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-   -   Boulder or Estes Park Experts? (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/boulder-or-estes-park-experts-889493/)

1JAR May 5th, 2011 04:16 PM

Boulder or Estes Park Experts?
 
Finally able to plan a trip to RMNP..can Colorado or RMNP experts help with upscale hotel, resort or cabin reservations in the Boulder or Estes Park area?

Seems these are the closest areas to entrance for daily excursions into RMNP.

Also any great restaurants in area or take out as we prefer cooking capabilities if posible for our reservations esp breakfast & picnics

fmpden May 6th, 2011 07:06 AM

Time of year? Personally I don't think of Boulder as the closest or even close entrance to RMNP. It is closer than Denver. Probably 30 minutes or more. The better restaurants will be in the Boulder area. Estes Park at the foot of RMNP is the typical tourist town with the typical kind of tourist dinning, pizza carry out, etc. A bit more information would be helpful.

dwooddon May 6th, 2011 08:29 AM

There is also Loveland and Ft Collins as alternatives for easy entry into the park.

WhereAreWe May 6th, 2011 10:59 AM

Define upscale. I don't think you'll find anything in Estes Park that is comparable to upscale lodging in a larger city.

Same for restaurants, there are some decent choices but nothing that will blow you away.

Estes Park is definitely the closest/easiest town for RMNP. I would hate to drive from any of the other places every day, especially in summer. Winding roads with few good places to pass if you get stuck behind some slow drivers....

historytraveler May 6th, 2011 12:32 PM

Depending on your definition of upscale, I'm guessing Boulder is your best option.

1JAR May 6th, 2011 01:21 PM

Dates are pending: will be July or August 2011.
We will head north to my Dad's in Cody WY afterwards.

Dh says he want to see Fort Collins...seems possible per map is close by.. and also Telluride..which I think is not close by.

Want "upscale" as our only vacation this year and I broke my foot (so pamering would be nice) & DH whines (wants to hike etc.) alittle that his only vacation has to be in proximity to get my 80 y/o Dad to MD appts...sigh

good feedback confirming my research: and appreciated

what would a good VBRO/ Hotel restaurants in Boulder be? How about Fort Collins..DH says someone at work told him Fort Colins in a nice town

illnative May 6th, 2011 01:53 PM

I would recommend staying in EP and renting a house or condo off of VRBO - probably you could get more "luxury" that way than at a hotel. However, - you wouldn't have the services. We rent a house almost every year in EP and have never been disappointed by any of them.

LindainOhio May 6th, 2011 02:08 PM

Devils Thumb Ranch is in Winter Park at the far end of Rocky Mountain National Park. I have not stayed there but I know there are some posters on this board who have recommended it. There are a lot of condos at the Winter Park Resort that are very affordable in the summer.

I prefer the hikes that are closer to Estes--and prefer to stay on that side of the park--even though it is very busy in the summer. The beetle kill is terrible in Winter Park--truly unbelievable what the beetles are doing to the trees.

The last visit we stayed at the huge YMCA facility in Estes, since we attended a wedding that was held there.

Since you have to be in Cody---I am assuming you have already been to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. I prefer both those parks to RMNP. cmcfong stayed in some very nice cabins, Blue Sky Cabins in Montana that would be a bit closer to Cody. I have them on my list of places I would like to stay.

martym May 7th, 2011 06:31 AM

If you're still considering Boulder--here are two upscale lodgings

St Julien Hotel http://www.stjulien.com

Hotel Boulderado http://www.boulderado.com/

Here are some Boulder restaurants we like

Frasca--Italian food (specifially from Fruili) and great wine list http://www.frascafoodandwine.com/

Dushanbe Tea House A beautiful building surrounded by roses, next to a park (a gift to Boulder from a sister city in Tajikistan. wonderful teas--food only acceptablehttp://www.boulderteahouse.com/

Q's http://www.qsboulder.com/ In the Hotel Boulderado--wonderful brunch on Sat and Sun

Radda Trattoria http://www.raddatrattoria.com/ Outstanding Italian food--reasonably priced--great deals on food during happy hour

The Kitchen http://www.thekitchencafe.com/menus.shtml breakfast, lunch, dinner--locally sourced ingrediants--a town favorite

Chautauqua Dining Hall http://chautauqua.com/dining_overview.htm go for breakfast on Saturday and sit on the porch--also many hiking trails in the ares

fmpden May 7th, 2011 07:28 AM

----Dh says he want to see Fort Collins...seems possible per map is close by.. and also Telluride.......


Fort Collins is a college town and beyond that I don't know what else it has going for it. Typical college town. Telluride is out the question. It is in the far SW corner of the state - good eight hours plus from Denver and in the opposite of where you want to go. Save it for the next trip.

