The Utes were almost certainly the first to enjoy the hot mineral baths at what is now Glenwood Springs, but they would not be the last.
Railroad tycoon and silver magnate Walter Devereux purchased 10 acres around the springs in 1887 for $125,000, then sunk an additional $850,000 into the construction of his hotel, patterned after a 16th-century Italian villa.
When the “Grande Dame of the Rockies” opened in 1893, she was very grand indeed: three million bricks were used for the hotel, which had 170 open fireplaces; more than 2,000 rose bushes were planted on the grounds; a Florentine fountain purportedly shot water 180 feet into the air; and the hotel featured not one, but two, grand staircases, as well as a 25-foot waterfall in the interior courtyard.
Today, the hotel, renowned for its antique furnishings, rich fabrics and ornate fixtures, has 130 Victorian-themed rooms and suites. “People just love the lobby with its high ceilings, columns and grand staircases,” general manager Larry Welch says.
Baron’s Restaurant specializes in authentic Italian dishes, while the Polo Wine and Martini Lounge offers pub fare and cocktails in a casual atmosphere.
Theodore Roosevelt stayed at the hotel many times. A local story—much disputed elsewhere—claims that the Teddy Bear was invented at the Hotel Colorado.
Molly Brown (of the unsinkable reputation) also stayed at the hotel. Guests today can reserve the Molly Brown Suite, which holds family photos and an assortment of memorabilia.
President William Howard Taft visited in 1909 and was offered exclusive use of the hot springs pool. But the portly Taft demurred, saying, “I’ve found it’s much better for a man of my size not to bathe in public.”