After wonderfully active winter days outdoors, skiing or snowmobiling or tubing at Three Forks Ranch — a luxury ranch resort on 200,000 acres straddling the border of Colorado and Wyoming — guests retreat to the magnificent Lodge and Spa for rest and relaxation, not to mention phenomenal meals, exquisite spa treatments and inspiring mountain views from spacious guest rooms and suites. The Lodge is equal parts elegant, grand, comfortable and cozy; indeed, it’s one of the most upscale yet welcoming places I’ve ever visited. And that’s not only because the surroundings are are so lovely both inside and outside the 35,000-square-foot building. It’s the gracious and attentive staff that attend to guests’ every need that truly made my family’s long weekend stay at Three Forks Ranch one of the best vacations our well-traveled bunch has ever had.
The Lodge and Spa at Three Forks Ranch Gathering Spaces
The Lodge at Three Forks Ranch doesn’t have a simple lobby, but rather a Great Room featuring two huge fireplaces and an array of Western oil paintings and Asian antiques (trust me, the unusual combination of decor works). A massive 40-foot cathedral ceiling, expansive windows and huge beams might feel overwhelming to the visitor, but the comfortable sitting areas with plush sofas and ottomans, plus game tables and benches by the fire, invite repose and gathering with family, friends and other guests (who soon become friends).
Every evening at about 5:30 p.m. cocktails are served in the Middle Fork Lounge. All alcoholic beverages are included in an all-inclusive stay at Three Forks Ranch, so it’s worth your while not only to enjoy a delicious glass of house Merlot (or a beer with a splash of tomato juice, the staff favorite), but to gather with other guests to mingle and share stories of the day’s adventures. This stately room, too, has a fireplace and couch, several cocktail tables and even a flat-screen TV that pops out of a shelf if you just can’t miss that important televised sports event. An impressive mural — 17 by 7 feet — by Western artist Wayne Cooper hangs behind the bar.
The Lodge and Spa at Three Forks Ranch Accommodations
Each of the 11 rooms and four suites at The Lodge and Spa at Three Forks Ranch feature the same decor — Asian antiques, Western art, oriental rugs, plush draperies — found throughout the Lodge. Accommodations are incredibly spacious and include amazing amenities:
- iPad for your use while staying at the Lodge – kids thought this was awesome
- in-room Wi-Fi with a nice strong signal
- fully stocked mini bar – make your soda, juice, wine and beer preference selections before you arrive
- basket full of snacks – again, all included in the price of your stay; nibble on Terra chips, Honey Stinger energy chews, Oreos, Chips Ahoy, granola bars, trail mix, peanuts and more
- an array of toiletries (deodorant, toothbrush, etc.) in case you forgot to pack something; LOccitane body products, too
- robes and slippers in your size; again, we gave our sizes to reservations staff before we arrived
- two personal oxygen dispensers – the Lodge is at 7,200 feet; if you’re coming from sea level, drink lots of water to acclimate
- baseball hats embroidered with the Three Forks Ranch logo – we love these welcome gifts!
My husband and I shared the Three Forks Suite on the main floor of the Lodge; most rooms are on the garden level with walk-out ground-floor patios. Our grand room had a king-sized bed, gas fireplace, vaulted ceiling, sitting area facing windows with views of the mountains, huge bathroom with shower and deep tub,and hot tub on our private deck. The kids were next door (there are no connecting room) in their own guest room, Olive Creek, with two queen beds, shower, same mini bar, snacks and toiletries we had, plus a walk-out balcony patio.
The Lodge and Spa at Three Forks Ranch Dining
Three meals a day — plus appetizers during cocktail hour, in-room morning coffee service (with pastries), and the aforementioned snacks and drinks stocked in the mini-bar — are included in the price of a stay at Three Forks Ranch. Meals are not only filling — to fuel active days on the ski slopes or the tubing hill — but also beautifully prepared and absolutely delicious.
Breakfast is served in a sunny room with a huge fireplace, and options include a custom-made omelette, steel cut oatmeal, kids’ favorite Belgian waffle, salmon on a bagel, eggs Benedict, buttermilk pancakes, cinnamon French toast or yogurt granola parfait.
