My wife and I attended a mid-size wedding at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort. The stay was a mixed bag. We checked in and the front desk Staff were wonderful. They were very professional and greeted us warmly. They answered all of our questions and then some. Check-in was quick and painless. Our room was available and it was what I had reserved. And at my request, the front desk clerk even made immediate dinner reservations at their restaurant for us later that night. The main office area is part of the Lodge and it was pretty busy with foot traffic. They have a limited bar and a very nice restaurant in the main building. We were advised at check-in that they are required to tell visitors about their water’s high fluoride content and one of the desk clerks suggested we stick with the bottled water (free in the rooms).
As part of the event I received a discount on my room and decided to get the "larger and more spacious" Cliffside Room (higher on the hill) with 2 queen beds. The cost of the daily rack rate was not worth the room itself, but it did include a daily pass for the hot springs (which will be discussed later). The room left a lot to be desired and had we stayed for longer than 2 nights it would have been a problem. It just wasn't nice for the amount of money we paid: One chair and a small table in the main room, a HD television that was too small for the room size, the bathroom was way too small, the room had 2 tiny trash cans, there was no decorations or mirrors on the main room walls and the room just felt “cheap” like another poster noted: a highway truck stop style room. On the positive, the room was spacious with a high ceiling and the beds were comfy. The linens were clean and they had a nice array of bathroom amenities (soaps, shampoo). We did have a Kuerig coffee maker, but the selection was limited and they only provided paper cups instead of real mugs. The room did have a small fridge. Again, pretty low rent for a facility that charges these kinds of rates. It was relatively quiet in the room, but the doors separating the connecting rooms did not fit well and you could hear the other room pretty easy. A good example of this being a Motel type facility, the room keys open a single deadbolt lock on the outside of the door and it was the only lock on the door. I saw three different people leave their keys in the outside door lock after they entered. The only way to see who is at the door is to open the door or open the small window next to the door to see who is calling.
Moving to the outside, the parking lot is dirt/crushed road base and was a bit muddy. We were tracking dirt and mud into the room as we came and went. The patio door opened onto a deck that had a beautiful view of the canyon and Mt. Princeton. You could look down into the valley and see the entire resort. The deck area is actually a set of tiered cement decks that are all connected to the other rooms. Each deck had a severly weathered and sun-beaten wood table with four cushioned chairs. A beautiful setting like this was made distasteful by all of the cigarette butts in the dirt area around the decks. It is obvious the rooms are non-smoking, but the decks were not. They needed some kind of receptacle. In order to take in any activites at the resort you had to drive down the hill (in nice weather you could walk, but it's a trek).
Getting from the main office to the spa building and hot springs was tricky. In the morning, the wooden bridges had a thin layer of ice…..be careful. You had to enter the old historic spa building which allowed entry to the lap pool, the family pool and the river spots. In order to get to the Adult side or the new spa building, you had to navigate a semi-narrow path to the back side of the old building and take a set of stairs up and then a bridge over to the new building. That path isn’t too hard to maneuver during the daylight, but the three lights that were meant to light the path after dark were turned out or not turned on, making it a little frightening. A miss-step here and you drop about 10 feet into Chalk Creek and all its rocks.
The locker rooms were outstanding. A newly renovated facility with nice lockers, showers, steam and sauna were available for men and women. In addition, they had a uni-sex steam and sauna room just off the lobby. They had a nice juice bar that also served as a cocktail bar. Note: if you want a Bloody Mary from the juice bar, be aware they use their own mix at this bar and it is Cucumber based and pulpy (the main bar mixes it from scratch)…..I heard numerous guests commenting about this and they did not like it. In fact, one lady said the drink tasted “furry”. Again, the staff in the spa area was very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. The biggest problem with this area is that it reminded me of a Vegas Casino…NO CLOCKS. You had to ask at the desk if you wanted to know the time. Not sure why this is set-up like this, but it was a nuisance.
The hot springs are NOT hot mineral springs. In fact, most personal hot tubs are just as effective and probably have better sanitation. The Adult relaxation pool was still under the bubble because of winter, but the water was only in the low 90’s. Good for laps, but not for relaxing. The cascading pools (adult side) were enjoyable as the there are three temperature levels. However, because there is a lack of tables and chairs around the area, guests were having to drop their towels, robes and items on the grass and then tracked dirt and grass into the pools. One of the tubs had a light film floating on top of the water, there was dead grass floating in the water and the seats/walls had green grass/mold growing in spots. The water was just hot water…no chemicals or natural minerals. Except for the temperature (ranging from over 104 for the top pool down to the 90’s in the lower pool), there really was not any therapeutic value to the cascading pools. One of hte river pools did reach a temp of 118 the day prior to our arrival so it can be hit and miss.
