Red Mountain Spa | AspenTimes.com

Red Mountain Spa

Carolyn Pope

Picture 161

Snuggled amidst vivid red sandstone, primitive black lava, petroglyphs and a remarkable blue sky is a slice of heaven, Red Mountain Spa.

This fall, I was much in need of a solo getaway. I used the excuse of a birthday present for myself to celebrate one of those “important” birthdays that ends in a five or a zero – or, for that matter, anything in between. This was my first venture to a destination spa, and I was a little apprehensive. I don’t spoil myself; it’s a holdover from my mother, who to this day, in her mid-70s, has succumbed to nary a manicure. But when a friend mentioned the spa, located near St. George, Utah, I booked my stay.Red Mountain Spa is a very doable drive of about seven hours from western Colorado (six hours, if you don’t mind a speeding ticket or two), making it one of the closest “destination” spas for Western Slope residents. Although our own posh resorts of Vail and Aspen offer a plethora of pleasure for those seeking ultimate pampering, each one is a spa within a resort, not the other way around.Red Mountain has received its share of accolades, including Fitness Magazine’s No. 1 fitness resort, Outdoor Magazine’s top-rated men’s spa destination and nine readers awards from Spa Finder.

What sets Red Canyon apart from other spas will likely appeal to active Coloradoans. Their slogan is “between a rock and a soft spot” and, in my brief trip to Red Mountain, I concur with their philosophy.There’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a spa veteran who loves pampering, an active outdoors person looking for adventure or anything in between, Red Mountain Spa will likely fulfill your expectations. It’s not a destination just for women; men were a mainstay when I visited and, since the surroundings aren’t the plush and feminine interior you might expect at a spa, men feel right at home. The rooms are generous and comfortable, and the new luxurious villas will accommodate up to six guests. I’m planning my next visit to one of the villas for a “girlfriends’ getaway” weekend.On a typical day, I’d wake up early. Being a native Colorado girl who takes pride in hiking up Overlook trail in a brisk 90 minutes, I confidently signed up for the Trekker 3 hike, which I assumed would be a proverbial “walk in the park” for me. Guess again. At one point I checked my heart-rate monitor at just shy of 180 beats per minute. I finally cried “Uncle” and told the mighty leaders that, if I didn’t catch my breath, they’d be practicing their CPR techniques. It’s not necessarily the terrain that poses the challenge, but the pace they keep.

Slowing down had its advantages, however. It allowed me to relish the astounding beauty surrounding Red Mountain. I am still amazed that this destination is only a few hours away; I felt I had entered another country, if not another planet.If a workout isn’t what you’re looking for in a hike, don’t worry. Their hikes vary from a casual, scenic hike in the morning to full-day excursions at Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon, moonlight walks or even “awareness” walks, which include meditation and a melding of the spirit to the surroundings. There’s also horseback riding, biking, tennis, fitness classes and personal training.For the adventurous spa-goer, Red Mountain offers outdoor skills classes and outdoor adventures, with classes such as geology, rock climbing, archaeology or even a Native Spiritual Journey. Another popular experience is “geocaching,” in which a group takes a treasure-hunt-type trip, using compasses or a geographic positioning system (GPS) in a race against others. It’s a great way for a corporation or other group to team-build. One group designed a its own geocaching expedition, which included rock climbing to find keys to a Jeep (which the winner drove away).

Golfing is close by. Matt Dye, grandson of Pete Dye, designed The Ledges, featuring the Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf, which is scheduled to open this month. There’s also Entrada at Snow Canyon (operated by Troon Golf), Coral Canyon and Green Spring.I am not one to rest for long and I keep a ridiculous pace at home, so to take a break and pamper isn’t comfortable. But I did talk myself into a couple of Sagestone Spa’s signature treatments, an Adobe Lavender Hydrating Cocoon (blissful) and a Desert Pearl Facial (rejuvenating).Red Mountain Spa also honors the tradition and culture of the area, featuring classes, Native American ceremonies and private consultations, such as Native American card reading, a “Drums Alive” dance workout and meditation and life coaching.

“It’s a very important thing what we do here,” said Denise Perkins, director of sales and marketing about their Native American offerings. “Our speakers and presenters are all professionals in their arts and what they do.”Education is an integral part of Red Mountain Spa’s philosophy. Their cooking classes encompass a variety of healthy cooking techniques that are creative and doable. I enjoyed the classes on grains and sauces and salsas. If cooking is your thing, you might consider their “School for Adventure Cuisine,” a five-night package that focuses on fitness and spending time at the stove. The cuisine is both healthy and gourmet quality. Their entrees vary from Molasses Seared North American Elk or Fire Roasted Poblano Chile Relleno to their delicious desserts. My favorite was the Lemon Curd Sabayon.

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Some facts: The weather parallels Las Vegas, with winter temperatures from 55 to 60 degrees. High season is our “shoulder” season – spring and fall – as well as the major holidays. Groups are welcome, and six or more receive a discounted rate; programs can be tailor-made for your group. People come from all over the world to Red Mountain Spa; the majority currently come from California, followed by New York and Colorado. So, if you need time to relax, a massage or manicure, or some incentive to boost your heart rate in a stunning setting, Red Mountain Spa may be just what the doctor ordered.For more information, visit http://www.redmountainspa.com or call 1-800-407-3002.

Carolyn is a Colorado native who resides in Edwards. Shes been a ski instructor there since 1984 but has yet to test out the slopes of Aspen. She also covers nonprofits for the Vail Daily in her column, High Altititude Society. Shes currently writing her first book with Vail founder Elaine Kelton on the first women who settled in Vail.

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