CBSDenver.com featured Taharaa Mountain Lodge as one of four “Top Inns in Colorado’s Mountains” on its “Top Spots” page. May 24, 2011

Mountain Living magazine featured Taharaa Mountain Lodge at #3 in its 10 Top Hotels list for its “Best in the High Country” rankings in the January / February 2006 issue.

Getaways By Dougald MacDonald
5280 Magazine
Denver's Mile-High Magazine

Taking it Easy in Estes

Escaping the mountain crowds is a walk in the Park.

"OUT FOR A STROLL -- Nearly empty of crowds in the winter months, Rocky Mountain National Park offers respite from the hordes as well as easy access to snowshoeing trails and ski touring through early spring".

It was still early as we headed to our bed-and-breakfast inn, the Taharaa Mountain Lodge, perched on a hillside about four miles south of Estes Park.  Built in 1997, the Taharaa is a sprawling stone- and wood-faced lodge that could have been transplanted straight from a Swiss ski resort.  It expanded last year to 18 rooms, with a "great hall" for weddings and conferences, but inside the space still feels intimate and the atmosphere is convivial, thanks to owners Diane and Ken Harlan, who moved to Estes from New Orleans and who exude Southern hospitality.  Each room at the Taharaa has a fireplace and a small balcony with superb views north to snowy Mummy Range, and northeast across the foothills to the Great Plains.  (According to the Harlans, Taharaa is a Polynesian word for "beautiful view.")

As we strolled downstairs for complimentary cocktails, the setting sun fired up the view through double-high windows in the main lodge room and the logs blazed in a massive stone fireplace.  Our fellow guests included one couple from Minnesota celebrating their second wedding anniversary and another from Castle Rock celebrating their 40th; a couple from Texas was staying at the Taharaa for a sixth time, almost always in the off-season.  What did they have planned for this trip?  Not much.  Like us, they were here to relax.

I'm an early riser by nature, and we had planned a hike for Sunday morning -- and hiking in the Park usually means early starts, in order to avoid afternoon thunderstorms.  But there is no lightning in winter, and the bed at the Taharaa was so comfortable we nearly missed our breakfast, which Diane Harlan cooked while she chatted with guests.

(Enjoy reading the complete article on Estes Park, Taharaa Mountain Lodge, and the Rocky Mountain National Park, page 76 of the February 2006 issue of 5280 Magazine).

Contact: Ballard & Miles, Inc., David P. Ballard, 914.738.3701 


LONDON, December 5, 2003. Conde' Nast Johansens, the internationally acclaimed publisher of hotel guides, announced today that based on its hotel inspections in 2003, it has recommended Taharaa Mountain Lodge, Estes Park, Colorado in its 2004 Guide to North American Hotels, Inns and Resorts.

Conde' Nast Johansens publishes its Guides for discerning travelers who seek quality service and facilities. It makes hotel Recommendations based on their excellence of service and cuisine, as well as their unique style, diverse style or exceptional location. Each recommended hotel must pass a rigorous inspection annually to be included in the Guide. "The word 'Recommendation' in the title of our Guides reflects the critical contribution made each year by our team of inspectors, all of whom have a wealth of experience from which our readers can benefit" said Andrew Warren, Conde' Nast Johansens Managing Director.

Lesley O'Malley-Keyes, Conde' Nast Johansens Vice President and Publishing Director, added "We are very pleased to be recommending Taharaa Mountain Lodge in our 2004 North American Guide. It is truly a reflection of its impressive hospitality."

The 2004 edition of Recommended Hotels, Inns & Resorts North American, Bermuda, Caribbean, Mexico, Pacific, which will appear in bookstores this fall, includes 199 hotel Recommendations, ranging from quiet rural retreats to spectacular resorts. The Guide devotes a full page to each hotel Recommendation, complete with full-color photographs and detailed information as to its facilities and tariffs.

Consumers can purchase Conde' Nast Johansens Guides at leading bookstores or by calling Conde' Nast Johansens at 1-800-564-7518. Conde' Nast Johansens promotes it Guides with an extensive media advertising program in such publications as The New Yorker, Conde' Nast Traveler, Gourmet and Architectural Digest.

Conde' Nast Johansens is owned by Conde' Nast Publications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Advance Publications and Conde' Nast International, which publishes 72 magazines around the world, including Vogue, Conde' Nast Traveler, House & Garden, Architectural Digest, The New Yorker, GQ, Tatler, Vanity Fair, Brides, Glamour and Wired.

By Kristin Armstrong,
Denver Post Staff Writer

ESTES PARK - After years sailing the world from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, Ken and Diane Harlan settled thousands of miles from any ocean.

They are the owners of the Taharaa Mountain Lodge, where life is in the details.
Details such as coffee and hot tea in the mornings so you can sneak out in one of the lodge's cushy robes before enjoying breakfast in the Dining Room.  And a happy hour with free wine, beer, soft drinks and snacks, where you can meet other guests while the owners call and make your dinner reservations. And views of the Mummy Range from every room.

It's lagniappe (the Cajun word for a little something extra) in all its glory. The Harlans, who lived in New Orleans for 26 years, bring a little bit of Southern charm and hospitality to this luxury log-and-stone, board-and-batten lodge.

