Posted: December 01, 2010
Pack the family in the car and take a real Colorado vacationMaria Martin
Sure, there's nothing like home for the holidays. Nothing like a calendar crammed with social gatherings after that parade of company Christmas parties. Nothing like weeks spent buying and wrapping (or conniving someone to do that for you). Nothing like a constant barrage of visitors who can't wait to fly into Colorado.
So perhaps, sometime between when the first Thanksgiving relative flies out, and the last one lands at your doorstep on Christmas Eve, you should take a little time to think about taking a day or two, or, heck a week, to relax.
This list of holiday hotels and resorts is by no means inclusive. You'll discover places that will pamper you everywhere from Pueblo to Telluride. But we pulled a handful known-to-be festive spots for families and couples. Go ahead: Indulge yourselves.
The Stanley Hotel
333 E. Wonderview Ave., Estes Park
Sure you hear a whole lot about the ghostly Stanley Hotel during Halloween. But the historic landmark hotel, which is said to have inspired Stephen King to write "The Shining," is mighty popular during the holidays, too. Nestled near Rocky Mountain National Park, few hotels or resorts in the state offer such breathtaking views.
The holiday scene: Enjoy a traditional Christmas buffet on Christmas Day. The Estes Park Music Festival holds concerts every Sunday in the winter.
"It's like coming home to grandma's house," says Leslie Hoy, director of operations at the hotel. "This is where families make memories."
The Broadmoor Hotel and Resort
1 Lake Ave., Colorado Springs
Head to the Broadmoor anytime through the new year, and you'll notice something very familiar. You'll feel like you're truly home for the holidays.
"Everything we do from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day is about extending the holiday tradition," says Allison Scott, director of communications for the Broadmoor. "It's our family - which means as many as 1,900 employees - opening our house to other families."
The decorations at the Broadmoor are both elegant and homey. "We have pros come in to decorate some of it, but our ‘family' really adds to that décor," Scott says.
The holiday scene: A Classic Broadmoor Christmas takes place Dec. 17, 18, 19, 22, 23 and 24. The holiday show features the Broadmoor Pops Band, as well as dancing and singing. Check the resort for special room rates. The emphasis at the Broadmoor in December is on family fun, including breakfast with Santa and a gingerbread wonderland.
130 Wood Road, Snowmass Village
If your ideal holiday vacation includes skiing, head out to this ski-in/ski-out resort. While you're only minutes from Aspen, a family could comfortably spend a week right at Viceroy, enjoying yoga classes, a spa, cross-country skiing and several fine dining options. One thing is for sure: If you choose to celebrate the holidays at Viceroy Snowmass, you'd better bring along gifts wrapped in recycled paper. This destination is one of very few that has received Silver certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This Earth-friendly resort makes it a priority to purchase locally grown food, encourages reduced exhaust emissions and provides wildflower seeds and tree seedlings for VIP gifts.
The holiday scene: If you believe the holidays are a time to be thankful and give back to the community, this could be the ideal vacation spot for you and your family. The management at the resort is dedicated to donating to charitable organizations, such as the Roaring Fork Conservancy and local food banks.
And it's a great family destination, says General Manager Hugh Templeman. "We have everything that a family, couple or group of friends could want," he says. "As a dad, I know that if your kids are happy, the vacation is a success."
1300 Westhaven Drive, Vail
Chair 20, Vail Cascade's on-property chairlift, will take all skiers, from beginners to pros, where they want to go. You'll be able to catch a few snowflakes as you enjoy the glowing fire at Adam's Apres. And those aches and pains will be long gone after you revitalize at Aria Spa. It's also a great place for families, says Kirsten Texler, public relations and communications manager for Vail Cascade.
"We have a new pastry chef who makes the most decadent chocolates, along with other desserts," she says.
The holiday scene: "Holidays at Vail Cascade are like being inside of a life-sized snow globe," Texler says. "You schuss back on the trails to enjoy cocktails. Then you can listen to carolers as you dine fireside."
The Hotel Colorado
526 Pine St., Glenwood Springs
Pull up the website for Hotel Colorado, and you'll hear the sounds of sleigh bells and catch glimpses of beautifully decorated trees and whimsical Santa figurines. It's a wonderland up there, with everything you'd need for a family vacation.
The slopes aren't far away, the hot springs are nearby, and a full-service spa will help the family relax after a day of skiing. President Theodore Roosevelt stayed in this 1893 National Historic Landmark Hotel in 1905, and according to legend, the much-treasured teddy bear was born here, a handmade gift to Roosevelt.
Maria Martin is a freelance writer.