Rocky Mountain Spa

Posted: Tue 6th December 2016
By: Dena Roché

Admitted as the 38th state in the union in 1876, Colorado was called the "Centennial State" in honour of the one-hundredth anniversary of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Today mostly known for its fabulous ski slopes and breathtaking scenery, it can also boast of some of the world’s finest spas…

When Mother Nature was passing out genes, Colorado was blessed many times over. This Rocky Mountain paradise is truly nature’s playground and consequently it boasts the fittest population in the United States. Its emphasis on wellness makes it an ideal choice for a spa vacation packed with outdoor activities, locavore cuisine and, surprisingly, one of the hippest cities in the States.

THE MILE HIGH CLUB. Denver is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, but the Mile-High city is a destination in its own right. The city exudes a laid-back, positive energy that resonates throughout its eclectic neighbourhoods. From the young urbanites in LoDo and the Highlands, to the artsy River North and the upscale Cherry Creek North, Denver is a city that is alive. The unique neighbourhoods give the city a New York vibe, and the prominence of patio dining in the summer reminds one of European café culture. (Try the Market Café on Larimer; Prince Harry did when he was in the city in May).    Make the downtown Ritz Carlton, the only Denver hotel to ever earn five diamonds, your home base to explore the city and to wind down when you’re done. Don’t miss the Golden Triangle Museum District with the famous Daniel Libeskind-designed Denver Art Museum, the Clyfford Still Museum filled with the artist’s abstract works, and the many galleries in the area.      While Denver is known for beer, it also has one of only two American urban wineries. The Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery is a working winery with a wine bar and outdoor patio offering a variety of quality wines including wines on tap and in a can. (Yes, a can!) If Ben, the winemaker, is in the house, strike up a conversation and learn about the name and how the winery has scored the top Wine Spectator score for a Colorado wine.

SHOWER AND A BEER. After a day of sightseeing it’s time to rejuvenate at the Ritz Carlton’s spa. Featuring eight treatment rooms, a couples’ VIP suite, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, the spa’s signature services are its Vichy Shower Waterfall Journeys.     If you opted during the day to golf at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton or the Fossil Trace Golf Club in Golden, work out the kinks with the Mile High Malt Scrub and Microbrew Massage, featuring local beer in the treatment, the signature Vichy shower and a beer to enjoy afterwards.     The Herbal Peaks Poultice Massage is a top choice for a deep tissue massage that uses heat and a variety of anti-inflammatory herbs to loosen tight muscles from golf or travel.    Denver’s dining scene is robust and heavily focused on local, organic and sustainable fare. Head to Mizuna, where the chefs hand-make everything from the bread to the ice cream and use local vendors to craft a fine dining menu with a Colorado flair, or try the Mediterranean Cuisine at Rioja, where chef/owner Jennifer Jasinski was just named Best Chef in the Southwest by the James Beard Foundation.

VAIL UNVEILED. No trip to Colorado would be complete without visiting some of the iconic mountain resorts. While known for their skiing, the resorts also offer great golf, hiking, biking and rafting during the summer making them ideal year-round destinations.    Arguably the top mountain town, Vail is situated on the second largest ski mountain in the United States and is the perfect location, only two hours out of Denver, for a mountain respite. Check into the luxury boutique Arrabelle at Vail Square, ideally situated steps away from the Eagle Bahn Gondola and near boutiques, restaurants, summer outdoor concerts and a winter ice rink. The hotel oozes romance with its large Biedermeir designed rooms featuring canopy beds, fireplace and balcony.    Golfers will enjoy the Vail Golf Club, an 18-hole course rated a Top 100 Resort Course by Golf Digest, featuring a scenic layout within the White River National Forest or the Red Sky Golf Club with Tom Fazio and Greg Norman courses ranked as the top two courses in Colorado.      Adventure seekers should take the gondola to the top of Vail Mountain to experience Adventure Ridge, a thrill-seekers paradise with four zip lines, aerial rope courses, climbing walls, tubing and boulder climbing. In winter, all sorts of snow sports reign.

