‘Trout pout’ takes on a whole new meaning at outdoorsy, adventurous Taylor River Lodge, whose luxe cabins and lodges are perched by the trout-stuffed River Taylor, 30 minutes' drive from Colorado’s Crested Butte. You get more bang for your buck here – literally: full-package rates include guided activities such as BB-gun shooting, axe-throwing, white-water river-rafting, hiking, biking and all your food and drink. We don’t normally give a shout-out to the minibars, but these are well worth mentioning, since they’re on the house and stuffed with treats such as choc-coated pretzels, dried mangoes, coconut water and delicious wine. Explorers of all ages will be bowled over.
Eight, including six Queen Cabins (three of which have lofts with twin beds), and two family-sized suites with two bedrooms and a bunk room each.
3pm; earliest check-in, 10am (both are flexible, subject to availability).
Double rooms from £715.98 ($990), including tax at 10 per cent.
Eleven Experience includes meals (prepared by an in-house chef), the house alcohol selection, an ensuite fresh-food minibar, use of all the facilities and guided expeditions.
The hotel is owned by the mega-luxe, extraordinary Eleven Experience group: if you like what you see, check out its Smith-approved sibling: Deplar Farm.
Taylor River Lodge will be open for the winter season from 14 December 2020-5 April 2021; it reopens for the summer season from 21 May 2021-12 October 2021.
The lodge is designed for summer (May to October) and winter (December to April) adventures; exact dates vary annually.
At the hotel
Extensive grounds; access to the river and fly-fishing pond; guide service with included activities: rock climbing, hiking, rafting, mountaineering, mountain biking, drift fishing, stand-up paddle-boarding; spa cabin; games room (pool, foosball, darts); gym; climbing wall, marksman range, teepee, yard games (horseshoe, beanbags, table tennis). In rooms: free WiFi, iPod dock, minibar, Kiehls and Jack Black bath products. Green Drake is the only sleeping quarters with a TV.
Our favourite rooms
The Queen Cabins can feel a little on the cosy side, so if you’re not a light packer, we’d advise opting for the more spacious Green Drake, which is set out like a little standalone house, with two king-size bedrooms, a kids’ room with two bunk beds, a full kitchen and a living room. Three-bedroom Royal Wulff is another great option for families.
There’s a peaceful pool cabin decorated with a high, vaulted ceiling, elk antlers on the walls, floor-to-ceiling windows and river views. The pool spans about six metres; notch up mini laps while admiring the trees outside. Alternatively, idle around on a sunlounger or bubble away in the Jacuzzi positioned at one end of the pool. The pool cabin has a sauna, steam room and showers, too...
Unwind after your rambles and river-rafting with a massage or facial in the spa cabin, whose lures include cosy treatment rooms, Pilates machines, a running machine, yoga mats and more. It’s best to book treatments at least a day ahead, so you don’t risk disappointment. Outside the cabin, there’s a pretty lawn set up with games: table tennis, throw the bean bag, hula hoops and the ilk.
The great outdoors will feel much greater if you remember the following: polarised sunglasses for fishing trips, bug repellent and bite cream, a sun hat and waterproofs (it can get a tad rainy up in them there hills).
Full-package rates also include adventure gear and kit, on-loan bicycles, airport transfers from Gunnison, transfers to Crested Butte (subject to availability), local transportation and full concierge and holiday planning.
Four-legged explorers can come too for $50 a night (this includes an on-loan bed, bowl and leash, plus a care package). The hotel’s pooch-friendly cabins are Golden Stone, Pale Morning Dun and Green Drake. See more pet-friendly hotels in Almont.
Little Smiths will be in seventh heaven. Three of the Queen Cabins have lofted bunk beds; there are also two three-bedroom lodges, which offer a lot more space. Babysitting can be arranged (from $30 an hour for two children).
All ages are welcome, although the hotel reckons it’s best for little Smiths aged between six and 12, or teenagers.
Book either Green Drake or the Royal Wulff: these standalone log houses each have three bedrooms and buckets more space for families to sprawl out in.
Active Smiths will love the outdoors adventures on offer here, which include white-water rafting, mountain biking, hiking, horse-riding and more (activities like fly fishing can be arranged for an additional fee). The excellent guides make sessions appealing to Smiths of all sizes and abilities, tailoring activities to different ages. Other distractions include the pool table, table football, table tennis and on-loan bicycles.
Water-babies will love splashing around the six-metre pool housed within the pool cabin; it’s unsupervised, so you’ll need to keep a beady eye on less confident swimmers.
