOL - Fall Exterior 2

Hotel Columbia

The Hotel Columbia may be one of Telluride’s best-kept secrets. Located just 17 steps from the Gondola, which is the free transportation system between the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village, this utterly charming boutique hotel is as unique as it is irresistible. For guests who don’t want to take the Gondola, the hotel is located just two blocks from Main Street and complimentary cruisers are always available.

     Each room is original in décor, design and configuration, and it’s rare for a guest to depart without planning a return stay! Standard rooms and suites may include King beds with pillow-top mattresses and goose down comforters, travertine bathrooms with walk-in showers, fireplaces, balconies, kitchenettes and always a great view. If you’re really in the mood to splurge, consider taking a penthouse suite, replete with a beautiful fireplace in an oversized living room, full kitchen and dining area, spacious baths with travertine-tiled floors, heated towel racks, and oversized glass and travertine shower with rain showerheads. Each of the penthouse’s three rooms has a private bath; two of the rooms have gas fireplaces.

     Staff are all local to the area and highly passionate about the property. In fact, their first priority is to ensure guests have a memorable experience at both the hotel and in the town of Telluride. Prior to their arrival, guests receive a vacation planner which enables the concierge to customize a unique experience, including activities, welcome amenities and dinner reservations. The intimate size of the hotel enables staff to go well beyond the services of a larger hotel or resort, and to treat each guest as family.

     Each morning, guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary European hot breakfast in the COSMOpolitan dining room, which as hailed as “the best breakfast buffet in town.” In-room dining is always an option, and wine aficionados will love the private wine vault, which exudes old-world ambience and is perfect for special occasions.

Columbiatelluride.com

Garden of the Gods Club and Resort

Kissing Camels Club West Course #3

In the thriving city of Colorado Springs, a luxury golf resort beckons visitors who come as much for the setting as for the incredible amenities. Garden of the Gods Club and Resort sits high atop a mesa, and guests never tire of the incredible views of snow-capped Pikes Peak and the natural red rock formation of the Garden of the Gods National Landmark. It’s nature at its finest, and its truly something to behold.

     After it opened in 1951, the Garden of the Gods Club became an exclusive retreat for Hollywood’s elite and a host of public figures, including Robert Mitchum, Claudette Colbert, Gene Autry, John Wayne and Walt Disney. Golf was added in 1961, and the resort soon became a home to a variety of tournaments.

     The resort’s 69 guest rooms and suites all offer up spectacular views, and golfers will love playing on the 27-hole Kissing Camels Golf Course. There’s also workout facilities, tennis courts, a rec center with swimming pool, toddler pool, children’s splash park and playground, and a beautiful infinity adult pool.

     Every guest room includes a private balcony or patio, large powder rooms and closets, Gilchrist & Soames toiletries, plasma TVs and high-speed Internet. The majority of the rooms were recently renovated, and were redesigned with beautifully appointed furnishings and updated technology. The historic South Patio King and Double rooms were kept intact, and offer stunning views of the South Patio lawn. The North Club and South Club King and Queen rooms feature a fireplace, flat-screen TV, and oversized dressing area and walk-in closets, while the Master Suites feature wet bar, spacious sitting area,

large powder rooms with double vanities, oversized tubs and separate shower.

     Feel like hitting the links? The championship Kissing Camels golf course, designed by J. Press Maxwell and Mark Rathert, features bunkered greens, towering pines and lush mountain landscaping. The 50-year-old course spans more than 7,000 yards per 18 holes and is open only to private members and guests staying at the resort.

Gardenofthegodsclub.com

Cuba: Opening Up a Hidden Land

in Hotels & Resorts/Uncategorized by

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Vacationing in Cuba could soon become a reality. Here’s what Americans need to know.

By Thomas Forrister and Angela Youngman

Amysterious country that has been closed to Americans for over 50 years could soon be open for travel. In a historic move, President Barack Obama has opened diplomatic relations and begun loosening travel sanctions for Americans visiting Cuba.

What’s more, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded six domestic airlines to begin scheduled air service to Cuba from five U.S. cities. While service to Havana is currently off limits, Cuba’s nine international airports in other cities will be open for business. Most authorized airlines plan to begin their services in the fall and winter of 2016 and 2017, with tickets likely available much sooner.

