Top Tips for an Outdoor Vacation Out West

The Broadmoor Cloud Camp sits 9,200 feet above sea level atop Cheyenne Mountain.

Are your clients looking for a late summer escape or autumn getaway close to home? A sampling of recent developments in the West and Southwest reveals several new options for active outdoor travelers (think hiking, rafting), horse enthusiasts, culinary buffs, spa goers and family fun seekers.

Holidays At 9,200 Feet: The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs is introducing its brand new Cloud Camp for this upcoming holiday season — for only one family or group at a time. Cloud Camp sits 9,200 feet above sea level atop Cheyenne Mountain — 3,000 feet above the mile-high Broadmoor. Two packages, Christmas at Cloud Camp and Thanksgiving at Cloud Camp, allow visitors to experience a completely exclusive three- or four-night stay that includes use of the entire main lodge and its seven bedrooms. 

Days at Cloud Camp will include relaxing by the fire, joining chefs in the kitchen for “cooking clubs” involving holiday dishes and cookie making, wine tastings, and taking in the 360-degree views of nearby Pikes Peak and the city of Colorado Springs below, among other activities. All meals, beverages and alcohol are included in the visitors’ stay at the mountaintop resort, where they are also able to customize their stay based on personal preference. 

The AAA Five Diamond Broadmoor introduced these two new holiday offers at Cloud Camp and the Estate House during its Christmas in July promotion, where it also announced more holiday exclusives, including the Labor Day and Spooktacular Halloween packages. 

The Broadmoor is also offering private stays at the Estate House this year. This historic mansion was designed in the 1920s and only recently re-opened in late 2016 with new Broadmoor style. The Estate House offers five bedrooms, a grand parlor and a dining room with seating for up to 16 as well as manicured gardens. The resort’s three Wilderness Experience properties — The Ranch at Emerald Valley, Cloud Camp and Fly Fishing Camp — are all-inclusive boutique facilities. 

Cabins In The Woods: Central Colorado’s Echo Canyon River Expeditions now offers nine luxury Royal Gorge Cabins and four glamping tents along the Arkansas River. The cabins can be rented year-round, and glamping tents are available during the rafting season, which typically lasts through September.

The cabins include six two-story, 800-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-and one-half-bathroom loft cabins and three 600-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bathroom king cabins. Cabins also have queen sleeper sofas for a maximum of six occupants in the lofts and four in the one-story units. All cabins have southwest-facing views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The loft cabins have an upstairs bedroom with a king bed, half-bathroom, closet, dresser, side table and flat-screen TV. Downstairs, there is another king bedroom and a full bath with a spa shower. The living areas also include a fully equipped galley-style kitchen, flat-screen TV, eat-in granite bar and leather couches. 

The four glamping tents are an option for travelers who like the close-to-nature appeal of camping but prefer more privacy as well as a comfortable bed. The tents accommodate up to four people and have one queen bed and sofa sleeper with linens, screened windows, a private porch, picnic table and fire ring, multiple electrical outlets and free Wi-Fi. Community bathrooms are nearby.

‘Unbridled Retreat’ For Cowgirls: Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa has partnered with Retreats Unlimited to host “The Unbridled Retreat,” a four-day / three-night getaway in Western Colorado. It takes place September 28 to October 1, and includes luxury accommodations at Gateway Canyons, all meals and non-alcoholic beverages, taxes and tips at the hotel restaurants, snacks, a swag bag, and equine coaching and horseback riding. No experience is necessary to attend.

Hosting the retreat is Devon Combs, “The Horse Listener and the Cowgirl of the Wellness Industry” and founder of Beyond the Arena. Combs will take guests on rides around the ranch and show them how to interact with horses. There are both slow and fast rides to choose from. Meals will be served at the resort’s Entrada and Cantina restaurants. 

The Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa has 58 guestrooms and suites. Seen here is a Kiva Lodge, which surrounds the pool and clubhouse courtyard.

Gateways Canyons Colorado has a pool, fitness center, and spa, as well as the Getaway Canyons Auto Museum and Adventure Center that allows guests to kayak, hike, fish, mountain bike and more. There are 58 guestrooms and suites. The resort is about an hour’s drive southwest of Moab Desert of Grand Junction, CO, and two hours from Moab Desert, UT. Rates for a double occupancy (shared accommodation / per person) room start at $2,295, or $2,595 for a single.

Girlfriends By Decades: Not all girlfriend getaways are created equal, which is why the Archer Hotel Austin has launched its “Girlfriend Getaways: By Ages and Stages.” Whether your clients are in 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s or older, the boutique hotel has something for all of them.

What makes the Archer’s Girlfriend Getaways so personal are the decade-specific hostesses, who are there to help “map out maximum fun.” They have created itineraries that are detailed and decade-specific. Guests can also consult with a hostess (in advance and / or on-property) who is of a like age to fill in additional details — from hot spots to dance the night away, sample wine, bar hop or whatever the group may want.

Additionally, the hostesses and concierge can reserve poolside cabanas, schedule treatments at neighboring Viva Day Spa, create a shopping tour of stores and boutiques in the area, and more. All of Archer Austin’s “By Ages and Stages” getaways include accommodations with five-star bedding and kimono cotton Frette robes and Texas-chic touches throughout. Suites with private balconies, connecting rooms, single occupancy accommodations or additional rooms are available; package price will be adjusted based on room choice. 

