With so many romantic resorts in Colorado, it’s hard to distill them down to just a handful. However, by looking at several different factors, including couples’ activities, charm, variety in ski terrain, and overall memorability, we’ve ranked the top 5 most romantic winter getaways in Colorado.
Steamboat Springs comes in at number five on our list of romantic skiing getaways primarily for its perfect balance between developed ski resort and historic mountain town. On the mountain, you’ll get the amazing amenities you’d expect to find at Breckenridge or Vail, while downtown Steamboat Springs (10 minutes from the mountain) offers the charming Western flair typically associated with Park City or Telluride (but many hours closer to the Denver area).
Honestly, it depends. In Steamboat Springs, you have a few different types of accommodation wrapped into a single destination. For the hotel experience, go with the Steamboat Grand, located next to the ski resort. If you want to get even closer to the skiing and have a more intimate, personal experience, any of vacation rentals on the mountain would work perfect (there are very few true BnB’s in Steamboat.) Similarly, cozy condos are available in town as well, though you won’t be as close to the action on the mountain.
Cafe Diva. Operating in Steamboat for over 20 years, this celebrated establishment serves a rotating menu based on fresh produce from local family farms, meats from regional ranches, and seafood procured only from sustainable operations. Choose from 300 different wines in its cellar, or let one of three sommeliers help you choose. Located at the base of the resort. See hours and make reservations here.
Snowshoeing at Howelsen Hill, located just outside of downtown. If you and your partner don’t have the same level of experience on skis or snowboard, don’t worry. Snowshoeing is a great way to take in Steamboat’s beautiful glades, slopes, and open fields--and doesn’t require any previous experience. The Ski Haus is located midway between the mountain and town, and is a great place to rent snowshoes and other gear. If you want to go a little more remote, head to Rabbit Ears Pass, 13 miles west of town. (Although it’s a little further, the views are absolutely worth it.)
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
For decades, Strawberry Park has been a favorite for locals, and has recently grown in popularity with out-of-towners. The hot springs are a consistent 104 degrees, so you can relax after a day of skiing or snowshoeing in the healing mineral waters, and watch the snow fall around you. Massages and lodging options are available as well. We’ll also point out that this attraction famously becomes an 18-and-up venue after dark, when the clothing-optional rule comes into play.
In the winter, the road to the springs can be snowy and dangerous, and requires 4WD vehicles. Instead of driving yourself, we recommend letting a service like the Hot Springs Shuttle take you back and forth.
Admission price is $15-$20 for adults, depending on holidays. The hot springs are open from 10am-10:30pm all year.
Vail edged out Steamboat on this list for a very specific reason: the number of sophisticated, luxury experiences that are so perfect for a romantic winter getaway. Vail is known internationally for its opulent hotels and luxury condos, its epic skiing, and its European ski village, where you’ll find world-class restaurants and high-end shops. However, this mass appeal also draws huge crowds. By the numbers, it’s the busiest ski resort in the country, and this is the only reason it isn’t higher up on our list. Still, if you and your partner want pampering and top-of-the-line luxury, don’t let the crowds dissuade you. Vail is where you need to go.
While we’d normally recommend experiencing the lavishness of a place like Forest Road or any of the quiet mountainside retreats of East Vail, for just two people, a cozy condo near Vail Village or Lionshead is going to check the most boxes. Walking distance to the shops and restaurants the village is known for, easy access to the slopes, and luxury amenities like rooftop hot tubs and in-room fireplaces all add to its romantic appeal.
Pictured on right: Vail Valhalla
If we have to choose one (there are probably a dozen worthy of this title), we’ll go with Terra Bistro in the village. Why? Seasonal menus, local brews and liquors, and plates designed specifically for sharing. Plus, it’s been deeply embedded in the Vail community for more than 25 years, hosting events and supporting other local businesses. Open every day for dinner starting at 5pm, with breakfast served seasonally. Be sure to make a reservation here.
Take a wine class at Root and Flower
Root and Flower, one of the top 15 wine bars in the country, is run by a group of sommeliers and bartenders who live and breathe good wine, and they want to help you do that too. You and your significant other can spend an evening learning the subtleties of newer types of wine as well as traditional favorites. Look up class schedules or create your own agenda here.
Take a stroll
Vail is perhaps one of the most romantic places in Colorado, considering the pedestrian village was designed in the image of the Swiss Alps, and makes it perfect for strolling. The heated sidewalks keep snow and slush clear, the streets are paved in charming cobblestone, and the architecture resembles the best of Europe, all right here in Colorado.
Beaver Creek is Vail’s sister resort, and while it offers everything Vail does in terms of romance, it comes in one place higher on this list because of its peace, quiet, and privacy. Vail is set directly on I-70, whereas in Beaver Creek, you have to first exit the highway, make your way through the town of Avon, and then head up the mountain to the hillside estates of Beaver Creek (Check out our detailed comparison of Vail vs Beaver Creek here). It’s regarded as the poshest of the state’s ski resorts, making it an ideal Colorado romantic getaway.
