I love skiing as much as the next Coloradan, but I also love that feeling at the end of the day when you can pry off your ski boots, put your hair in a high ponytail (helmet hair, anyone?), grab a cold beer and sit down.
The evenings are all about relaxing and gearing up for shredding the next day. And if you ask me, there’s no better antidote to tired muscles than posting up in a cozy hot tub (just be sure to get out of the hot tub every now and then to let the cold winter air keep you from overheating).
Even if you’re not a skier or snowboarder, no winter staycation or weekend trip in Colorado is complete without a soak. After some extensive research (ahem, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it), we rounded up some of the best hot tubs in the state. Whether you’re planning a getaway with your romantic partner or traveling with a group of friends, seeking solitude or looking for wildlife, we’ve got you covered.
For a group
The outdoor hot tubs at The Limelight Snowmass are seriously massive, which makes them perfect if you’re traveling with a big group of friends or family members. Together, the two hot tub pools span more than 700 square feet, hold nearly 20,000 gallons of water and can accommodate up to 66 people. (Winter bachelor or bachelorette party? Check.) There are also spa-side cabanas and an ultra-cozy fireplace, which makes this the perfect place to warm up on a snowy day. Plus, the pet-friendly Limelight is new and makes a great base camp for all your adventures, on the mountain and in the village. The hotel is part of the $600 million Snowmass Base Village project, which includes an ice skating rink and a five-story climbing wall that’s free for Limelight guests. (Yes, it’s open in winter.)
The Limelight Snowmass, 65 Wood Road, Snowmass, 855-369-2460, limelighthotels.com/snowmass
For epicness and convenience
Whether you’ve got friends flying into town or you just want an easy staycation, the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center has an inviting hot tub situation. The outdoor hot tub will keep you toasty, even on a blustery day, and when you want a change of scenery, you can pop inside and try the indoor hot tub and then swim in the massive pool with its epic water slide. There’s even a pool-side bar and grill and a lazy river (open May 1-Dec. 2) so you can truly spend your day at this water park-esque resort. Fun fact: The resort is also home to a 75-foot flat-panel TV, so you can watch all of the day’s sporting events at once. The holidays are a super fun time to visit Gaylord Rockies as a family, as the resort has tons of activities and events planned, ranging from gingerbread decorating to ice bumper cars to visits with Mrs. Claus.
Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, 6700 N. Gaylord Rockies Blvd., Aurora, 720-452-6900, marriott.com/hotels/travel/dengr-gaylord-rockies-resort-and-convention-center
For spotting wildlife
This winter, skip the I-70 ski traffic and head to Estes Park instead. For starters, winter is one of the best (and least-crowded) times to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. On top of that, Estes Park is the perfect place for human-powered sports like backcountry skiing, split boarding, ice climbing or snowshoeing. Plus, there are some cool spots to grab an apres adventure drink here, like Elkins Distilling, where you’ll be greeted by Ollie the distillery dog. After you’re done playing for the day, kick back in one of the private hot tubs along the Big Thompson River when you book a cabin through Brynwood on the River. There’s a good chance you’ll see some wildlife while you soak, as elk and deer regularly wander through the area.
Brynwood on the River, 710 Moraine Ave., Estes Park, 970-586-3475, brynwood.com
For a Wild West experience
They do something special every day at Vista Verde Guest Ranch near Steamboat Springs. Each morning, the ranch hands at this 540-acre, all-inclusive luxury dude ranch call the horses in from pasture, which means roughly 100 horses gallop past the main lodge before breakfast. It’s a memorable sight to watch these gentle giants sprint by, their brown, black and off-white coats contrasting with the sparkly snow that covers everything in sight. Intrigued? Each of the 10 cabins here has a private hot tub on the deck, so you can sip your morning coffee as you soak and watch the horses graze or watch the snow fall silently in the afternoon. Everything is included here, from the delicious meals to activities like fat biking and “snowga” (snow yoga). And each cabin has a mini-fridge stocked with beer and wine each day.
Vista Verde Guest Ranch, 58000 Cowboy Way, Clark, 970-879-3858, vistaverde.com
For a skin-friendly soak
The pool and hot tubs at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon have a saline-based filtration system, which means they use 90% fewer chemicals than a traditional setup. Many people find salt-water pools to be easier on their eyes, skin and hair. On top of that, the hot tubs at The Westin have infinity edges that overlook the Eagle River and Beaver Creek Mountain — talk about a soak with a view. The 25-yard lap pool is also heated, so you can get a quick workout in, too, if that’s your style. If you’re not staying here, you can still enjoy the pool area with a $40 day pass that’s also good for the Athletic Club at the hotel.
The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, 126 Riverfront Lane, Avon, 970-790-6000, marriott.com/hotels/travel/whrbw-the-westin-riverfront-resort-and-spa-avon-vail-valley
For a romantic getaway
Located at the base of Snowmass ski resort, Viceroy Snowmass is almost worth staying at just for the hot tubs. The hotel recently renovated the entire pool area, and the hot tubs are gorgeous. The two newest tubs have infinity edges and a waterfall wall, the sound of trickling water enhancing the relaxing atmosphere. The tubs’ jets are placed to target the parts of your body that might be sore from skiing, like your lower back, quads and calves. During the day, you can soak while skiers and snowboarders pass directly overhead on the Assay Hill lift, which is basically a private lift for Viceroy guests. At night, the hot tubs glow with soothing purple lights. There’s also a pool bar (it doubles as a ski-in/ski-out bar, too) where you can get drinks and food as you unwind.
Viceroy Snowmass, 130 Wood Road, Snowmass Village, 970-923-8000, viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/snowmass
For dramatic mountain views
There’s just something about the San Juan Mountains. They’re craggy, tall and majestic, and they create an out-of-this-world backdrop in Telluride. If you love to gaze out across dramatic views while you soak, look no further than the hot tubs and heated outdoor pool at Madeline Hotel and Residences, a hotel at the base of Telluride Ski Resort. The 4,000-square-foot outdoor pool deck, open year-round at 9,000 feet in elevation, is the perfect place to spend an evening or two (and snap some Instagram-worthy photos, no doubt). When you’re not soaking, gather with friends around one of the cozy fire pits.
Madeline Hotel and Residences, 568 Mountain Village Blvd., Telluride, 855-923-7640, aubergeresorts.com/madeline
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