Hotel Clio’s in the affluent Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver. (Photo by Hotel Clio, A Luxury Collection Resort, Denver).
Hotel Clio’s interiors take cues from Cherry Creek’s origins in the Gold Rush era paired with the natural surroundings of the destination (Photo by Hotel Clio, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Denver).
The Denver luxury boutique hotel resides in Cherry Creek (Photo by Hotel Clio, A Luxury Collection Resort, Denver).
The Presidential Suite offers opulent indulgence in every detail (Photo by Hotel Clio, A Luxury Collection Resort, Denver).
Epicurean moments to inspire guests take place daily at Hotel Clio (Photo by Hotel Clio, A Luxury Collection Resort, Denver).
TORO is Hotel Clio's culinary gem (Photo by Hotel Clio, A Luxury Collection Resort, Denver).
Guests are welcomed with a refreshing drink and cool towels (Photo by Hotel Clio, A Luxury Collection Resort, Denver).
Hotel Clio offers guests tequila lockers as part of its Epicurean Moments (Photo by Hotel Clio, A Luxury Collection Resort, Denver).
The Hythe. (Photo by The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail).
The Hythe’s farm-to-table dinner concept, Margie’s Haas, is a tribute to the World War II local home cook (Photo by The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail).
The Hythe's spa offers a hideaway for restoration (Photo by The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail).
The Hythe boasts clean design details such as local Colorado calacatta marble quarried from the Rocky Mountain (Photo by The Hythe, a Luxury Resort Collection, Vail).
The Hythe offers a nestled retreat after a day in the mountains (The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail).
The Hythe is home to the only Himalayan salt room in Vail (The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail).
The lounge of The Hythe in Colorado (Photo by The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail).
When visiting Colorado, I am often torn between my desire to be swept away in a blissful retreat and experiencing the latest and greatest in Denver’s vibrant city scene. So for this Colorado getaway, already eager to escape climbing Texas temperatures, I decided to enjoy the best of both worlds with a stopover in Denver before I headed to one of my favorite towns: Vail. We chose two new Colorado boutique hotels — Hotel Clio in Denver and The Hythe in Vail — which each welcomed guests to their original twists on the mountain retreat with a bubbly drink and refreshing towels upon arrival. First impressions are lasting, and they both got off on the right foot.
The bedrock of the entire trip rested on crisp cool evenings strolling outside. From exploring a city-centric art scene to decadent Alpine-inspired meals under a star-soaked sky, this Texan got the ultimate 72-hour reset.
Introducing Two Luxurious Colorado Hotels
Hotel Clio recently debuted in Denver’s affluent Cherry Creek corridor in March 2022. The ritzy area resembled pockets of Dallas, with familiar entities such as North Italia, True Food Kitchen, and even Le Bilboquet. Hotel Clio, the newest addition to Marriott Bonvoy’s Luxury Collection boutique hotels, puts a supreme focus on curating culinary experiences for guests. Each day, the hotel team hosts a myriad of “epicurean moments“ for guests. Perhaps the most original is a mixology experience concocting the hotel’s signature and most photogenic cocktail: Mercado Margarita. Hotel Clio also boasts tequila lockers prominently displayed, where guests have the opportunity to keep their preferred libations under lock and key until the next visit.
And another new beacon of luxury tucked away in Vail’s mountains is The Hythe. Making its grand debut for ski season in November 2021, the hotel also falls under the elite Marriott Luxury Collection. The Alpine-inspired, opulent retreat also focuses on epicurean moments for its guests, just like Hotel Clio. Perhaps the most popular at The Hythe is chef-led, with an honorable nod to Vail’s Swiss Alps roots. Each week, the hotel’s executive chef surprises guests with a Swiss raclette melting experience. Be sure to have your phone ready for this one — in fact, I overheard another guest cautioning the chef to pause for the magic moment, so she could capture the perfect snap.
An Aesthetic Inspired by History
Hotel Clio’s interiors, from the lobby to the rooms, take cues from Cherry Creek’s origins in the Gold Rush era. The design seamlessly blends influences of the region’s natural elements, creating a dramatic, yet serene atmosphere.
I must admit I was proud to notice the gold accents, linking it to the Gold Rush, before reading about it in the in-room literature.
While The Hythe’s aesthetic mirrors its mountain surroundings, luxury is not diminished in this hotel. In fact, one of the locals I conversed with described the property as “very cosmopolitan” for Vail. Just like Hotel Clio and other Luxury Collection boutique hotels, The Hythe’s design is inspired by its setting and history. Entering the lobby brings guests into a majestic and serene Rocky Mountain design scheme. Even though no snow was piled on the mountains, I was instantly transported to an après ski mentality. Think 1960’s glamorous living room, speckled with an array of ski references.
I was pulled in by the thoughtful, clean design details such as local Colorado calacatta marble quarried from the Rocky Mountain, carved wood feature art inspired by the local shepherding tradition of Arborglyphs, marble flooring textured to evoke snowfall on the landscape, and Douglas fir siding wood panels inspired by an alpine chalet. The design palette of the hotel was quite visually appealing and evoked the desire to reach out and touch all the rich textures. But I resisted the urge, and just admired sans touch.
The Little Things
Beyond the appreciation of luxury in both Colorado escapes, I kept noting all the little flourishes, which added up to leave a big impression. Within the first two minutes of being greeted at Hotel Clio, I was gifted a jasper stone, to incite positive energy. I didn’t let it go the entire trip. And at The Hythe, upon my departure, I was gifted a sachet of pine to serve as a refresher of my memories in Vail.
