One Sensational Colorado Spa and Six Perfect Pools

Warwick Denver Hotel

Many people come to Colorado in the summer to hike, bike, jeep, fish and sit outside to enjoy great concerts amid breathtaking scenery. Yes, Colorado ranks supreme for all that, however, this Rocky Mountain state also boasts some of the best pools and spas in the country. They’re terrific because of the mountains.

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Most of the pools highlighted below are backdropped by scenery eloquently described by Katharine Lee Bates in “America the Beautiful.” And because of the purple mountain majesties where we work our bodies to near exhaustion, it’s important to have glorious pools and spas where we can relax and rejuvenate. We have a good amount of them in Colorado, all of which are attached to prized hotels and resorts.

The Peaks Pool in Telluride

See the photos and my blurbs below to begin your journey through some of the best hydrotherapy offerings in Colorado. Whether you’re going to these establishments for a stay, a treatment or a day pass (often in conjunction with poolside dining), go ahead and plan your travels around them. The benefits you derive from these mountain oases will carry you well past the end of your vacation. And best of all: Most of these pools are open year-round because they’re heated.

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Resort

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Pool and Spa in Beaver Creek
My boyfriend, Steve, and I experienced The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Spa a while ago during a spring ski getaway. I wrote about it at Pick a Spa, Pick a Ski Destination. We loved it then, however, recently we had an even more extraordinary experience, since we logged some delicious pool time as well.

Ritz-y Pool

Poolside Offerings

Oh, the pool. Drawn in by its black lines, we knew this stunning, infinity pool was the place for us. We arrived at lunchtime on a busy Friday and were thrilled to see that there was still a designated lane where we could do laps away from the din of Marco-Polo and all the other activity that characterizes a day at the pool in summer.

Steve diligently knocked out his sixty lengths while I bronzed, something I rarely find the time to do. I decided to forgo my workout because I had already sunk deeply into a lolling around mood, one enhanced by a stack of magazines and my phone turned off. (It actually went dead because of the heat.)

Bottoms Up

Food tastes best when eaten outside, particularly in the summer when salty chips and fries are de rigueur. We feasted on fish tacos and a grilled chicken wrap served in large Bento-type boxes that far exceeded your average poolside chow. (My phone had died by the time the food arrived, however, I did take a snapshot of the menu!)

Since this is Colorado, the clouds rolled in practically on cue by mid afternoon. Pas de problème. We just snuggled up to their poolside bar and sipped a frothy one, a beer that we found very amusing because it was a perfect pour by Bottoms Up. Many guesses later, we discovered that a magnet holds the key to the beer not bottoming out. You might have seen these beers at stadiums and now it appears they’re gaining popularity at certain mountainside resorts. (Just think après ski/large volumes of beer served/perfect every time.)

Steve and Me at the Poolside Bar of The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

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Pampered, Privileged and Fun-Loving Vail

Solaris Residences in Vail

Private Terrace at Solaris

More Stylin’ at Solaris

Maybe you’re a part of the one percent and are looking for a great lodging recommendation in Colorado. Maybe you just want to peek behind closed doors to see how the ultra rich vacation. Or, maybe you just want some insider tips on where to find some family fun in Vail, Colorado. Either way, please read on and enjoy my pictures.

Sleeping in Style

Sweet Dreams

Like many other travelers, the ultra rich have discovered the joys of vacationing in our mountain towns winter and summer. What’s changed in recent years, however, is that in addition to staying in hotels and houses, they like to stay–or reside in–residences. I’m talking full-service spreads that can make them feel at home in sprawling style while delighting in the benefits of the amenities of a full-service hotel.

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Starting the Year Off Right: Taking Care from Head to Toe

One of My New Year's Resolutions: Go More to the Pool at The Peaks Resort & Spa

One of My New Year’s Resolutions: Go More to the Pool at The Peaks Resort & Spa

Phew, these have been the busiest mid-winter weeks of any ski season I’ve experienced. As I wrote in my story, January 2017: One of the Snowiest on Record for Colorado, the snow totals from the past month have been ridiculous! The fluffy white stuff just kept coming down.

And Telluride Ski Resort has remained busy–at least by our standards. But don’t worry, lift lines are still a rarity. There were surely a few records broken during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, characteristically our busiest week of the season. I know that private ski lessons sold out during that period and I was grateful to have been blessed with some lovely clients. It was rewarding to see that I helped them to improve their turns and, of course, we had lots of fun and good chats, too. (Take that as a heads up in case you want to book a private lesson in Telluride during the upcoming busy vacation weeks.)

It looks like the days of a January lull are over. In addition to Americans, more and more international skiers have discovered Telluride. I had a Russian lady and a Brazilian in my class the other day and then offered some assistance to Chinese people looking for directions as I left the mountain. No sir, Telluride is no longer a best-kept secret.

As usual, after the holiday rush, resort workers were falling ill like clumps of snow off the pines on a sunny day, however, I have not been slammed with sickness this year. I have been weakened these past weeks but have fortunately been winning the battle. So instead of keeping up with my writer’s life, I’ve been focused on catching up on my rest and taking care of my body when not on the mountain.

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Telluride’s Secret Spas

Hot Stone Massage at The Spa at the Hotel Madeline

Hot Stone Massage at The Spa at Hotel Madeline

Spa-going is underrated.

