From Southern Charm last week, this issue we tap the expert travel advisors at SmartFlyer to check out their recommendations for the best of the the West and Southwest, from some funky luxury in Austin to the luxury of Aspen and the suggest natural beauty of the American West.
1. Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores, Colorado
Located just outside Telluride, Dunton Hot Springs breathes new life into a 19th-century ghost town. The 13 rustic log cabins are all unique and surprisingly luxe, with heated slate floors and handpicked antiques; guests in the Well House enjoy their own hot springs.
Others can soak weary bones in the old bathhouse or under the stars at the source. Join a trail ride into the Rockies or fly-fish along a private stretch of the Dolores; guests will find every conceivable winter sport, including heli-skiing. Farm-fresh meals and wine from the resort’s vineyard are shared over the Saloon’s long table.
Knoxville-based Alexandra Stockton shares, “Dunton Hot Springs will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time (that is if mining towns had world-class food and wine and a luxury spa with natural hot springs!). The property is tucked deep into the San Juan Mountains but it is worth the trek! The accommodations are individual log cabins so it’s easy to social distance and there is plenty of wilderness for everyone to explore. Splurge on the Well House cabin that has its own hot spring and cold plunge.”
SmartFlyer tip: Butch Cassidy was here. Look for his name among the etchings in the Saloon’s original bar.
The 1,950 sq. ft., five-bedroom Potter House offers one master bedroom with king bed, fireplace, and en-suite bathroom with tub. There are three additional bedrooms, two with kings, another with a queen bed, and another bedroom with two twins. Gather your gang in the kitchen and living area with fireplace and wrap around deck.
2. The Little Nell, Aspen
Aspen’s only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five-Diamond property with ski-in, ski-out access, The Little Nell gives guests direct access to America’s most famous mountain town. Beyond the property’s intimate ambiance and luxurious amenities, they offer unparalleled seasonal packages — from fly-fishing trips on Gold Medal waters to free lift tickets to the four mountains of Aspen/Snowmass. Seasonal haute cuisine is available at Element 47 or on the sun-drenched patio of Ajax Tavern. Rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit in the utmost style and elegance when they check-in here.
Boston SmartFlyer Julie Palo Hayes shares, “Aspen has the true mining town feel with rock star restaurants and services along with all the outdoor activities. It beats all the other options!”
Chicago-based travel advisor Justyna Della Valle adds, “The Little Nell is an institution in Aspen and my personal go-to for my annual ski trip. The ski concierge staff are the star of the hotel and guests are known by name. As a guest of The Little Nell, you enjoy complimentary access to the first tracks before the mountain opens. Even better, they offer regular guests ski storage year-round!”
SmartFlyer tip: Ask Wine Director Chris Dunaway about the hotel’s 25,000 bottle wine cellar.
The Paepacke Suite
This is the premier hotel suite in Aspen and the hotel’s biggest. Walter Paepcke, the visionary industrialist, imagined a center of mind, body, and spirit high in the Colorado Rockies. It was he and his wife Elizabeth who founded the Aspen Institute, Aspen Skiing Company, and the Aspen Music Festival and School.
If anything embodies that ideal, it is this grand 2,500 square foot one-bedroom space. A sweeping private balcony takes in the base of Aspen Mountain, the Silver Queen Gondola, and Ajax Tavern’s “see and be” scene. And the suite can be expanded to include two more bedrooms.
A central fireplace anchors an expansive living room which includes an elegant workstation, a dining table seating six, and an adjacent powder room. And then there’s the art and design. To begin to paint the picture: From the Plein Air Series, two pieces by John Riepenhoff. Ajiro Vineyard wall covering by Maya Romanoff. Frank Game Table by Mattaliano – a custom-designed game table with crystal chess and backgammon pieces. Mark Albrecht bar stools. Mystere Coffee Table by Tristan Auer. Gem Table by Chai Ming Studios.
