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8 Colorado Hotels That Offer a Truly Local Experience

By Allyson Reedy

Apr 15, 2022

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The Ramble's rooms are inspired by 17th-century French salons.

Courtesy of The Ramble

The Ramble's rooms are inspired by 17th-century French salons.

Whether you want the Denver bustle or the nature of famed fourteeners, these hotels encourage you to explore the landscape in some unconventional ways.

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With its appealing blend of the cosmopolitan and the natural, Colorado appeals to a wide range of travelers. Lodgings in Denver and beyond match the state's diversity, with over-the-top resorts, boutique hotels, minimalist motor lodges, and even camp decks battling it out to be your sleeping quarters. Here are eight hotels that represent the best of Colorado, whether you’re enjoying the city or the mountains.

The Ramble Hotel

The Ramble Hotel’s prime spot in the River North Arts District is reason enough to book it, but it’s also one of the city’s most stunning and original hotels. Its 50 rooms are inspired by 17th-century French salons, which translates to jewel-toned walls, velvet seating, chandeliers, and powder room vanity mirrors.

While you’ll want to explore the shops, restaurants, and bars that pack RiNo, the hotel’s on-site restaurant and bar rival anything you’ll find out there. Guests will only have to walk a few steps to experience James Beard finalist Dana Rodriguez’s pan-Latin dim sum restaurant Super Mega Bien, and Death & Co, the famed NYC bar, is set up right in the lobby. 

The ART, a hotel

Checking into the ART is a no-brainer for art geeks. Steps from the Denver Art Museum and Clyfford Still Museum, the hotel houses gallery-worthy pieces itself, featuring work from Edward Ruscha, Sol LeWitt, and Clark Richert. The creativity starts before you even step inside with its sharp-lined, almost liquid-looking building design and a 22,000-piece valet area light installation by Leo Villareal.

Stop by the front office to pick up a book detailing the hotel’s collection and take yourself on a self-guided tour through art displays in the lobby, guest rooms, restaurants, and public areas. Just be sure to schedule yourself a drink detour into the hotel’s fourth-floor restaurant, Fire, which features some of the best city views in town from its expansive patio.

Halcyon

  • Area: Cherry Creek, Denver
  • Book Now: Halcyon

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This Cherry Creek hotel knows that you probably didn’t come all the way to Colorado just to stay inside. Good thing the luxury establishment makes it easy to hit the outdoors by allowing you to check out equipment from its Gear Garage. This equipment garage offers an enticing alternative to lugging clunky gear on a plane, offering snowshoes, fly fishing rods, hamboards (think surfing on wheels), GoPros, and even tandem bikes. 

When you’re done adventuring, recover in one of its 154 guest rooms by spinning a record on your vinyl player and relaxing with Jonathan Adler bath products. Or head back out to hit Cherry Creek’s splashy shopping district and restaurants—Halcyon is right in the heart of it. 

St. Julien Hotel & Spa

St. Julien makes it a point to be good to both travelers and the earth, with an in-house sustainability director who looks after and consults with a dedicated group of employees to set and achieve environmental goals. This "Green Team" oversees up to 20,000 pounds of compost each month, maintains a rooftop bee colony, and works to minimize waste throughout the property.

But the posh hotel doesn’t sacrifice comfort in its sustainability efforts. The 201 newly renovated rooms are located in the best spot in town: just off Pearl Street Mall with all its shops and restaurants, but close enough to the mountains to claim killer views. Need a little pampering? The 10,000-square-foot spa features treatments using herbs from the hotel’s on-site garden.

Kinship Landing

This newcomer in downtown Colorado Springs appeals to almost every style of traveler. Looking to rough it without really roughing it? Pitch a tent on the camp deck and still get access to a private bathroom. Traveling with a no-frills crew? Book the group bunkroom, with eight twin bed pods. Or go big in one of the property’s four king suites, complete with an in-room soaking tub, electric fireplace, and balcony. 

If you’re looking to make new friends, this is the place. The 25,000 square-foot space is designed to foster conversation and connections with a bar-restaurant, event space, an outdoor seating area, and a staff of locals ready to give you tips on where to go and what to do. Beyond its efforts to cultivate community by showcasing local ingredients, art, and vendors, Kinship Landing was also designed to be as sustainable as possible, using passive heating and cooling concepts and naturally occurring materials.

Spoke & Vine

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This Western Colorado town already had terrific vineyards, a first-rate restaurant in Pêche, and spectacular scenery. All that was missing from this burgeoning wine country was a cool place to stay, and it got that in 2019 with the opening of Spoke & Vine, a freshly renovated 1955 motel. 

The bright, comfortable rooms emphasize utility over glamour, but you’re there for the wine, and Spoke & Vine makes it easy to sample. It starts with a glass of Grand Valley vino at check-in, continues in the locally-stocked motel bar, and really gets going with on-site bike rentals—complete with baskets to hold your liquid purchases—so you can cruise around town from winery to winery.

Gravity Haus

Billed as “a community for the modern adventurer,” Gravity Haus is part design-driven hotel, part membership club, and part outdoor hijinks HQ. Other outposts have sprouted up in Winter Park and Breckenridge, but Gravity Haus Vail has the best location, in the thick of Vail Village near Gondola One. 

This little hotel has big amenities, like ski and board storage, outdoor and indoor hot tubs, a massive, Peloton bike-filled gym, and a slightly ritzy bar-restaurant. Its 22 rooms are refreshingly urban in a town where they’re too often dripping in Alpine swank, and they offer configurations for families via separate bunk rooms. And with earth-friendly, chemical-free linens, blankets, and mattresses, you can feel good about where you’re laying your head. 

The Little Nell

The Little Nell might be a splurge, but almost everything in Aspen is a splurge. This is the kind of hotel that heats your ski boots overnight so they’re nice and toasty in the morning. The 92-room boutique hotel offers ski-in/ski-out access to Aspen Mountain—and when you’re that close, you know the views are going to be incredible. 

The hygge-heavy rooms are gorgeous too, and all of them come equipped with heated marble floors, a gas log fireplace, a minibar stocked with complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, and the type of bedding and pillows you’ll want to bring home. Thirsty? Ajax Tavern, one of The Little Nell’s two restaurants, is practically synonymous with apres-ski thanks to its sunny, mountainside patio.

>> Next: The AFAR Guide to Colorado

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