I tend to try to think of overnight flight delays not an inconveniences, but rather as opportunities to treat myself to a surprise hotel stay. So when I unexpectedly had to push my plans to fly from Denver to Portland back a day, I jumped at the chance to spend the night at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center. And that was BEFORE I even realized that the hotel had only been fully open for just a few days!
GAYLORD ROCKIES RESORT LOCATION
The Gaylord Rockies Resort sits in Aurora, Colorado just 7.4 miles from Denver International Airport, which is what attracted me to it in the first place. The ride between the airport and downtown Denver is much longer (23.7 miles, and more than 30 minutes even without traffic), and the thought of trekking to the city during rush hour—only to have to come back less than 24 hours later—didn’t really appeal. The Gaylord doesn’t have an airport shuttle, but I took a short Uber ride of about 15 minutes (covered by Uber credits from my Amex Platinum credit card) to the hotel—so easy!
GAYLORD ROCKIES RESORT ROOMS
My room at the Gaylord was sparkling clean and looked virtually untouched—which made sense after I found out that the hotel had had its soft opening just a couple of months prior and its full opening just earlier that week! The room was also spacious, with both a loveseat and a full desk. As you might expect from a modern room, outlets—both full and USB—were everywhere, and particularly, everywhere you’d need them to be (including multiple in each nightstand). The TV also had options to watch Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services.
In terms of design, the room invoked elements reminiscent of the West, and features such as plaid pillows and a Grizzly bear portrait gave the space somewhat of a lodge feel.
GAYLORD ROCKIES RESORT LOBBY
The Gaylord Rockies’ lobby is HUGE, featuring everything from restaurants to entertainment to waterfalls (yes, multiple). All of the hotel’s many dining options (see below) are off the lobby, as is a lobby bar where you can listen to live music in the evenings. You’ll also find ample seating (including in front of an oversized fireplace) if your idea of fun looks something more like staring out at the mountains through the lobby’s 75-foot atrium window.
But while the Gaylord’s design provides the opportunity to view the stunning nature outside, it also brings nature inside. Plants and even trees surround a body of water, fed by a rocky stream. A rustic-looking bridge connects guests to a restored caboose car from the Santa Fe Railroad set among the greenery. And an abundance of brick and wood add to the space’s distinctly “Colorado” feel.
GAYLORD ROCKIES RESORT GROUNDS
If you’re into being in the water, you’re in for a treat. The Gaylord Rockies offers sizable pools and hot tubs both inside and outside. But don’t worry about having to stay inside if you prefer the outdoors ambience: The outdoors pool is heated, and you can enjoy it even on colder days. Kids (and adults, if they please!) can also find waterslides both inside and outside. And in the warmer months, a lazy river will open near the outdoor pool, too.
Close to the pool area, you’ll find multiple fire pits, and there are others scattered around the property—another way to stay warm even if you’re visiting in February like I was.
The hotel also features a fitness center and spa, but I didn’t make it to either on my short stay. And eventually, Gaylord plans to build out a “village” near the hotel that will feature boutique shops and restaurants. So everything in place so far is only the beginning!
GAYLORD ROCKIES RESORT DINING
When it comes to dining, if there’s something you want, Gaylord Rockies probably has it covered. The hotel features three sit-down restaurants—Italian concept Vista Montagne, sushi spot Monte Jade and steakhouse Old Hickory—plus sports bar Mountain Pass, coffee house The Cocoa Bean, grab-and-go Rockies Marketplace and poolside option Arapahoe Springs (and that’s not including room service!).
I tried Old Hickory for dinner and Vista Montagne for lunch during my stay, and Old Hickory was my favorite of the two.
Staff informed me that the Gaylord does not include breakfast in the room rate, even for Marriott Bonvoy elite members.
GAYLORD ROCKIES RESORT BOOKING
The Gaylord hotels are part of Marriott’s portfolio, meaning you can book the Gaylord Rockies with Bonvoy points. It’s part of Rewards Category 5, meaning you currently need just 35,000 points for a standard room. That will change when Marriott rolls out peak and off-peak award pricing, a change that’s on its way soon. At that point, you may need 40,000 points or just 30,000 for a stay at the Gaylord Rockies, depending on the time of year.
I found plenty of availability during my last-minute stay in February, so after just a few clicks, I was on my way! Note that the hotel does not waive resort fees, so even on an award stay, you’ll have to pay $23/day.
Hope you enjoyed this review of the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center! Have you been to Denver? Where did you stay? Let me know in the comments! >>
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