I’ve found another hotel that reaches high on my list of favorites. Winner of the 2010 Conde Nast Traveler Award for Readers Choice as #1 Resort in the United States, this Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa is nestled into the town of Avon, Colorado at the foot of Beaver Creek Mountain.
We arrived at the hotel this past Saturday,? just in time for my massage with Matthew. The relaxation began as soon as I exited the elevator and took in the deliciously clean scent of the?23,000 square foot Spa Anjali (which means divine offering in Sanskrit). The walk to the locker room began my meditation as I passed a fabricated Aspen grove and walked down an Indonesian influenced hallway with bamboo floors lined with smooth, flat stones.? At the end of the hallway was a water feature that sent droplets of water down into fissured rocks. My escape had begun.
Slipping out of my bathrobe and Bali sandals I left myself to Matthew’s luxuriously healing hands.? As he worked on my body, applying the perfect amount of pressure for my muscles still aching from my 6:00 a.m. morning workouts, I felt grateful for people like him who devote their lives to healing others with their touch.
After the massage, I strolled through the bustling hotel lobby where people were lounging out on? leather couches or enjoying cocktails and appetizers at the restaurant/bar. The Westin was the happening gathering place for Friday Afternoon Club. Hearing the music on the Gondola Plaza located directly outside the hotel,? I ran upstairs to get the kids ready.
The boys were happily sitting on the floor building a city of legos and so we decided to wait for my husband, Wade, to arrive from work. I sank into the comfortable couch in our spacious suite to take in the views outside our window, the sun was slowly sinking behind the mountains lighting up the bluffs as the full moon rose higher into the sky. “Have I told you how much I LOVE summer in the mountains?” I asked the kids and they nodded yes in unison. Just then Wade burst open the door. “How great is this?” he asked, “After an incredibly difficult day at work, I roll up to the hotel in my beat up Subaru and I’m treated like a King.”
We headed out under the full moon to take a stroll, play bean bag toss games and check out the festivities in the plaza. It was quite the scene.
The modern Westin is where it’s going on and is more than just a friendly resort, it is also the only LEED Silver Certified resort in Colorado and the ninth hotel in the US to receive the certification. With 210 residences it is the perfect place for active families with full kitchens in the larger suites, a saline-based Olympic sized 25-yard lap pool that uses 80 percent less chemicals than standard pools, an enormous gym with state-of-the-art equipment, hiking and whitewater rafting to be found directly outside and 40 miles of bike path to explore. I can only imagine that winters are just as active with the high-speed gondola giving direct access to Beaver Creek Mountain and an extensive terrain of ski trails. No cars or shuttles needed.? No hassles.
In the morning? we were picked up in front of the hotel by the Lakota Guides and we geared up to go rafting on The Shoshone section of the Colorado River.
Tucker and I missed the more adventurous Class III rapids. With names like Superstition, Pinball, Tombstone, and Maneater, I was thinking that was a good thing. I told Wade to make sure he took care of the boys as they unloaded from the shuttle bus.
Meeting back up with them, I was surprised to see Wade looking very refreshed. He was watching the boys so closely that he forgot to hold on and the next thing he knew, he saw his feet in the air as he was tossed from the boat into the rapids. He was the first to go in.
As we were getting onto the raft, Jordan, our raft guide, pulled the kids over to a smaller raft, harnessed behind our raft and asked them if they would prefer to go on? “mini-me”. I assessed the situation. The rapids were supposed to be more mellow from here on in and the boys were overly excited to be on their own. Since the boat was attached to ours and trailing behind,? all should be fine, right?
It was beautiful, floating through the 1,500 ft canyon walls of the Glenwood Canyon as Jordan told stories that I had never heard before like how Interstate 70, a Transcontinental Interstate that runs parallel to the river, was one of the most expensive rural highways per mile built in the United States and of the fighting, gambling Doc Holliday who moved into the Hotel Glenwood, a sanatorium near the hot springs of Glenwood Springs in the late 1800’s. As told on Wikipedia, “In 1887, prematurely gray and badly ailing, Holliday made his way to the Hotel Glenwood, a sanatorium near the hot springs of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He hoped to take advantage of the reputed curative power of the waters, but the sulfurous fumes from the spring may have done his lungs more harm than good. As he lay dying, Holliday allegedly asked for a drink of whiskey. Amused, he looked at his bootless feet as he died?no one ever thought that he would die in bed, with his boots off. His last words were, “Damn, this is funny.”
After a few hours on the river, we stopped for a slip-n-slide break and everybody had a good time, especially the raft guides who clearly loved their jobs.
Returning to the river we were floating along when suddenly we hit a large rock in an area called “the bathtub” and plunged into a big dip. I looked back in fear knowing that this couldn’t be good. As if in slow motion, I watched as mini-me flipped the boys out into the river. My two older boys would have been fine only their concern for their younger brother, Tucker, made them panic a bit. In the end, there was nothing to worry about. The boys floated in their life vests right up to our raft and were hauled in. It was the highlight of their trip and Tucker could not stop giggling the rest of the way home. “Did I fly Mama?” he asked.
On the way back to the hotel, revived by their little adventure, the boys were out of control, wrestling in the seats and driving me mad. Wade was fast asleep in the back of the bus. Thankfully, Jordan took the edge off by telling us joke after joke like, “Why did the one eyed deer cross the road? I have no “eye” deer.” Looking out the window he pointed out the rapid that flipped mini-me, “And there’s the newly dubbed dump truck rapid,” he announced and the boys glowed with pride.
We said our goodbyes and were shuttled back to The Westin where we lounged out in the three infinity hot tubs? looking over the river we just had such an adventure on. The boys spoke about the many different ways they have gone through the canyon, by car on Highway 82, taking the train from Glenwood to Denver and? now by raft. This was their favorite route by far.
**NOTE: If you become an SPG member at The Westin you get 35% off and a complimentary continental breakfast. Click here for other offers and look for the Family plan where rates run from $159 a night.
***Disclaimer: I may have received a comped room, and rafting, but LOVED every minute of it and stand 100% by my honest review.