Formerly a rambunctious boomtown, stagecoach stop and contender for the state capital, the sleepy San Luis Valley town of Del Norte is the perfect place for an outdoorsy Colorado adventure. Make Windsor Hotel, the town’s original community gathering place, your headquarters for laid-back fun. This spot includes access to nearly 4,000 acres of public lands, like world-renowned rock climbing at Penitente Canyon.
As one of Colorado’s oldest operating hotels, the renewed and restored Windsor Hotel encompasses almost half a city block. Del Norte became an official spot on the map in 1871 and this grand lodging went up in 1874, making it a prime place for coming together over the last century and a half. You’ll relish the Old West ambiance of the place. All the gorgeous antiques decked out in brocade may inspire you to dress your best while tippling a fruit-forward sherry. Guest rooms and suites are restored to feel old-timey and boast original woodwork, but — not to worry — beds and flatscreen TVs are as modern as you can get.
What makes it special?
The distinguished Windsor dining room, serving lunch and dinner, is pretty darn special. Guests will delight in mouthwatering dishes like house-made pasta engulfed in local cremini mushrooms, sweet peas and truffle-cream sauce or locally sourced elk osso bucco plated with risotto and seasonal veggies. In the mood for a nightcap? Visit the Bistro BARbara, named after one of the benefactors who saved the Windsor, to sip on a fancy cocktail like the Hemmingway (made with rum, lime, grapefruit juice and Luxardo Maraschino cherry-flavored liqueur).
The most “Colorado” thing about this place
Top sensory encounter you’ll experience
Well, the Foodie Fireworks Package sounds pretty fantastic. Book it for a mystery five-course Chef’s Choice tasting menu paired with handpicked wines from the hotel’s sommelier.
Let’s just say that we can imagine little better than a cheesy breakfast burrito or glazed-to-perfection donut from Windsor Courtyard’s 1874 Foodtruck on a warm and sunny weekend morning. Yum!
Our favorite traveler review
"The Windsor is a beautifully restored, historic Western hotel. It came close to the wrecking ball, which would have been a travesty. The vintage flavor is maintained, the decor is of the original period and tastefully done. The rooms are on the small side, as was common in that time, but they are so thoughtfully designed, decorated and appointed that they are a pleasure. The common areas are spacious and functional. The restaurant, currently only open for dinner, has remarkably sophisticated, delicious food. For lunch, we ate at the clever ‘food truck’ in the courtyard. Great burgers! A lot of hard work, donations and architectural planning went into this restoration. People need to stay here!" — Reesie42, Tripadvisor
Things to see & do nearby
It’s certainly all about things you can do outside in this neck of the woods. Lookout Mountain Park delivers an 8-mile trail system, including a 1-mile trail that goes straight up with rugged switchbacks leading to breathtaking panoramas of the San Luis Valley on top. Penitente Canyon’s 100-foot cliff walls are particularly attractive to rock climbers, though the area delivers a meaty network of singletrack trails for mountain bikers and hikers as well. Come winter, plan a day of skiing or snowboarding at the often snow-buried Wolf Creek Ski Area, which is just over an hour away.
Photos courtesy of the Windsor Hotel