The Rocky Mountain state is fun, young and outdoorsy. Tack on 300 days of sunshine per year and these vibrant hotels, bookable on Culture Trip, and you’ve got the recipe for an unbeatable holiday in Colorado, USA.
Many people picture world-class slopes when they think of Colorado – and they would be right. But there’s so much more to this great state that sits high above sea level. Each season has its charms, with Aspen trees that turn golden in the autumn, roaring rivers in spring and buzzing music festivals in summer – plus easy access to some of the best hiking and biking in the country. Let’s not forget Colorado’s vibrant capital, Denver, which has grown in the last few decades to become an arts and culture epicenter with hip restaurants and breweries. They’re all perhaps best explored on two wheels, with a great hotel stay lined up for when it’s time to rest your head.
If the exterior of this historic hotel in the mountains looks familiar in a strange and unsettling way, that’s because it was the setting for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. Amateur ghost hunters can take advantage of nightly tours and catch their favorite scenes on various TVs that play the movie on a rotating basis. The main building offers older, more traditional rooms, otherwise opt for the newer, more stylish accommodations nearby – some are apartment-style. Several dining and drinking outlets include a whiskey bar and an American restaurant serving casual fare. Outdoor activities are plentiful in the adjacent Rocky Mountain National Park, including guided hikes and mountain bike rentals.
The Ridgeline Hotel, Estes Park, Ascend Hotel Collection
4.2/5 (948 Reviews)
Courtesy of The Ridgeline Hotel, Estes Park, Ascend Hotel Collection / Booking.com
This big, family-friendly hotel is another option in Estes Park for easy access to the national park. Choose from one of the simple 147 guest rooms and suites – common spaces include a hip, renovated lobby, while an indoor pool keeps the kiddies happy. After the day’s activities, head to the on-site alehouse and sip a craft beer in a rocking chair. The menu offers gastropub fare like hearty sandwiches and sweet potato fries, as well as nachos served in cast iron. When it’s time for dessert, head to the outdoor fire pit and make some s’mores. You can easily walk to more restaurants in Estes Park, or jump on one of the loaner bicycles.
Experience modern-day Denver at this upscale hotel located above bustling Union Station – an especially convenient option for those arriving by Amtrak train. Stylish rooms come in a range of sizes with mini-fridges, bathrobes, iPads and Nespresso machines. The smallest option is the Pullman Room, mimicking luxury train cabins, while larger units offer historic details like exposed brick and beams plus enormous ceilings. Just downstairs are various restaurants, shops and bars to explore with a vibrant scene that attracts both visitors and locals. The hotel’s daily destination fee offers premium amenities that may include free beers and charcuterie plates, Tesla rides within a 2mi (3km) radius and access to a high-end fitness center, to name a few.
This sleek, Hilton-owned hotel is hard to miss in the heart of Denver’s Art District. The name doesn’t disappoint: there are curated artwork and sculptures in the common spaces, along with a sparkling light installation with 22,000 LED lights at the entryway. Bright and stylish rooms and suites have big windows to let in the city and mountain views, plus Keurig coffee makers, mini-fridges, blonde wood furnishings and marble bathrooms. The contemporary farm-to-table restaurant is a highlight, thanks to enormous windows where you can enjoy the view – not to mention the Tandoori-dusted scallops. You can also dine on the year-round terrace.
This family-owned hotel, which also doubles as a ski museum, is suitable for easygoing travelers on a dime. It has a priceless location right on Aspen’s Main Street, a short walk from downtown bars, restaurants and festivals. Meanwhile, skiers can hitch a ride on the free shuttle that stops right in front for access to all of Aspen’s ski areas. 16 simple rooms have bits of charm with vintage ski posters and winter equipment, as well as kitchenettes – mini-fridge, stove top, microwave, coffee maker, toaster – and dining areas. With any luck, you’ll get a room with a spectacular view of Aspen Mountain.
You know it has to be trendy when a vowel is left out of the name. This contemporary party hotel in LoDo – that’s Lower Downtown for newbies – is in a historic brick building near Union Station that has been painted with artwork inside and out. Rooms have contemporary decor and minibars, while larger rooms have living rooms, private patios and even jacuzzis. Guests under 21 are not allowed and you’ll soon see why – craft beers, cocktails and a dark nightclub with regular live entertainment are the main attraction. Look for specials like the all-day happy hour and all-day brunch with sliders and street tacos, plus a menu of “bennies,” or eggs benedict.
Looking for something more traditional? This historic lodge dates back to 1893 and offers well-appointed rooms in an area loaded with outdoor activities – miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, whitewater rafting, plus ski resorts in nearby Aspen. Four room categories offer Victorian decor, while larger units come equipped with more space, balconies and soaking tubs. Start with morning espresso at the coffee shop, and return in the afternoon to daily happy hour specials. Coppertop Bar also serves a range of salads, soups, burgers and ribs, with a seasonal courtyard for outdoor dining. Vendors in the hotel can arrange ski, bike and rafting adventures.
Another option in Glenwood Springs is this family-friendly hotel, just steps away from the action at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, America’s only mountaintop theme park. Affordable rooms come with traditional decor, while bigger suites may include whirlpools, kitchenettes, living areas or fireplaces. Kids love the indoor splash pool and waterslide, while teens can head for the games room. A laid-back lobby has wood floors and seating areas for ordering pizza, salads, sandwiches, ice cream, and beer and wine for mom and dad. More food and drink choices can be found in Glenwood Springs.
You don’t have to be a theater enthusiast to stay here, but if you’re attending a performance at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts across the street, you can’t get much closer. This boutique hotel delights with its Renaissance Revival architecture, which dates back to 1911. Sophisticated rooms are on the small side, while suites offer more space and soaking tubs. The extraordinary marble lobby features theatrical costumes, but the real hub is the farm-to-table American restaurant that serves pilsner-battered fish and chips and CBD-infused cocktails. There’s a cozy study area for working and more intimate conversations, plus a fitness center and loaner bikes.
This no-frills Marriott property is ideal for travelers who seek reliable, contemporary digs, close to the Colorado Convention Center and Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Rooms have modern decor with floor-to-ceiling windows and mini-fridges, as well as working desks and ergonomic chairs. A spacious lobby has a billiards table and fireplace, while a colorful bar serves drinks and light bites with occasional live music. Grab-and-go options are always available from the pantry, or head out and explore the many dining options close to the hotel.