The Pfeifer Suite
Friedl Pfeifer was an Austrian ski racer who trained in these mountains with the 10th Mountain Division before WWII. He established the Aspen Ski School. A statue in Gondola Plaza commemorates his life’s adventure.
In his spirit, two slopeside balconies on either side of the suite survey the Little Nell ski run. Inside, 2,000 square feet of tranquil space with lavish details. Organic woods, natural stones, and metal finishes mesh with rich, luxury fabrics, and custom-made furniture to create a warm and sophisticated home ambiance.
The living area includes a full-service wet bar and dining table for six. It has hardwood floors, plush area rugs, veneer wood wallpaper, and down-filled sofas and lounge chairs – the coffee table was custom-designed from a reclaimed black walnut tree.
The artwork comes from the hotel’s private collection. The two-bedroom suite – a master with breathtaking views and fireplace, and a second with twin beds – can be enlarged to three or four bedrooms each with its own entrance. Two-and-a-half baths make this space perfect for families.
3. The Lodge at Blue Sky, Wanship, Utah
Situated on 3,500 acres of lush ranch land outside of Park City, The Lodge at Blue Sky invites guests to slow down and forge meaningful connections with the natural environment. Guests will immediately feel at peace as they check into one Blue Sky’s 46 rooms and suites followed by a meal at their farm-to-table restaurant. Or, just up the private road on which the property is located, opt for a meal at the iconic High West Whiskey Distillery which lovingly crafts small-batch whiskey from grain to glass.
Atlanta SmartFlyer advisor Maggie Barton notes, “Lodge at Blue Sky was literally made for ‘the new normal’ that we are now living. This brand new Auberge property is a true gem complete with soul, offering wide-ranging activities from horseback riding, fly fishing or hiking during the summer, and skiing, snowshoeing or cross country during the winter.”
For the spa lover, the Auberge Spa invites reconnection with the self through indulgent treatments, yoga, guided meditation, and products that feature nourishing bloom-to-bottle ingredients. The CBD massage is a favorite!
SmartFlyer Marketing Manager Kayla Douglas adds, “For the city-dweller looking to connect with nature, there are few better places. The equine program here is so special; guests can visit the stables and see the property’s vet provide their rescue horses with massage therapy, acupuncture, essential oil therapy, light therapy and chiropractic work. The lodge’s owner, Barb Phillips, is so passionate about animal welfare and she generously spends time with guests to explain the work being done by her organization, the Saving Gracie Equine Healing Foundation for an even deeper impact.”
SmartFlyer tip: Go on a farm visit and you can select your own fresh eggs for tomorrow’s breakfast, cooked to order and delivered by room service.
2-Bedroom Signature Suite
The 2,240 sq. ft. Signature Suites are the largest at Blue Sky. These accommodations are located in the central Sky Lodge and are perfectly suited to families or those seeking more space in which to relax and take in the impressive mountain views.
The first floor features a dining table that seats 8 guests, and an expansive living area, and a 465 sq. ft. private outdoor terrace. The second floor features two master bedrooms, each with a king bed or two twin beds, private ensuite bathrooms, and outdoor terraces.
Peregrine Suite is a relaxation lover’s dream. Situated at the south end of the Sky Lodge, this one-bedroom 1,030 sq. ft. suite offers an enlarged open-concept living area with sofa and chaise, 130 sq. ft. private terrace with outdoor seating, and a window-side indoor stone bathtub in which guests can unwind while enjoying views of the sun setting over the mountains.
4. Enchantment Resort, Sedona, Arizona
Set on 70 acres of panoramic natural terrain, Enchantment Resort is located in the spiritual heart of Sedona, surrounded by the towering red rock walls of Boynton Canyon. The property combines the rugged grandeur of the Southwest landscape and Native American culture. Featuring 218, one-story guest accommodations, over 140 weekly guest activities, and panoramic views of red rock formations, this Sedona Resort is a place to naturally feel alive.
Richmond, Virginia-based travel advisor Stacy Luks shares, “Enchantment is a destination in and of itself offering a fabulous spa, peace, and quiet.”
