Winter Wonderland in the Colorado Rockies

Creating memories at Dunton Hot Springs

Winter is a magical time to visit Dunton Colorado. Dunton Hot Springs is a year round high-end luxury resort that features its 1880s miners cabins that have been refurbished into luxury accommodations. All-inclusive accommodation packages start at about $2,000 per night. The Dunton village features its historic Bathhouse with hot spring mineral pool, spa house, and Dancehall & Saloon with chef-driven cuisine.

From the outside, this weathered and creaky two-story miner’s cabin doesn’t look like much. But the inside of what is known as The Library is a book lover’s paradise, with its hundreds of diverse titles lining the wrap-around shelves and overstuffed seating, animal skin rugs and wood fireplace — an invitation to vacationing guests to curl up and read a while.

This bounty of pages shouldn’t be here, in the middle-of-nowhere Colorado forest. But just like The Saloon a short walk away offering chef-driven mountain cuisine and crisp G&Ts for happy hour, I’m so glad that it does. 

I'm here for an extended weekend at Dunton Hot Springs, a boutique luxury mountain resort about 25 miles southwest of Telluride, which sits along the West Fork of the Dolores River. It’s a collection of about two dozen 1880’s miners cabins, once strewn throughout the valley but moved on-site and refurbished into high-end accommodations. There's an open-air chapel, yoga studio and spa house for massages and other treatments. Some of the cabins feature hot-spring-fed soaking tubs.

As a book lover, I’m giddy to spend some time in The Library (a wedding gift from the owner to his wife many years ago), but that’s not the main attraction here. I was delighted to learn that Dunton offers special add-ons to all accommodation bookings, including elopement and intimate wedding packages, romantic getaways and ski and soak packages. Can you just imagine being proposed to in The Library? 

Strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the serene San Juan Mountains. Climb into Dunton’s very own Snowcat and scale to 10,000 feet for a day of snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on trail laid out by former Olympic Nordic skier Wendy Wegner, or enjoy a winter wonderland experience at Dunton River Camp where the adventurous can delight in a number of winter activities and all can spend a cozy, comfortable afternoon nestled by the fire in the River Camp’s Farm House enjoying hot chocolate, board games, and a warm lunch celebrating life’s simple pleasures. You have the opportunity to do as much or as little as you choose, without feeling guilty. 

The Bathhouse is the centerpiece here and features a spectacular hot bathing pool, nearby cold-plunge stone tub, and hypnotic mountain views from the sliding barn-door windows. A sauna and natural soaking pool sit right outside.

This was the first place I headed after checking into Christy’s Tent, our home away from home for the weekend. We slipped into the thick green Dunton spa robes and padded down the dirt road to start the irresistible circuit, from bathing pool, to cold plunge, to outdoor pool, and back again.

And then to Christy’s Tent, a misnomer if ever there was one. This walled-tent cabin with adjoining bath suite is furnished with wrought-iron bed, sumptuously thick and downy bedding, and comfortable and clever camp rocking chair and desk. There’s a wood-burning stove that makes winter guests very happy.  If there’s one thing I've  learned here so far, it’s that all the soaking can make a guest famished. 

As if by magic, the original Dancehall & Saloon silently beckons guests for inventive and hearty breakfasts, and dinners with menu offerings such as Alaskan Halibut with XO Sauce, Bison Tartare, and Lombatello with Salsa Seca. 

And when you’re waiting for one of those afternoon cocktails, take a moment to check out the scratchings and scrawlings on the Saloon’s original bar, where the name Butch Cassidy is rumored to have been carved there by the man himself.

Here at Dunton, surprises and delights abound. It really does feel like a winter wonderland. Throughout my stay I constantly slipped away into my own little world. No matter what I was doing with my time the breathtaking views from every direction were all ways a plenty. This luxury five-star resort nestled in the Colorado Rockies is a bucket list must. 

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