When you think of an all-inclusive vacation, the beach typically comes to mind. A chain resort on the sands of Mexico, with a buffet, a few thatch-roof restaurants, watery cocktails and about 1,000 rooms.
Colorado has all-inclusives, too. But ours feature a whole different level of service and atmosphere. Many are in the mountains or inspired by the state's natural features. Some are great for families, whereas others are best for a honeymoon escape.
Regardless, we've got plenty of ways to travel the easy way. No need to worry about booking food, finding drinks and planning activities.
Here are our favorite all-inclusive resorts in Colorado.
The Broadmoor Cloud Camp
The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs is a popular luxury destination not far from Denver, but the sprawling resort that most people are familiar with is only the beginning of the offerings. We prefer The Broadmoor Cloud Camp, a group of luxuriously appointed cabins perched atop the mountain overlooking Colorado Springs.
The Cloud Camp is intimate, with only a handful of cabins. Everything is included, from the wine to exquisite dinners next to a crackling fire. In fact, it's the Cloud Camp's cuisine that makes it rise to Colorado's top. No other all-inclusive's dining compares.
Best of all, guests can request a private cooking class in the kitchen with the chef. So not only do you get to indulge your taste buds, but you also get to participate in the preparation.
The Cloud Camp's cabins aren't as luxurious as some of the others, but they have great decks with stunning views, and you can walk into the forest to find cedar hot tubs perched on the edge of the mountain. While plenty of adventurous activity can be arranged, from archery to mule riding, nothing can compare to an evening under the stars with a view of the whole city, twinkling like the sky above it.
Tip: Visit the hot tub at the tip-top of the mountain for a great view and plenty of privacy. Just be prepared for the long and chilly trek back down a long flight of stairs after your relaxation.
Dunton Hot Springs
Dunton Hot Springs is a lengthy trek from Denver, south past Telluride even, but its remote location is part of its appeal. This is where you go when you want to get away for a while. Really get away.
You can stay in one of two camps. An abandoned mining community from the 1800s has been transformed into luxurious cabins, still with plenty of historical charm. The idea of living in a quiet ghost town is something nowhere else in Colorado can promise. The cabins are all different. Each is charming in its own way.
In warmer weather, Dunton also offers fully appointed, safari-style tents in its Dunton River Camp. This is less known and only available when the weather is warm, but we prefer it to even the cabins. The tents, stationed above the river, feel like you're isolated in nature, but with five-star service, a full bathroom and a cozy bed. Tents include a private butler who brings you drinks and snacks and tends to your every need. Food is served in a nearby cabin. Grab a table on the outdoor deck with sweeping views of the mountains.
Dunton's hot springs, located near the cabins (you will have to drive a bit from the tents), are our favorite springs in Colorado. Take a dip in the toasty bathhouse or unwind in the small outdoor spring surrounded by wildflowers.
The Vail Collective Retreat
The Vail Collective Retreat is a short drive west of Vail, making the location of these ultra-chic pop-up tents ideal. This is glamping, done right. Tents come equipped with soft beds, furniture, running water, electricity and even wifi. Fresh baked goods are delivered to your room every morning, and you can roast S'mores over the fire every night.
The lodging, jaw-dropping views, convenient location and superior service are what Collective Retreats excels in. Activities can be arranged on site for an extra fee, although guests do get free wine-tasting at the on-site winery. The only reason Collective Retreats isn't our No. 1 all-inclusive is that it's not exactly all-inclusive; breakfast is included and can be delivered to your door, but you have to arrange the on-site lunch and dinner for an extra fee. Alcohol is not included, other than the wine tasting.
Still, if you have the budget, dining on site is convenient, surrounded by Colorado's mountains and trees, and just a short walk to a full ranch bursting with activities.
Zapata Ranch is the best place to stay if you're down south visiting the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Sure, camping on the sand under the stars is an adventure, but this all-inclusive bison ranch is just five minutes from the park's entry and offers everything you need. Including tons of nature. In fact, this is a nature conservancy preserve.
Zapata Ranch is on more than 100,000 acres of open space, home to hundreds of bison that you can visit on horseback. You could spend all day exploring the trails on site (and visiting Gordon, the friendly bison).
Dinner and drinks are served in a community room, often to the sound of live country music. You can arrange a variety of activities through the ranch, or just take it easy in the hot tub, with a view of the sand dunes.
Zapata Ranch is ideal because of its location to the dunes and Zapata Falls, an excellent hike that leads to a mountain waterfall. The lodging is not as high-end as some of the other all-inclusives in Colorado, but what the ranch lacks in modern amenities if far makes up for with spaciousness, service and authentic southwestern charm. Not to mention closeness to the sand dunes, one of the most unusual national parks in the state.
This isn't an all-inclusive, per se, but it has everything you could need under one roof, and it's right in downtown Denver.
Union Station is truly the most convenient place to stay in the state. You can take the airport train directly here and stay at the quirky and beautiful The Crawford Hotel. The 1914 Beaux-Arts Union Station has long been a Colorado landmark, and today it is also home to a long list of different restaurants, shops and nightlife options.
Although you can't buy a single all-inclusive pass to access it all (but it would be a great offering, hint, hint), you can spend a whole weekend here without leaving the building and never run out of entertaining things to do.
Because it's all under one roof and easy to access, we think of Union Station as a nontraditional all-inclusive, a la carte.
Others Worth Noting
There are a handful of other all-inclusive destinations in Colorado worth recognizing.
One of the most notable is the C Lazy U Ranch, which redefines the idea of a dude ranch. This destination has hiking trails, hot springs, horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, biking, a kids' program and a spa. It has been named the No. 1 resort in Colorado, fourth-best in the U.S. and 13th best resort in the world by Conde' Nast's Readers' Choice Award.
True Nature Healing Arts near Aspen is another less-traditional destination that organizes personal retreats. Although lodging isn't located directly on site (but a few minutes away), this holistic, wellness destination offers yoga, workshops, a spa, boutiques and much more that appeals to the healthy traveler.