Guests are invited to discover exceptional Sedona dining at Enchantment Resort featuring fresh ingredients, imaginative menus, award-winning wines, and views that take your breath away.
For guests wanting to ignite their sense of adventure, there are an endless amount of things to do in Sedona for every age and interest from sunrise to sunset (and even once the stars arrive). Whether you prefer hitting the links or the scenic Canyon trails, nurturing your artistic side, or sculpting your body, you’ll never tire of the options.
Camp Coyote offers activities that explore the region’s culture and natural environment facilitated by trained counselors as they guide campers ages 4-12 years through a host of adventures including nature walks, pottery making, scavenger hunts, culinary activities, and more.
SmartFlyer tip: Enchantment Resort is a paradise for mountain bikers and hikers of all skill levels.
Full Hacienda 2-Bedroom Suites
The 2,340 sq. ft. two-bedroom layout of our Full Hacienda is an ideal configuration for multiple couples, families traveling together, or a fun friends’ get together.
The Full Hacienda’s central focal point is the oversized living room with a dramatic, open wood-beamed ceiling, invitingly plush sectional sofa, and a fireplace. Two queen pull-down beds provide additional sleeping space, and sliding doors open up to an expansive deck complete with relaxing seating and a built-in gas grill.
Off the living area, a full kitchen with full-sized appliances provides all the modern conveniences of home and includes a dining room table that accommodates six.
There are three separate rooms, the central room plus two private master bedroom suites–most with a plush king bed and the other with two queen beds (inquire for varied configurations). Each suite includes separate decks and private bathrooms with soaking tubs and walk-in showers. A separate full bathroom can be accessed via the living room, allowing for additional privacy.
Enjoy spectacular views from your own pool and viewing deck. Warm-up by the fireplace. Each artfully decorated and fully furnished suite features a bedroom with 1 king bed, a viewing deck, a sitting area outside and inside, and a bathroom with a tub, shower, double sinks, and a skylight.
Conveniently connecting to the bedroom is a living room that has another viewing deck with a sitting area outside and inside, as well as a sofa, gas fireplace, bathroom, and kitchenette with a two-burner stove, microwave, small fridge, cooking utensils, and dining table. To accommodate additional guests, the living room also has a queen pull-down bed located in a closet if needed.
5. Hotel Saint Cecilia, Austin, Texas
Created in honor of the patron saint of music and poetry, Hotel Saint Cecilia takes inspiration from the great era of the late 1960s and early 1970s when a revolution of rock and roll and beat poetry overran the hallowed halls of established convention.
This Bunkhouse Hotels’ project was part of boutique hotelier Liz Lambert’s vision to pay tribute to the great creative legacy of revolutionary idols and to the spirit of the artist that lies within us all. Each of the five suites, six poolside bungalows, and three studios embodies an equal love for the elegance of old-world luxury and the irreverence of the era’s muses – The Stones, Bill Burroughs, Anne Sexton, Hunter S. Thompson among them.
Guests are ensured an ultra-private atmosphere as the secluded property and lush grounds are open only to hotel guests, thereby offering a unique sense of home situated steps away from the heart of South Austin. In Julie Palo Hayes‘ words, “The soul of Hotel Saint Cecilia can’t be beaten. With it being only open to hotel guests, exclusivity is key here.”
SmartFlyer Amanda Poses – an Austin local – divulges, “Without question, Hotel Saint Cecilia is an oasis in the middle of a city. It’s such a special spot with everything from the service to vibe to food to cocktails being executed flawlessly!”
And let’s not forget the handmade organic bed made by Hästens, Sweden’s most revered bedding company, ensuring you get the best night’s sleep after an evening out.
SmartFlyer tip: The hotel’s lobby retail store carries a variety of souvenirs made by local craftspeople.
Suite Four is 730 sq. ft. with a separate living room, bedroom with king Hastens bed, seating area, and private garden with fireplace.
The 600 sq. ft. Poolside Bungalows each have a king bed, sitting area, private patio, and wet bar.