Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wilderness does not mean living without luxury

Going into the wilderness does not mean being without luxury.  We recently went “Glamping” in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado at Dunton Hot Springs just outside of Dolores Colorado, and found out that you can be at one with nature and also be in the lap of luxury, all at the same time.  While remote we found it relazing and amazing to be in the middle of nowhere.

Owned by a European family who use it for an American get-a-way. When they have not booked the 12-plus cabin property complete with a Teepee and hot spring bath house for their personal use, it is available for private or corporate uses. Though you may just want to bring yourself, friends and your immediate family and spend a few days off the grid.

 In addition to the town of Dunton, there is an equally elegant “Camp” a few miles down the dirt road where posh tents on platforms provide additional suites for guests to stay the night. These tents are fully equipted with all modern amenties, yes, that includes indoor plumbing, which is more elegant than most five-star hotels.

While we were there a high-line automobile manufacturer was pressenting their line of up-scale recreational vehicles and other trucks to the automotive press. In addition to tents and cabins we were able to stay aboard some pretty amazing and well equipped RVs.

While you may not be so inclined to spend much time in your rustic abode while at Dunton, they do offer you elegant comfort with many refined touches including world-class food and libations. while your cabin has high end showers, western furnishings, and monogramed robe and slippers. All in what was once a booming 19th century gold mining town deep in the Rocky Mountains.

Complete the experience with dip in a hot natural mineral spring, and of course sip some wine in the town saloon, with a world class Chef behind the stove, and some of the most amazing food and drink, you can indulge in the cowboy life without really missing the necessities of big city living.

About two and a-half hours by car from Durango airport, an hour or so from Telluride, and not far from Aspen, the location is well removed from the hectic pace of civilization, with no cellular phone or data service, though thankfully the village does have Wi-Fi. So make sure your Skype Account is funded, or your friends have FaceTime if you want to make a phone call, or bring a satellite phone to keep in touch with the outside world.  And do not expect to be able to find a television except in a couple of cabins.

While you may want to go just to get away from it all, there is plenty to see and do right on the property without having to leave. From a short walk to a wonderfully relaxing waterfall, to hiking, horseback riding or some fishing.  Even just a walk around the property is an experience in nature. Thinking about what it was like living and working here during its hey-day in the late 1800's, makes you appreciate the life we have with today's conveniences.

Seeing another human being is rarer than seeing the local heard of cattle moving to a new grazing pasture! The village  of Dunton is set in a field between two mountain peaks, and you will find plenty of creatures ever present, including snakes, (not the biting kind) rabbits, humming birds, bears and who knows what else might 

The surrounding area is mountainous with ranches and farmland surrounded by National Forrest.  Dirt lanes and roads are the norm, though paved roads are the way to get between the nearby major population centers. 
Just standing on the porch of your cabin and taking in the views is enough to lower your blood pressure and breathing the clean mountain air, and bathing in the hot mineral waters of the indoor or outdoor hot springs will no doubt improve your health, if only your perception of it.

While this may not be the resort for everyone, it welcomes children and pets, making it a perfect family get-a-way to reflect and connect with nature.  Nightly rates for the cabins run from $600 to $2,000.  Though you might want to rent out the entire town and camp which runs from $21,000 to $36,000 per night. 

Make sure you add on for the excellent food they offer, with an experienced Chef on staff, you will not get cowboy grub, more like sophisticated big city meals made from local farm fresh ingredients.  Served in the saloon, or go ahead and have a cookout, they indeed cater to any need you may have.  And do it in very fine style.

For more information  Including rates, location, and lots of great photographs.

To check out their webcam:  Though it may be redirected or turned off depending on who is camping at any specific time.

                                     - William West Hopper