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What’s not to like about Colorado? It’s no wonder that the Rocky Mountain state has achieved its current status as one of the US’s high-growth centres – its state capital Denver has added an astonishing 10% to its population within the last five years. Once very much part of the rough old Wild West, Colorado’s supreme sophistication and style has been a given for decades now, and as our selection of the best places to stay in Colorado will reveal, this scenically stunning Western vacation hotspot prides itself on surpassing visitors expectations
Because Colorado has it all. Even those who only know the state through the legendary Westerns made here (The Searchers, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, True Grit) will have a sense of the spectacular landscape of mountains, forests, high plains, mesas (those flat-topped rock formations), canyons, plateaus, rivers, and deserts. But a booming high-tech economy and a thriving metropolitan cultural scene have made it a magnet for new business start-ups as well as for hipsters and sophisticates looking for a lifestyle make-over, or just a glorious, liberating space in which to raise young families.
What’s on offer?
- Plenty of family attractions, including 11 national parks and outdoor adventure of every type
- plus supremely trendy urban neighbourhoods like Denver’s LoDo (Lower Downtown), RiNO (River North), Cherry Creek and the Highlands
- Colorado’s hot springs
- and, of course, ski centres which are globally celebrated for their quality and range of offering.
But you would be missing out if you didn’t sample the state’s fabulous museums, zoos, and shopping experiences as well as the winter sports (we recommend Aspen, Vail, Beaver Creek, Telluride and Snowmass).
And we still haven’t mentioned the food. Colorado has a well-deserved reputation as a foodies’ paradise, with the city of Boulder recently featuring as “America's Foodiest Town”, thanks to a range of top-tier restaurants (many of them specialising in Mexcican food) and farmers' markets.
The Food & Wine Classic is held annually each June in Aspen, which has a reputation as the culinary capital of the Rocky Mountain region, and there are wineries and breweries to explore by the dozen.
So much for the background, where are the best places to stay in Colorado that show the state at its best? We’ve investigated, and this is our experts’ top selection:
For Cowboys and Girls
Colorado is the place to come to get right away from the hassles of city life, and to reconnect with the West as it used to be. But the search to reconnect with America’s roots doesn’t mean you have to rough it…
- On the edge of the Gunnison National Forest, mid-way between the skiing centres of Aspen and Telluride the Smith Fork Ranch, Crawford is an outdoors-lover’s paradise, with a strong emphasis on horseback riding for would-be riders of all abilities. Quite often their treks feature a welcoming glass of wine, or a hearty breakfast at the end. Great for fishing, biking, clay pigeon-shooting and a whole lot else.
- Another great dude ranch (meaning a cattle ranch converted for guests) is to be found at The Home Ranch in the north of the state. It offers all the great outdoors activities along with touches of luxury and fine dining, largely based on homegrown “farm to fork” produce.
- Then there is the Northfork Ranch, Shawnee, not too far from downtown Denver. After 30 years in operation this delightful spot has got the balance just right between comfort and ruggedness, and offers the full immersion in active Western life, down to those great barbeques and steak-outs.
For Spa Lovers
- Why not try the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, Edwards? Perched up high in the Colorado Rockies, it’s a year-round resort very close to Vail and Beaver Creek with one of the state’s top spas, that specialises in looking after your physical, mental and spiritual health. A great place to detox, while looking out over some of the world’s most spectacular mountain scenery.
- Get up to your neck in hot water at Dunton Hot Springs in Dolores, a former mining ghost town turned into a luxurious resort based on the natural and mineral-rich waters that come bubbling up. There are many ways to enjoy them in the various indoor and outdoor pools, and the spa service is just one of many ways to spend your time at this gorgeous spot.
- The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs is a stately and impressive resort that has been a going concern for nearly 100 years and specialises in pampering its guests with a range of packages like the “woman’s weekend of wellness”.
For the life of luxury
- We recommend the Gateway Canyon Resort in Gateway, close to the Utah Border. Everything about this gorgeous resort exudes quality, from the poolside cuisine on offer to the top of the range convertibles you are invited to take for a spin on the jaw-dropping desert roads. Spectacular rock formations loom above you, along with star-filled desert skies.
- The Four Seasons Denver on 14th Street, in the heart of the Rocky Mountain foothill city is the place to see and been seen amongst the state capital’s glitterati. This is a chain with exceptionally high standards, and there’s no better base from which to explore the high life in this new American hot spot of good living.
- Another spot that attracts rave reviews (and awards) is the Lumiere, Telluride, a small-scale but supremely luxurious boutique hotel in this fashionable winter sports spot. Great design and personal service in an intimate, luxurious setting
For backpackers and budget travellers
- Everywhere in Aspen is expensive right? Wrong! The Limelight Hotel on South Monarch Street is incredibly good value considering its chic décor and fantastic outlook.