Also included is a “Glam + Goodies” welcome gift and cocktail hour at the hotel’s Second Bar + Kitchen Terrace or on Archer’s pool patio with gourmet bites by Chef David Bull. Good to know: Archer’s Double Queen and Double King Guest Rooms are well suited for parties of four. 

Festive Fun In New Mexico: Launching on Friday, September 1, Las Cruces’ (NM) Second Annual “Monuments to Main Street Month” packs every September weekend with outdoor fun and adventure. It kicks off with a live Mariachi band concert and a Western rope and gun skills show by “Johnny Hotshot” in the Plaza de Las Cruces on Main Street. Also, the Bureau of Land Management - Las Cruces District and Friends of Organ Mountains - Desert Peaks will offer free, guided hikes of America’s National Conservation Lands

Each weekend will also provide an array of intriguing options to explore throughout southern New Mexico’s Mesilla Valley. Highlights include the Hatch Chile and Mexico Wine Harvest festivals; tours of the Apollo Astronaut Training Site; Wild and Scenic Film Festival; White Sands International Balloon Festival; Wild West stagecoach ride, show and dinner at Corralitos Ranch; Southern New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo; and Billy the Kid Tour, as well as helicopter tours, hikes, heritage and historic trail tours, concerts and more. For specific dates, visit the city’s website,

There are plenty of familiar-name hotel options in Las Cruces, which is about an hour’s drive from El Paso and three hours from Albuquerque.

“Hike-Teck” In Arizona: Hikers who tackle the challenging trails of Arizona’s Camelback Mountain will be rewarded with spectacular desert vistas along the way. Now, thanks to Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa’s new Hike-Tech package, hikers will have the chance to record everything they see. Hikers will each receive their very own GoPro Hero Session and one selection of handgrip or head strap. It will be theirs to keep and continue recording after they’ve left the resort.

Available for booking starting October 1, the package, starting at $1,875, includes a two-night stay for two in a Mountain Casita; hike of Camelback Mountain led by a Sanctuary expert guide; GoPro Hero Session and choice of head strap or handgrip to keep; one 60-minute session per person at Sanctuary Spa; breakfast for two daily. Rates are based on double occupancy and include taxes and gratuities. Package does not include daily resort fee and cannot be combined with any other offer. 

A Mountain Casita at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa is spread over 500 square feet of space and comes with a variety of luxury amenities.

Welcome To The Club: The brand new Lake Club at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe provides resort guests with a waterside venue and an accompanying host of amenities such as al fresco dining, leisure and aquatic activities, and direct access to the lake. The multilevel Lake Club includes an indoor gathering area and bar, a ground-floor terrace, an upper-level deck, and an expansive lawn extending to the water’s edge. Guests will have direct beach access and a private boat pier. Guests also have access to multiple water sports, including paddle boarding, kayaking, wave runners, luxury boat rentals, parasailing, waterskiing, wake surfing, charter fishing, and formula yacht and sailing charters. Additional amenities include an outdoor spa, fire pit, and showers and changing facilities.

Design-wise, the Lake Club uses natural materials such as ledgestone and cedar wood as well as steel and glass, blending comfort with contemporary. Floor-to-ceiling windows on all sides allow guests views of the lake. Throughout the space, distinctive art pieces can be found, including works by New York-based Jacob Hashimoto, Jennifer Hannaford and Karen Margolis, and local artists Pat Blide, Marianne Rosenfeld, Marybeth Hamilton, and Troy Corlis.

Environmental improvements to the Lake Club include lessening the building’s footprint from the previous structure by more than 30 percent; the improvement of scenic areas through landscape additions; water quality improvements; and usage of permeable pavers in the parking area. The club is available exclusively to resort guests who reserve the Lake Club package daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., based upon availability. Hours of operation are subject to seasonal changes.

Days Of Wine And Tastings: Also in Northern California, Napa’s Liana Estates has debuted an outdoor tasting deck and new wine tasting experience. With views of San Pablo Bay and Carneros Valley, The Deck is the newest addition to the winery’s distinct tasting spaces, following the recent opening of its Cultivator’s Club Lounge and private wine tasting loft.

The Deck — just off the winery’s Bocce Garden — covers 1,300 square feet and overlooks the 100-acre estate and the San Pablo Bay. Dozens of olive trees permeate The Deck floor in their natural growth pattern, providing shade for guests. Industrial-modern furniture offers seating for up to 25 guests. The Deck is open to guests daily.

To celebrate The Deck’s opening, Liana Estates is launching a weekend “Garden Graze” tasting series. Every Saturday, guests and locals are invited to gather on The Deck to enjoy current Liana wines such as the Orange Muscat, Viognier, Vintner’s Pink, and more along with gourmet barbecue-themed plates. Dishes include grilled prawn and pineapple kebabs, slider samplers, and grilled vegetable kebabs. Outdoor games such as cornhole, horseshoes and bocce ball are also available. 

Liana Estates’ Deck and Tasting Room are open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; wine is also available for purchase in the Tasting Room. 

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