A Field Trip to the Ritz-Carlton, Denver
One of the Ritz-Carlton Spa's treatment rooms
During winter, Aspen’s hard-to-reach locale is both its blessing and its curse. Blessing: the sometimes white-knuckled descent into Aspen-Pitkin County Airport means visitors and locals really want to be here (read: no lift lines). Curse: the aforementioned descent and trickier snowy travel can result in severe cabin fever.
Certainly Aspen’s abundant backcountry, storied mining past and burgeoning cultural scene is worth the extra effort. But even in our bucolic little mountain town, whether during the treasured offseason or ambitious high season, a city escape is paramount. And while the Roaring Fork Valley certainly has its fair share of world-class spas, sometimes a little R&R is better served when you don’t run into your therapist in the steam room. Hello, The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Denver.
This temple of tranquility restores mogul-weary muscles and sizzled synapses. First, the menu: Body therapy offers the power of nature’s finest, including such treatments as the Organic Veggie Body Cocktail, a multi vitamin for the skin that includes tomato, artichoke and spinach extracts (45 minutes; $115). Body treatments range from customized massages (ask for Amanda) to Western Native American-inspired offerings like the Colorado River Stone Massage (75 minutes; $165). Couple the broad spa menu with eight contemporary yet calming treatment rooms and that pesky to-do list won’t seem quite as pressing.
“Our award-winning spa is truly a hidden jewel in the heart of the Mile-High City,” says The Ritz-Carlton, Denver’s general manager, Andrew Rogers. “Not only is it visually beautiful, but our unparalleled service, and the genuine commitment our spa team shows for each guest, con tin uously shine through.”
After decompressing in the relaxation lounge post-treatment, don’t skip the spa’s boutique. Standout skincare lines include Babor and Éminence Organic Skin Care (the two main organic lines used in facials) and Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, The Laboratory of Flowers, Mama Mio, The Art of Shaving and Kai.
A trip to the Mile-High City also calls for Denver’s tried-and-true city fixes: fashion foraging at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, gear hunting at the neighboring REI, or a visit to the Denver Art Museum (King Tut’s Rocky Mountain West debut is held through January 2011). The Ritz, however, makes venturing out difficult. Club Level rooms are spacious and seamlessly served, while the property’s Elway’s Downtown steak house is one of the finest in town (the signature steak rub is a perfect hostess gift). The hotel’s car service makes LoDo boutique hopping oh-so-pleasant, and experienced concierges are quick to divulge Denver’s dining and cultural gems. After checkout, you’ll return to the Roaring Fork Valley rejuvenated, recharged and hopefully reminded there’s no place like home, especially if it’s Aspen. Which means Denver, and the Ritz, are right where they need to be. Visit ritzcarlton.com
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE RITZ-CARLTON, DENVER
Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club brought back what is perhaps the most exciting nonprofit benefit in the Roaring Fork Valley, the 5th annual Audi Ajax Cup! Teams – comprised of AVSC athletes, current and former ski racing pros, and donors – competed head-to-head in a dual slalom race on Little Nell run on Aspen Mountain on Tuesday, Dec. 30. Onlookers and athletes were treated to the “hottest après party in Aspen” at the base with delectable bites and drinks from Zeno Aspen. The party continued at the St. Regis Aspen where AVSC raised funds for its programs and scholarships before the dance floor heated up with DJ Dylan.