From backcountry huts and wintertime glamping to poolside lounging and hot spring soaking, we’ve found more than 20 places in Colorado (and beyond!) that you should visit this season.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess • Scottsdale, Arizona / $$$ (For Families)
For anyone who hasn’t visited the Scottsdale area, it’s difficult to explain how a desert-bound suburb of Phoenix could be the resort mecca that it is. Trust us though; in between your everyday suburban strip malls and cookie-cutter subdivisions, there is a stunning resort culture. And for the past 25 years, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has been a bright spot in that well-manicured vacation landscape. Replete with five swimming pools, two world-class golf courses, a roster of restaurants, 44,000 square feet of spa space, tennis courts, and a kids’ club, the Princess is where Denverites should consider going when they’ve finally had it with the cold. Sitting out on the plaza, with a martini from the Stone Rose Lounge in hand, guests can soak up the temperate evenings while discussing how—golfing? lounging poolside?—they plan to enjoy tomorrow’s 70-degree weather.
Who It’s For: The resort can accommodate anyone, but it’s a welcome respite for families. Not only is there a kids’ pool with two waterslides, but there’s also a frozen drink and ice cream bar that serves frosty concoctions for kids and parents alike. Plus, Bobcat Billy’s Clubhouse is a daily camp for kids that runs $30 for a half day and $60 for a full day.
Get A Room: Families should book a room near the Sonoran Splash or East Pool, where most of the family action takes place. For quieter but still family-friendly accommodations, book a casita on the west side of the property.
The Best Part: The Princess is not just some place to stay while you’re on vacation; it is the vacation. If you’re a fan of full-service resorts, you will fall in love with this desert flower.
Book It: Rates start at $349; scottsdaleprincess.com; 1-866-540-4495
Point Breeze Cabin • Near Leadville, Colorado / $ (For Skiers)
Point Breeze, the newest addition to the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, came online last winter. Like many of the structures in this renowned system of backcountry huts, Point Breeze is privately owned. Unlike many of the association’s other outposts, this one-story log cabin is well appointed and cozy, with only two private rooms and four common-area beds. If you work the calendar, you can find dates that will make your party the sole inhabitants.
Who It’s For: This cabin rests in close proximity to other 10th Mountain huts, making it a great one-night layover for those doing multiday hut trips.
Get A Room: Book a private room for a quieter stay.
The Best Part: It’s only a .75-mile trek via a well-marked trail into the cabin from the Tennessee Pass trailhead.
Book It: huts.org; 970-925-5775
Tennessee Pass Sleep Yurts • Near Leadville, Colorado / $ (For a Group)
Even if you’re not typically the type who likes to “rough it” on your weekend vacation, we still recommend the ski-in accommodations at Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, Cookhouse, and Sleep Yurts. Long known for the exceptional backcountry dining experience at its Cookhouse—a 40-seat restaurant housed in a cozy, candlelit yurt—Tennessee Pass has recently added four six-person sleeping yurts that are located an easy 1.3-mile ski or snowshoe from the Nordic Center parking lot. The rounded, tentlike structures come equipped with a wood-burning stove, bunk beds with full mattresses and one full bed with linens and comforters, a stocked kitchenette with propane burner and fresh water, and, to top it off, down booties for your stay.
Who It’s For: A group of friends that appreciates the great outdoors and who don’t mind cozy sleeping arrangements.
The Best Part: You’re only .3 miles from the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse; make reservations to eat there for dinner on at least one night of your stay.
Bonus: Tennessee Pass will shuttle your overnight bags to and from the yurts for you.
Book It: Winter 2012–2013 rates are $225 per night for six guests; tennesseepass.com; 719-486-8114
The Mining Exchange • Colorado Springs, Colorado / $$ (For Local Travelers)
This recently rejuvenated 20th-century masterpiece gives guests a glimpse into Colorado’s past while still providing all the comforts of modern-day accommodations. Originally built as the home of the first stock exchange for the mining industry, the hotel’s three buildings still contain vestiges of their long history. Tall ceilings remain from the days when floor-to-ceiling chalkboards kept track of commodities. Original windows and exposed brick walls greet guests in their rooms. And there’s even a restored circa-1896 grand piano in the lobby. Located in the middle of Colorado Springs, the six-month-old Mining Exchange has been a welcome addition to a cityscape that was in need of a fresh lodging option.
Who It’s For: For those who travel south from Denver often—whether on business, or to enjoy a day in Pike National Forest, or maybe to catch a game at the Air Force Academy—the 117-room Mining Exchange is the most enticing option downtown.
Get A Room: Starting at $169, the Grand Suites are worth the cash.
The Best Part: Right next door is the Springs Orleans, an up-tempo Cajun-style eatery that often has live music.
Book It: miningexchangehotel.com 719-323-2000