Glenwood Hot Springs is called the world’s largest hot springs pool at 405 feet long and 100 feet wide. The hot springs pools make a nice stop when traveling between Aspen and Vail or driving the I-70 freeway across Colorado. Hot Springs Lodge is a modern hotel and part of the historic hot springs pool complex.
Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge has 107 air-conditioned rooms. The Glenwood Hot Springs hotel itself is nothing special (AAA two-diamond). This place operated as a self-service hotel for moving baggage from the car to the room during our stay. The hotel was pretty basic but supplied all the amenities of a midscale hotel. Complimentary wireless internet and poolside café breakfast are additional perks of the Hot Springs Lodge. Poolside café breakfast means a 200 yard walk to the café in the pool complex.
The real value of booking a room at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge is free admission to the Hot Springs pools included in your room rate. Each guest received a coupon for pool admission. Once we entered the pool gate there was a self-service stamp that allowed re-entry for the entire day. One paid night at the hotel saved over $200 in pool admission fees for two days of swimming with six of us. We received pool passes for the afternoon we arrived and the next day, even though we checked out of the hotel at noon.
The hotel operates a shuttle to take people around the large pool to the front side entrance which is about a 200 yard walk. The shuttle is convenient for after dark.
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is the main tourist attraction of the city. The pool was named a Fodor’s Choice 2010 Gold award winner as one of the Top 10 pools in the U.S. There are two main pools, an infant pool, kid’s pool slide area, and several dedicated lap lanes for swimming. The historic hot springs bathhouse is now Spa of the Rockies.
Personal pool testimony: I did not like the idea of being surrounded by hundreds of people in a big pool or being in a 94 degree pool on a 98 degree day. To my surprise the water actually felt comfortable and helped my body temperature cool down on the hot day. And the pool was so large that I found plenty of space even with hundreds of other swimmers. I was surprised and entertained by the high proportion of international tourists at the Glenwood Hot Springs pools.
There was very little shade around the pool complex, but grass and trees are above the pool and available for seating in the shade. But in the pool there was no relief from the July sun until evening. Lather up the sunscreen and wear a hat.
Hotel Colorado, Glenwood Springs
I prefer the historic Hotel Colorado next door. Built in 1893 this hotel is the grande dame of Glenwood Springs. The walk-up rate was $130 for a basic room compared to $200 for the Hot Springs Lodge. The pool admission is a big factor in Hot Springs Lodge, however, as far as a hotel goes the Colorado Hotel is nicer in my opinion.
Hotel Colorado has no air conditioning though. The ceiling and window fans were not nearly adequate for cooling the room to my satisfaction in the near 100F mid-day temperatures prevalent during my July visit.
Kraig Kenning, a national slide guitar champion, gave an afternoon outdoor performance in the Hotel Colorado courtyard. Good music is one thing that trumps my desire to keep my body temperature cool. While the family headed to the pool, I headed for the music. Kraig played for hours and I was fortunate enough to see about half of his show.
I was feeling the karma sitting under the shade of old trees in the courtyard of a historic Colorado hotel, smelling the barbecued food on the outside grill, and hearing a guitarist play tunes for hours.
Hearing Kraig Kenning perform was one of my highlights of this Colorado trip.
Hotel Colorado is one of those places where I just walked the hallways and admired old style craftsmanship that I do not see in modern hotels.
Large wooden banister stairways and wide hallways, stories of President Theodore Roosevelt and Titanic survivor the unsinkable Molly Brown – both with named boutique hotel suites on site, legends of the origin of the teddy bear, high ceilings and big paintings, and of course the antler adornments common to hotels in Colorado.
History and a bygone era greet you at every turn as you meander through Hotel Colorado.
Travel Resource: AAA Travel Views
AAATravelViews has good links for hotel stories, contests and giveaways, and most importantly – hotel and travel discount notices.
There are more than the Top 10 family getaway destinations in the AAA Family Getaways report (9-page pdf file).
One of the Family Getaway locations listed is Glenwood Springs Lodge. The Glenwood Hot Springs pools were a great family getaway for pool fun in the sun. Glenwood Springs is also the gateway to Aspen.