Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa
Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa is the ultimate escape for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and rejuvenation.
By Sondra Barr
Your starting point: Sky Harbor Airport. That’s where intrepid Arizona travelers begin their journey to one of Colorado’s best-kept (but not for long) secrets––Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa.
One of the top 100 resorts in the world, according to Conde Nast Traveler, this idyllic property is but a two-hour direct flight from Phoenix to Grand Junction, Colorado. From there, a luxuriously appointed Mercedes van whisks you to Gateway Canyons. Of course, if you prefer, resort staff can drop off an exotic, high-performance vehicle at the airport for you to drive during your stay––but I’m getting ahead of myself, more about that later. From the Grand Junction Airport, the drive is roughly 60 minutes to this self-contained property near the border of Utah; and that, my friends, is where you’ll find one of the world’s most unique resorts nestled amid a magical landscape.
So why would anyone from Arizona want to travel to such a seemingly remote location to experience such a place? The answer is deceptively simple: immense beauty, adventurous activities, serene spa amenities, and delectable cuisine. It’s the ultimate escape for those looking for the thrill of a lifetime and the chance to unplug at a one-of-a-kind adventure retreat.
Discovery Channel Founder John Hendricks conceptualized the resort surrounded by grandiose towering red rocks. The azure sky greets the red rocks in a stunning display of contrasts that is bordered with incredibly lush greenery surround by crisp and clean mountain air. Hendricks aimed to create an outlet for people to really, truly live like a rock star adventurer amidst the immaculate natural beauty of Colorado canyon country.
The resort’s Adventure Center is equipped with options for every proclivity. Off roaders can opt for exciting guided UTV and jeep tours; vino enthusiasts can toast via wine tours; and fitness fans can ride atop stunning mountain bike trails. But if you prefer something a little more A-list, you can rent a luxury, high performance vehicle, such as a Bentley, Porsche, Mustang Shelby GT, Tesla Roadster, and even a $250,000 Ford GT. These rented rides are perfect for a picturesque drive to Telluride or Aspen—both are a mere two-ish hours away.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The resort also offers Driven Experiences, giving Pro-Baja fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get behind a Pro-Baja Trophy Truck. Learn to navigate a pro course on your own after classroom instruction on how to properly navigate rough terrain, jumps, and bumps over a 2-mile course. Or, let a professional driver get behind the wheel, while you’re strapped in the passenger seat for an unforgettable high-octane drive featuring massive air, hairpin turns, and more. The ride certainly got this Arizona girl’s adrenaline rushing!
The automotive culture is further celebrated in the resort’s very own auto museum. The Gateway Colorado Auto Museum captures 100 years of American automotive history and features the privately owned Hendricks Collection, which includes a awe inspiring assortment of some of the finest autos in the world, including a 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car. The only one in existence today, the F-88 concept car is considered the Holy Grail for car collectors.
If you prefer adventure via air, you can hop a helicopter ride from Gateway Canyon’s own helipad. Offering onlookers a spectacular view of the red rock canyons, monoliths, mesas, and snow capped mountains, Chief Pilot Mike Gullotti offers up fascinating commentary about the terrain to passengers as he expertly navigates through the canyons. As with everything at the resort, custom-tailed flight itineraries can be created to accommodate any desires, like flying to a private, catered picnic on a nearby mesa.
And what would a Colorado resort be with without a ranch? This property does ranching right—Palisade Ranch packages include daily-guided horseback rides at the base of Uncompahgre Plateau, in addition to cattle drives, ranching education, and more including trail rides that culminate in true style, next to a roaring fire, complete with a lively cowboy band, and tasty eats, set under a sky filled with twinkling stars. Authentically perfect, it’s almost like you’re on well-orchestrated movie set featuring John Wayne.
Authenticity is important to Hendricks, so it’s no surprise that he employs an on-staff Curator of Curiosity. Tasked with imparting little know facts about the area and its native people, Zebulon Miracle (aka Zeb) has a passion for connecting people with the lands, cultures, history, and heritage of the American Southwest. He’s on hand at the resort to offer up an educational yet humorous running commentary on all things pertinent to the area. Want to see dinosaur tracks? Not only can Zeb can take you to a nearby spot to see them firsthand, he can tell you exactly what type of dinosaur track it is, along with offering up the entire history of dinosaurs. No kidding! It’s super cool. For an even more in-depth venture into the little-known, you can book a multi-day Curiosity Retreat, which offers guests an exclusive, intimate access to eminent visionaries, scholars and trendsetters.
The well-appointed amenities don’t disappoint. Sleep beneath the mesa and wake up to blue skies, adobe style all the while. You’ll fall head-over-heels over the property’s rich wooden décor with pops of blue, red, and yellow. There are plenty of accommodations to choose from—deluxe, premium, signature, and grand suites. Or you can stay in a casita, well equipped with a fireplace, private deck, outdoor spas, outdoor showers, and an upstairs den and gazing deck (romance at its finest). The furnishings are all plush and comfortable, genuinely custom from Peru.
Tempted? Well, of course.
Well, prepare yourself for posh pampering at the resort’s spa. The facilities offer signature treatments: massage therapy, salon services, facials, and more. (You have permission to indulge.) They even have a special something for yogis: refresh your mind and spirit with on-site yoga classes, complimentary to resort guests. And did we mention the pools? Yes, plural. Take your pick between swimming or relaxing poolside.
So what haven’t we covered? Oh yes, food. Now it’s time to make your mouth water.
Gateway Canyons has plenty of dining options: five property eateries for every taste bud. Each restaurant has something special: Entrada serves rich flavors from the Colorado plateau; the Paradox Grille features southwestern cuisine and entertainment; the Kiva Café overlooks the pool; the Cantina offers sun bathers refreshing treats; and Duesey’s Diner is a casual outdoor experience. You won’t go hungry.
Whether you’re looking for a solo escape, girl’s getaway, romantic weekend, or family vacation, Gateway Canyons offers something for everyone. It’s a hidden gem—Colorado’s best-kept secret. Well, cat’s out of the bag, this hot destination is sure to become your new escape.
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