Beaver Creek’s romantic activities are also seemingly endless. Take a guided snowshoe tour that culminates in a wine and cheese pairing next to a roaring fire in the Osprey Hotel, take a sleigh ride to a five-course meal at a cabin on the slopes of the ski resort, go ice skating hand-in-hand in the rink set in the middle of the gorgeous ski village, and so much more.
To make the most of a romantic weekend in Beaver Creek, find a vacation home or condo tucked away in the trees near the slopes, and after experiencing any of the above, plan on staying in and luxuriating in the extraordinary amenities, such as private outdoor hot tubs, jetted tubs and steam showers, grand stone fireplaces, and home theaters. Plus, Beaver Creek’s ski terrain isn’t especially challenging, but rather immaculately groomed and perfect for all skill levels. All of this comes together to make it one of the best ski resorts for couples in Colorado.
We’re getting down to it, and taking the runner-up spot for the most romantic Colorado resorts is none other than Breckenridge. World-class skiing, a charming Victorian village, a local feel, and options for any style and budget easily give Breckenridge the distinction of #2.
Virtually every romantic activity we’ve discussed at other Colorado resorts is also available in Breckenridge (save for the more refined experiences of Vail and Beaver Creek), and it’s also one of the closest to Denver. Couples have their choice of ski-in, ski out homes and condos, historic homes walking distance to the iconic Main Street, quiet cabins nestled next to flowing rivers, and everything in between. Outdoor adventures abound, and if you and your significant other are into shopping and nightlife, the towns of Dillon, Frisco, and Silverthorne are 15 to 30 minutes away.
Full Moon Snowshoe Tour
Combine the easy adventure of snowshoeing with the romance of a full moon, then throw in the beauty of white snow and silhouetted mountain peaks, and you and your partner are guaranteed to have an experience you’ll never forget.
Tours are available through the Town of Breckenridge, and are run by experienced guides who will share their knowledge of the historic town and the surrounding geology. No need to rent snowshoes or a headlamp -- they’re both included in the cost of the tour, which is $60 per adult. Registration is required.
The Absinthe Bar
For the more laid back couple, head to the speakeasy-esque bar known simply as The Absinthe Bar. It’s below the unassuming Swiss Haven Restaurant, and the bartenders will pour you a proper Absinthe in the traditional fashion (In case you didn’t know, authentic Absinthe became legal in the U.S. in 2007). Or, if that’s not your thing, the savvy bartenders can make just about any drink you can think of. Either way, it’s a cool, quirky spot that will be a great memory for you and your partner.
Was number one ever going to be anything other than Telluride? As far as romantic winter getaways in Colorado go, Telluride takes top honors. Its Town has the Western charm of Steamboat, Mountain Village has the same level of refinement and sophistication as Beaver Creek, and the number of romantic activities rivals that of Breckenridge and the surrounding areas.
But perhaps what catapulted Telluride to the top of our list was an indescribable essence you’ll only get from visiting that famous box canyon. As you and your loved one arrive, you’ll be surrounded by jagged peaks that seemingly soar straight from the street to the sky. It’s a scene unlike any other in the country, and possibly in North America. Add to this incredible skiing, heli adventures, luxury rentals, and the peace and quiet that comes from staying in the heart of the rugged San Juan mountains, and it’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Mountain Village. Take the 13-minute gondola ride up from Town to a neighborhood full of beautiful homes and condos, all set on the side of the mountain with mesmerizing views. If you want to walk to bars and restaurants, choose a luxury rental in Mountain Village Core, or if you prefer quietude and privacy, look for any of the rentals spread within the trees and ridgelines of the area.
Pictured right: The Master Bedroom's private balcony at Mountainsong Hollow.
The Chop House. A part of the New Sheridan Hotel, the Chop House manages to provide a fine dining experience without losing the Western grit of Telluride. It’s a steakhouse through and through, and also offers Western game dishes and bison, and has a refined atmosphere perfect for an anniversary, engagement, Valentine’s or any other romantic event.
Take the free gondola to Allreds
The free scenic gondola in Telluride is a must-do, regardless whether you’re visiting on a romantic getaway or not. However, to really add to the experience, make a plan to visit Allreds, located at the gondola’s first stop after leaving town. Perched at the edge of the San Sophia Overlook, the two of you can have a drink in front of a wall of windows that face the impossibly enrapturing San Sophia Ridgeline. However, note that even to get two seats at or near the window, you’ll likely need to make reservations far ahead of time.
Go for a sleigh ride in Aldasoro Ranch
Every winter, Telluride Sleighs and Wagons offers rides through the iconic Aldasoro Family Ranch, which include a dinner in a luxury heated tent. Bundle up, cuddle close, and sip a warm drink as you ride an open sleigh from town to the ranch. Tickets start at $165 per person, and the entire experience lasts about three hours.
Although we ranked these five destinations as the best winter vacations for couples, there truth is there’s something for every couple at each of these fantastic resorts. If you’re planning a luxurious winter getaway with your partner, get in touch to see how we can help, or look through all our vacation rentals in each of these destinations.