I’m sure I’ll be craving a return to the mountains as soon as that Texas heat hits me upon my return. Both Denver and Vail residents continually echoed in a similar cadence through the visit that “Texans sure love to escape the summer heat.”
Dining at Hotel Clio and The Hythe
Although I knew I’d be focusing on some wellness endeavors during my visit west, I knew I’d also be indulging in quite the culinary odyssey of rich food and local cuisine.
Toro at Hotel Clio
Both hotels embodied a strong culinary culture. In fact, I noted that many guests at TORO Latin Kitchen and Bar (inside Hotel Clio) were not hotel guests. It was truly a destination restaurant amidst the buzzy Cherry Creek neighborhood. The hotel’s signature culinary concept by acclaimed local chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval offers a creative Pan-Latin menu offering small plates and family-style dishes, and of course, includes that daily epicurean moment the hotel strives to provide.
I went for the bottomless brunch and enjoyed Toro so much that I made sure to return for dinner. If weather permits, be sure to request a table outside on the patio, nestled against fire fixtures. Perhaps the most notable, and out-of-the-box dining experience at the Denver hotel, is TORO’s Ceviche Bar, showcasing fresh flavors designed to be paired with hand-muddled cocktails. The Ceviche Bar offers classes, which I always appreciate an opportunity for interactive dining.
Margie’s Haas at The Hythe
The Hythe fully embraces its history and culture with its culinary offerings. The hotel’s farm-to-table dinner concept, Margie’s Haas, is a tribute to the World War II local home cook, Margie Haas. Celebrating her flair for hosting, the restaurant is inspired by troopers from the 10th Mountain Division often driving through the valley on their way to Denver and stopping at the Haas’ home for one of Margie’s home-cooked meals after World War II began. Her namesake restaurants at The Hythe offer contemporary alpine cuisine with a fresh approach to classic recipes and ingredients.
Although the menu was elevated, the dining experience was intimate. Lit by modern chandeliers accompanied by long farmhouse tables, the cozy homemade feeling in an atmosphere of effortless sophistication was achieved. I even had a chance to visit with the Executive Chef, who has 35 years of experience in Alpine cuisine, inspired by his upbringing in Germany and his travels in South Tyrol in Italy and the Austrian Alps. The streusel was my favorite item on the menu. Looking back I wish I would’ve asked for a second helping.
Wellness At Its Finest
Although getaways are often a chance to escape from the daily routine, I always aim to include some sort of wellness endeavor. Out of sheer curiosity, I’m interested to see how other regions approach wellness. Hotel Clio prioritizes wellness in its guest offerings, collaborating with local partners, all walkable to the hotel. I had a chance to start the morning off bright and early with a CYL Sauna experience.
Enjoying the chilly morning air on my three-block walk to the studio, I soon realized why CYL Sauna sounded familiar. There are two locations in Dallas, and I had always wanted to try them out. Who knew it would take a trip to Denver to experience what I could’ve locally in my own backyard. The thirty-minute infrared nap (yes I fell asleep I was so relaxed) left me filling gratifyingly sweaty and refreshed for the day ahead.
And at The Hythe, I indulged in the most luxurious massage at The Well & Being Spa. I was also excited to take advantage of the Spa’s curated Recovery Lounge designed to prime and recuperate mountain explorers, such as myself, using indigenous ingredients like pin cherry and pine. I also enjoyed Vail’s only Himalayan salt lounge, which was described to me by the Spa Director, Ingrid, as “a toothbrush for your respiratory system.” With a sleek and calming design scheme, I honestly didn’t want to leave. If I ever get the chance to visit again, I will carve out a longer visit for the Spa alone, to ensure the ultimate recovery and reset.
Beyond the Hotels: Exploring Colorado
Although Hotel Clio was decadent and beautiful, I was impressed that the hotel staff wanted to be sure guests experienced what lived beyond the hotel’s interior. If Hotel Clio was a matchmaker, I’d say it was a successful, busy one. From discovering the latest art scene to enjoying Denver’s natural surroundings in its Botanic Gardens, Hotel Clio is all about lifting up fellow partners in its city, and connecting guests to the experiences.
Right next door to the hotel is Relévant Galleries, which features the city’s cutting-edge art scene. The hotel’s concierge even hosts an art gallery walking tour that features five Cherry Creek galleries. In addition to the arts lineup, a visit to Denver isn’t complete without catching a show (or even having a picnic) in the sacred walls of Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Nearly all of Vail’s most sought-after activities are outside. It would be a shame to spend too much time indoors with nature’s bounty right outside your window. In the past, I’d experience a “Llama Hike” in Vail where you literally take a llama to lunch on a picnic, trekking up a mountain. So I knew the unusual experience would be hard to match. But give me a mountain view, and I’m happy as can be.
With sunny skies and small chances of summer snow, mountain biking is one of the most popular past times for Vail-goers. I saw countless bikers meandering through tucked-away trails, snowless ski slopes and even cascading along the river rapids. The Hythe offers “Personal Adventure Stewards” who help narrow down which adventure to seek when it comes to mountain excursions. For those looking to make the most of Vail’s extreme sports like fly fishing and outdoor climbing, these experiences await all summer long. And for those craving a less thrill-seeking adventure, perhaps mushroom foraging is more desirable and popular in the region.
Although I nearly felt decision fatigue with the seemingly endless ideas I could explore, I think my favorite moments were exploring the town, which is inspired by European architecture. Even though no passport was required, I blinked and could’ve sworn I was in the Alps.
One Last Look
Pairing the two Colorado cities together in one trip offered a bustling metropolis experience bookended with a restful, slow-paced mountain escape. Each destination was worth the trip on its own, but paired together, they were the perfect, well-rounded reset for this Texan.