The Definitive Guide to Denver and Colorado

The Peaks


in Hotels & Resorts/Mountain Hotels & Resorts by

Rocky Mountain resorts offer much more than rooms with a view.

Majestic snow-covered mountains rearing high into the sky, brilliant gold aspen leaves shimmering against contrasting white trunks on dense forested slopes, and sunlit, rushing rivers cascading into wildflower meadows nestled within valleys—the setting must be Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Surrounded by this stunning scenery, the resorts of Aspen, Vail and Telluride offer perfect destinations for the adventurous seeking unmatched outdoor experiences.

Exhilarating days spent hiking, biking or trekking may be interspersed with first-class games of golf or shopping among high-end boutiques selling designer brands from Prada to Gucci. When the sun sinks behind the peaks, a lively nightlife sparkles with a variety of theater performances, concerts and ballet.

As winter approaches, Aspen and Vail become the centers of the best skiing and après ski in the world. With more than 5,000 acres of skiing trails and cross-country skiing, this area is perfect for all winter sports enthusiasts, both novices and experts. Each pretty alpine-style village offers stunning accommodations that match the breathtaking outdoor views.

colorado-cool1At The Sebastian, guests may experience total recovery in a mountain-view pool, complete with steaming hot tubs, then follow the treat with a delectable dining experience. Rich décor, complete with fine paintings, is characteristic throughout the hotel. Bedrooms combine opulence with sleek contemporary style, and only the finest luxury amenities are provided; 400-thread Egyptian cotton sheets ensure a perfect night’s sleep. Intimate and elegant, the accommodation is a home away from home.

The Library holds an interesting selection of books that invite leisurely browsing. The Frost bar offers an impressive choice in spirits; guests may choose from among the signature Scotch collection, sleek hand-crafted cocktails, and a variety of microbrew ales. Relax and socialize over tapas and wine, or crudo or bistro fare in Leonora before attending a family celebration dinner in the private dining room.

In winter, the Sebastian’s base camp provides ski-in/ski-out access from Gondola One on Vail Mountain. Private ski valets ensure each transition is smooth, enabling guests to spend maximum time on the slopes.

Legends of the Bachelors add a historical dimension to the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch resort. Seven miners arrived here in the early 1900s—John Anderson, ‘Gundy’ Berg, Ed Howard, Charley Mays, John Mertz, Ferdinand Smith and Carrothers, who history records only by his last name—and stayed until the Great Depression. Meeting rooms are named for the miners, and rock-lined walls of the Grotto in Bachelor Gulch Spa evoke the caves found throughout the Rocky Mountains, places the Bachelors would have known well. Today, the wagging tail of Bachelor, the hotel’s St. Bernard ambassador, frequently greets visitors relaxing in front of glowing fires in the Great Room.

Stylish and imposing, the Ritz Carlton is one of the loveliest hotels in the area. Set on a hillside close to Beaver Creek Mountain with stunning views across Vail Valley, the Ritz Carlton evokes alpine charm. The beauty of the surrounding landscape is echoed in the interior décor; natural wood and stone combine with luxurious designer textiles and upholstery to create an instantly relaxing environment in which graceful blues, browns and beiges predominate. Each room boasts spectacular views of either the Eagle River Valley or Beaver Creek Mountain.

Soak away aches of the day in a sumptuous marble bathroom, enjoy gourmet in-room coffee and tea, or be pampered in a spa treatment or sauna.

Buffalo’s restaurant features seasonal dishes accompanied by one of the many local craft beers. At Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, guests may explore designer cocktails and indulge in fine dining at W. The adults-only Bachelors Lounge offers imported cigars from around the world, signature cocktails and a sommelier-crafted wine list par excellence.

In this area, guests can ski from village to village in winter and have ski-in/ski-out access to more than 1,800 acres of pristine snow-covered slopes. White-glove services for skiers include a ski concierge and direct access to the Bachelor Gulch Express high-speed quad chairlift, situated only a few minutes from the hotel.

At other times of the year, trail-riding on sure-footed horses offers full immersion in the spectacular scenery. The Ritz Carlton enjoys an exclusive partnership with Red Sky Golf Club, home to some of Colorado’s highest rated golf courses.

Children can enjoy the Bachelor Gulch Youth Spa program and the Ritz Kids scheme. In winter, a ski nanny is available to give mom and dad much-needed space. Four-footed friends are welcome, and a pampering service includes doggie massages, VIP packs and even Furry Paw Fridays, in which man’s best friend enjoys canine fun in the sun.