Frequent spa goers know how an hour at a spa can transform you; and if you’re lucky enough to spend the better part of a day being cared for within a soothing space, you can leave brand new.

As I’ve written before, Colorado’s mountain towns boast some exceptional spas. Whether attached to a resort or not, our Rocky Mountain state knows how to meet the therapeutic and beautification needs of those visiting and residing in our rugged, sun-saturated environment. What better way to recover from a big day on the slopes or an energetic snowshoe in the valley? Indeed, focus on health and well-being permeates most every facet of our lives in Colorado, especially in Telluride where feeling good is more of a basic need than a luxury.

Below I’ve outlined a few of my favorite T-ride spas that might not be on every visitor’s radar. Smart locals, however, have them on speed dial.

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Keep the Beat Going with a Dancing with the Stars Pro in Colorado

Here's to Fun and Dance

Smiles from the DWS Judges: Here’s to Fun and Dance

How about that “Dancing with the Stars” finale this week? Did you have your fill of beautiful moves, heart thumping music, flashy costumes and cheeky judges? No wonder this highly entertaining TV show  on ABC has kept much of America enthralled for almost two decades. The creativity, athleticism and sheer vibe of the dance productions is incredibly inspirational and motivating. It’s, in fact, one of my secret desires to be a star on the show. Perhaps if I sell enough books, that will happen!

In the meantime, I guess the closest I—-or most anyone else—-can get to being a part of such a dynamic happening is to attend the Karina Smirnoff DanceFIT-KS workshop at The Westin Riverfront Beaver Creek June 13 through 15. Yes, this successful dancer/choreographer of ABC’s global hit “Dancing with the Stars,” will soon be here in Colorado to lead a unique, customized fitness experience that’s open to everyone including singles and couples of all ages and fitness levels. The classes are sure to be inspiring and physically effective because of this beauty and lifestyle expert’s signature approach to total body fitness. From a Meet & Greet cocktail party to a special screening of Across Grace Alley, a short film starring Karina, to Salsa, Cha Cha, cardio classes and more, this three-day event promises to provide many memorable moments.

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Pagosa Paradise: A World-Class Hot Springs Destination

Pagosa Springs By Night

Pagosa Springs By Night

At the end of big Western travels that sliced through five Rocky Mountain states in the fall of 2001, I landed in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. And breathed a big sigh of contentment. It was the last stop on a three-week reconnaissance adventure with the goal of finding where to settle in the West. The tour extended from Montana to Wyoming to Utah to Arizona and then up to Colorado. On the heels of 9/11 and in the aftermath of an accumulation of personal upsets, the West beckoned this East Coast gal, yet I had little idea of where to go. I yearned for more sunshine, the great outdoors, the mentality and the lifestyle of the West, and there’s no doubt I was in need of healing. More than I even realized. And I think that’s largely why Pagosa Springs, Colorado resonated so strongly with me.

Less than three months later on January 1, 2002, I lumbered over Wolf Creek Pass at the Continental Divide with my partner at that time in a huge rental truck, nervous and excited about starting a new life in the West. In all, I lived a year and a half in Pagosa before moving to Telluride, Colorado where I’ve been for almost eleven years. Pagosa served as a wonderful introduction to my new life out West:  its sunshine, spectacular scenery and low-key, hometown feel nurtured me immensely and there’s no doubt that Pagosa’s hot springs played a big role in helping me to gain a better sense of wellbeing. Each trip to the hot springs always made me feel renewed and refreshed, cleansed from the garbage that often bogs one down on the road called life.

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Terrific Spa Experiences in Colorado’s Mountain Towns

Spa Anjali at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain

Spa Anjali at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain

Mother’s Day makes many of us think of pampering. I read somewhere that a gift certificate to a spa was one of the most popular Mother’s Day gifts offered. So keep that in mind next time you’re traveling with your favorite mom, even if that mom—or nurturing person—is you. Ladies or men—who doesn’t enjoy having their body and soul nourished by a soothing spa experience?

Here in the Rockies, spa going has become a big part of every mountain vacation year round. Whether you’re looking for just one fantastic therapeutic massage after a long day on the slopes or a big hike, or you decide to make a day of it, spa-going should be a necessary part of every mountain resort stay. Some of the spas are so fabulous that you’d be forgiven if you let the rest of your family or friends ski, ride, hike, bike or fish while you logged major relaxation time within such calming enclaves.

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Two Brief Stays in Santa Fe

The Cathedral Basiica of St. Francis of Assis in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assis in Santa Fe, New Mexico

My boyfriend, Steve, and I have managed to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico—an almost six-hour drive from Telluride, Colorado—twice within the past year and a half and we’re already plotting our next trip. (That one will surely include exploring the ski mountain.) Each trip was short—only two nights a piece—and we didn’t even step foot in one of Santa Fe’s amazing museums, but still, we felt far from cheated. For us, it has been enough to just chill and breathe in the heartwarming, southwestern ambiance for which this town is known. Just like going to Paris and whiling away time in a corner café instead of scouring the Louvre, in Santa Fe during both stays we just strolled around and admired the beauty of this magnificent city, the oldest incorporated state capital within the United States.

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