But don’t rush to buy a plane ticket – you could find yourself prevented from boarding the plane. You need permission from the U.S. and Cuba to travel. Each approved airline must follow the laws and regulations still in place regarding travel from the U.S. to Cuba. Always check with the carrier directly if you’re thinking of buying a ticket. The six approved carriers are: American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines. So far, travelers will be able to fly to one of Cuba’s nine approved airports from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Philadelphia. 90 daily round trips are approved, with more to come if Havana flights are later allowed. The decision on flights to Havana will be announced later this summer.

So, what are the travel limitations, and how should you navigate them? General tourism to Cuba is strictly prohibited; and travel is limited to specific categories with individual and group tourism still banned. The outcome of the next presidential election may determine how fast this situation changes – whether travel restrictions will continue to loosen, or whether the airline services will cease due to the current non-legally binding arrangement.

Currently, travel is limited to 12 categories, including religious, educational, journalistic or cultural visits. Family visits for Cuban Americans are easier to arrange, but you have to use agencies approved by the U.S. Treasury. Every U.S. citizen needs a visa to enter Cuba. Bringing back $400 worth of Cuban goods is allowed as long as it is for personal use, with just $100 accounting for alcohol and tobacco. Travelers from the U.S. should also pay in cash for expenses while on the island, using the Cuban peso– while U.S. debit and credit cards are legal, they do not yet function in Cuba. Visitors must also keep records and travel receipts for up to five years after returning home.

Despite all of the restrictions, many Americans are optimistic. A U.S. traveler to Cuba no longer needs a specialized license from the government to go, as long as the traveler fits one of the 12 categories – one only needs a general license, which is not a piece of paper, but more or less an honor-based presumption. And with a wide array of categories, travelers are happy to schedule educational and cultural excursions – meeting with Cuban people, visiting historic museums and exhibitions – as main events in their itineraries. However, it is still tricky to travel to Cuba as an individual, so your best option for traveling legally is to go as part of a small guided trip tailored to your interests – authorized travel agencies can help you navigate the limitations smoothly and arrange people-to-people interactions so that you need only relax and enjoy your stay.

So what can you expect to find when visiting Cuba? This is a land that to some extent is still in a time warp. The pace of life is much slower. Technology and property development have only just begun to affect the Cuban landscape.  You can take private tours of Havana in a 1950s Chevy without feeling out of place.

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Only 90 miles from Miami, Cuba was once the playground for the rich and famous, and U.S. citizens swarmed to the island. Organized crime even set its sights on the casinos and hotels, with the likes of leading mob bosses Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano. Havana was a haven for mobsters under the Batista regime, which profited from the extensive fees the crime lords paid for the privilege of running casinos. The American Mafia’s infamous Havana Conference in 1946 ran under the cover of a gala party with singer Frank Sinatra as its entertainment. Others in attendance included Sam Giancana, Albert “The Mad Hatter” Anastasia, Carlos Marcello and the Fischetti brothers, who delivered a suitcase containing $2 million in cash to Luciano.

In 1959, when then Prime Minister Fidel Castro gained power, Castro abolished gambling in Cuba and sent the Mafia scrambling.

Now, among other possibilities should the U.S. and Cuba relations succeed, Cuba could see a return to U.S. executive-owned casinos – all legal, of course!

“The most beautiful land human eyes have ever seen,” is how Christopher Columbus described Cuba when landing on its shores for the first time in 1492. Little has changed since then. Many of the beaches and mountainous, forested interiors would be instantly recognizable. This is a land of incredible beauty, of crystal clear waters and sun-drenched beaches, of massive green rivers winding through forests to quiet beaches covered in sand of every color from pale pink to sparkling black. This is a tropical paradise perfect for romantic celebrations, relaxing vacations, as well as adventurous exploration.

Cuba is a land of contrasts, from the tropical rain forest of the Sagua-Barocoa Mountains to the Zapata Peninsula, which is the largest wetland in the Antilles. The Cays house the second-largest coral reef in the world, and at Cayo Largo del Sur, one of the most stunning sights of the natural world can be seen when hundreds of turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. There are miles of shimmering beaches protected by coral reefs.

At night, the historic cities and towns of Cuba come alive with music and dance. There are clubs, cabarets and street side salsas. Cuba’s capital city, Havana, is the largest city in the Caribbean, possessing a stunning historic neighborhood of Vieja Habana complete with castles, cathedrals and mansions. Numerous resorts can be found mainly within the Varadero, Jardines del Rey and Herradua Keys areas. Most hotels are owned by the Cuban government, or by overseas businesses such as Spanish resort groups.

