Perched on a hill overlooking the calmly flowing Crystal River, surrounded by verdant vegetation and looking like a fuel baron’s mansion (hint: it actually was), is Redstone Castle. What was once a retreat for the wealthy in the tiny mountain hamlet of Redstone — think visitors like Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller and King Leopold of Belgium — is still a haven away from it all, only 40 minutes south of Glenwood Springs along the West Elk Loop scenic byway.
As you motor up the driveway to the stately 1902 resort, complete with a wooden turret, you will be transported back to turn-of-the-century glamour. Built by John C. Osgood, founder of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, the luxurious castle combines “The Great Gatsby” with “Downton Abbey.” Stone archways, gleaming wood floors, brightly tiled fireplaces, over-the-top wallpapers, stately sitting rooms with massive windows, a terrace meant for brunching and spaces that feel like important decisions — possibly about the future of the United States — were made in them are what make this castle spectacular.
Put on your best “nap dress” and take a walk along the lawn or get up early to secure your spot for a scrumptious daily breakfast. There is something new for your eyes (and your camera) to seek out behind every door and in every corner. The nine lovingly restored suites come complete with light-as-air mattresses and luxurious bathrooms, plus nooks for reading your favorite novels and sitting rooms for tea sipping.
What makes it special?
Lots of things make Redstone special — obviously, the architecture and lovingly chosen antiques. Here’s a fun, little-known fact: It was a location in the 2006 film “The Prestige,” starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, about rival stage magicians in London at the end of the 19th century. So, not only are you staying in a time capsule of Colorado-history but it’s perfect for a movie buff, too.
The most “Colorado” thing about this place
As the Centennial State loves its hospitality, you’ll receive a bottle of wine and a complimentary guidebook as a souvenir with each stay. Take it back home, have your friends over, crack open that vino and tell ‘em all about your magical visit to the iron baron’s palace.
Top sensory encounter you’ll experience
Upon checking in, you’ll be offered a tour where you’ll learn the history of this National Register of Historic Places mansion. Look for Tiffany lamps, antique bureaus and eclectic pieces of artwork as you walk the palatial halls. Post-jaunt, the hotel hosts a social hour complete with gem-colored wine and tasty cheeses.
Best room to book
You must request Mr. Osgood’s Suite. Sit with a glass of the good stuff next to the canary-yellow-tiled fireplace of a bygone era or tuck yourself into the cloudlike bed surrounded by an intricately carved wooden headboard and footboard. A Victorian-era sitting room and bright-white bathroom with stained glass windows round out the experience.
Our favorite traveler review
“This was a last-minute getaway. I wish we had more time there but, now that I have been there, I will go back. It was like a historic tour that had no ropes and no "No admittance" signs posted. A part of history that we got to live in and experience for ourselves, not just see from behind a rope! The finishing touches were beautifully done. The restorations were perfect. The tour was enlightening and full of details — no rushing! The breakfast that was included was not what you expect. It was a castle breakfast made just for us! I absolutely loved this experience and plan to return with family and friends because I am lucky enough to only be a couple hours’ drive from this gem!” — Wendy M., Tripadvisor
Things to see & do nearby
In downtown Redstone, pull over to snap photos of the beehive-shaped Redstone Coke Oven Historic District. These stone-domed structures were built in 1899 by Colorado Fuel and Iron to burn impurities out of coal to create coke — a porous fuel with a high carbon content that can be used in iron-ore smelting.
Pop into Redstone Mountain Mercantile for Colorado-themed gifts and the Redstone Art Gallery for locally crafted sculptures. A rectangle pizza from Propaganda Pie is a must — take it to snack on at Redstone Park where the sparkling clear waters rush by picnic tables set on emerald-green grass.
In the winter, take a day to go skiing at nearby Snowmass, Aspen and Crested Butte. Or get toasty at Avalanche Ranch Cabins & Hot Springs, where the hot springs have tiered seating. Less than an hour north, find Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, a dazzling mountainside amusement center. While in town, visit the historical Glenwood Hot Springs Resort and Hotel Colorado to feel like you’re back in the days of Osgood himself.
Photos courtesy of Redstone Castle