- Likewise The Cliff House at Pikes Peak, in Manitou has a great reputation for being cosy and romantic and highly affordable. Idea for exploring this culturally rich area, and priding itself on its great cuisine.
For the best après-ski experience
- Telluride has often been voted America’s best ski resort, and the Madeline has good claims to being Telluride’s best hotel. What could be better than enjoying the heated outdoor pool after a hard day on the slopes against a backdrop of Rocky Mountain magnificence?
- The Little Nell in Aspen, named after the silver mine close by is one of that chic resort’s top spots, and famous for the incredible cuisine served up at the Element 47 and Ajax Tavern eateries. Amazing service means it’s quite pricey, but a great place to party.
- Finally, there’s the Four Seasons Vail, which features a particularly amazing watering hole called The Remedy Bar, where you can sip amazing cocktail concoctions while admiring the floor-to-ceiling mountain views or cosying up on the patio fire-pits. If you worked up an appetite on the mountain, the food is to die for: how about the bison pizza, with house-made bison pepperoni, fennel sausage and roasted sweet peppers?
Best Hotels in Colorado
The Home Ranch 6 roomsColorado
A wonderful, authentic dude ranch with a stunning setting between the Elk River Valley and Rocky Mountains. The million-acre property is a hiking, riding, fishing, and sport-lovers paradise in both summer & winter. The rooms and cabins ooze comfort & rustic charm. There is even a gourmet restaurant!Kids Club - They run summer camps for kids and teens with a jam-packed programme of outdoor activites and counsellorsKayaking - Canoe and kayak on the river or try the more extreme white water rafting!Fishing - Depending on the season it might be ice fishingViews - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Relais & Chateaux
The Cliff House at Pikes Peak 54 rooms from $95Colorado Springs (Colorado)
In the shadows of Pike Peaks is a Victorian architecture boutique older than Colorado. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with modern bathrooms. The Red Mountain Bar and Grill open on Friday and Saturday. Location to Downtown Manitou Springs is fantastic. A magical back-in-time stay.Sights nearby - Open since 1891 the Cog Railway offers a great trip to see the mountains.Great walks - The Manitou Incline is a popular walk to do.Back to Nature - In beautiful Colorado Springs.Full of character
Viceroy Snowmass 173 rooms from $182Snowmass
Designer hotel in the Colorado Rockies with easy access to 91 trails and 3000 acres of Alpine terrain. The stylish rooms are tastefully furnished, the restaurant divine, the luxury spa expansive with a heated infinity pool. Skiing, hiking, biking, sledding, ballooning - activities to please everyoneEco break - Eight K serves humanely raised meat, fryer oil is reused as biofuel, bulbs are ecological & there are many eco friendly featuresActive Holiday - Perfect in the colder months for keen skiers, and in the warmer months for hikers, mountain bikers, or hot air balloon explorersSkiing - Steps from Snowmass Mountain's ski lifts, only 7 miles from Aspen, offering ski school, equipment hire, and ski-to-door accessLocal exploring - Explore 3000 acres of Alpine skiing terrain, or dash through the snow in a husky-driven sledRecommended by - Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
Limelight Hotel 126 rooms from $150Aspen (Colorado)
Contemporary home-from-home self-catered apartments or rooms offer prime location for the mountains, an outdoor pool and walking distance to town. Large rooms with bathrooms and all mod-cons. The Lounge has happy hour served with a seasonal inspired menu. Great choice for family adventures.Skiing - Aspen has four mountains to ski on in the winter months - Brilliant for skiing, snowboarding, cross country and powder tours.Great walks - There are great walking trails which can be explored during the summer months.Sights nearby - Smuggler Mine for some history of mining in the local areas of ColoradoKayaking - Summer months the lakes and rivers are great for canoes and kayaks.
The Broadmoor 771 rooms from $205Colorado Springs (Colorado)
Within Cheyenne Mountain foothills rests this 1918 luxury hotel with golf course, tennis court, three pools and spa. Large, luxurious rooms with all mod-cons. The top-notch services are throughout especially in the onsite restaurants and bars. Endless activities and adventures for all the family.Sights nearby - 360 degress at Cloud CampCloud Camp sitting at 9,200 feet atop Cheyenne Mountain.Great walks - Cheyenne Mountain has a lot of trails on offer for casual walks.Romantic - Good for couples.Secluded setting - For escaping.
