By Gabby Anstey McDonald
Photos by Brett Schreckengost
Think Telluride is only for the hardcore, double-black-diamond skier or snowboarder? That a winter visit here means a “Survivor”-style vacation and spartan accommodations? Think again. It’s a misconception that Telluride is only for those tough types who associate sports with suffering, turning a blind eye to creature comforts and civilized finery. Telluride is actually a haven of high-end lodging, and in Mountain Village, you’ll find your quarters paired with luxurious world-class spas.
Three of the area’s most lavish resort spas are found in Mountain Village—Capella Telluride, the Golden Door Spa at the Peaks, and Himmel Spa at Fairmont Heritage Place’s Franz Klammer Lodge. Each facility offers first-class accommodations, and the amenities are open to day guests, too. They feature a full range of services, swimming pools, hot tubs and fitness facilities.
What sets them apart from one another are the signature treatments and decadent services that are unique to each locale. At the Himmel Spa (himmel is German for “heaven”), one of the most popular offerings is the Opulence Oxygen Infusion Facial, which uses a nourishing blend of jojoba, vitamin C, vitamin E and a blend of 87 amino acids. “This treatment is so good for you,” says Beth Gaudet, Himmel Spa Director. “Our oxygen facial uses pure oxygen, right out of the tanks, and is very holistic. It also assists with altitude adjustment.” For bodywork, Gaudet recommends Himmel’s famous Thai Massage, an invigorating tune-up that is great for athletes and people who lead active lifestyles. “You feel really energized and rejuvenated, which is different from other types of massage,” she says. Although 60-minute treatments are available, the standard at the Himmel is 90 minutes, for a head-to-toe treat. Lodge owners and guests may use the facilities at any time; other visitors can enjoy the outdoor pool, outdoor hot tubs and workout facility for the entire day of their treatment.
Golden Door Spa Director Kristi Dickinson raves about the ISUN Platinum Facial, a repair and renewal treatment that is custom designed for each client’s skin. ISUN organic products are locally made in Ridgway and carried by the Golden Door Spa. The 80-minute facial includes a double exfoliation and treatment mask for deep hydration and refining of skin texture, as well as a head/shoulder massage, foot massage and special anti-aging hand treatment. Another Golden Door Spa signature is the Cooling Coconut Cucumber Wrap, an ideal remedy for sunburn and post-workout overheating. The treatment uses coconut cream, pure cucumber and rose distillates to pull heat from inflamed skin and help cool the body; aloe vera and calming herbs to soothe redness and skin irritations; and a moisturizing coconut-cucumber fragrant body wrap. The Golden Door Spa, the largest facility of its kind in the region, has 32 treatment rooms, as well as a full-service salon offering manicures, pedicures, waxing and hair styling. There are private men’s and women’s spa lounges; a fitness center with workout studios; a lap pool, outdoor pool, water slide, several hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas; tanning services and oxygen inhalation room; and a climbing wall. The facility has undergone a $3 million renovation in the past two years, including a $2 million Zen-inspired facelift in 2007. “It really is an amazing sanctuary in the mountains here,” says Dickinson. “You have to check out the facility and the amenities to believe it.” Hotel guests can visit the spa at any time; day guests have full access provided they purchase a treatment of 50 minutes or longer.
Capella Telluride opened in March 2009 and is the region’s newest spa. One of its specialties is the Lovers Ritual Journey, a three-hour (no, that’s not a typo) couple’s treatment, conducted in a private treatment suite. The ritual commences with herbal compresses and a side-by-side honey body scrub, followed by a private steam with detoxifying mud, then a double bath with bubbling jets, hydrotherapy and herbs known to have aphrodisiac qualities (jasmine, clove, neroli), “coupled” with a bottle of champagne. Next is room service in front of the fire, then—to wrap it up—a dual couples massage. “Most of our treatments can be done as couple’s treatments, but this one is really special,” says Capella Spa Director Jenny Farrand. “We get a kick out of seeing two people go in casually for treatments and come out three hours later holding hands and looking all googly-eyed. It’s a great way to reconnect with your partner.” In addition to Capella’s signature treatments, there is a Self Spa option, where guests enjoy a mud bar with three different kinds of mud (Dead Sea, Sedona and seaweed). A Jelly Bath follows in a hydrotherapy tub, using a unique product made from rice starch and black tea. “The Jelly Bath is really amazing,” says Farrand. “It’s like being under a blanket in the water, and it’s incredibly nourishing.” Capella brands itself as a boutique spa with customized treatments in an intimate setting, with personal touches such as a warm shoulder wrap and beverage in the waiting room. The spa also offers manicures, pedicures and waxing, and Farrand says she’s looking to launch an in-room wellness program for guests that will feature yoga, acupuncture and other specialty services. “It will be like ordering room service, only you’ll choose spa options instead,” she says. Again, those staying at the hotel can use the spa and its facilities (indoor pool and fitness room) any time; day guests are welcome to use the facilities before and after their scheduled treatment.
So who says you have to travel to the beach or the desert to soften and spoil yourself? There are also a multitude of day spas in Telluride and Mountain Village for those who prefer more traditional accommodations. With indulgences such as a Cooling Cucumber Wrap, Opulence Oxygen Infusion Facial or a Jelly Bath to savor, Telluride has become the destination for spas, pampering and pleasure. Oh, right—and there’s some skiing, too, that we hear is pretty good.