American Trails With A Side of Luxury

So you love the outdoors, and you really enjoy a good day of hiking. But at the end of that day, you’d rather treat yourself to a little post-hike pampering at a luxe hotel than camp or simply return home. If this is your style, there are plenty of destinations in the U.S. that offer superb hiking trails alongside posh lodgings. After all, you just climbed a mountain, you earned that spa treatment and Michelin-starred dinner.

Highlights
Jenny Lake Road
Handmade quilts top pine beds in the 37 cabins of this 1920 lodge in Grand Teton National Park. Horseback rides, cycling excursions, and epic views of the Teton Range are all part of the experience; lucky travelers might spot elk, bald eagles, and osprey. A hearty breakfast spread and a decadent five-course dinner (mushroom tarts, grilled haloumi cheese, cumin-dusted lamb) are also included in the price. For an additional cost, guests can raft 10 miles down the Snake River or take a multiday wildlife photo workshop.
1 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
The ambience alone is worth a splurge at the dining room of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, the stopover of presidents, queens, celebrities, and moguls since it opened in 1927 (and, allegedly, one of Stanley Kubrick’s inspirations for the hotel in The Shining). The formal dining room—there’s a dress code at dinnertime—serves such Continental classics as French onion soup, duck leg confit, and rack of lamb Provençale under 34-foot, chandelier-studded ceilings. The Sunday brunch buffet is especially popular, as are the annual Renaissance-themed Christmas dinners in December. For a more casual option, the bar serves sandwiches, salads, and soups and, maybe best of all, offers outdoor tables so you can eat and enjoy a craft cocktail or glass of wine surrounded by glorious views. Note: This restaurant is open year-round.
200 Pipestone Rd, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0, Canada
The Post Hotel & Spa is set in the heart of the pristine Banff National Park, surrounded by the Canadian Rocky Mountains and overlooking Lake Louise. The original log-walled lodge—opened in 1942 as the Lake Louise Ski Lodge—has stone fireplaces and a cheery red alpine roof, and the numerous add-ons, extensions, and renovations over the years have preserved and accentuated this rustic design. This is further enhanced by the hotel’s interior color palette of burgundy and neutrals, and set off by luxurious touches such as overstuffed couches and Egyptian-cotton sheets. The accommodations include intimate cabins for two and a 3,000-square-foot mountain chalet ideal for groups and families. Just minutes away from one of Canada’s largest ski areas and blessed with an abundance of perfect powder each season, the Post Hotel & Spa is popular with skiers and boarders from across North America; in summer it attracts outdoor enthusiasts keen to explore the myriad treasures of the national park. It has been a Relais & Châteaux property since 1990.
405 Spray Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1J4, Canada
This hotel is on our list of The 10 Best Hotels in Canada.

Set in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Banff National Park, the year-round Fairmont Banff Springs was the brainchild of Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway. On arrival at Banff, the tourism visionary made the canny observation, “Since we can’t export the scenery, we’ll have to import the tourists;” thus, he set about building a string of great railway hotels across Canada. The original wooden hotel that opened here in 1888 burned down in 1926, but was replaced two years later with the grander castle-meets-baronial-Scottish-hall structure that exists today. The public lobby spaces are vast, and there are countless nooks to curl up in with a book where guests will remain undisturbed. With its signature stone walls, turrets, and winding staircases, Van Horne’s gambit paid off: The Fairmont Banff Springs feels for all the world like an elegant and ancient castle, albeit one with all the modern conveniences.

Rooms in the main building come with quirky period details such as chandeliers and crown moldings, while those in the Stanley Thompson Wing (the old staff quarters) are more spacious and a solid bet for families—who will also enjoy the kids’ club packed with activities such as campouts, science projects, and arts and crafts. The hotel also has 11 different restaurants, cafés, and bars, with the choices so diverse—from sushi, fondue, and Italian to Canadian steakhouse and southern U.S. barbecue—that guests are issued a food guide upon check-in to help them make the most of the hotel’s offerings. Of course, there are also a wide array of activities to help round out your time between meals, from skiing and rounds on the resort’s 27-hole championship golf course to downtime in the expansive Willow Stream Spa, which features indoor and outdoor whirlpools, a European-style mineral pool, and 23 rooms for therapeutic treatments.
1 Kayenta Road
Set within a postcard-perfect corner of southern Utah and surrounded by national parks, the 600-acre Amangiri is tucked away in a protected valley among the canyons, flat-topped mesas, and desert landscapes of the Grand Circle. The resort’s architecture and decor allow the area’s natural beauty to take center stage—interiors are decorated in a minimalist fashion, using natural materials such as white stone and concrete, Douglas fir timber, blackened steel, and polished glass. The 34 accommodations range from 1,150-square-foot mesa- or desert-view suites to larger options with private pools, plus one four-bedroom home with living and dining areas and a kitchen; all include private outdoor space (terraces or courtyards), fireplaces, and heated floors for cooler desert nights. The local landscape also shines through in the cuisine, which includes Southwestern-inspired dishes served in view of the sweeping desert. In the sprawling 25,000-square-foot spa, treatments are inspired by Navajo healing traditions and begin with sage smudging ceremonies. When you’re not exploring the surroundings on guided hikes and horseback rides, or kayaking on nearby Lake Powell, linger on property for the cold and heated pools and yoga pavilion.

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Reaching the remote Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge is part of the fun. The four-hour boat journey from Seward to the only lodge within the 700,000-acre Kenai Fjords National Park is a prime opportunity to spot porpoises, puffins, and whales. On arrival, guests disembark and make their way to the lodge, where they’re briefed on bear safety: No food allowed in the 16 cabins. Calving tidewater glaciers provide the wake-up call for days filled with sea kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. Come evening, relax in the main lodge with a cocktail or with a book from the lodge’s natural history library. From $725, all-inclusive. This appeared in the June/July 2015 issue.
12575 Highway 2E
Situated a quarter mile from the west entrance to Glacier National Park, this recently renovated landmark was built by the Great Northern Railway Company in 1910—the year the park was dedicated by President Taft—to host wealthy passengers from the East Coast. Rooms in the arts and crafts–style lodge are simple yet comfortable. During their stay, guests explore the region’s network of more than 700 trails by horseback, foot, or bike. To experience this pristine area as visitors have been doing since the 1930s, hop in a jammer, a red touring coach with a canvas top that rolls back to reveal wide-open vistas of the surrounding forests and peaks. From $160. This appeared in the June/July 2015 issue.
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