Hotel Teatro, Denver 109 rooms from $239Denver (Colorado)
This stylish boutique is great for business and leisure guests. Rooms are modern and large with Californian-style bathtubs. The Nickel restaurant is a popular local affair. Denver is on the doorstep as is the local history, restaurants, bars and the great out doors. Brilliant weekend break for all.Kayaking - Pedal Around Smith Lake located in Washington Park.Full of characterRecommended by - Tablet
Four Seasons Denver 239 rooms from $319Denver (Colorado)
This luxury resort showcases city views, rooftop pool and spa. Large, contemporary rooms flaunt floor-to-ceiling windows and marble bathrooms. Edge offers locally sourced ingredients and renowned steaks, or the bar for signature cocktails and tapas. Great spot in the theatre district.Great walks - Gray Line Tours - Experience two sides of Denver – a historic western town and a thriving modern city – all in the same trip.Sights nearby - All ages can enjoy major museums, the aquarium, the botanic gardens and the renowned Denver Zoo.Views - Great views from hotelFull of character
The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera 56 rooms from $266Beaver Creek (Colorado)
Rural scenic location with pool, spa and ample opportunity for mountain-based activities come snow or sunshine. Large, comfortable rooms with views, rustic in decor but with mod-cons and private bathrooms. Mirador serves regional seasonal fare with Rocky Mountains views. Truly fantastic spot for allFishing - Wade or float in Colorado's rivers and lakes by yourself or with a guide for some fantastic fishing opportunities.Sights nearby - Explore the local history, mountain ranges by renting an ATV and embark on a private adventure.Great walks - Winter months get on your snow shoes and explore the mountains.SpaRecommended by - Tablet
The Sebastian 107 rooms from $275Vail
Stylish and youthful hotel in prime location in Vail Mountain Village, with a luxurious spa and outdoor pool with spectacular views and fantastic skiing on your doorstep. The rooms combine Vail-chic features with a more contemporary twist, and the bar and restaurant are charming and spirited.Active Holiday - Activites during winter include skiing, snowboarding, sledding and skating, with biking, tennis and golf popular in the summerSpa breaks - The excellent spa is perfect for soothing the aches and pains from the day's activitiesSpa - Bloom spa has a sauna and steam rooms and an array of treatments on offer in this stylish spaceKids Club - Fully staffed.Recommended by - Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
Tivoli Lodge 66 rooms from $275Vail (Colorado)
This owner run Tyrolean style property is in the centre of Vail, known for summer adventures and its winter slopes. The large, modern rooms have mountain views, complimentary afternoon tea during ski season and just a block from gondola and chairlifts. Activities and adventures for all the family.Families - Children 12 and under stay for free and those 5 and under eat for free!Skiing - Just a short walk from the Gondola and chairlifts up the mountainKayaking - On Piney Lake.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Tablet
Madeline Hotel 105 rooms from $389Telluride (568 Mountain Village Blvd)
San Juan Mountains luxury meets adventure. Spacious rooms with wood furnishings and marble bathrooms. Black Iron Kitchen and Bar offer an all-American dining experience. Skiing by winter, mountain bound activities by summer and a kids club all year around. Do not miss time to relax at the spa.Fishing - Fish for Rainbow, Cutthroat, and Brook Trout.Sights nearby - Soak up rushing waterfalls and mountain air.Lively - Hip and happening.Views - Great views from hotel
Dunton Town House 5 rooms from $300Telluride (210 S Oak St)
Located in Telluride, the chic Downton Town House inn offers chic, spacious accommodation and each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV. Hit the slopes all day in the winter and during the summer months there are some splendid mountainous hikes to experience! A classy, cosy and intimate stay.Active Holiday - There are plenty of activities on offer locally to keep you busy and get you out in the beautiful countrysideCountry Escape - Feel utterly rejuvenated at this tranquil rural spot, far from the hustle and bustle of modern lifeFishing - If you fancy a quiet afternoon then head off for a spot of fishingRemote - Off the beaten track.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Four Seasons Vail 121 rooms from $365Vail (Colorado)
You’ve found luxury in the scenic mountains. Plush rooms offer fireplaces and marble bathrooms. Flame is an all-American steak house, Fireside Lounge known for cocktails and fine wine. Explore the mountains: sun or snow, relax by the pool or at the all-treatments spa. Luxury and adventure in one!Great walks - Snow or sun there is always a great walk to be had in Vail.Fishing - Summer months are great for fly fishing on the lakes.Lively - Hip and happening.Views - Great views from hotel
Hotel Jerome 94 rooms from $365Aspen
