Guest Author - Kara Williams
Colorado has its well-known cities: Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs. And its world-famous ski resorts: Aspen, Vail, Telluride. But if you’re looking for a charming small-town location for your Rocky Mountain honeymoon, put Ridgway, Colorado, on your radar.
With a population of just 800 and main streets that kick up dust as you drive by, Ridgway is an authentic Western town out of a John Wayne movie—in fact the Duke’s True Grit was filmed here in the 1960’s. (Check out the café of the same name; the chili and the curly fries are tasty!) With one main intersection adjacent to the town park (and its police station, town hall and library), you can canvas the entire downtown on foot—browsing antique stores along the way—within minutes.
But don’t think that Ridgway’s quaintness means there’s nothing to do here. Its location for mountain exploration is ideal. Dubbed the “gateway to the San Juan Mountains,” Ridgway as a "base camp" gives you great access to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in the summer and snowshoeing, snowmobiling and skiing in the winter. (Ridgway is less than an hour's drive from Telluride, and, by the way, a few miles from Ralph Lauren’s private ranch.)
This area of Colorado is also known for its natural hot springs. Check out nearby Orvis Hot Springs, where clothing is optional in the outdoor soaking areas. If you’re feeling more modest, about 10 miles down the road in Ouray you’ll find the Ouray Hot Springs Pool—where bathing suits are required.
Where to stay: Chipeta Sun Lodge & Spa
For honeymooners, the ideal accommodations in Ridgway are at the Chipeta Sun Lodge & Spa. This adobe-style inn, named after the wife a famous Ute Indian, Chief Ouray, is small and intimate, warm and inviting.
The lodge offers a variety of accommodations, from standard rooms to two-bedroom condominiums with full kitchens. Each type is uniquely decorated in a Southwestern style—from rustic pine armoires to burnished copper light switches. But what most honeymooning couples choose is a deluxe room with wet bar and refrigerator—and a private deck with hot tub. (Why share the communal hot tub with other guests when you can have your very own?) The most coveted honeymoon accommodations: the Canyon de Chelly suite. Here, the private, roof-top hot tub offers the most spectacular place from which to see the millions of sparkling stars on a crystal-clear Colorado night.
The Chipeta Spa is a don’t-miss amenity, with its co-ed sauna and steam room. The spa has just four treatment rooms, but offers a full range of services, including facials, body wraps, massage and waxing. Some treatments are inspired by Native American traditions—including a massage that uses feather techniques. In the summer, sit outdoors in a hot herbal soaking tub built within a traditional Native American hogan.
Fitness classes in the yoga room are typically held daily, and guests can take the classes for free. New at the Chipeta Sun Lodge is the full workout room with cardio and strength-training equipment. Also new is the lodge’s on-site Café Chipeta, serving Southwest-inspired fare. Steps away in downtown Ridgway you’ll find dining options ranging from Thai cuisine to pizza and burgers to sophisticated Mexican food at the Adobe Inn, where locally grown, organic products are used as often as possible (favorites are the enchiladas suiza and the chimichangas).
Colorado Wedding, Fiji Honeymoon
The gracious owners of the Chipeta Sun Lodge also have an interest in the all-inclusive Koro Sun Resort in Fiji. They’ve put together a package that includes a destination wedding at Chipeta and a week’s stay in this glorious tropical destination—for the incredibly low sum of $22,250.
Here’s just a portion of what the “Marry in Colorado, Honeymoon in Fiji” package covers:
• Full lodge rental of 24 rooms for two nights
• Exclusive use of the Chipeta Spa for two days
• Catering for the reception dinner (120 people)
• White reception tent, tables and chairs
• Wedding photographer and DJ for reception
• Wedding cake
• Honeymoon suite overnight
• 7 nights’ ocean-view bure accommodation with three meals a day at the Koro Sun Resort
• Special champagne breakfast, private island lunch, candlelight celebration dinner
• Couples’ massages
• Several tropical excursions and activities
For more information about weddings and honeymoons at the Chipeta Sun Lodge and the Koro Sun Resort, visit the "Related Links" below.