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Mountain hotels come in all shapes and sizes, from rustic lodges to luxurious mega-resorts and everything in between; nowhere, though, is there anything like Dunton Hot Springs. Here, in remote southwestern Colorado, along the banks of the Dolores river, halfway between the ski town of Telluride and the Anasazi ruins of Mesa Verde, is an authentic ghost town, an abandoned century-old gold prospectors’ camp, renovated shack by shack and rehabilitated into a truly unique luxury hotel — a place where roughing it in hand-hewn log cabins (and one teepee) neatly coincides with spa treatments, thermal baths and fine organic dining.
The resort’s infrastructure and amenities are largely hidden from view; from the outside you’d never suspect that within these unassuming rustic buildings are twelve elegant, contemporary hotel rooms. The town’s old Pony Express stop hides the massage and yoga facilities, and the bar and dining room are behind the walls of the old saloon.
As for the hot springs, there’s a bath house holding a communal pool, and a second spring hidden within a teepee. The spa offers everything from massage and mud baths to reflexology and yoga, and some of the guest cabins have their own private baths fed by the geothermal springs.
All this pampering need not prevent anyone from exercising their inner mountain man or woman; here at the foot of the snow-capped San Juan mountains, surrounded by two national forests, just about any outdoor activity is possible — hiking, horseback riding, fly-fishing, and in the winter, skiing, snowshoeing, even heli-ski excursions, all ending with a dip in the thermal baths.
If the price seems high, know that it includes quite a lot more than a place to lay your head. Meals are part of the package, made from locally grown organic ingredients, served at a long communal table in the old saloon. And drinks are as well, including wine and spirits. You can borrow everything from a DVD to watch in the screening room to mountain bikes and ice skates and cross country skis, and if you work up a sweat, there’s complimentary laundry service, too.
All in all, it’s almost too good to be true, the kind of place you’ll go home raving about — and if you’re in a sharing mood, when you return, you can book the whole town for yourself and thirty-five of your closest friends.
How to get there:
Dunton Hot Springs is a short drive from several area airports. Durango Airport (2 hours), Telluride Airport (2 hours in winter/1 hour in summer), and Cortez Airport (1 hour). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange airport transfers (car service or helicopter). If you decide to drive, please be aware that the last 9 miles of the road to Dunton are unpaved.
- 13 Rooms
- Style: Traditional Elegance
- Atmosphere: Secluded
- Dunton Hot Springs
- 52068 County Road 38
- Dolores, CO, USA
Hotel amenities and services
- 100% non-smoking hotel
- 24 hour concierge
- 24 hour gym
- Free wi-fi
- Steam rooms