Elegant hotel in the heart of Aspen, with Old West-inspired atmosphere and decor combined with contemporary features. The comfortable rooms are furnished with rich fabrics, and the communal spaces are elaborately and authentically decorated. The restaurant, bar and spa are all popular and sleek.Eco break - Rooms have recycling bins, taps and toilets are all low-flow, LED bulbs are used, and other eco-friendly features are in placeActive Holiday - There are 75 trails at Aspen Mountain, or you can whitewater raft, or hike up the Maroon Bells, amongst many other activitiesSpa - 3 treatment rooms with natural treatments inspired by the Roaring Fork ValleySwimming Pool - The outdoor heated pool is open year-roundRecommended by - Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
Lumiere 29 rooms from $500Telluride (Colorado)
Intimate luxury in the Rocky Mountains with stunning views. Modern but cozy rooms with fireplaces and living areas. Winter months offer skiing, snow boot treks and crispy stunning views. Summer is lake based activities, mountain trails and activity galore. Explore or stay on site at the pool or spa.Great walks - Lizard Head Pass at over 10,000ft with views of the mountains and lakes.Fishing - Fly fishing in the summer months.Views - Great views from hotelSecluded setting - For escaping.Recommended by - Tablet
Gateway Canyons Resort 72 rooms from $640Gateway, Colorado
This classic contemporary hotel is in canyon territory at the Utah border. The vast rooms have fireplaces, private balconies and modern bathrooms. Cantina is poolside dining, Paradox Grille for Southwest cuisine and Entrada for local dishes. Outdoor activities for all the family.Sights nearby - Hendricks Collection of more than 60 spectacular cars on site.Fishing - Fly fishing, and all the kit, are avaliable from the hotel.Secluded setting - For escaping.Remote - Off the beaten track.Recommended by - Tablet
Sonnenalp 127 rooms from $665Vail (Colorado)
At the heart of Vail Mountain with a golf course, tennis courts and much more than your traditional luxury hotel. The large rooms have fireplaces and stunning views. Spoiled for choice with three restaurants and a bar. Outdoor pool and adventures on the slopes: snow or sun, relax at the spa and gym.Sights nearby - The zipling in the area is notoriously fantastic with stunning views of the area.Lively - Hip and happening.Views - Great views from hotelRomantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Tablet
The Little Nell 92 rooms from $685Aspen (Colorado)
Stunning views, luxury features in the heart of Aspen - a winter and summer nature haven. Large modern rooms, notably comfortable with fireplace and mountain or city views. Element 47 offers farm fresh Italian cuisine with a fine wine list. Relax at the spa, by the pool or explore the mountains.Sights nearby - Get your camera and capture the 14,000 feet high Maroon Peaks overlooking Maroon Lake.Fishing - Fly Fishing on the Roaring Fork River.Views - Great views from hotelLively - Hip and happening.
Dunton Hot Springs 13 rooms from $697Dolores, Colorado
Formerly gold miners cabins, this renovated ghost town by the Dolores river is unique, luxurious, the true meaning of relax mode. Natural hot springs, with spa treatments in a stunning setting with log fires and wooden, private cabins. Each with a library, porch and hot spring.Organic meals for all.Full of characterSights nearby - The waterfall can be seen from cabins.Great walks - Along the river.Outstanding locationRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Relais & Chateaux, Tablet
Franz Klammer Lodge 63 rooms from $720Telluride (Colorado)
Year-round adventure heaven in the San Juan Mountains. The large, modern rooms have stone fireplaces and stunning views of the mountains. Restaurants close by via a short gondola ride. Winter offers snow, and summer the great outdoors. Stay by the pool and spa, use the gym, hot tub and sauna.Fishing - Fly fishing.Lively - Hip and happening.Views - Great views from hotelPrivate Hot Tub
Northfork Ranch from $2500Shawnee, Colorado
Owner managed, stunning location in 520 acres of working ranch land with outdoor pool, games room and activities galore. Cosy, comfortable rooms show off some stunning scenic views. Family dining, riverside lunches, steak outs and BBQs - hearty and local dishes. Nature activities for all the family.Fishing - Fly Fishing on the South Platte River for rainbow, brown and steelhead trout.Hideaway - In the middle of nowhere.Back to Nature - Nature at its rawest!Remote - Off the beaten track.
Smith Fork Ranch from $7500Crawfod, Colorado
Sleeping, off the beaten track in Gunnison National Forest lies this all-inclusive ranch. Cosy cabins vary but all are comfortable, home away from home and with stunning views. Self-sufficient inspired dishes are served at the restaurant, a wine cellar with over 400 types. Activity heaven!Fishing - Flying fishing through Gunnison Gorg or Guided walk-and-wade fishing on the North Fork & Gunnison Rivers.Sights nearby - Visit Grand Mesa National Forest and lakes.Great walks - Beach and lake at Crawford State Park.Secluded setting - For escaping.