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Colorado’s Best Place to (Repeatedly) Get Sick on Vacation: The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa

Colorado’s Best Place to (Repeatedly) Get Sick on Vacation: The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa

It was to be the perfect January vacation: My son Bode and I would have our first ever mother-son getaway. My husband Jamie and daughter would join us 24 hours later at the luxurious Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa nestled at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain along the Eagle River.

Thursday Night Lights

Thursday Night Lights

We had never skied Beaver Creek’s 1,800 skiable acres, host of the recent Alpine World Ski Championships. I picked up Bode after school and upon arriving at Beaver Creek, we kicked off our vacation with Thursday Night Lights, a free weekly parade for intermediate-level skiers or snowboarders. After registering at the Children’s Ski and Snowboard School, we were each given our own glow sticks and rode to the top of the Buckaroo gondola and down the Haymeadow run in a synchronized glow worm, only to be greeted at the bottom by fireworks.

High on life and artificial light, we grabbed a pizza from The Lift restaurant at the Westin. As we waited for our food, we played a heated game of “Sorry” and Bode’s dripping nose started, followed by a cough and fever.

sickBy morning, he was officially sick and I knew we had to cancel our trip but vowed to postpone until Spring Break. All was not lost, though. When we informed the front desk we were leaving two days early due to illness, they generously gave us extra-late check-out, a sweet note with a popcorn treat and we made lemons out of lemonade with a morning of snuggles in our Westin Heavenly® Bed, Westin’s crisp Egyptian-cotton linens and plush bedding, followed by a leisurely stroll along the 40-mile riverfront trail where we discovered a secret tree swing.

Fast-forward two months to Spring Break and this time, our entire family was going to Beaver Creek. Or so we thought.

A few days before departure, Hadley woke me up, announcing what no parent wants to hear at 4 a.m.: “Mom, I just threw up.” A violent stomach flu ensued. On the day of departure, she had turned the corner but was still weak so my husband volunteered to stay home and bring her later.  My friend Eva declared that Beaver Creek must be cursed. I can assure you it’s not. We are.

Enter: Mother-son Beaver Creek Round 2.

kidsBode and I assured each other this time would be different. I had originally arranged for both kids to go to the Westin Kids Club for a couple of hours so my husband and I could enjoy some alone-time.  I dropped Bode off to enjoy their smorgasbord of games and Colorado-themed “Safari” activities for lucky kids ages 5-12.

With two hours to kill, I opted for murder by attempting the Pilates Barre class at the Athletic Club at the Westin. Though I regularly attend a boot camp, I’ve never participated in Barre and haven’t done Pilates in years. It kicked my butt in all the best places.

As I limped into Kid’s Club, Bode dove into his bean-bag fort to hide (a good sign) as he raved about all the games and slime science experiments he did with his new BFF–nurturing and fun staffer Marla. I took a mental note to hire her to play Mother on days I’m overtired.

 Bode and I took the Westin’s shuttle that dropped us off at Beaver Creek Village where we had dinner at the Beaver Creek Chophouse. The restaurant was brimming with families and I soon found out why. Not only was the food delicious (particularly the meat and seafood) but the kid’s menu was expansive, a delightful magician circulated the room (until 8 p.m.) and kids that arrive before 6 p.m. get perks like a free sundae.

Bode was exhausted when we boarded the Restaurant Shuttle back to the Westin but there were no signs anything was amiss. Until I was woken up by crying at 12:30 a.m. I raced into his bedroom and he choked out, “I threw up.”

eagleriver1At this point I almost started laughing with the déjà vu of it all. He hadn’t made it to the bathroom and vomited on the carpet and the corner of his Heavenly-no-more bed. A call to housekeeping in the middle of the night is never good but the silver lining was our angelic housekeeper Felix who not only efficiently cleaned up the mess but was so kind and concerned about Bode.

When the sun rose, Bode felt better but I cautiously changed our schedule. We held off on enrolling him in Beaver Creek’s Children’s Ultimate 4 Ski School Lesson until Hadley arrived the following day.  We instead spent our morning snuggling in bed reading, watching silly Minecraft videos, marveling at our mountain views and soaking in the three riverside hot tubs. We rediscovered our hidden swing along the Eagle River and threw sticks through a rock obstacle course.

skikidsWhen Jamie and Hadley arrived at 4 p.m., we enjoyed Cookie Time in the lobby with complimentary hot chocolate, cookies and live music and then dined at the mouthwatering Maya, Westin’s modern Mexican kitchen by internationally-acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval–the best Mexican food I’ve had in years.

There was a happy ending. Well, kind of. Jamie wasn’t able to ski because he had to return home for work and Hadley and I had to skip out on our highly anticipated mother/daughter pedicures at the Westin Riverfront’s Spa Anjali. I had promised the kids we would go to Beaver Creek’s mid-mountain Candy Cabin following ski school, only to discover it closes at 3 p.m. And then, just as we laced up our skates to glide across the Black Family Ice Rink in Beaver Creek Village, the rink was closed for the Zamboni and we didn’t get to skate.

But in the end, it didn’t matter because the kids still had a fabulous day in ski school while I participated in their complimentary Women’s Social Ski Tour at 10:15 a.m. on Tuesdays-Fridays. We fell in love with Beaver Creek’s terrain, the Westin and surrounding activities, vowing to come back under more optimal circumstances.

I’ve stayed at plenty of resorts that provide top-notch service in the best of times.

But the AAA Four Diamond Westin Riverfront has my vote for delivering in the worst of them.


Don’t miss 8 Reasons to Ski Beaver Creek Resort This Spring! (SpringFest, anyone?) Thanks to Beaver Creek/Westin for hosting.

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.


  1. I’ve lost count of how many times my kids have gotten sick on vacation. The worst was on a trip back East when the whole family came down with the stomach flu and we were holed up in our hotel for days.

  2. Diane–I could tell some stories, too. The worst was when my baby boy had explosive diarrhea when camping. I spent a lot of time in the camp laundromat. 🙂

  3. “Heavenly-no-more bed.” I snorted my orange juice through my nose when I read that. Been there!

  4. Wow! I’ve heard some horror stories, but this one takes the cake. Poor kids, they always seem to get sick at the worst times. At least you got a few funny stories to laugh about once it was all said and done.

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