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Travelzoo Experience: Colorado, a Fall Favorite

One of the most coveted perks at Travelzoo is the Travelzoo Experience, in which Deal Experts and other employees take advantage of the same travel, entertainment and local deals we publish to our subscribers and report back on their experience.

I always have a difficult time picking a location for a vacation. Being surrounded by great deals every single day at work is great, but I am always waiting for something better to come along.  Although this time, I had some very specific requirements for the trip. We wanted a luxurious resort in the mountains that would allow us to take our four-month-old puppy along. Impossible? We thought so, until Travelzoo ran a Getaway deal for the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Edwards, Colo.

This 4-Diamond resort is very dog friendly and I couldn’t pass up the $99-per-night deal. The hotel is perched at the top of a mountain with gorgeous views from the patio or terrace of every room. Our pet-friendly room had a sliding glass door that led out to a patio and a large yard lined with flowers and trees and breathtaking views. I was afraid that our room wouldn’t be as nice as the human-only rooms, but the room was nicely decorated, spotlessly clean and the bed was luxurious and cozy.

The closest town of Edwards is a 15-minute drive from the hotel down windy mountain roads. Early in the morning and late in the evening, we often came across groups of deer in the road. Every morning we would bundle up and jump in the car to drive down the mountain to Edwards for breakfast. We would grab a bagel and coffee at the Smiling Moose and then take the dog on a long walk along the River Walk. Edwards is has a lot of cute restaurants and shops in their River Walk area and a paved path that runs along the river.  The path is hidden behind the cluster of shops, but worth the effort to seek it out for a picturesque walk.

Fall is a lovely time to visit Colorado. The air is crisp and cool, and the Aspen trees that blanket the mountains are just starting to transition from gold to bright orange. The mornings are cold and afternoons heat up to about 65-70 degrees -- perfect weather for hiking, eating outside and strolling through the shops. Nights can get very chilly, but most restaurants have heat lamps out on their patios that allow for outdoor dining into the winter months.

Because this time of year is their off-season, the small mountain towns are not overrun with tourists and you don’t run into problems with restaurant reservations or parking. Everyone is very laid back and relaxed and we met lots of locals who gave us suggestions of their favorite things to do in the area. Many restaurants offer 20-30% discounts on the total bill during the off-season as well and some amazing deals can be found on ski gear for the winter.

We spent a lot of time in Vail Village, which is only a 15-minute drive away. The town, modeled after a Swiss mountain village, has cobblestone streets and is closed to cars. You can wander the streets and poke into stores, restaurants and coffee shops. We were able to take our dog absolutely everywhere in Vail. Even the restaurants welcomed her with a bowl of water and lots of table scraps. We tried to spend as much time outside as possible and one of our other favorite activities was hiking. There are countless hiking trails all over the area for a variety of skill levels and expertise. You can pick up a map of the hiking trails at any bookstore or coffee shop.

We chose the fairly easy hikes (they were still challenging with the altitude), packed a lunch and bottles of water and spent the day enjoying nature. The views of the mountains are amazing and we got up close and personal with deer, fox and elk. We were very surprised to find out that our resort actually owns a huge amount of land on the surrounding mountains. Guests of the hotel are free to explore the golf courses and enormous homes dotting the mountains. The hotel gave us a very detailed map of the resort’s own hiking trails. All of their trails are well planned out and very clearly marked. The Cordillera hikes were some of the most beautiful and best that we did. I would highly recommend talking to the hotel employees about their favorite hikes in the area. They gave us some great recommendations and tips that we never would have known about on our own.

I would love to return to this area of Colorado in the winter, but if you have never experienced it in the fall, I definitely think it’s worth the trip. It can be difficult to find a hotel and location that appeals to discerning human travelers and canine travelers at the same time. We highly recommend the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, and our dog gave it two paws up!

Find deals of your own on our Colorado Destination page.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Chicago
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
See more Tips from
Erin Colletti