Each of the three suites and nine Western-motif lodge rooms is named after a piece of Estes Park history (the Iron Horse room was named after the train that never made it to Estes) and features a down comforter with a damask duvet and a gas fireplace. Many rooms feature balconies, jetted tubs and TVs with VCRs. The owners have even provided a library of popular movies for watching in your room or in the lodge's TV room - another one of those little extras that make a big difference.

The lodge also features a hot tub in a gazebo, a dry sauna, a solarium, an exercise room and a Great Room with floor-to-ceiling windows, a massive stone fireplace, a 30-foot ceiling, leather couches and polished hardwood floors.

The Harlans built the lodge, named Taharaa, which means "beautiful view" in French Polynesian, in 1997. They knew they wanted to open a bed and breakfast, and looked first in the Four Corners area. But Estes Park had the combination of views, proximity to the Front Range and activities they were looking for. "We knew we were bringing something new to Estes," Diane says.

Activities for guests are many - Rocky Mountain National Park is just 4 miles northwest of the lodge, where guests can cross-country ski and snowshoe in winter, and hike, bike, fish, horseback ride, climb and raft in the summer. Downtown Estes Park is just 4 miles north of the lodge.

The lodge, on five acres, has room to grow, and the Harlans' next step is just that. A plan for 10 unique cottages is in the works, and they want to build a small wedding reception area. The lodge hosts weddings in the Great Room for up to 35 people, but "it's so much wear and tear on the house," Diane says. "We've got the room to grow, and we want to fit another niche."

In addition to weddings, the lodge also hosts corporate retreats, Diane's favorite and catered luncheons, dinners and cocktail receptions. The lodge is fully equipped for business, with a meeting room and fax machine and dataports in every room.

Each night's stay comes with breakfast, of course, which can be eaten in the dining room or the adjacent deck. The Harlans trade off cooking entrees such as jalepeno cream cheese-stuffed French toast, fresh grapefruit, cereal, juices and coffee.

The personalized service extends beyond the kitchen, too. Little touches - such as Lulu, the cancan dancing lift operator doll in the elevator, to house dog Rocky the cocker spaniel - give the lodge a special touch. The dog recently was featured in an Estes Park newspaper, and many guests return especially to visit Rocky, Diane says. The Harlans even offer holiday dinners just for guests.

"We have fun with it," Diane says. "We try to fit all these little niches so we don't disappoint anyone.

"It's a different business. We must have created an experience if (guests) are thanking us for letting them come."

From The Denver Post, Sunday, May 4, 2003

By Doris Kennedy, author of "Recommended Country Inns; Rocky Mountain Region" (Globe Pequot Press, $16.95, in its seventh edition). She is a freelance writer living in Aurora.

The Taharaa Lodge features a Great Room with a massive
fireplace and stunning views. Photo by Gary Kennedy

Taharaa is a Tahitian word meaning "beautiful view", and a fitting name for the Taharaa Mountain Lodge, Estes Park. This luxurious bed and breakfast is designed so that the Great Room, den dining room, conference room and all 12 guest accommodations feature spectacular views of the Mummy Range and the Continental Divide.

The Great Room includes a massive stone fireplace and adjacent den. A custom-made black steel chandelier hangs from the 30-foot-high ceiling. Log pillars and beams, leather couches, over-stuffed floral and plaid chairs, gleaming hardwood floors, and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows further enhance this room.

Each of the nine guest rooms and three suites has a gas-log fireplace, a ceiling fan, private bath and private deck with a stunning view. Two rooms have whirlpool tubs.

The two-room Taharaa Suite, with a king-size, willow twig-trimmed bed, covered with a burgundy and green quilt, is especially inviting. A colorful kachina figure graces the mantel of the double fireplace, whose flickering glow warms both the sitting room and the bedroom. A leather and wood Native American-style drum serves as a coffee table, and a walkway leads from the private patio through a rock garden to the gazebo hot tub. The spacious bathroom features a double vanity, a separate shower and an elegant whirlpool tub-for-two.

Other enticing guest rooms include the Showshoe Room, with antique skis, snowshoes, love seat and fireplace, the Longs Peak Room, with two twin-size, log beds embellished with carved headboards, and the Dunraven Suite, with a walnut, queen-size sleigh bed, a TV hidden away in a walnut secretary, and a whirlpool tub and separate shower.

An elevator leads from the main floor to the lower-level TV and game room, exercise room and cedar-lined sauna. These floors and the sauna are accessible to those with special needs.

Innkeepers Ken and Diane Harlan take turns at being chef, and both know their way around the kitchen. Entree's include South-western-style eggs Benedict, Tara Sunrise Mexican Omelets and baked blueberry-pecan French toast with a New Orleans "kick". The early evening Happy Hour includes beer, wine and soft drinks, accompanied by light snacks and, sometimes, Ken's chocolate-chip cookies.

From The Denver Post, Sunday, June 20, 1999.

Read travel writer Sandy Soule's review of Taharaa Mountain Lodge, Inc. on the BedandBreakfast.com Web site.