Located on a long narrow peninsula stretching out into the Caribbean, Varadero has been attracting visitors (including Al Capone!)  since the 1870s. The soft, white sandy beaches are fringed with palm trees, and the azure blue sea perfect for scuba diving into stalagmite caves.

Royal Service Paradisus Varadero is one of the most luxurious hotels in the area. The stylish Hispanic architecture has its own special charm, with its canopy-edged beds and cream-and-brown décor with subtle splashes of color creating an oasis of tranquility. Choose the Royal Service option for the services of a personal butler and a private pool. When dining, guests are spoiled for choice since the restaurants cook up a plethora of a la carte cuisines from Cuban to Italian, Mexican to Japanese.

Sited directly opposite the expansive Varadero beach, the Iberostar Varadero is characterized by low-slung, tropical Cuban-styled buildings. The bright sunny interior décor in yellows, apricots and terracottas reflect the lively Caribbean style. Take a dance class; try your skills at archery, horseback riding, waterskiing or golf. Dine a la carte on gourmet food, sample Cuban delicacies, sushi, burgers or dishes from around the world. At night, enjoy the music of live bands, dance in the disco or enjoy a spectacular show

or two.

Over on Cuba’s North Coast, the Jardines del Rey archipelago is the site of the Meliá Buenavista. An eco-friendly, adults-only resort, it offers total luxury, impeccable service and exclusivity. Even the three beaches are exclusive to the resort. Each elegant suite is set within pretty, two story bungalows built on stilts with views over the beach, garden or pools. Paintings and prints by prestigious Cuban artist, Zaida del Rio, adorn the walls of the Hispanic-styled buildings.

The crystalline waters and sparkling white beach of the Cayo Ensenachos, part of the Herradua Keys, are among the most beautiful in Cuba. These are quiet, uncrowded beaches surrounded by stunning scenery. Iberostar Ensenachos is a luxury resort built in a colonial style of architecture. The welcoming, sophisticated décor is beautifully cool and fresh with hints of blue and green enhancing the predominant white and cream. Balconies and terraces provide views across the gardens and sea. As dusk draws in, the charming pool area with its grand staircases becomes a fairytale setting, perfect for a romantic evening.

Take a trip from Cayo Ensenachos to discover the other Cuban Keys. Roads link the network of islands, allowing visitors to explore the forests and hidden beaches. Swim with dolphins at Cayo Santa Maria, go sailing, or relax with a camchánchara made from eau-de-vie, honey, lemon and mint at La Estrella.

A paradise island, Cuba is a perfect destination for relaxation and fun, where sports and exploration on land and sea offer superb experiences for everyone – once the restrictions are fully lifted!

Home Away From Home

in Front Range Hotels & Resorts/Hotels & Resorts by

One-Bedroom Suite

At the JW Marriott Cherry Creek  

By Monica Parpal Stockbridge

You may already know a thing or two about the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek. It’s an urban conference center, a modern social hub, and a comfortable haven in the heart of one of Denver’s most walkable neighborhoods.

     Indeed, its excellence is no secret. The hotel was voted one of the “Best Hotels in the West” in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2014 Reader’s Choice poll, and at a glance it’s easy to see why. The hotel offers 8,400 square feet of meeting space, including the 3,150-square-foot Grand Ballroom and the recently renovated Fireside event space — complete with a 2,400-square-foot terrace, outdoor fire pits, and lounge seating — perfect for weddings, mitzvahs, and other private events year-round.

     The JW Marriott has all the luxury amenities you’d expect. We needn’t tell you about the 24-hour room service, the modern fitness center, or the adjacent full-service spa and salon at Antoine du Chez. Or that the $5 million renovation in 2011 elevated all 196 guest rooms to a luxurious new standard. Or even that the recent Griffin View Executive Lounge serves gourmet breakfast, snacks, and happy hour appetizers to guests staying in rooms on the top two Concierge Floors.

     What we will tell you is that there’s so much more to the JW Marriott than meets the eye. And that it’s these unexpected attributes that we love most — the parts that truly speak to its Denver roots and continuous evolution.

