If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that Adam brought it for my 30th birthday. He basically came over one day and told me he needed to give me my present early. Turns out, it was because I needed to request specific days off work so we could go to MEXICO! It literally couldn’t have been a better gift for me. I was incredibly stressed out at the time, so an opportunity to decompress was EXACTLY what I needed. We were lazy every day, drank plenty of margaritas and pina coladas, and came back well rested and sun kissed. It’s a trip I’ll never forget.
So when it came time to brainstorm for Adam’s birthday this year, I knew I wanted to take him on a trip, too! Since Adam went to Denver University, and we traveled to Colorado for 2 weddings last year (read about one of those weekends here), I knew he’d love a trip to Colorado. Luckily, I have a contact at Starwood Hotels who told me about one of their amazing properties in the mountains called the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa. Holy dreaminess, you guys ?
Since we’ve spent so much time in Denver together, it was really fun to experience the mountains together for the first time. It had been years for both of us, so we were pretty giddy about it the whole drive up! But the real vacation began once we checked into the Westin.
First of all, as soon as you walk in, you’re greeted with HUGE windows that look out onto the mountains. There were also cozy couches, stone fireplaces, and dogs hanging out with their owners – plus a balcony right off the lobby with fire pits overlooking the pool. It didn’t take me long to realize that all of my worries over what to wear were completely irrelevant. This is a place to be comfortable and enjoy.
And if those lobby wasn’t enough, we had an beautiful mountain view from our room that was pretty great to wake up to each morning. We also took advantage of their hot tubs each evening, and even made our way to their Spa Anjali! Adam got a Swedish Massage, but I tested out their Pondorosa Pine treatment and it was literally the BEST massage of my LIFE. Essentially, it’s everything you’d typically expect, with the addition of heated handmade poultices filled with local sage, pine and lavender. This therapy was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat inflammation and muscle pain, and to alleviate tension. I literally couldn’t recommend it more – it was amazing.
But back to the real point! I know that going on a trip sounds like an great birthday idea, but what if you don’t always have the time or budget to make it happen? I hear you loud and clear! At the same time, what are the chances that he’ll forget about a new sweater within a few months? Now, what about a romantic vacation? You two will cherish that for years and years to come. So, here are a few tips to help you make it happen…
How to make a birthday trip special:
Don’t underestimate the power of a 3 day/2 night vacation.
I get it – life gets busy! As lovely as a European adventure or a week in Mexico sounds, sometimes it’s just not feasible. But you don’t need to discount a getaway entirely just because you only have a weekend! Two nights might not feel like a lot when you’re planning it, but it can end up being exactly what you needed.
Figure out a budget before you go.
Going all the way to Colorado was a TREAT. But if you’re trying not to spend too much, go somewhere within driving distance (like Lake Geneva!). Or honestly, ask your significant other for help! I know it’s a fun idea to cover the whole trip as your gift, but chances are they’d be fine with paying for their own flight if you said “I got us 2 nights at the Westin Riverfront in Colorado!” That’s still an AMAZING gift, am I right?!
Plan a fun activity.
Since Adam and I aren’t big skiers (read about your last skiing experience here ?), we decided not to spend the money or time on that – but we still wanted to bond over something fun! Luckily, my new pals at the Westin recommended snow-shoeing with a guide from the Beaver Creek Nordic Center. BINGO! We seriously had the best experience. Our guide, Tom, was extremely knowledgable about everything from the trees to the wildlife – and he was a pro with my camera! Sure, it wasn’t as exciting or popular as skiing or snowboarding, but it totally proves my point. We cut a cost and came up with an activity that was fun for US… and it’s something neither of us will forget. That’s what matters most, right?!
Wander and relax.
While I think a planned activity is key, so is time to chill out. I love exploring new places with Adam, especially without a set schedule or timeline in mind. I was so glad we gave ourselves time to wander around Beaver Creek a little bit – it’s SO cute! We found two magnets for our collection (we get one on every trip!) and discovered that the Riverfront Express Gondola would literally drop us off right at our hotel. Such a great discovery, not to mention a beautiful ride down the mountain!
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the time we had just the two of us. But since we had the opportunity to also celebrate with our friends in Winter Park, we jumped at it. It also gave us a chance to see another part of the state! We stayed right by the base of the mountain, went on another snow shoeing adventure, dined at the beautiful Devil’s Thumb Ranch, and had more than a few cocktails ?
Have you ever planned a birthday trip instead of getting your significant other a gift?
And have any of you ever been to the Westin Riverfront Resort? Or to the Vail/Beaver Creek area? What did you think? Also, if you want to see some videos of our time in Colorado, you can watch my Travel Highlights Story on Instagram!
PS. You might also like Our Cozy Winter Weekend at Grand Geneva, Denver Travel Guide, and my Weekend Guide to Charleston.