The Grand Dame Gets a Facelift: Renovations at Hotel Colorado

A $10 million renovation helps revive this state landmark's elegant and old-fashioned aesthetic
Hotel Colorado April 2023 The Heidi Guide 1

Hotel Colorado, April 2023 | All photography courtesy of The Heidi Guide

It’s little wonder that Hotel Colorado underwent a little facelift over the last several years. After all, she’s 130 in June, and she is the Grand Dame of Western Slope hotels, having welcomed everyone from presidents to celebrities. Opening its doors a year before the Capitol Building in Denver, no expense was spared in the construction of the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Built in the style of an Italian villa, amenities included a 185-foot fountain, a bird sanctuary, tennis courts, Victorian Garden, and stunning indoor waterfall.

Today, the hotel is still a landmark in the state, and received a $10 Million renovation taking place over the last few years. This included renovations to guest rooms, corridors and main stairways. While many longtime Coloradans may be worried about the extent that the renovations change the ambiance of this historic place, they can assuage their fears. The makeover simply improved what was already there. The hotel has good bones, and instead of covering up the history of this place, more of the hotel’s glorious past has been revealed. For instance, four brick fireplaces that had been sealed up behind plaster, are now uncovered.

The hotel doesn’t feel too modern, but it shouldn’t. Instead, it is elegant and old-fashioned in a stately way. The narrative of Colorado’s vibrant past is still being told, and new stories are being made by each guest that graces the expansive fireplace-heated lobby. With a sweeping staircase and spacious hallways, the hotel feels even more like the Grand Dame she has always been.

A longtime destination for those seeking the calming waters of the natural hot springs that bubble up from the ground in Glenwood Springs, the Ute Native Americans were the first known visitors to the mineral-rich springs. In 1888, however, just a few years before the opening of
Hotel Colorado, the world’s largest hot springs pool came to fruition.

Glenwood Hot Springs Pool April 2023 The Heidi Guide 2 1

Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, April 2023

Glenwood Hot Springs Pool April 2023 The Heidi Guide 1

Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, April 2023

Of course, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort has become a world-famous hot spring destination and has been undergoing renovations of its own. Right now, the East End Expansion Project is underway and will add five new pools, a shaded area, and the return of the Drinking Spring (currently closed due to construction). Due to be completed in 2024, this is part of a multi-phased, multi-year expansion that has already seen the addition of a splash zone, therapy pool, lazy river, and grand fountain.

Glenwood Springs is a holiday destination that not only boasts world-famous hot springs and world-renowned hotel, it is steeped in history. Doc Holliday to President Theodore Roosevelt to Al Capone, and many more, have walked these streets and dipped in these pools.

Glenwood Springs Colorado April 2023 The Heidi Guide 1

Glenwood Springs, Colorado, April 2023

Glenwood Springs Wings The Heidi Guide 1

Glenwood Springs Wings

Hike or drive up to Linwood Cemetery for breathtaking views of Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s also the home of Doc Holliday’s final resting place. Throw back a whiskey at Doc Holliday’s Saloon, and don’t miss the Doc Holliday well-appointed museum in the basement of Bullocks Western Store.

Sensing a theme here? Glenwood Springs does offer contemporary amenities like Casey Brewing, which serves up craft beer in downtown. Or enjoy a delicious ice cream at Sundae or a taco at Slope & Hatch, a Glenwood Springs tradition since 2014.

On June 10, celebrate Hotel Colorado’s 130th birthday in the Garden Room and East Veranda from 2 to 4 p.m. The staff will unveil a new coffee table book “Hotel Colorado: Grand Dame of the Rockies” featuring imagery by Pulitzer Prize Winning photographer Robin Hood of Grandin Hood Publishers.

Doc Holliday Tombstone Bullocks Western Store April 2023 The Heidi Guide 1

Doc Holliday’s Tombstone at Bullocks Western Store, April 2023

Casey Brewery The Heidi Guide 1

The Heidi Guide at Casey Brewery

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