From the live bluegrass musicians in the lobby to the doormen who spend a few extra minutes scratching the ears of your dog at this pet friendly resort, it’s obvious upon arrival that the Westin at Beaver Creek places as much emphasis on the comforts of home as on the luxuries one expects from a high-end hotel. Enjoy mouth-watering tapas prepared by the chefs at the world-renowned Cima while lounging with your dog (or the dogs of other guests) on the balcony overlooking the pool and infinity hot tubs set on the edge of Beaver Creek, just below Beaver Creek Mountain. The resort sports a free gondola to the base of the ski area and is just minutes from Beaver Creek Golf. If staying indoors is more your style, you can’t do better than a visit to the on-site 23,000 square-foot Spa Anjali, followed by a dip in the outdoor hot tub and a decadent meal at Cima. The Latin kitchen run by chef Richard Sandoval is ‘50s retro in its décor; not only is the food fantastic, but you half expect to see John Travolta and Uma Thurman from Pulp Fiction sipping cocktails in the high-back booths.
What to do when you get there: Take a gondola ride (they’re free for hotel guests) over Beaver Creek to the base of the ski mountain and back. The gondola runs year-round and provides a nice sky-high view of the Vail Valley. A bike path runs by the riverside just feet from the hotel property, perfect for a morning jog or after dinner stroll. The laid-back but super professional staff can help with golf packages, kayaking, horseback riding or mountain biking adventures.
Juxtaposition is in full flux in lower downtown Denver. Old, iconic buildings, such as Union Station and the Wynkoop Brewery, are surrounded by and filled with chic lofts, ironic shops, farm-to-table restaurants and bars with crowds that seem to spew out onto the busy sidewalk.
Young professionals, hipsters and clubbers rub shoulders on a Friday afternoon, and the whole town feels on fire. And The Oxford stands tall and strong in the midst of it all—like the ringleader in the middle of a three-ring circus. Built in 1891, the hotel is Denver’s oldest, yet it’s undergone restoration over the years, including $1.3 million in revamps in 2009. All this means The Oxford has historic charm with a splash of modern luxury…blah, blah, blah. What that really means for you and me is that this beautiful hotel has personality. Despite the antiquities, you don’t lose your sense of time and place when you walk into your room, and if you pay attention, you can enjoy the lovely little quirks and charm.
Rooms here have crown molding and claw-foot tubs. The beds are big and cozy. There is a large TV and wifi. You know you are in a room with history and with stories, yet it doesn’t feel dated or shabby. And huge windows—flanked by heavy drapes—offer a balcony seat to the bustling Friday night traffic below. Downstairs, you can dine on oysters, crab bisque and fish and chips at McCormick’s Fish House, the restaurant that serves as Oxford’s anchor. The space has rich hardwoods and stained-glass accents. The dishes served have tremendous flavor and lots of depth—with various culinary influences weaving throughout the menu. And after dinner, before crawling into the welcoming arms of our not-so-historic bed, down a round of cocktails at the ever-tempting Cruise Room. The iconic Denver bar offers a lengthy list of classic cocktails, but it’s the vibe that will keep you coming back for more.
Waking up the next morning to bluebird skies, the streets are quiet and coffee is served in a central area. When you step into the elevator, notice that the carpet on the floor has been changed from “Friday” to “Saturday.”
What to Do When You Get There: While McCormick’s is downstairs, also try ChoLon, which is a tremendous fusion restaurant in LoDo (don’t forget to order the soup dumplings). There are more bars than you can count in this neck of the woods, but you should try Howl at the Moon dueling piano bar. Across the street from The Oxford, you’ll definitely want to check out Rockmount Ranch Wear, home of the snap-button shirt. And book-lovers will most definitely need to visit the famed Tattered Cover, which is just a couple blocks away. For artists, the lesser-known Museum of Contemporary Art is down the block, offering some unique pieces of abstract and installation art.
The Four Seasons
Reputation: Luxury and sophistication in a prime Denver locale.
There’s no ice machine (the concierge would rather bring it to you) and there’s a TV in the bathroom mirror. It’s luxury, folks, so get used to it. The Four Seasons offers the best of the best: spectacular views, incredibly cushy accommodations (you’ll never want to leave this bed) and a bathroom that may just steal the show—with a giant tub, multi-head shower and again, the TV in the mirror. Downstairs you’ll find Edge restaurant and upstairs you’ll find the Level 3, a poolside bar. But if you are like me, you’ll head out to the nearby nightlife. Beyond the luxury, the thing that makes the Four Seasons so Four Seasons-like is its prime location in downtown Denver.
What to Do When You Get There: Because you are just a block from Larimer Square, mosey around the shops (including Goorin Bros. hat shop!) and land a spot at Osteria Marco. Order the Cucumber Lavender Rickey. For dinner, you can wait in line at the always-packed Euclid Hall for unique takes on German fare or you can get a reservation at TAG, one of Denver’s best dining spots. And then it’s on to Comedy Works, where you’ll watch both the up-and-comers and major leaguers of comedy. Or, walk over to the performing arts complex for the Colorado Symphony, the sold-out Book of Mormon in August or local theater.