From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:A ranch, by popular definition, is a place where dedicated hands work to ensure the well-being of the beasts in their care. Replace the livestock with guests, and the corrals with plush accommodations, and you have this 6,000-acre mountain playground of singular solitude. The rate (upwards of $1,000 per person per night) includes all activities, meals, and most drinks, but a hotel has to deliver more than unlimited cocktails and other diversions to justify a price so dear. And the Ranch at Rock Creek does, thanks largely to its relaxed yet professional staff, who aim to please and hit the mark every time. A kaleidoscope of cowhide rugs, leather furniture, and Native American-inspired textiles, the ranch deftly blends a high standard of comfort and the spirit of the Wild West without veering into cowboy cliché. There's no gym and no in-room TV (and, oddly, most rooms lack tubs), but there's also no shortage of activities, which include horseback riding, cross-country skiing, skeet shooting, and fly-fishing in the four-mile ribbon of Rock Creek that flows through the property. A cinema and a four-lane bowling alley are on the premises, and a Jack Nicklaus-designed public golf course and downhill skiing are nearby. The 25 accommodations range from standard lodge rooms (some have balconies) and a few stand-alone log homes to spacious canvas cabins with hardwood floors along the river's edge. But for all of the scenic splendor, what lingers in the memory is the gorgeously presented mealswhich makes the sound of the dinner bell even sweeter than the mountain stillness.2011 Hot List
Which room to book: For a romantic retreat, you can't do better than the Trapper canvas cabin, set away from the rest.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›
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