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Friday 11 December 2020

Holiday Fun at Gaylord Rockies

Disclaimer: We were hosted by Gaylord Rockies in exchange for this post. All opinions and photos are my own.

Recently we took our first ever staycation. Can you believe we'd never actually taken one before?

With travel further afield out of the picture right now, but a break very much in order, we decided to take a little trip - just down the road! We spent the weekend at Gaylord Rockies in Aurora and it was just what we all needed. A break from being at home all day, a chance for fun activities, and a whole load of holiday fun!

In my last post I shared the I Love Christmas Movies immersive exhibition that we checked out during our stay at Gaylord Rockies. This was such a fun holiday experience but it wasn't the only holiday fun we had. There was so much more to see and do at Gaylord Rockies so read on to find out about it all!

We had previously visited Gaylord Rockies for their holiday festivities but this was our first time staying over night. Not having to come home opened up so much more opportunity, plus we got to experience more of the hotel's facilities like the amazing pools. Swimming outside at night in Winter was definitely a highlight! It was also handy knowing that we could head back to our room to warm up or take a break from activities at any point. This was super handy when Ava and Mathilde wanted to continue ice skating but Lola wanted to take a break and have a rest back in the room.

So just what is on offer at Gaylord Rockies over the holidays? I'm glad you asked! Along with the I Love Christmas Movies exhibition, visitors can take part in all sorts of fun, wintry activities at Glacier Point. Glacier Point features ice skating, ice bumper cars, a snow merry go round, and a tubing hill. Tickets for the ice skating and tubing will get you unlimited fun on the day of your visit. We definitely made the most of this both during the day and in the evening. Tickets for the ice bumper cars (my favorite!) and the snow merry go round are both single use.  

In the evening Glacier Point is lit up under thousands of tinkling lights. It's so pretty. But off the ice, it's even prettier. One of my favorite things was checking out the light display simply called Light! The lights here were absolutely beautiful. There were tunnels of lights to walk through, a field of glowing orbs, interactive lights that also made musical tones, a stained glass house, ripples of light projected onto paths, and dozens of trees covered in delicate lights. Staying overnight at the resort meant that we got to experience the lights more than just once. We watched them come to life as the sun set behind the mountains. We took a walk after dinner to see the lights twinkle in the darkness. I even went for a walk on my own to experience the lights without having to hear anyone (other than myself) complain that they were cold while I took photos!   

The Light! display continues in front of the resort too. In fact, it not only continues in front of the resort but also on the front of the building itself! Giant snowflakes and icicles light up the facade of the resort while glowing blue Christmas ornaments sit in front of the valet parking. The trees in front of teh resort are lit up just as beautifully as those behind. It's just as pretty during the day when it's not lit up. And yes - Ava's in a t-shirt and bare legs in the snow! It's amazing how quickly you adapt when you move somewhere with cold Winters!

The festive vibes aren't just contained to outside the resort buildings either. The Grand Lodge Atrium is the centerpiece of the resort and is stunning at any time of year, but come the holidays it lights up in a way you need to see to believe. It's beautiful during the day, but nighttime is when it really shines - quite literally thanks to the giant Christmas tree! This area is home to many of Gaylord Rockies' restaurants and is accessible to both day visitors and those staying overnight. The tall window overlooks the Rocky Mountains in the distance and is the perfect spot to watch the sun set. 

Many other holiday activities are on offer at Gaylord Rockies. The kids took part in a Snoopy themed hotelwide scavenger hunt and earned themselves small prizes once they'd found all of the clues. Visitors can also write letters to Santa, decorate gingerbread, take photos with Santa, make a friend at the Build a Bear Workshop pop up, and so much more. 

Now, earlier I mentioned swimming outside in the evening and how that was a highlight for everyone. OMG, it was so much fun! It was positively freezing outside - or rather, below freezing - but the water was heated so once we got in it was perfect. Steam rose off the warm water into the chilly air as we relaxed and had fun. Mathilde has been back at swim classes for a few months now, but with their swim team closed due to the pandemic and local pools shuttered over Summer, Ava and Lola hadn't been in a pool since the end of February. It was the longest they've ever been in their whole lives without swimming! We spent about an hour in the pool and hot tub and only got out when it closed for the evening. Ava, Lola and I took turns zooming down the waterslide. It was pretty chilly climbing the stairs to the top and Ava did slip in ice once, but it was so much fun it was worth it. We had planned to also check out the expansive indoor pool as well, but seeing as we had the outdoor pool to ourselves the kids didn't want to leave it. There's also an outdoor lazy river that we didn't make it to. We'll just have to go back! 

Ok, so now that I've told you all about the fun stuff, let's get on to the nitty gritty. I'm sure you're wondering about staying in a resort during a pandemic. Trust me, I was a little nervous at first, but the level of attention paid to cleanliness and safety at Gaylord Rockies is beyond compare. All staff members and visitors wore masks at all times. There were signs dotted around regularly reminding guests to practice social distancing and how to wear masks properly. There were hand sanitzer stations everywhere we looked in high traffic areas. The restaurants were closed for indoor dining, in line with state regulations, however tables were set up throughout the open areas where guests could eat without coming into contact with others. Cleaning staff walked through regularly wiping down surfaces and spraying antibacterial sprays. The resort itself was fairly quiet during our stay so social distancing was pretty easy. We often saw few guests in any given area, however, we did see LOTS of cleaning staff everywhere we looked. Take a look at the photo below. If you look carefully you'll spot two guests in the atrium dining area, however you'll see five staff members cleaning! This photo was taken quite late, however, this level of cleanliness was present all throughout our stay, not just after hours. 

If you're in Colorado and looking for a staycation this holiday season I definitely recommend checking out Gaylord Rockies. If a staycation isn't it your books, a day visit to take part in the holiday fun is super fun too. 

Gaylord Rockies is located at 6700 North Gaylord Rockies Boulevard, Aurora. 

For bookings and more information visit https://www.marriott.com/gaylord-hotels/travel.mi#rockies

We had so much fun on our little staycation we'll definitely be back again!

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