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Photo of Scarp Ridge Lodge courtesy of Eleven Experience

Where to Vacation in Colorado This Summer

Summer travel is still an option at these hotels and Airbnbs. Here’s what to expect during your visit.

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While packing up the family for a destination vacation may not be in the plans this year, we Coloradans are lucky to have so much beauty and an array of outdoor activities to enjoy right here in the state.

To inspire you to get out there (safely) and help you understand the changes, limitations, and precautions that are taking place at resorts and rentals across the state, we’ve created a list of six refreshing vacay spots you can still visit this summer.

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Hotels

All four of the hotels listed below are making similar changes to ensure the safety of both employees and guests. Each hotel has more frequent cleaning procedures in place, as well as social distancing measures for activities and meals like reservation requirements at pools and limited tables at restaurants. They also all have hand sanitizing stations placed throughout their properties and are requiring all employees to wear face masks as recommended by the CDC.

Here are more details on what each destination is doing to go above and beyond, as well as what they’re offering.

Photo courtesy of Gaylord Rockies Resort

Gaylord Rockies Resort

Aurora

Far enough from downtown to feel “away” but close enough that you’ll hit check-in before the kids can mutter the first, “Are we there yet?”, the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Spa, near DIA, provides an action-packed escape for families. The vibe is elevated mountain lodge with stunning mountain views and modern rooms, but the Gaylord is totally family-friendly.

With all the activities the Gaylord offers, you can also park the car and stay put. Arapahoe Springs is the resort’s impressive waterpark complex, which includes indoor and outdoor pools, three waterslides, a lazy river, and private poolside cabanas, all providing some much-needed relief from the summer heat. If you’re worried about the cleanliness near the pool—don’t be—aquatic attendants are regularly sanitizing guest touch points. Chaise lounge chairs, cabanas, and lazy river tubes are all sanitized before and after each use, and towel desks and counters are frequently sanitized with hospital-grade disinfectant. Poolside seating has also been spaced out to maintain social distancing recommendations.

After the family takes a dip in the pool, grab a bite to eat at Arapahoe Springs Bar & Grill, just steps away from the outdoor pool and lazy river. In this restaurant, as well as the other four that are currently open on the property, digital menus have replaced paper menus to limit potential contamination.

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This summer, little travelers can still participate in hotel activities like scavenger hunts, live animal encounters, crafts, and lawn movie nights. However, be sure to call the hotel ahead to confirm that the activity you’re interested in is still happening.

Ready to go: The resort reopened for guests in late June, incorporating it’s new COVID-19 safety precautions, including mobile check-in and out of the hotel, using the Marriott app. Rates start at $139/night.

Photo courtesy of Surf Hotel

Surf Hotel

Buena Vista

Overlooking the Buena Vista Whitewater Park, the Surf Hotel offers a boutique travel experience with sprawling views of the water and the Rockies. The luxe property sits between old town Buena Vista and the Arkansas River, and is just a short walk away from a small downtown which flaunts local breweries, shops, and family-friendly restaurants. Ideal for an adults-only getaway or a family trip, the Surf Hotel offers a relaxing atmosphere for every type of vacationer.

Social distancing is easy in Buena Vista with a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, fly fishing, kayaking, rafting, and rock climbing offered. After a day of adventure, enjoy a refreshing cocktail, like the cucumber gimlet, along with dinner at Wesley & Rose, the hotel’s quaint restaurant. The restaurant is open nightly from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch. Take-out is also available if you’d rather enjoy your food and drinks in your room.

Guestrooms might look a little bit bare, but that’s just because the hotel is taking a minimalist approach by removing all non-essential, difficult-to-disinfect items. Mid-stay cleanings have also been eliminated to minimize the contact between guests and the housekeeping team. Instead, fresh towels, beverage supplies, and toiletries are available at the front desk. And perhaps the most advanced precaution of all—hotel employees have their temperatures taken at clock-in, and are immediately sent home if they exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms.

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Additionally, one thing that’s already pandemic-friendly at the Surf Hotel is the property’s advanced HVAC system. Each guestroom has its own heat and air-conditioning system which brings in fresh air from outside, so there’s no cross ventilation between guestrooms.

Ready to go: Rates start at $205/night.

Photo courtesy of The Broadmoor

The Broadmoor

Colorado Springs

The century-old Broadmoor in Colorado Springs reopened its expansive 5,000-acre property on June 28. It boasts a private lake, two championship golf courses, an award-winning spa and fitness center, five tennis courts, a zip line, 23 retail boutiques, 10 restaurants, and still more. Near the property, guests can also enjoy hiking and biking, fly fishing, falconry, horseback riding, archery, and canoeing in Cheyenne Lake. Although some activities and services are limited right now, there are still plenty of ways for guests to unwind.