Aspen’s Hotel Jerome defines elegance, with its imposing Old World splendor, distinctive, historic red brick expanse and understated luxury. Its location right in the heart of town ensures guests are only steps away from the finest shopping. Often described as Aspen’s crown jewel, the hotel dates back to the 1880s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Chairs in the lounge beckon guests after a full day exploring the mountains. The characteristic leather and tartan, dark woods and sparkling linen can be found throughout the hotel. Interesting touches include mini-bars designed as leather campaign chests and burnished leather bed frames. Walk-in showers, oversize baths and marble surrounds are found in every bathroom, together with custom-blended bath products. Cashmere curtains and cubist-inspired carpets complete the décor.

In recognition of the fine quality of locally produced art, unique pieces by local artists are displayed on the walls, as are reproductions of archival pieces from the Aspen Historical Society’s collection, including a singularly impressive image of a Ute Indian chief.

Hand-stitched leather chairs, traditional furnishings and warm hardwood flooring create the perfect ambiance for dining and relaxing each evening. Inspired by local traditions and culture, the unique Food of Place series was created exclusively for hotel guests.

In contrast, the iconic J Bar offers an authentic, Old-West saloon feel, complete with burgers and beer, lobster Cobb or Aspen Crud. Rugged leather furniture conveys a sense of timelessness, and the Chippendale chinoiserie bar original to the hotel remains in use.

Concierge services provide access to unexpected treats, such as a twilight husky sledding excursion in which dogs hurtle down the slopes, pulling the adventuresome on a sled through the tranquil, snowy countryside.

The Viceroy Snowmass is among the newest resorts in the area and is proving highly popular. Well-situated to enable skiers access to four mountains—Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk—The Viceroy is close to the Elk Camp gondola and Village Express and Assay Hill chairlifts.

Sleek, elegant, sophisticated interior décor evokes a fresh, warm and welcoming atmosphere. Kitchens in each room are fully stocked with designer tableware, and the comfortable, serene bedrooms are the brainchild of renowned interior designer Jean-Michel Gathy.

Wonderful mountain or town views are visible from each room, including the dining room, which overlooks spectacular mountains. Relax in the Ute Indian-inspired Wellness Spa, try out the well-equipped fitness center or sip a drink on the year-round pool terrace.

The Viceroy also prides itself on its environmentally friendly policies, as it seeks to stay at the forefront of sustainable hospitality. A state-of-the-art Electrolyser system creates the hotel’s own cleaning products, ensuring air is healthy, clean and fresh throughout. Combined with signature luxury accommodations designed to exceed all expectations, the Viceroy Snowmass is a hotel for the 21st century.

Recently renovated in chic, natural-hued Aspen Modern, Little Nell is the sole 5-star, 5-diamond resort in Aspen. Here, a palette of cream, blue and chocolate creates a serene, calm environment, and down-filled sofas and lounge chairs tempt guests to stop and stay awhile. Many of the rooms boast panoramic views of the mountains, and suites offer heated marble floors and walls, steam showers and Jacuzzi soaking tubs. Glowing fires in fireplaces provide welcoming warmth after a cold day out on the mountains.

The town is right at Little Nell’s front door, making it easy for guests to enjoy a shopping spree amid high-end boutiques or take in an evening’s entertainment. Visitors may dine in comfort at the hotel’s award-winning Element 47 restaurant, which features alpine cuisine infused with seasonal ingredients. The unusual glass wine wall echoes the scale of the award-winning wine list. Those who prefer casual fine dining will enjoy Ajax Tavern, the ultimate après-ski venue with a pretty mountainside patio.

Regardless of the time of the year, Little Nell has much to offer visitors. During the summer, stargazing jeep tours are led by an astronomy expert, under whose supervision guests can enjoy a late-night picnic in the mountains, then discover the sky’s jewels viewed through state-of-the-art binoculars.

Set on Telluride Mountain amid the San Juan peaks, Hotel Telluride is sited within the historic community that shares its name. A quaint 19th-century silver-mining town, Telluride offers Victorian charm amid awe-inspiring, soaring peaks perfect for skiing, climbing and outdoor activities.

Each room at Hotel Telluride boasts its own special, breathtaking mountain view from the balcony or patio. Windows may be opened to enjoy the fresh mountain air, or guests may adjust room temperature using the individual climate-control system found in each room. Enjoy spacious bathrooms with large tubs and marble surrounds before settling down to sleep on custom-embroidered linens and down pillows. Each suite incorporates a gas fireplace and a wet bar. Eye-catching original artwork hangs on the walls, creating a focal point for each room. Outdoor hot tubs, a lovely sun deck and a fully equipped fitness center make this an ideal place to rest and reinvigorate.

