Glorious Weekend so far at Gateway Canyons Resort + Spa
PHOTO: View of "Palisade" (which goes back 4 1/2 miles) from Gateway Canyon Resort + Spa (c) Sery Kim, pure shot no filter on my iphone 6+
Very rarely do I ever travel within the continental United States. After all, the whole reason for me embarking upon this food + travel lifestyle was to take a break from politics and travel the world. Also, having worked on two losing presidential campaigns, I have been to every state I could in the U.S. -- currently the states I have not been to are Maine, Vermont and Alaska -- so it really takes a compelling property to cast a spell on me, with my limited time schedule and wanderlust, to stay in the United States.
Surprisingly Gateway Canyons Resort + Spa is just such a property.
I say "surprisingly" not because Gateway Canyons Resort + Spa hasn't received numerous accolades. It has. Everything from being #17 out of #100 properties in the world (Travel + Leisure); best in Colorado (Conde Nast Traveler); 100 best spas (Spa Index); etc. etc. et al. This property, created by John Hendricks (better known for founding Discovery Communications), has everything a restful resort should have: great food (needs some work on those desserts though because they are a bit dry), good drinks, super comfortable beds, humungous bathrooms with an outdoor shower as well as an indoor shower, and views aplenty. So plenty of food and travel writers have previously come here and WANTED to come here over, say, Madrid or Lisbon or Hong Kong.
No. What's surprising about Gateway Canyons Resort + Spa is the overwhelming sense of peace, of complete restfulness, as well as a soothing sense of knowing the world is so much vaster than our little individual lives. It's hard to describe what it feels like, for someone like me who is very high-maintenance and loves the city life, to come to the little settlement of Grand Junction, Colorado and love the absolute stillness of this place.
PHOTO: The F880, the only one ever made, which is currently worth upwards of $16 million dollars at Gateway Canyons Resort + Spa auto museum (c) Sery Kim
For me, it felt instantly like walking into a life where you know everything is going to be ok. Careers don't matter; relationships won't fall apart; presidential campaigns will come and go; but the majesty of life remains.
As cheesy as this sounds, the property's sheer impressiveness makes an average writer (me) wax poetic. Simply by its location, truly so impressive I wanted to take a video of it while I was taking out the property's Bentley convertible for my afternoon joyride yesterday but knowing there were free roaming cattle I didn't, I would have given it an award. (BTW, crashing a $200,000 car is probably not the best way to introduce yourself to the owner John Hendricks!!) Buttressed by Unaweep Canyon along Colorado Scenic Highway 141, Unaweep means "the canyon with two mouths," and it is the only such canyon in the world, there is nowhere in Gateway Canyon Resort + Spa where you don't have your breathe taken away by the views.
PHOTO: Another shot of the property taken on my iphone 6+ with no filter (c) Sery Kim
Interestingly geologists say the canyon was uplifted some 300 million years ago in a titanic geologic upheaval known as the Uncompaghre Uplift, which accompanied the birth of the Rockies. Today, the Uncompaghre sits at an elevation of 9,000 feet (roughly 4,000 feet above nearby Grand Junction) and gives guests the transformation of the canyon walls from red sandstone at the canyon mouths to the ancient gray rock walls of the Precambrian in the deep recesses of the canyon.
Guests to Gateway Canyon Resort + Spa can explore this area by hiking to the top of the Uncompahgre Plateau, as well as horseback riding and even take out a luxury vehicle to drive through the sweeping Unaweep. For those who are super fit, it is about a 6-8 hour hike to the top of the Palisades but even if you are fit, anyone who hikes the Palisades from the property will have a mandatory guide.
PHOTO: Me taking out the Bentley convertible yesterday afternoon (c) Sery Kim
Other fun adventures on the property include Air Tours (taking the helicopter out), biking, and UTV-ing (which is like ATVs just bigger). You can also go out looking for archaeological pieces with the super nice and amazing friendly "Curator of Curiosity" at Gateway Canyons Resort + Spa Mr. Zebulon Miracle. Yes. That is his real name.
Today I am going to spa and UTV to the top of the canyon. I'm really excited about it!! Be sure to tune in more to the blog for a recap of today's fun!
PHOTO: burger at the casual Paradox Grille (c) Sery Kim