Colorado's hot springs are truly some best on the planet -- they're record-setting, in fact (more on that later) -- and they're found in roughly 30 resort areas statewide. Reaping the springs' health benefits became a trend in the late 19th century, and whether you're here for that purpose, or to simply luxuriate in the mineral-rich waters until your fingers prune, you'll likely need a place to hang your hat in between dips. But with dozens of hotels and towns from which to choose, planning a trip here can be a little daunting. Read on, as we sussed out the best locales and stays to book your next hot springs vacation.
1. The Springs Resort & Spa, Pagosa Springs
Pagosa Springs has an impressive claim to fame, with world's deepest geothermal hot spring contained within its borders -- and this four-pearl hotel sits right on top of it. The Springs Resort & Spa, located on the banks of the San Juan River, has 23 mineral pools with temperatures ranging from 87 to 114 degrees Fahrenheit. The property's 79 guest rooms have elegant, contemporary decor, and they're equipped with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, bathrobes, a generous supply of high-end C.O. Bigelow bath products, and free Wi-Fi. Upgraded units and Suites have kitchens, minibars, separate seating areas, and some have walk-in showers and jetted soaking tubs. There's also a spa with a fireplace lounge, and a bathhouse with a rooftop terrace that overlooks the expansive grounds.
2. Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, Glenwood Springs
The second hotel in our roundup is located in a town that also has record-setting status. Since the 1880s, travelers have flocked to Glenwood Springs to soak in the world's largest hot springs pool -- and guests here have unlimited access to them, as they're on-site at this three-and-a-half-pearl property. The hotel's 107 guest rooms have country-chic decor, with dark-wood headboards and accents in warm hues like burnt sienna, loden green, and gold. All units have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and iPod docks, and some offer mountain views. The property features a large outdoor swimming pool with a waterslide, a renowned spa, plus a spacious fitness center.
3. Chipeta Solar Springs Resort & Spa, Ridgway
Travelers looking for a relaxing retreat in the wilderness -- whose idea of roughing it might mean sacrificing high-thread-count sheets -- will do well at this luxurious hotel. The four-and-a-half-pearl Chipeta Solar Springs Resort & Spa, located on the outskirts of the sleepy town of Ridgway, is surrounded by Colorado's San Juan Mountains, and has a hot springs soaking pool that overlooks them. The property has 25 guest rooms with stylish Southwestern decor, with hand-carved pine headboards, Native American artworks and crafts, and upscale touches like leather sofas and stained-glass bedside lamps. Many boast gas fireplaces and private patios or balconies with hot tubs. The hotel's cozy spa is a highlight, as is the saltwater swimming pool and the rooftop Skybar.
4. Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs, Ouray
The three-pearl Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs has four hot tubs with natural thermal waters, and offers superb views of the Rocky Mountains from its rustic lodge. The property is located in Ouray, about an hours' drive from Telluride, which has hot springs that range from 80 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit bubbling up along the Uncompahgre River. The hotel's 39 comfortable guest rooms with simple decor and cozy-cabin accents, such as knotted-pine walls and saloon-style hinged doors leading to bathrooms. Spaces are bright and well-maintained, and there's all-cotton bedding, solid wood furniture with traditional hardware, and warm lighting. All units have AC, coffeemakers, microwaves, mini-fridges, and DVD players with loaner movies available at no extra charge. Suites add living rooms, and some have kitchens. There aren't many amenities beyond the hot tubs at this hotel, but the Lodge serves a free breakfast, and there's no charge for Wi-Fi or parking.
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