If you’d rather slow down, the Spa at the Broadmoor is booking individual services like facials and massages, but the sauna, steam room, and hot tubs are closed. The three pools on the property are open, but guests need to make a reservation to visit either of the two outdoor pools. Pool reservations are good for two to three hours and offer assigned guest seating. Upgraded cleaning and detailing is being done after each reservation ends. Fitness classes, ranging from cycling to yoga, are also still being offered, but each class is limited to nine participants to ensure proper social distancing.

There are also outdoor dining options open at The Broadmoor’s many impressive restaurants, but they can only be filled up to 50 percent occupancy. Because of the limited seating, the hotel staff strongly recommends making reservations.

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The Broadmoor is currently offering a couple of packages for families, like the Welcome Back Family Package, which includes perks like free kids meals, free twilight golf rounds, ziplining discounts, and special rates.

Ready to go: With 784 rooms, suites, and cottages, there is something for couples to large families. Rates start at $500/night.

Photo courtesy of Eleven Experience

Scarp Ridge Lodge

Crested Butte

Located in downtown Crested Butte, Scarp Ridge Lodge is within walking distance of restaurants and shopping, yet allows easy access to the Gunnison National Forest and the gorgeous Crested Butte wilderness. While staying close to the lodge, you can go stand-up paddleboarding, white water rafting, hiking, rock climbing, and more.

Scarp Ridge Lodge is similar to a home, with an open floor plan, stocked kitchen and pantry, and welcoming decor. The property offers an intimate, nature-infused getaway for all ages, whether you’re headed there for a family vacation or a retreat with friends. The lodge holds up to 20 people and can be rented by room or bought out entirely for private vacays. Guests have access to an open kitchen and snacks on the property at any time, but expect freshly brewed coffee and a chef-prepared breakfast each morning to fuel you for a day of alpine activities.

Sip a craft Colorado beer or enjoy a glass of wine in the bar while you watch a movie on the drop-down projector screen in the shared media room. For guests who are hoping to be more active, take a swim in the indoor saltwater pool or break a sweat in the gym. After a workout, recover in the sauna, then end the day stargazing from the rooftop hot tub. The opportunity to have fun on this getaway is vast, and the option to book the whole lodge limits the number of outside folks a guest group may encounter.

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Ready to go: Prior to reopening, the lodge was closed for two months for a deep cleaning. All-inclusive rates start at $520/night.


Airbnbs

For an even more intimate getaway with less exposure to others, consider a private vacation rental. These two properties from Airbnb are standouts when it comes to vacationing in Colorado. They both have unique character and charm, while offering completely different experiences.

Both rentals have increased their professional cleaning services between each stay while taking extra care of close contact surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, and light switches.

They’re also designated Superhosts—meaning they’re known for providing extraordinary experiences for their guests. (If these two are booked the week you want to travel, look for the Superhost designation and notes about cleaning procedures when you review other rentals.)

Snowmass Mountain Retreat

Snowmass Village

Start your trip off with limited contact by utilizing the self check-in and keyless entry at this Snowmass retreat. The two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom condominium features a large private outdoor hot tub, an open concept living space, fully equipped kitchen, and a spacious deck with sweeping views of Snowmass. Once you arrive on the property, there’s really no reason to venture off too far, making it the ideal vacation spot for those who still feel a bit uneasy about traveling.

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Ready to go: Sleeps five. Rates start at $307/night.

Photo by Laura Page and Grant Blakeman

Sage Canyon Cliff House

Cortez

Spend the night adjacent to Sleeping Ute Mountain in the historic McElmo Canyon. This stunning cliff house is located just 40 minutes from Mesa Verde National Park and 20 minutes from the town of Cortez. Architecture and nature lovers alike will swoon over the house, which was built right into the red rock cliff wall of a private canyon alcove.

Although the property is secluded, it features comfortable amenities like a full kitchen, living space, high-speed internet, and music streaming services. The only thing that you won’t find in the house is a TV, as the owners hope to encourage guests to explore the great Southwest instead of kicking back with a movie. Go hiking, biking, horseback riding, or camping in the property’s tipi while taking in the unforgettable canyon views.

The location of the property practically guarantees social distancing, and the memories you’ll make out in the wild will last for years to come.

Ready to go: Sleeps four. Rates start at $224/night.

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