Just days ago, I found myself at a fork in the road. Would I choose the same safe route I’ve always chosen or would I choose the road less traveled? In the end, I climbed through the window of a Pro Baja truck alongside a professional race driver and enjoyed the ride of my life on the off-road track at Gateway Canyons Resort in Southwestern Colorado. At times I thought I was on a roller coaster on steroids or the classic tilt-a-whirl ride at a county fair. As others who have experienced this adventure will attest, the smile never left my face.
Wait, what? You want me to back up? Where’s Gateway Canyons Resort and where’s Southwestern Colorado? Is it near Denver? Gateway Canyons Resort sits on the opposite side of Colorado from Denver about an hour from Grand Junction and two hours from Telluride. Okay, you recognize the name Telluride? Good.
For those of you who are not familiar with the area, Southwestern Colorado is a land of great scenic diversity, and within a two hour drive, you can experience majestic mountains, quaint towns, incredible deserts surrounded by towering rock formations, breathtaking canyons, raging rivers, and pastoral valleys. It is my ultimate favorite destination to visit.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I learned about Gateway Canyons Resort as there has not been a luxury resort in this particular area of Southwestern Colorado. I love the resort’s web site. As a member of Noble House Hotels and Resorts and affiliated with Associated Luxury Hotels International, Gateway Canyons benefits from larger than life pictures and exceptional marketing. In this case, however, a picture only says a thousand words. In fact, my desktop picture on my work computer is the below image taken on my husband’s cell phone camera, and I only wish I could transport myself like a character in a sci-fi movie through my computer screen into the picture. I would be back there in a heartbeat.
Maybe you’ve thought Colorado is boring, not luxurious, two dimensional. I believe anyone who has been to this area would beg to differ, as did John Hendricks (creator of Discovery Communications, i.e., Discovery Chanel and TLC) when he was first introduced to the Four Corner states. He tells the story in his 2013 released book A Curious Discovery of a trip to Kenya in the 1980s with the film crew from the BBC. When asked what they felt was “the most dramatic landscape they had seen”, they replied not with New Zealand, China, Scandinavia or South Africa but “the American Southwest” (Hendricks, p 330). Out of all of the various destinations they had traveled to and filmed, they chose a little corner of our country.
Shortly after this trip to Kenya ended, Hendricks went on the road looking for the perfect spot to develop a resort. Destiny brought him to Gateway, Colorado, a secluded high-desert paradise set down in the center of five startlingly beautiful and unique canyons. And so, the rest is history.
General Manager Rudy Sharp and his sales executives are quick to preface that Gateway Canyons is not the resort for everyone, so if you are only looking to relax poolside 24/7, then this isn’t the place for you. But if you are looking to replace the ordinary with the extraordinary, then you should consider Gateway Canyons for your next destination.
Now, don’t get me wrong; there’s a time and place for rejuvenating and relaxing, but out of the four days at the resort, I spent maybe an hour poolside. There are just too many incredible adventures: kayaking, mountain climbing, attending the pro-Baja truck driving school, driving ATVs, horseback riding, or participating in the soon to open evolution of weaponry. Piqued your interest yet?
With the philosophy of, “you want to create it, we’ll make it happen”, Gateway Canyons stands out as a signature property to surpass your participants’ wildest expectations. You want your VIPs to drive from the airport in exotic luxury cars owned by Hendricks? Sure thing. You want to do a progressive dinner in his classic car museum? We’d like nothing better. You want to shoot dynamite in a canyon? No problem. You want to try yoga on horseback? Okay. You want your participants to be comfortably uncomfortable? Definitely!
To sum it all up, I only wish I could put into words and describe through pictures this one-of-a-kind destination. But it is definitely a place you need to experience firsthand. Like my experience choosing to ride-along in the pro-Baja truck, there are moments in your life that you have to choose the road less traveled. So you’ve never thought of Colorado for your incentive or meeting. Well, open up your horizons to this incredibly dynamic destination. I heard so many people over my weekend there say, “I just never would have thought of Colorado. Now, I know differently.”
And, if I may say, JNR has been transforming the ordinary to the extraordinary for over 34 years and would like nothing better than to create an out-of-this-world program for your distinguished guests at this destination.
Discover the unexpected in Southwestern Colorado.
Written by Katharine Heinz
Katharine Heinz has been with JNR for nine years, first as a Desktop Publisher and now as the Planning Business Administrator. When she is not researching the next hot destination or hotel, she can be found at home enjoying her family.
JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.