ARABELLA SPA. After your outdoor pursuits, pamper yourself at the Arrabelle Spa, rated in the Top 20 Spas in the World in 2012 by Condé Nast Traveler. Done in warm neutrals with pops of orange, the soothing spa features 11 treatment rooms and a couples’ suite with a soaking tub. A highlight is a massive Jacuzzi and relaxation area found in each locker room.      For something different, try the Gemstone Fusion Aromatherapy Massage. The 80-minute service works on balancing your energy using different gemstones and oils to work on the body’s chakras. Using a Colorado-based, all-organic product line, the therapist uses the stones and her hands to manipulate energy, soothe sore muscles and relax the body. The calming treatment also oxygenates the body which helps people acclimate better to the mountain altitude which is about 8,000 feet above sea level.    There is no shortage of fine dining in Vail, but to experience local organic ingredients combined to create exotic and unexpected flavor profiles, head to Kelly Liken. Chef/owner Liken was a contestant on the American Top Chef show, and her restaurant highlights seasonal American cuisine. If the blackberry basil gelato is on the menu, don’t pass it up.

EAGER BEAVER. While Vail is beautiful, you’d be remiss not to head 15 minutes down the road to check out the Beaver Creek Resort area. While the scene at Vail is “see and be seen,” Beaver Creek is more family-friendly.    Stay at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, which has been Condé Nast Traveler’s top ski hotel in North America for the past three years. The first LEED silver-certified property in Colorado, the Westin is the perfect choice for a spa getaway, while being centrally located for all Beaver Creek has to offer.    Spa Anjali’s treatment menu uses only organic lines to craft mountain-inspired treatments. It was ranked number four in American resort spas by Condé Nast and boasts 14 rooms, an extensive fitness club, an outdoor saline pool and three infinity hot tubs that overlook the Eagle River and mountains. The spa’s signature services follow the theme of Rocky Mountain journeys, alpine journeys or Himalayan journeys.     With the dry mountain air, it’s time to hydrate the skin with the Ayurvedic Facial which incorporates a bit of Rocky Mountain and Himalayan aspects into a facial designed for your dosha and skin type. Ingredients like local honey, neem, goji berries, cucumber and aloe are used to exfoliate, hydrate and repair the skin. Like all good facials, you’re also treated to face, neck and foot massages.

OUT TO PLAY. Beaver Creek’s natural beauty beckons you to get out and play. From a simple walk alongside the Eagle River just steps from the hotel, to joining a guided mountain hike (maybe climb one of Colorado’s famous Fourteeners) or mountain bike tour put on by the Beaver Creek Hiking Center, there is something for everyone. Rafting, stand-up paddle boarding and fishing will get you on the water, and of course there is the Beaver Creek Golf Club featuring a Robert Trent Jones Jr. course.    To satisfy the appetite you worked up during the day, plan to dine at the Park Hyatt’s 8100 Mountainside Grill in the heart of Beaver Creek Village. While hotel restaurants are a necessary amenity, Executive Chef Christian Apetz boldly declares that 8100 is a “luxury”.    “We hang our hat on our wood-fire grill,” he said. “Everything we do comes off this grill.” Guests can watch the action in the open kitchen and experience local, organic dishes that change seasonally and are inspired by the best Colorado has to offer at the time.     The Park Hyatt is known for its daily s’more gathering, when locals and tourists alike descend on the fire pits to create this delectable comfort food. And lest you think you’re too old for s’mores, the liquor-infused marshmallows will help you change your mind!

TOTAL ZEN. For a wellness vacation, Colorado is hard to beat. The state offers some of the top spas in the country and the area’s opportunities to play in nature and enjoy majestic scenery also help quiet the mind and bring you back into balance.

Good to know

Getting There: British Airways offers a non-stop service between Denver and London. Delta, United, Air Canada and Icelandic Air also offer service.

Tourist Information:

Visit Denver


Beaver Creek

Hotel and Spa Information:

Ritz Carlton Denver

The Arrabelle

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa


Arrowhead Golf Club

Fossil Trace

Vail Golf Club

Red Sky Ranch Golf Club

Beaver Creek Golf Club


Image of Camilla Kaas-Stock
By Dena Roché


Previous Article Bentley - a car of contrasts
Next Article Top 5 Short Christmas Golf Breaks

Related articles