Lunch is buffet style, with a variety of salads (one day I ate two helpings of a savory couscous, chick pea and chopped veggie salad – so good!), marinated veggies, deli platter for you make-your-own sandwiches and a hot entree, like ribs or cheeseburgers. The chocolate chip cookies are phenomenally good; check out the recipe to make at home!)
Dinner is an elegant occasion — a three-course meal that you’ve ordered the night before. (The kind Lodge manager emails your options to make your selections before you arrive for your first meal at the Lodge). My children are decent (read: not always too picky) eater, so they ordered off the regular menu, with just a couple modifications. For their first salad course, one opted for ranch dressing and the other for a vinaigrette, instead of the blue cheese and Caesar that was offered. No problem! I’m certain that if a young child wanted plain noodles or a burger for dinner, the kitchen would oblige.
The food was excellent; it was difficult to make decisions based on what was offered each night. Some of my favorite dishes over the course of three nights were Caprese Salad, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Elk Tenderloin with grilled asparagus, roasted spaghetti squash and berry reduction, Grilled Sea Bass with steamed broccoli, rock shrimp saffron risotto and soy-ginger beurre blanc, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with housemade chocolate sauce and Poached Pear with creme anglaise.
Spa treatments at The Lodge and Spa at Three Forks Ranch
You can have as many spa treatments as you’d like during your all-inclusive stay at The Lodge and Spa at Three Forks Ranch. No, really. Unlimited. Crazy, right? I asked Marketing Director Allison Pratt if anyone ever took advantage of that offer — say, booking four massages in a day. She told me while some guests might indeed indulge while they are at the Ranch (relaxation is encouraged), therapists at the spa would gently explain to anyone booking too many services that it’s simply not good for your body to undergo such rubbing and sloughing. (I might beg to differ. Kidding.) Plus, there are so many other awesome outdoor activities to enjoy at Three Forks Ranch, you don’t want to be spending all your time in a dark treatment room anyway! As it was, my husband and I managed only two treatments each during our three-night stay. (And, yes, they were sublime.)
Adjacent to the spa relaxation room are two hot tubs and a nifty, U-shaped, indoor/outdoor infinity pool that all guests can use. My kids, naturally, made a game out of swimming under the partition that separated the “indoor” from the “outdoor.” They also “cleaned” the glass partition with snow (apologies to the staff who may have had to wipe off the streaks).
I can imagine the outdoor deck area of the small pool gets plenty of use in the warm-weather months! The views — once again — are stunning.
Service and smiles at The Lodge and Spa at Three Forks Ranch
Chatting with General Manager Justin Flaherty over cocktails on my first night at the ranch, I expressed some incredulity at the flexibility Recreation Director Levi Kempf had in scheduling my family’s outdoor activities over the weekend. That is, we — along the with the other guests at the Lodge at the time — could choose to ski, sled, snowmobile, snowshoe or go on a sleigh ride on whatever days we wanted, morning or afternoon. There were enough energetic activity guides on hand to accommodate our desired agenda.
But that’s just all part of the phenomenal Three Forks Ranch creed — attending to guests’ needs and wants in order to create winter vacations of a lifetime. Justin told me, “We say yes, then ask what the question is.”
Indeed, several times over the weekend, I heard, “We can make that happen” — whether it was rescheduling a spa appointment, asking for special salad dressing for my kids or lingering over dinner for yet one more glass of wine. Truly, the Three Forks Ranch management team and staff bent over backwards to make our stay extraordinary. The smiles on everyone’s faces are contagious; I loved the southern hospitality (many folks are transplants from the South, so I heard “yes ma’am” a lot); and we absolutely appreciated everyone at Three Forks Ranch sharing their winter playground with us.
In fact, that’s another goal of Three Forks Ranch. Basically, everyone who lives on the ranch (about 25 in the winter; the staff swells to 100 in the summer) lives and breathes the glorious outdoors here. They are out skiing and snowmobiling December through March — hunting and fishing and horseback riding in the summer — and guests are happily treated like “one of them.” That is, GM Justin Flaherty points out that the overall ethos at the ranch is, “We’re going out to play anyway, so why don’t you come along.” Indeed, that’s how we felt during our visit: so lucky that the Three Forks Ranch family was willing to share their very special place — the mountains, trails, meadows and forest — with us.
And for that, I’m forever grateful.