Located 4 miles up the road from Cresto Ranch is Dunton Hot Springs, which is a 5 star, yet funky resort. Dunton was once a mining ghost town, until it was lovingly restored into a very special resort that manages to maintain the town’s original charm while satisfying the needs of today’s travelers. This place is special and the staff top notch, which is why Dunton Hot Springs regularly winds up ranked as one of the top ranked all-inclusive resorts in the USA.
At the center of Dunton Hot springs is an authentic 1885 saloon, which serves as the resort’s social hub and town center. Inside the saloon, some of the building’s original fixtures remain– including the bar where Butch Cassidy’s rumored to be authentic signature is carved into the original wood. A pool table, screening room area, and games make the saloon come alive during meal times and in the evenings.
The saloon building features an open kitchen, and guests can dine communally or individually if they prefer. The resort’s Executive Chef, Carrie Eagle, manages the resort’s strong regional cuisine program, and Dunton Hot Springs has won awards from Bon Appetit as one of the best resorts for food lovers.
Dunton‘s guests stay in 13 whimsical one and multiple bedroom cabins, and each has it’s own personality and idiosyncrasies. There’s a canvas-topped cabin called Christy’s Tent, built with reclaimed materials from the 1830’s. Well House has it’s own private hot springs and plunge pool. Major Ross has divine old west décor, while Bjoerkmans has a great view of the waterfall and a bohemian vibe. It’s easy to see why repeat guests like to stay in different cabins each time they visit.
Guests can enjoy Dunton’s natural hot springs at the source, in an outdoor pool, or in the restored 19th century bathhouse originally used by the miners. The bathhouse is an incredibly atmospheric building, and now has an indoor hammock and loft space that can be used for relaxation or meditation. Unlike other hot springs I’ve visited, Dunton’s don’t smell overly strong due to the low sulphur content.
An old Pony Express station has been converted into a spa and modern mountain Zen yoga studio. There is a cozy two-story library stocked with everything from fiction to books on fine art and history. An outdoor chapel- complete with a view of a cascading waterfall is used for weddings on the property.
During the winter months (when Cresto Ranch’s tents are closed for the season) the waterfall freezes over and guests use it for ice climbing. Other winter activities include dog sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross country skiing.
After seeing Dunton Hot Springs rustic luxe charms and meeting the warm and attentive staff, I can see why guests often come back to this unique all-inclusive cabin property.
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