Red jeep on overlook in Rocky Mountains

Spare no expense and see the best of the best a luxury road trip in the Rockies. (Photo: Getty Images)

Road Trips

Guided by Luxury: Take a Bespoke Road Trip Through the Rocky Mountains

Colorado could be nicknamed “the Road Trip State” for its miles upon miles of open roads winding past some of the most striking scenery in the U.S. Getting here is the easy decision. It’s narrowing down your itinerary that sometimes requires professional advice.

Enter the luxury travel concierges at Quintessentially Travel who, alongside Marriott International, help travelers devise a bespoke, six-day road trip through Denver and two high-country towns, Beaver Creek and Aspen.

“It’s perfect for a road trip. You have that Rocky Mountain scenery, the outdoor lifestyle, the outdoor activities,” says Sam Mullen, leisure director with Quintessentially Travel. “Denver is a fantastic place to start. … You’ve got the benefits of being in a city, but within half an hour, you have all these amazing state parks you can explore.”

Put you car into drive — this is how to experience Colorado in comfort at every elevation.

Days 1 and 2: Denver

Many travelers land at Denver International Airport and book it straight to the mountains, but they’re overlooking the abundant activities in the Denver area, not to mention the importance of acclimating to 5,280 feet, or one mile, above sea level before traveling higher.

Quintessentially will arrange your rental supercar (you’ll have access to an Aston Martin Vantage, Lamborghini Huracán Spyder and Ferrari 458 Italia, among others) at the airport. Drop your bags at your home base, The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, in the heart of downtown, and then head west to cruise the winding roads and pine- and fir-lined hillsides of Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and St. Vrain Canyons.

Keep an eye out for elk, who are especially active in the fall; you may even hear their distinctive bugling. The highlight of the drive: maneuvering the Peak to Peak Highway, a 55-mile road that follows the Rockies’ lower ridges from Estes Park to Black Hawk and, err, peaks in the fall when the aspens are alight in yellow and orange. Capture that purple mountain majesty during a professional photo shoot planned by Quintessentially.

wine display at cooper lounge
Dine and drink in style at The Cooper Lounge. (Photo: Marriott International)

Back in the Mile High City, unwind with cocktails at The Cooper Lounge, an old-school cocktail bar that overlooks Denver Union Station’s Beaux Arts–style Great Hall. Wander over to the twinkle-light-topped Larimer Square, home to some of the city’s oldest buildings, before making your way back to The Ritz-Carlton, Denver and dinner at Elway’s, a popular steakhouse from Denver Broncos Hall of Famer John Elway.

You’ll want to hit your feather bed early: Hiking is on the morning agenda. (As at every hotel on this itinerary, your stay includes valet parking, late checkout, complimentary breakfast and a room upgrade if available.)

The walk isn’t too strenuous at about three miles round trip, but it snakes through one of Colorado’s most iconic sites: the Flatirons, triangular slabs that form the backdrop of the town of Boulder. A private guide will lead the way and then escort you toward Boulder’s second-most well-known feature — breweries — where you can make a toast to a quintessential Colorado day.

Days 3 and 4: Beaver Creek

ritz-carlton bachelor gulch
Rest easy at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. (Photo: Marriott International)

The drive to Beaver Creek from Denver only takes about two hours, but you’ll want to build in extra time to admire the craggy peaks and quaint mountain towns (like Idaho Springs and Silverthorne) along the way.

After settling in at mountain-chic The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, meet your guide for a half day of fly-fishing on the Eagle River where rainbow and brown trout are abundant. It’s all catch and release, but you can dig into a chef’s take on Rocky Mountain trout at Mountain Standard, a locals’ favorite restaurant in Vail, about 12 miles away.

man fly fishing near bachelor gulch
Pause from the drive for outstanding fly-fishing. (Photo: Marriott International)

Colorado is known for wildlife like moose, bear and elk, but your hiking buddy on day two in the resort town is a little less expected: llamas. “They’re very gentle, curious animals, and they just amble alongside you,” Mullen says.

The pack animals will carry your gear and, importantly, your lunch as you stride along Vail Valley’s backcountry trails for a half day of hiking (tailored to your abilities). End the day at The Ritz-Carlton’s 21,000-square-foot, nature-inspired spa and outdoor heated pool. Your tired muscles will thank you.

Days 5 and 6: Aspen

Aspen in autumn
Aspen is stunning any time of year. (Photo: Getty Images)

The relaxation theme continues today, so take your time steering below the towering peaks as you make your way to Aspen, about two hours southwest of Bachelor Gulch. W Aspen is the area’s first new luxury hotel to open in a quarter century, and it’s situated on prime real estate at the base of Aspen Mountain — which makes reaching your hourlong mountaintop yoga session a breeze. Simply hitch a ride to the 11,212-foot summit on the gondola.

“It’s just a really lovely, spiritual environment to do yoga,” Mullen says. “You’re aligning yourself with nature and enjoying gorgeous views.” After you find zen, tuck into a picnic lunch and explore the summit trails before making the return ride.

W Aspen wet deck
Grab a drink on the rooftop at W Aspen. (Photo: Marriott International)

In the afternoon, meet your private guide for a Jeep drive up Snowmass Mountain — the second of Aspen’s four mountains — to Burlingame Cabin, a private and historic sheepherder’s cottage. After taking in the mid-mountain vistas, test your cowboy mettle with calf roping.

The dinner bell signals it’s time to sit down at the picnic table for a barbecue-style meal. Dig in as the sun sets over Mount Daly, an iconic peak with a distinguishing diagonal stripe. Top off the evening with s’mores around the campfire. Says Mullen: “It’s a classic Americana, rustic experience … that’s a really nice way to top it all off.”

Quintessentially, the world’s leading luxury lifestyle group, is dedicated to connecting individuals and communities through life-affirming experiences. By partnering with Marriott International, Quintessentially now offers global travelers access to several bespoke itineraries and immersive experiences available across a robust portfolio of luxury-brand properties in the United States and Europe.