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Telluride Colorado

Reinventing The Spa

How the Spa at The Peaks in Telluride is taking spa experience to new heights

There are several spas in Telluride, Colorado, most with the deserved distinction of being world-class facilities that not many could compete. And with the stunning and tranquil majesty of the San Juan Mountains surrounding the acclaimed Telluride Ski & Golf Resort, there’s simply no better place on earth to receive a spa treatment.

But there’s one hidden gem that stands above the rest. One that you would easily miss if you’re not paying attention. And it’s changing the spa experience game.

The Spa at The Peaks, nestled within Telluride's largest hotel The Peaks Resort & Spa, is not just a typical spa treatment facility. For one, there aren’t many 42,000-square-foot spas in the world, let alone one that sits at 9,500 feet in elevation.

“Truth is, they just don’t build facilities this huge anymore,” said Spa Director Todd Shaw. “And since we do have it, we are going to take full advantage of it.”

With 30 treatment rooms, gender specific and gender neutral hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas, along with a full gym and yoga studios, indoor and outdoor pools, and a full service salon, the spa is already in a class of its own. And with a foundation of that immensity, the spa has near limitless opportunities for growth and innovation, Shaw said.

“Nearly everybody who stays at The Peaks simply do not realize just what we have at the spa,” Shaw said. “Whenever a new guest discovers us, they are just blown away by what’s all in here. And that puts us in a best possible position to give the guest an out-of-this-world experience they’ll never be able to shake.”

The Wellness Journey

Focusing on the experiential aspect of the spa, Shaw and his team looked to develop a wellness journey for the typical Telluride guest. They discovered that the vast majority of guests were outdoor enthusiasts and athletes who don’t just love hiking, biking and every form of skiing including backcountry skiing and heli-skiing – they are obsessed with it.

“We saw that people who come here for 3, 4 or 5 days to ski or hike – also taking this elevation into consideration – by the third day, they’re saying ‘oh, I’m too sore to go skiing today,’” and so we realized that we really need to say ‘you came here to ski and and it’s our job at this spa to make sure you get to ski.’”

One of the first steps of creating the ultimate wellness journey was to completely redesign the spa menu. Shaw wanted to develop unprecedented treatments that incorporates cutting edge skin care applications on two spectrums of approaches: scientific and holistic. So the spa began a relationship with Skinceuticals, a clinical skincare company, to provide a more cosmeceutical brand, specifically one that’s been scientifically developed. More recently, they partnered with Naturopathica, a holistic take on skin care and body products, made with proven natural ingredients and clean actives that nourish the skin and delight the senses.

These integral partnerships allowed what is perhaps Shaw’s most prized element of the reinvention: the three-prong approach of wellness, which combines modalities, topicals and ingestibles to accommodate a total treatment for mind and body.

For example, one of the spa’s more popular treatments, the Peaks Performance, begins with a relaxing aromatic treatment blend of exotic herbs and essences, then moves to massage techniques that encourages circulation and relieves muscle soreness using Naturopathica’s Alpine and Arnica Bath and Body Oil, and finishes it with another round of aromatherapy. The session finally concludes with a muscle and joint recovery elixir containing anti-inflammatory turmeric with calcium and magnesium, which is known to help support muscle and joint health.

“There’s this assumption that just because it’s ‘natural,’ it doesn’t work,” said Rebecca Morgan, communications director at Naturopathica. “Our whole mentality and drive at Naturopathica is to use ingredients that have proven results, many of which are naturally derived and devoid of any hidden ingredients. And that’s how we get the best results, which perfectly and naturally aligns with the holistic goals that Todd has embraced in this new approach.”

The massage treatment is just one small aspect of the experience. The spa also encourages guests to show up to their appointment at least 30 minutes to an hour before their session so they can take advantage of other amenities like the Kiva. Essentially locker rooms, the Kiva offers eucalyptus-infused steam rooms, saunas, large hot tubs (also called Kiva tubs), as well as a full locker room with sandals and robes, beverages and teas, and a grooming area complete with lotions, hair spray and shave cream.

With four group exercise and yoga studios, the spa offers 37 group exercise classes with the majority of these classes built around either strengthening or power yoga to relaxing yoga modalities and pilates.

“You come here to enjoy the outdoors and be with nature, so we want to make sure you get to do just that and to be able to rest your mind and body while doing it,” Shaw said. “Isn’t that what being on vacation is all about?”

The Personalized Approach

To ensure a tailor-made experience for each guest, Shaw has mobilized a team of highly trained and certified therapists and fitness professionals who can accommodate any kind of request – even if it means sending them to another professional in or out of Telluride. Shaw’s ultimate goal for the spa treatments is to rival sports therapy facilities.

“Fact is, even before rebuilding our menu, we’re weren’t really just a place to stay, to ski for the weekend and go home,” Shaw said. “It was and still is all about the experience here in Telluride. And now, it’s a fully customizable experience. Any treatment or combo of treatments you want, you get.”

Looking at the spa’s roster of skilled service providers, one can see how well the spa can accommodate any need a guest might require. In addition to fitness experts, stylists, estheticians, beauty therapists, and management teams, the spa’s massage therapists also boast advanced certifications in Thai massage, Rolf massage, Lomilomi, Acupressure, Swedish, Reflexology, among others.

“The team approach we’ve taken is as unique as it gets,” Shaw said. “We can look at our guests and say OK, you want to be a better golfer. So let’s provide you with a team, whether it’s pilates, group exercise class, a personal trainer to work on that specific functional movement, and we’ll also partner with a massage therapist that can help provide pain reduction and anti-inflammatory components, but increase range of motion.”

And the team continues to develop new treatments, whether to accommodate hardcore hikers or yoga practitioners. Shaw was adamant to make the spa services available year round and not just limited to skiing.

“If you’re a performance athlete of any kind, there’s nothing we couldn’t do for you here,” Shaw said. “We will rival any of the biggest spas and health clubs out there. You’re just not going to get anything like this level of service back home.”

With more plans to develop new and innovative treatments and potential renovations to maximize the massive facility and its opportunities; the sky’s the limit for Shaw and his ambitious staff.

“There’s just so much untapped potential in this spa,” Shaw said. “And the truth is, we’re just getting started. The wellness journey is always evolving.”