Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs offered historic base for four relaxing August days away

Overlooking the steaming Glenwood Hot Springs stands historic Hotel Colorado, built in 1893 for $750,000, complete with its Unsinkable Molly Brown penthouse suite. (She was a big fan of the Hotel.)

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We arrived early evening on a warm August Monday, checked in, delighted to see that they’d recently installed small window unit air conditioners in most of the rooms. Our room was on the fourth floor. Still in physical therapy after broken hip/leg surgery, I only ascended the grand staircases once, descended twice over the four days we were there. The small carpeted elevator quickly became our friend.

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Hotel Colorado has a long and adventurous history — if those walls could talk; walls hung with framed newspaper clippings, drawings, photographs of the famous, infamous, and not so famous guests of the Hotel Colorado.

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I could be mistaken, but it seemed that there were more clippings and drawings about Teddy Roosevelt than anyone else. I read one account that described his three-week stay at the Hotel, which he used as a base for his bear hunt.

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The notorious John Henry “Doc” Holiday is another name I saw on a chautauqua poster in the Hotel.

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After settling into our room we crossed the short walking bridge (over the highway (I-70) and Colorado River) to downtown for dinner making a straight line for The Pullman restaurant.

The Pullman, across the street from the train station, is one of our favorite restaurants. They always have such interesting dishes; they combine ingredients in ways we never would’ve considered. We had the chicken & kale salad and the risotto stuffed eggplant. Delicious! Plus I love their iced tea. I keep meaning to ask what it is.

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The train station as viewed from the walking bridge.

The next day while Bob was in his conference (it was a work trip for him), after sleeping in and taking my sweet time getting ready, I walked across the bridge for a light lunch and a stroll through some of the downtown shops, my favorite being a nice consignment boutique called Lilly’s. Found several very nice goodies including a small dressy backpack that I can use for work since I need to get the lopsided weight off my shoulders from purses while I’m relearning how to walk right now. I thanked the shop’s proprietor, stuffed my purse and the other treats into the backpack, and headed back over the bridge. Such a lovely day. Within minutes I noticed how much better my back felt. (How’s that for a solid justification for the purchase?)

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading in a log chair in the courtyard of the Hotel; families carrying towels excitedly coming and going to and from the Hot Springs park across the street.

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We explored more of the Hotel’s floors (in search of ice) before walking over the bridge for dinner, stopping to take photos of the lobby, imagining how cold it must’ve been in the winter at the turn of the century; winters are cold and snowy in Glenwood Springs!

We crossed the bridge to downtown, again (why not), and walked to each of the cluster of restaurants and read their menus. We decided on Italian Underground (under Lilly’s, the consignment shop), but they had a considerable wait list so we went to our second choice that night, Juicy Lucy’s Steakhouse. I do believe that filet mignon was the absolute best I’ve ever had. Bob had the salmon. Incredible dinner start to finish. And filling. Back at the hotel, we hung out in the courtyard; the fire pits and cool breeze inviting.

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I had to dash back home for a scheduled physical therapy session Wednesday but was back in Glenwood in time for another walk across the bridge for dinner. After exploring menus again, we both at the same time said, “want to go back to The Pullman?” We had a good laugh at ourselves and were surprised to find an open table on their patio! The clouds quickly darkened and rain sprinkles splashed on the table umbrella. They moved us to the next open table when the umbrella blew off; us insisting on sitting outside as the rain turned from sprinkles to downpour. We didn’t care; we were enjoying ourselves, the umbrellas keeping us reasonably dry, and the food, as always, wonderful. I had homemade fettuccine and Bob had local goat.

We shared a butterscotch desert and walked back in the rain; it was simply delightful! Felt like a vacation, something we haven’t had in what feels like a decade. So nice.

“Want to see the hydro-electric plant?” Bob asked suddenly, adding that there is still daylight. In the rain? I asked. “Its under the highway,” he shrugged. So off we drove to the Shoshone exit in Glenwood Canyon which took us right under the highway to a small public parking area. We could hear the roaring water rushing out of the plant’s bypass before we got out of the car.

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As we walked along the path, two avid kayakers ran down the ramp ahead of us and into the cold river! We watched until they disappeared from view downriver. The photos and videos of the water don’t do it justice; the power and its roar were tremendous!

We took our time, enjoying the last of the daylight before driving back to the hotel. Too wet to sit outside, we retired to our room.

I packed us up, loaded the car, and worked crossword puzzles in the courtyard Thursday morning while Bob finished his conference. The air was crisp and cool from the night’s rain.

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We left around 1:00 p.m. and had a lovely drive home, including a late lunch stop at Miner’s Claim restaurant in Silt. Always good!

Overall, it was a wonderful getaway. We were close to home yet in a very different place. The historic Hotel Colorado was the perfect base from which to enjoy our stay, with amazing local restaurants, shops, and recreation all within walking distance. Good to get away and good to be home!


Photos by Krystyn Hartman (c) 2019

 

 

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