This Luxury All-inclusive Hot Springs Resort in Colorado Is One of the Best Winter Getaways I've Ever Taken

Dunton Hot Springs even has a frozen-over waterfall you can climb in the winter.

A group of people ice climbing at Dunton Hot Springs resort in Colorado

Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs

It was June 24, 1889 and Butch Cassidy, a notorious bank robber, needed somewhere to hide. He’d just robbed a bank in Telluride, Colorado, and had $21,000 in his pocket. Dunton, a remote mining town 30 miles south, was the perfect place to lay low — it was a long ride from civilization and had an on-site saloon and hot springs.  

It may be almost a century and a half later, and I may be no bank robber, but my reason for making the journey to Dunton is the same as Cassidy’s: I’m looking for a hideout. 

At first glance, not much has changed since Cassidy rode his horse into town with a wad of cash. The hand-hewn log cabins remain and the 1800s saloon and dancehall stand in their original location. The natural spring water still flows, fueling two outdoor pools and the historic bathhouse. 

Snow covered trees with the Bathhouse in view at Dunton Hot Springs resort in Colorado

Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs

The town of Dunton may have evolved into Dunton Hot Springs, an exclusive luxury resort, but the feel of the place seems to be unchanged. That is, until I step inside one of the carefully preserved cabins and am welcomed by luxurious yet lived-in interiors and all the modern amenities you’d expect from a five-star property.

“You feel like you go back in time a little bit while you’re here. We like to say there’s this contrast — you’ve got this rugged outdoor, very natural, very raw [feel], but you’ve also got the finer luxuries of life,” said Edoardo Rossi, the executive vice president of Dunton, during my tour of the property. 

Each of the 14 guest cabins has a unique look and feel. One has its own private hot spring, while another has a deep copper soaking tub that was once used to bathe the miners who visited the town’s brothel. Several have wood-burning fireplaces. The newest cabin at Dunton, Chuck’s, has a massive deck overlooking the river and three floors of tastefully renovated space — including two kid-friendly bunk rooms. 

“We kept the story of the place, but modernized it a bit,” Rossi told me.

Inside the Saloon through the window at Dunton Hot Springs resort in Colorado

Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs

At the heart of the property is the saloon. What was once the gathering place for thirsty miners is now where visitors check in, book activities, and eat their meals. The original wooden bar remains, bearing the carved-in names of past Duntonites and a carving made by Cassidy during his post-robbery visit.

Like Cassidy and myself, travelers have long made the trek to Dunton in search of something many places aspire to offer: a true, off-the-beaten-path escape. At Dunton, well, the nearest grocery store is well over an hour’s drive away, there’s no cell phone service, and the staff don jeans, snow boots, and flannels. The vibe is casual, yet exclusive. 

“The whole idea is we don't want to be a traditional hotel. We have all the amenities a hotel has, but it's more like you're a guest at someone’s house,” Rossi said. “It’s not about the flashy — it’s about the nature, the outdoors, and the service.” 

Each guest at Dunton is served three meals a day with unlimited drinks and 24-hour hot spring access. The days pass languidly. Coffee (just the way you like it) is delivered to each guest cabin in the morning, breakfast is served in the saloon, and then the day unfolds without any sort of agenda or expectation: a morning soak followed by a nap, a yoga class, and a massage, or a day spent reading by the fireplace in the library.

Three people dog sledding in the snow at Dunton Hot Springs resort in Colorado

Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs

Those who want to stay busy can fill their days with snowshoe and cross-country ski adventures or book a sleigh ride, dog sledding, snowmobiling, or a heli-ski experience. There’s even on-site ice climbing on Dunton’s frozen-over waterfall. But even the most active of guests will find that the true highlight of every day is a long and luxurious soak in the natural spring water, which contains iron, manganese, and a dash of lithium and is between 85 and 106 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the pool. You can soak under the stars at the two outdoor pools or lounge on the underwater swing in the bathhouse and marvel at the 19th-century building, which now has a double steam shower, heated floors, and a cold plunge. 

Soaking may be Dunton’s main attraction, but meals provide the structure. A made-to-order hot breakfast kicks off the day followed by a full lunch (bagged lunches for those on the go) and a multi-course dinner with wine pairings. The cuisine is far from what you’d expect to find at a historic mining camp in the middle of nowhere and the family-style seating allows guests to get to know each other.

Snow covered log cabins during dusk at Dunton Hot Springs resort in Colorado

Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs

My neighbors at the dinner table are enjoying their fourth visit of 2022. They’ve traveled extensively but claim they’ve never found a place like Dunton. It manages to offer the finer things in life — high-end accommodations, food and drink for the most discerning palates — without feeling too formal. It is both exclusive and relaxed, remote and welcoming.

“You have to experience it to experience the peacefulness that comes with this. It’s hard even just from photos to get a sense for how quiet it is,” Rossi said. “It’s definitely a destination resort, you're not going to stumble upon it. You need to come here to see it.”

Dunton Hot Springs is open year-round and rates include all meals, drinks, and unlimited soaking. 

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