SH ladies   

COMFORT FOOD ABOUNDS AT SECOND HOME KITCHEN + BAR

This time of year, we start craving summery cocktails on the patio. And heck, we’re always jonesing for some southern fried comfort food. Or maybe you’re looking for a spot to bring the whole family for brunch. Regardless of your motivation, Second Home Kitchen +  Bar from Sage Restaurant Group has you covered.

     Enter the dining room through the bar to a world of wood, stone, and gleaming golden chandeliers. The open kitchen adds a vibrancy to the dining room and red market umbrellas shade the chic outdoor patio adjacent to the Fireside event space.

     Breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner are served every day, with upscale but approachable menu items categorized into shareables, salads, seasonal dishes, and stick-to-your-ribs home favorites. Second Home is probably best known for its stellar Chicken + Waffles served with Stranahan’s whiskey maple syrup. It’s also well-loved for its Second Home Burger with 7x Colorado Wagyu beef, Haystack Mountain green chile, jack cheese, and chipotle mayo.

     Certain menu items will change seasonally, and the menu currently features the locally inspired Colorado Lamb Barbacoa with crisp-fried plantains and Mexican rice, and the Alamosa Striped Bass with spring vegetables, tomatoes, and mushrooms in a delicate saffron and fennel broth.

     Second Home Kitchen also serves different “Daily Dish” specials, including smoked barbecue beef brisket on Wednesdays and a Friday fish fry with freshly shucked oysters, juicy shrimp and meaty mahi mahi. Second Home is particularly proud of the fresh catch program, focused on sustainable seafood delivered to their kitchen within 36 hours of the catch.

     Of course, the bar menu leaves little to be desired with a mix of classic and modern cocktails, local craft brews, and a wide selection of wines (as evidenced by the modish wine wall in the far end of the dining room). General Manger Brandon Wilson recommends the Sidekick Margarita (Herradura Silver, Cointreau, agave nectar, lime, passionfruit purée, and a dash of chipotle pepper) and the Maserati (Woodford Reserve Rye, Sombra Mescal, yuzu, maple, and ginger beer).

Second Home’s motto is “like a big hug at the end of a long day,” so go ahead and let yourself fall into their embrace. And order another cocktail while you’re at it.

A FAMILY FRIENDLY RETREAT IN THE CITY

Although set in an upscale, urban environment, the JW Marriott is surprisingly family friendly. That goes for fur babies, too; well-behaved dogs are welcome inside the hotel and guest rooms. The hotel rolled out new many new kid-centric amenities last summer, like kid-sized terry robes, child-friendly in-room dining options, and even JW Marriott Denver Coloring & Activity books with scavenger hunts, coloring pages, and crayons.

     Keep reading, parents. Second Home Kitchen + Bar also offers Pajama Brunch every Sunday when kids under eight eat free — if they wear their PJs. The best part? You can leave them to enjoy supervised movies and activities while you dine in an adjacent room, lingering over leisurely breakfast luxuries like Eggs Benedict, Berry Pancakes, Challah French Toast, or Mediterranean Frittata — and even a mimosa or two.

     What’s more, families can now enjoy Sunday Game Night from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. every Sunday at Second Home Kitchen + Bar, complete with family-style appetizers and entrées alongside board games and good old-fashioned family fun.

JW Lobby 2016

AN ENVIABLE LOCATION IN CHERRY CREEK

All these elements make the hotel a welcome retreat to enjoy any day, but the location in the heart of Cherry Creek makes it an attractive home base for exploring the area. After all, Cherry Creek is a shopper’s paradise with more than 320 shops and boutiques all within a few blocks.

     Not a shopaholic? Don’t worry — other

area attractions are just a few minutes’ drive, like the Denver Art Museum, Denver Center for Performing Arts, Denver Zoo, and downtown, each within a three-mile radius. Plus, the 46th Annual Cherry Creek North Sidewalk Sale (on July 14th) and 8th Annual Cherry Creek North Food & Wine event (on August 13th) are prime opportunities for all-day enjoyment.

     Even if you’ve stayed at a Marriott before, the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek is in a league of its own. This summer, take some time to explore all the possibilities — whether you’re staying the night or not.


Monica Parpal Stockbridge
Monica Stockbridge is a Denver-based writer and editor who has covered the food and dining scene for publications like DiningOut magazine and Moon travel guidebooks. As a contributing writer for Colorado Hotel Magazine, Monica writes chef profiles and hotel stories that reveal inspiring mile-high experiences for visitors and locals alike.

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