If going to RMNP stay in Estes and accept Estes for what it is. If going in July and August, it will be over run by tourists but that is just the way it is.

jaci May 7th, 2011 08:47 AM

If you will be hiking in RMNP, you really should stay in the Estes Park area. You might want to check out Marys Lake Lodge and Resort in Estes. I personally never stayed there, but it looks very nice.

historytraveler May 7th, 2011 01:44 PM

Boulder really meets all your needs. The St. Julien that martym mentioned has an excellent spa for pampering ( there are other spa options as well) not to mention shops, restaurants and numerous hiking trails in the Flatirons as well as walking/biking along Boulder Creek up to Boulder Canyon. There is also the Shakespeare Festival and other cultural events if that's of interest. RMNP is only about 40 minutes away, an easy and scenic drive. Personally I'd avoid Estes Park but then I don't care for the place at all and other than hiking in the park there isn't much more to occupy one's time unless you're into the touristy stuff.

I'll simply reiterate what fmpden said about Fort Collins. Not much going on there at all.

1JAR May 8th, 2011 09:10 AM

Txs...really appreciate the suggestions MArtyM ... will check into all and see what we can do.

FYI, we did RMNP & Yellowstone again last year so wanted someting different this year.

Will save Winterpark and Blue Sky cabims Montana for next year...

jenblase May 8th, 2011 11:58 PM

We rented the Awestruck house from Windcliff Properties in Estes Park, for three nights at the beginning of June. Haven't stayed there yet but all of the reviews on TripAdvisor are extremely favorable. Best of all, I found it to be cheaper than most of the upscale hotels we were looking at!!! We're going for my hubby's 40th birthday, and it's a surprise to him that I've rented a house.

qwovadis May 9th, 2011 04:21 AM

www.stanleyhotel.com

my fav totally cool old hotel

at the foot of RMNP

Boulder too far away.

Drive over to Grand Lake lots of neat little

lodges over there.

betterbidding.com Otel.com good deals for me in those areas.

MaryJo3 May 9th, 2011 05:45 AM

We stayed in Estes Park and happened to get a good rate for 4 nights at The Ramshorn Lodge which someone had recommended. These are houses, not cabins or condos. I couldn't believe our luck, beautifully furnished and equipped. The place has a website and you can look at the houses. I remember deer roaming around in the evening as we sat on balcony with glass of wine. I can't recall the name of the wooden barn-like restaurant just a short walk down the road, but it did great steaks.

Mind you, this was about 8 years ago. I loved Estes.

Good luck.

WhereAreWe May 9th, 2011 06:12 AM

How many days and how important is RMNP? Your first post said you were finally able to plan a trip to RMNP but now you say you were there last year and wanted something different this year.

I ask that question because if you have several days and RMNP is very important, I would not recommend staying in Boulder and driving back and forth every day. It is an hour one-way going by the fastest route, which is not really the most scenic route. Add another 15 minutes or more if you drive through Nederland and/or Allens Park which would give you a more scenic drive. There's no way I'd want to make a 2-2.5 hour round trip drive more than once - if you are planning on going to RMNP more than just one day, stay in Estes Park.

If the upscale lodging/dining is more important than RMNP, definitely stay in Boulder and maybe just make one day trip to RMNP, and spend the rest of your time in Boulder and the foothills.

1JAR May 12th, 2011 05:57 PM

Been alittle streesed due to MIL funeral..sorry my last post should have said "did GTNP and yellowstone"

I am sure you all can understand why I need some pampering and why my DH wants to go hiing. So will check out all these wonderful helpful suggestions and let you know what we find...

Ksidney May 16th, 2011 11:21 AM

Jenblase, I read your post about vacationing in Awestruck in Estes Park. Our family has rented Awestruck and you made a terrific choice. This vacation home is an excellent recommendation. We have rented vacation homes in Estes Park for many years and have never stayed in a home as beautiful or as perfect as Awestruck. The views blew us away from the first time we entered the great room and saw the huge windows. We also enjoyed the views from our bedroom in the morning, the deck for lunch and the hot tub at night. The house must have been professionally decorated because every detail is beautiful. The house was spotless.

We were able to hike into Rocky Mountain National Park from the neighborhood. Our favorite time was simply relaxing in the home. Awestruck was so comfortable.

I just checked and Awestruck is still the highest rated vacation home rental in Estes Park according to TripAdvisor and FlipKey. Information about Awestruck is available on those websites and www.awestruckinestespark.com. The management company also has a website.

We will certainly rent Awestruck every time we return to Estes Park.

Have a great visit in June. Your husband will be thrilled with your choice.

Hez May 17th, 2011 01:48 PM

Why not spend a few nights in Boulder and a few in Estes Park? Suggestions of St-Julien or Boulderado are good, although neither will have cooking facilities.


As far as Fort Collins, it's nice enough but not sure it's worth more than a day trip, if that.

H


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