Iconic Glenwood Hot Springs Resort to Add New Water Attraction

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort—the 130-year old historic geothermal attraction in Glenwood Springs, Colorado—is preparing to break ground on a major renovation project that includes a new adventure river, interactive water features and more.

The world’s largest hot springs pool is getting a large-scale makeover that will update and transform the look of the premier geothermal resort for years to come. Glenwood Hot Springs Resort recently announced plans for an extensive, multi-million-dollar renovation to the west end of its property. The resort will begin adding new aquatic features, replacing the existing waterslides, kiddie pool and miniature golf course with an all-new updated and integrated water park.

The main attraction will be an Adventure River with plenty of twists, turns and refreshing surprises along the way, lasting a little over three minutes in duration. “The new Adventure River is a custom-designed tube ride in keeping with the family-oriented Colorado outdoor experience,” Glenwood Hot Springs CEO and President Kjell Mitchell said. The attraction is a novelty among geothermal destinations in that it will offer visitors a high-quality theme park ride experience at a hot springs resort. Riders will get the sense that they are floating down a mountain creek in Colorado—complete with lush landscaping, cascading tiers and boulder features.

In addition to the Adventure River, there will be a children’s play area with mini water slides, interactive water features, shallow play areas for youngsters and shade structures for sun protection. According to the Pool’s COO and Vice President, John Bosco, “This addition serves a key niche to offer an expanded experience for those wanting extensive play opportunities beyond the current 1978 vintage kiddie pool.” Included in the plans is a water feature that acts as a kid-friendly splash pad by day. After the children’s area closes for the night, it becomes a lighted fountain that can be seen by pool-goers and Glenwood Springs visitors strolling across the pedestrian bridge.

“We are always seeking ways to elevate the guest experience. This latest renovation will provide yet another opportunity for guests to have fun, smile and create lasting memories at the resort,” Mitchell said. “By moving all kid-related activities to the west, our plan is to create delineated active and passive areas. As we develop future phases, the east end will specialize in an adult-oriented environment that appeals to relaxation and rejuvenation.”

Mitchell hopes the new work can begin in January 2019 and estimates completion by July 2019. To meet this schedule, the dated features—water slides and mini golf—will be removed, beginning this fall. The expansion also targets improving guest comfort with new restroom facilities conveniently located at the west end of the resort.

Though it is a multi-million-dollar expansion, the final price tag is yet to be determined, according to Bosco, as terms are still being negotiated with contractors. Other approvals are also pending, but Mitchell and Bosco are optimistic those will be forthcoming.

The planning and design process for the new aquatic park and associated features has been in the works for two years. The goal has been to create customized attractions that appeal to today’s traveler, fit the historic setting and complement the geothermal springs. Glenwood Hot Springs management staff has been consulting with two firms specializing in hot springs and aquatic park design: DHM Design in Carbondale, Colo. and Cloward H2O based in Provo, Utah.

DHM Design’s portfolio features a diverse clientele that includes civic, residential, recreational, hospitality, National Park Service and ecological projects. Cloward H20 is an award-winning aquatics consulting firm with many notable resort and leisure projects worldwide, including Atlantis Resorts in the Bahamas and Dubai; waterparks throughout the U.S., Asia and the Middle East; aquarium and zoo projects; whitewater and surf resorts; and the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Most recently, DHM and Cloward have collaborated on the renovation of the Ouray Hot Springs, as well as on Nirvana Hot Springs, Astoria Hot Springs and the Oklahoma City Riversport Rapids. The Pool has also secured local contractors and consultants to assist on the project.

Regarding future plans beyond those on the docket for the west end of the resort, Bosco stated the company is still working on design concepts and it would be premature to elaborate on them at this time. The last significant renovation for the historic hot springs was in 2008 when it added the Spa of the Rockies. Since then, the Spa has gone on to win major industry awards for excellence. It will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in October.