What’s new this winter at Colorado’s hot springs – The Denver Post

Earlier this year, “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert pointed out during a talk in Denver that “relaxed” is a word she rarely hears used to describe women. “I hear resilient, badass, strong, but not relaxed,” she said. I’ve been thinking about that since — and trying to find ways to be relaxed effortlessly. Now that hot springs season is here, I have found the answer.

It seems that a few of Colorado’s hot springs are anticipating a lot of people will be in need of relaxation and self-care this winter and have expanded, or are expanding, their offerings.

“Relaxation is a skill in today’s always-busy world,” my massage therapist at The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs said matter-of-factly as she started the Magnesium Muscle Melt treatment. One hour later, I was in “induced relaxation” and ready for a good soak.

The Springs Resort

The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs, about 200 miles southwest of Denver, is doubling the number of hotel rooms, adding 25 new hot springs pools, building a new restaurant (there are currently two plus a bar), and creating an activity space in a dedicated pool, all to be completed in the next two years.

“While hot springs have been enjoyed for centuries, we’re excited to be part of the growing ‘self-care’ movement. People are increasingly prioritizing their health and wellbeing, recognizing the benefits of hot springs, and seeking a variety of wellness offerings,” said David Dronet, managing partner of the Springs Resort.

While these changes are underway, guests can enjoy several one-of-a-kind soaking experiences that are also new.

Earlier this year, the resort hired a new medical director, Dr. Marcus Coplin, an expert in “balneotherapry,” described as “the evidence-based use of therapeutic thermal mineral spring bathing.” Guests are offered Soaking Guides, which reflect this balneotherapy approach, and brochures outlining the best way to get the benefits of soaking here. This “water-based wellness” provides guidance on soaking times, water temperatures and expected benefits.

Guests can also choose activities such as aqua sound bathing, aqua yoga, warrior plunge and spa treatments, and at bedtime they are provided a sleeping kit and guide for improved rest after soaking.

Each November, the Springs Resort hosts a three-day Hot Springs Fest with increased activities onsite and live music. The festival, held Nov. 11-13 this year, overlaps with Soakember, a virtual event to connect with hot springs around the world on social media.

Note: The Springs Resort allows day use during public hours; anyone who is staying at the property gets additional perks like 24-hour access to the soaking pools, unlimited towel exchange, a complimentary water bottle and more.

323 Hot Springs Blvd., Pagosa Springs; 800-225-0934; pagosahotsprings.com

Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa

Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa, formerly known as Trimble Hot Springs, is putting the finishing touches on its upgrades as the year winds down, and it has added bragging rights to something no other hot springs in the world has: nano bubbles.

Technically, it’s called an Aquagen System, “designed to take ozone and medical grade oxygen and implode the molecules into nano bubbles.” What it means to soakers is an infusion of oxygen into the body through the skin, which reportedly increases the benefits of mineral water soaking.

Although the geothermal waters are pulled from the earth via wells, technology is being used to differentiate this hot springs from any other. Durango Hot Springs Resort is using Oxium Quantum Fusion, an experimental component that “scientifically utilizes magnets changing the molecular structure of water allowing the hydrogen atoms to bind oxygen and the other minerals.” Iron, one of 35 minerals and heavy metals found in the wells, is being removed during filtration, which makes the water appear cleaner.

In 2019, Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa got new owners; every pool was renovated, and more were added. There is a new swimming pool; two cold plunges; 31 geothermal hot water soaking pools; eight Ofuro Japanese-style individual soaking tubs that allow the user to set the preferred temperature; two dry saunas; a spa upgrade; and, before the end of the year, the new Day Club is scheduled to open.

Some parts of the resort are for adults only, and this year live music was added on select nights.

6475 County Road 203, Durango; 970-247-0111; durangohotspringsresortandspa.com

Iron Mountain Hot Springs

Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs is also focused on catering to the 21-and-up crowd with its new Upriver section, right along the Colorado River. There are currently 17 pools; this eastward expansion will add 10 new pools, a cold plunge, a large “Experience Pool,” a café, and new locker rooms in phases into 2023.

“Iron Mountain Hot Springs has grown in popularity since opening in 2016, so the demand is certainly there,” said Aaron McCallister, general manager of Iron Mountain Hot Springs. “Additionally, we’ve listened to feedback from guests and quickly realized that the riverside pools tend to be the most popular, so we wanted to increase that offering.”

Earlier this year, Iron Mountain Hot Springs added the Experience Pool that allows guests to choose their own soak style using recipes from around the world. For example, Nourishing Calcium Spring is inspired by a hot spring in Kinosaki, Japan, with a reputation for helping with fatigue, digestive issues, nerve and muscle pain. Elevating Lithium Spring is inspired by Hot Springs, Mont.; and Silky Silica Spring is inspired by Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, known for its anti-aging benefits. (Check ahead to see which experience is currently on offer.)

There is no on-site lodging at Iron Mountain Hot Springs; guests must make timed-entry reservations for the three-hour soaking window.

281 Centennial St., Glenwood Springs; 970-945-4766; ironmountainhotsprings.com

Glenwood Hot Springs

Glenwood Hot Springs Pool still holds bragging rights to being the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world, but this year it upgraded its smaller and hotter pool, known as the Therapy Pool. This soaking area had not been redone since it was first introduced in 1960, so it got new lights and an ADA ramp. (Installation of therapy jet chairs and power shower clusters for upper-body massages  should be completed soon.)

During this renovation, new lockers were added, which are free to use, and the locker rooms were remodeled.

401 N. River St., Glenwood Springs; 970-947-2955; hotspringspool.com

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