There are plenty of good reasons why 25 bed-and-breakfasts and several hotels exist in Manitou Springs.
The historic town‚ just west of Colorado Springs‚ is a popular getaway destination for tourists‚ whether it’s for a day or a relaxing weekend. “We have a different feel here than in a big city. It’s a little quieter‚ with our great boutique shops‚ quaint one-of-a-kind restaurants and unusual art galleries‚” says Leslie Lewis‚ executive director of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. “Plus‚ we are situated at the foot of Pikes Peak‚ so we offer beautiful mountain attractions. As a matter of fact‚ the 13-mile hike up to Pikes Peak starts in our little town.” Manitou Springs was settled in the late 1800s‚ and many of its historic buildings still stand.
Mineral springs were one of the city’s big draws in the early days‚ with American Indian tribes coming to Manitou for its healing waters. “Right now‚ 10 of those springs are still accessible to the public‚” Lewis says. “By the way‚ these are cold-water drinking springs – not the hot therapeutic springs that people soak in. People often come from other states and fill up carloads of empty jugs with the water. They still believe in the healing powers. All the springs have a little different mineral content‚ so they each have a little different flavor.” Manitou Springs water is so popular that a new bottling plant opened in 2005‚ and its customers already include companies in China and Korea. “The Asian culture recognizes the value of minerals in natural spring water‚” Lewis says. “As a result‚ the Manitou Springs Mineral Water bottling plant is expanding more and more all the time. But the bottling plant is the only place in Manitou Springs where the water is sold. Anyone else who visits here can get it for free.” In the summer months‚ the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce organizes guided tours twice a week to showcase all the natural springs in town‚ as well as some of the other attractions.
“The mineral springs‚ Pikes Peak‚ the arts community and the beauty of the city are all factors that bring people to Manitou Springs‚” Lewis says. “Those factors have allowed the hospitality industry to flourish here‚ with many bed-and-breakfasts and other quality accommodations available.” Lewis adds that the scenic location of the 5‚000-resident town has attracted many talented people to Manitou Springs‚ including 19th-century author Helen Hunt Jackson and early 20th-century photographer William E. Hook. “Manitou‚ which is the American Indian word for ‘spirit‚’ is a draw to people from all walks of life‚” she says. “You can’t help but be inspired during a visit to our city.