We had a very nice dinner at the restaurant. I was worried to start with as the young lady that was acting as the hostess seemed to have an attitude and couldn’t crack a smile. Maybe it was her Euro-Russian upbringing, but she was matter of fact and didn’t cater to any light chit-chat or other pleasantries that most restaurants’ employ at the front of the house. While it did not affect what I was eating I later saw her drying water glasses and at the same time picking her nose. I thought it might be a one-time thing, but I saw her do it a second time (this time not while doing anything with dishes or food). It was just inappropriate. On the other hand, the chef surprised me. He/She put out a nice dinner. We started off with a crock of their French Onion Soup. The Chef used real Swiss cheese on top of a full piece of crouton. The crock was baked and the cheese was golden brown with a bit of crisp to it. The soup was hot with a lot of onions and a full rich beef broth. We had a full (small) loaf of fresh baked bread and a nice goat cheese salad (I recommend the Balsamic Vinegar dressing, though my wife liked the raspberry vinaigrette). I had Lamb (t-bones) and my wife had Prime Rib. A large quantity of food did not diminish one bit the excellent quality. Both meats were cooked to order. The sides (garlic mashed potatoes, baked potato and steamed asparagus) were nicely done. If you like Prime Rib the portion size was amazing. Once again, the staff (Joyce) was professional, friendly and met our needs during dinner. The staff worked well together assisting each other with duties of waiting on tables. They did have a limited bar selection (No Port or Dessert wines), but they do offer a nice selection of red and white wines, along with some of the basic spirits.
My wife and I enjoyed a couple’s massage at the spa. We were warmly greeted and the massage was nice. The price was fair. After being greeted and given instructions we changed in our appropriate dressing rooms and went into the massage area. While this was supposed to be quiet, it did get a little loud at times, but it did not distract from the massage. Ron and Sharon did the massages and were very professional and talked with each of us prior to beginning to get the best approach to making our massage relaxing and helpful. If you have the money (and why are you going to a resort if you don’t) I would urge you to splurge and get a single or couples massage. They did the best they could to pamper us, but seemed to lack some of the niceities you see at the bigger spas. For example, a glass of wine as part of the price while waiting would have been nice.
The wedding was held in the main center. It was a nice facility. There were glass sliding/folding style doors along both sides that made the room seem bigger, brighter and more airy. The staff had set-up the ceremony facing southwest towards the mountain range and except for the blazing sun shining through the windows above the Bride and Groom the view was beautiful. Upon completion of the ceremony, the staff moved the tables and chairs to accommodate the dinner. Again, everyone worked in unison and made this transition very smooth and fast. The chairs had been moved from the ceremony seating area to under the tables creating a dance floor.
Dinner was buffet style. The staff preceded the buffet with individual salads and bread to the tables. They were attentive to water and iced tea needs. The bar staff did a good job of keeping up with the various rushes. Once the buffet started, it was a prime rib/roast beef style beef, chicken with Marsala Sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and your choice of green beans or asparagus. The vegetarians in the group had their own fare, but were a little disappointed….it was a vegetable stuffed puff pastry. The serving staff would not allow them to get just mashed potatoes, green beans or asparagus as “they had their own vegetarian meal at the end of the buffet line”. For a buffet style meal, the food was tasty and at the appropriate temperatures. The only staff issue was the same restaurant hostess. Just not a good personality for working with the public or she was just having a bad weekend. One of our guests made a comment “hello or similar gesture” to her and she flashed a fake smile/smirk, shrugged and continued on her way.
Cabins: Part of the family stayed in one of the large family cabins. This was very, very nice. It was like a small house. They were able to rent out the “condo” downstairs and their whole family was able to stay with them. The rooms were nice, the kitchen area was spacious. It was cozy. I would recommend staying in the cabins if you have the means.
We attended a Sunday Bruch at the restaurant. It was probably my least enjoyable part of the weekend. They had to locate a bartender to make a couple Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas. The omelet chef did not have the right equipment or wasn’t using it correctly, as it was taking way too long to make an omelet. It was tasty once we got it, but just took too long. The selection was limited, but it is a small brunch: Eggs, bacon, sausage, pre-packaged cinnamon and cherry rolls, potatoes, biscuits and gravy and bagels/muffins. Limited fruits and cereals. They were able to seat us all together (large crowd) and once again, Joyce was all over it, getting us taken care of, drinks, refills, etc. Kudos to Joyce.
At checkout there were no surprises on the bill.
A few notes: If you are getting low on gas as you get near teh resort, fill up in Buena Vista or Jonson’s Village. You will save about 80 cents a gallon. St. Elmo in the Spring (and Winter) is a ghost town in more ways than one…..everything is pad-locked and the only activity is the snow mobiles hitting the trails. The streets were muddy and there was still a couple feet of snow. It’s a beautiful drive up there, but that’s all you get, a drive. Bring a little pocket cash as they do NOT have an ATM machine on site. The Hot Springs are open to the public (by way of purchasing a day pass, so you do get a little of the town crowd on the weekend). Don’t forget your camera.
In closing, overall it was nice, but not a 4 or 5-Star Resort setting. If you are budget minded then this may be a good choice. If you are looking for high end pampering, Hot Sulpher Springs or something with a therapeutic value besides a nice hot soak, then there are other places in Colorado that offer better choices (but you will pay for those).
Cliffside Rooms are not worth the cost if you want nice.
Cabins are very nice.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.