Relais & Chateaux Property Spotlight: Dunton Hot Springs

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Charles McDiarmid
By Charles McDiarmid, Managing Director
Newsletters26 June 2019


In a stunning alpine valley in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies, you may come upon Dunton Hot Springs—though you’re more likely to be seeking it. This remote Wild West ghost town of hand-hewn cottages has been perfectly restored to meet rustic contemporary opulence.

Now a recreational destination, in 1885 Dunton was a small, unincorporated settlement in Dolores County and home to a community of miners who worked nearby. The camp developed rapidly, but was deserted by 1918 due to the boom-and-bust nature of the mines. After decades as a cattle ranch, the property was bought by the current owners in 1994 and creatively restored over seven years.

The result: Dunton Hot Springs, a striking piece of history, beckoning guests in with its nostalgic character but keeping them there (or coming back) with modern elegance and poise. Guests love the rustic charm and incredible access to the heart of Colorado’s outdoor playground.

Just across the mountains from Telluride, Dunton Hot Springs sits on the West Fork of the Dolores River and year-round outdoors exploration includes: horseback riding, fly-fishing, mountain biking, river rafting, hiking and rock climbing (in summer), as well as snowshoeing, cross- and back-country skiing, dog-sledding, ice climbing and snowmobiling (in winter)—to name a few.

A star of the show here is, of course, the Hot Springs Bathhouse. With five ways to “take to the waters”—including at the source, under the stars—and a good temperature range, these pools of bicarbonate water help boost circulation and promote good health. The spa here also offers a menu of naturally-inspired treatments, yoga and meditation sessions.

With comfortable space for 44 guests, this entire Relais & Châteaux camp can be booked out for intimate, private functions. And, with a Saloon and Dance Hall, it’s a perfectly unique setting for retreat, celebratory gathering or wedding (there’s an open-air chapel, too!).

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