The obliging resident chef will tailor to tots’ tastes and fussy palates; the hotel can provide highchairs and cutlery, if needed. Parents will be grateful for those well-stocked, free minibars, which contain a pleasing array of soft drinks, healthy snacks such as dried mango and sweet treats such as chocolate-coated pretzels.
Babysitting can be arranged for $20 an hour for two children (an extra $2 an hour charge applies to each additional ankle-biter).
No need to pack
The hotel can provide baby bedlinen, baby monitors and high chairs. For older ones, there are games consoles, arts and crafts and more.
The hotel also has an impressive stash of games, most of which are in the games room (natch); some of which are set up on the lawn outside the spa cabin: table tennis, throw the bean bag, hula hoops and so on...
As you’d expect from a lover of the great outdoors, Taylor River Lodge’s produce is either grown on-site or locally sourced; earth-kind cleaning and bath products are used.
There are no duds in this bunch: sit out on the terrace on balmy days, or inside the main lodge when it’s chipper (a toasty fire will be lit).
Take your cue from Bear Grylls, Levison Wood and Meryl Streep in The River Wild.
The River Taylor Lodge is where guests refuel for their next adventures. A resident chef tailors to tastes, with all meals planned in advance (so no frowning over a menu). The hotel can host a barbecue starring local meat; tables are set up among the trees, under twinkling hanging lights.
Pleasingly, alcohol is included in the room rates. Help yourself to drinks from the bar in the main lodge; from 6pm, a bartender takes over.
Mealtimes are flexed around the day’s activities, rather than being set in stone.
Order from a set menu of daily options. If you get peckish or thirsty between mealtimes, make the most of your generous on-the-house organic minibar, which is stocked with delicious treats such as olives, chocolate pretzels and soft drinks.
The clue’s in the name: Taylor River Lodge occupies a prime waterside perch on the banks of the River Taylor (renowned for its trout fishing), in Colorado. The hotel has a picturesque setting among beech and fir trees, with sweeping views of the river.
Gunnison is the closest airport, a half-hour drive away (full-package rates include hotel transfers). Call Smith24 if you want them to sort your flights.
Set your Sat Nav for Almont, the closest town; the hotel has plenty of free parking for guests. Hotel rates include airport transfers and local transportation (including trips to Crested Butte), so wheels aren’t essential.
Worth getting out of bed for
Lordy, where to begin... Taylor River Lodge has a dizzying array of outdoor adventures and games.Make the most of the shooting range, try axe throwing, BB-gun shooting and archery. Tackle the on-site climbing wall and go natural rock climbing. If you prefer more leisurely pursuits, take a dip in the pool, stroll by the river, play table tennis, snooker, mini football or watch a movie (nestled on one of the comfy couches) in the games room. Get an adrenaline rush – with help from the expert guides – by going white-water rafting or mountain biking, sign up for hiking trips or just nip into Crested Butte (yes, that is its name) for coffee and cake. Activities like fly fishing (a guest favourite), wade fishing and horse-riding expeditions can be arranged for an extra fee. Don’t forget to factor in some pampering time in the spa after all that gadding about...
Crested Butte and its arterial Elk Avenue offer up some excellent options when it comes to eating out. Try Secret Stash for perfect pizza, Public House for local brews and reliable pub grub (there’s also a basement music venue), and Elk Avenue Prime for succulent steak. Pan-Asian bistro Ryceserves delicious and flavoursome fare in portions that are approporiate to adventure holidays (you may want to take leftovers with you).
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this outdoorsy hotel in Colorado and unpacked their hiking boots and binoculars, a full account of their mountain break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Taylor River Lodge in Crested Butte…
If you’re bored of answering the question: ‘What did you do on holiday?’ with: ‘Hmmm, I just lay about a bit...’ then grab your passport, your compass and your favourite explorers – and get yourself to Taylor River Lodge, STAT. After a trip here, you can answer the same question very differently; it wouldn’t be unrealistic to name-drop white-water rafting, archery, BB-gun shooting, fly fishing, mountain biking, hiking, horse-riding, rock climbing and axe-throwing, for example. (Of course, your adventures should also take you to the peaceful spa cabin, the tree-surveying pool and the cosy main lodge, where meals and drinks are served.) These luxe log cabins are designed for adventurers of all sizes; full-package rates mean that there are no panic attacks on check-out, with all food, drink and guided activities included. Warning: if you attempt to take one of the guides home with you in your suitcase, there will be repercussions; we know they’re brilliant, but unfortunately/fortunately they belong here.