Time to dine? The all-pervading scent of fresh-baked cookies wafts from the kitchen throughout the day, keeping appetites whetted. Unique among all the Telluride restaurants, the Nook offers casual American cuisine in a lodge setting. Here, mom and dad can enjoy homemade tavern fare made from fresh, local ingredients while youngsters choose from among kid-friendly selections on the diverse children’s menu. From cozy meals to family celebrations, the Nook is ready to meet a variety of culinary needs.

Each pet guest receives its own personalized pet welcome on the front desk’s doggie chalkboard, a plush dog bed and a special pet tag that includes the hotel’s phone number, in case Fido can’t find his way home.

With an annual average of 300 inches of snow, Telluride boasts more than 1,700 acres of ideal skiing terrain perfect for cross-country or downhill skiing. At 4.6 miles long, the Galloping Goose is the longest of the ski runs in the area. During other times of the year, guests enjoy camping, hiking, jeeping and world-famous music festivals.

The Peaks Resort and Spa stars as one of the most relaxing resorts in the area. Here, guests may find privacy in rustic, yet chic, private cabins and condos or enjoy socializing in the luxurious hotel. Spacious rooms decorated in classic white, cream and chocolate décor feature opulent wood furniture. Each room features a large seating area with a queen-sized sofa sleeper and two full-size baths.

Guests are in for a special treat at Peaks Palmyra, where magnificent mountain views enhance gourmet, innovative cuisine prepared by the finest chefs; the restaurant’s emphasis on fine dining includes organic, regional and international flavors. For quick meals, the Steaming Bean coffee house is perfect, with its grab-and-go menu of light fare. Live music is performed most nights.

Lovers of the links may enjoy privileges at The Telluride Golf Club. Perched 9,500 ft. above sea level, the club is one of the highest in the world, and mountains surround the 18-hole course. For a different sports experience, try heli-skiing, a specialty of the hotel.

Colorado’s largest spa, The Spa at The Peaks, offers an extensive range of treatments, cardio machines, group fitness classes, dry saunas, Roman tubs, steam rooms and an oxygen lounge. The hotel’s fantastic, two-level fitness center also includes heated pools. Complete the experience with a manicure, pedicure and visit to the hair salon.

Pets are welcome at the Peaks Resort, where an on-site doggy spa awaits pampered pooches and all rooms are dog-friendly. National Geographic has granted the resort its special Paw of Approval recognition. This pet-friendly culture is found throughout the town of Telluride, which provides numerous special Puppy Parking spots where dogs can chill out in comfort. In addition, gondalas include cabins exclusively for pets.

As if the views alone are not enough, the charming ambience of The Fairmont Heritage Place, Franz Klammer Lodge is a don’t miss for Telluride visitors. This captivating lodge seamlessly combines a memorable residential experience with the personal and dedicated staff and amenities found only in the best luxury hotels. The Lodge is ideally located in the heart of Mountain Village, just steps away from the base of the world-class ski resort and the complimentary Gondola that connects the town of Telluride with Mountain Village.

Named after famed Austrian ski champ Franz Klammer, the lodge first opened in 1996 as Colorado’s first private residence club. Today, the pristine setting in a glacially carved valley surrounded by the San Juan Mountains is a must-see for anyone craving a memorable stay in a winter playground.

colorado-cool3An extensive $3 million refresh of the residences, Club Room and Fitness Center was recently completed, and today the unique property reflects the colors, textures and beauty of the region. The result is a fresh mountain feel with a contemporary vibe that guests are raving about. Each beautifully appointed two- or three-bedroom residence offers a fully equipped kitchen, living and dining area, washer and dryer, oversized bathrooms and a private balcony.  Lodge amenities include complimentary transportation to and from Montrose and Telluride airports, complimentary valet parking, 24-hour fitness center, indoor/outdoor pool, game room, business center and the popular — but private — Himmel Spa.

The European-style spa provides an exotic retreat, with services and treatments that will revitalize the body and nourish the spirit. The more adventurous can take advantage of everything Telluride — from downhill skiing or snowboarding, to dog sled tours, ice climbing, sledding and tubing, snowmobiling and so much more.

Truly a place that is designed to pamper, the attentive and enthusiastic staff makes sure that every guest will enjoy the comfort of a home away from home, minus the hassles of daily life. In this luxurious sanctuary, they make it their goal to deliver a memorable vacation experience that is part and parcel of the Fairmont brand.

Active holidays, winter sports, cultural events and designer shopping make Aspen, Vail and Telluride ideal year-round destinations for magnificent scenery, sumptuous dining and relaxing experiences for all ages.


Angela Youngman is an author who writes for various publications including Colorado Hotel Magazine.

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