Unique Places to Stay in Colorado: Mountains and Mesas Edition*
Why settle for an ordinary hotel when you can spend the night in a former grain silo or ice cream drive-in? Locals looking for a “staycation,” and visitors to the Western Slope are greeted with an enormous list of options for unique places to stay west of 105. While the comforts and familiarity of a chain hotel can have its perks, the most noteworthy of places to stay are buried beneath top search results or a short detour from the beaten path of Highway 550. Do your research and you will be rewarded with amicable hosts, intriguing stories, unusual spaces and memories that resonate for years. Here’s a sample of what a little digging can do for your next trip.
The “Round House,” a one-of-a-kind converted grain silo, will deliver a warm welcome to a vibrant land of agriculture in Delta County with panoramic views. Years before its transformation into a cozy Airbnb, the silo was used for storage on a 36-acre working farm that grew corn, beans, and onions. After current owner Nancy Hutto acquired the property, she used her background in Industrial Arts Education to convert the structure into a living space using mostly repurposed materials. The project took Hutto nearly five months of sweat equity and immense attention to detail. Round became the theme of the space inside and out – featuring round windows, tables, accents and art decor. Inside the silo is 18 feet across with a spacious upstairs with a cozy king size bed, a skylight, and original hatch that opens for cool air. Downstairs the kitchen is well appointed for cooking while the custom tiled bathroom shower offers hot water on demand.
Ready to relive the glory days of Colorado's past? Decorated with a Victorian flair and fine antiques, the St. Elmo Hotel offers a step back in time to an era bustling with gold and silver seekers. It’s a majestic, restored, turn-of-the-century inn located in the heart of Ouray’s historic district. The quaint yet immaculate building features just 10 luxurious guest rooms, an outdoor hot tub surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks, and a full breakfast buffet each morning. During their stay, guests can learn about the detailed history of St. Elmo – from its first mention in an 1886 edition of the Solid Muldoon to its roots as a miners’ hotel run by Mrs. Kittie Heit.
For a western experience with stunning views of the San Juan Mountains, the Bunkhouse at Shilo Ranch offers a quiet rural setting between Ridgway and Montrose. The modern, yet rustic, cabin is conveniently located at the base of BLM public land with access to a boathouse and fishing pond stocked with bream and catfish. The space includes one bedroom with three beds, a cozy living room, fully-stocked kitchen and a porch with wood rocking chairs. Your friendly host, Dana, will be delighted to help book a fly fishing trip on the breathtaking Uncompahgre River. It’s no wonder the bunkhouse holds an impressive 4.9 stars on Airbnb.
For more than 3,000 years, groups of people in Central Asia have lived in the circular dwellings known as yurts. There are options all over the state to stay in a yurt including at Ridgway State Park where they have yurts that are furnished with a small dining table, chairs, twin sized bunk beds and queen-sized futon couches. With gorgeous views of the reservoir and San Juan Mountains, guests can enjoy the benefits of camping at the state park, including easy access to boating, hiking and wildlife viewing.
Just down the road in Montrose is Secret Creek where you can both try and buy yurts. The yurt and tipi manufacturer has a purpose built village where you can try before you buy. Stay for a night and if you like it and buy a yurt, Secret creek will apply a discount to the price of a yurt.
Feeling nostalgic? This former 1950’s ice cream drive-in, deemed the "Delta Dairy King," has been remodeled into an unique Airbnb retreat. The rustic, yet modern, building is set on nearly an acre of land that borders a real working farm in Delta. At 1,800 square feet, the inside is equipped with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, full-kitchen, cozy nooks, and WIFI. However, the outside may be the main attraction at Delta Dairy King – it boasts a hot tub, min-golf course, fire-pit, climbing wall, and more, all set under warm cafe lighting. According to reviews, this is the “coolest Airbnb” you’ll ever stay in.
Nothing says charming quite like the family-owned Canyon Creek Bed & Breakfast in downtown Montrose and their motto “arrive as strangers, leave as friends!” The historic 1909 home was transformed by owner, Kendra Morrow, in 2004 into a warm space that now features three guest rooms, a carriage house, and common areas such as a garden jacuzzi. Guests can easily walk to dinner, coffee, or live music and return for complimentary wine in the evening and a full breakfast in the morning. The BnB is also host to monthly comedy nights, inviting the community to the stylish and spacious Canyon Creek Backyard for some laughs and good times. With its convenient location and warm hospitality, it’s no surprise that award-winning directr Quentin Tarantino chose to stay here while filming the movie "The Hateful Eight." Canyon Creek has several other unique properties downtown Montrose (including dog-friendly) that cater to a variety of needs.
*Back in 2018, the Colorado Tourism Office undertook a regional rebranding initiative. One of the outcomes was to create a new regional map that split the state into unique areas. Mountains and Mesas is one of those regions that extends from Grand Junction to the Four Corners and across to Pagosa Springs.