I’ve stayed at some phenomenal luxury hotels in Colorado — Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, RockResorts’ Osprey, Westin Riverfront, The Little Nell and St. Regis Aspen, in particular, come to mind. But no other Colorado property can truly compare to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Its sheer size, fascinating 90-year history, 54 holes of championship golf, brand-new spacious cottages, a million and one places to eat (okay, 18), a full-service spa, swimming pools and a gorgeous setting on a lake at the base of a mountain are just a few of the reasons I think The Broadmoor is the best luxury resort in Colorado.
My family and I spent one night at The Broadmoor (courtesy of the resort) before we hopped on a plane at the Colorado Springs airport this summer. One night is by no means enough time to truly enjoy all of its amenities, but we packed in as much as we could into, oh, 18 hours there. Here are just a few of the highlights we enjoyed:
The Ambiance: I felt as though I was dropped right into a scene from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The manicured grounds, rolling green golf courses and historic decor in the public spaces, to me, exude glamour. We pulled up to the property’s security gate, gave our name, and then continued on to the porte-cochere, where valets greeted us – by name – which gave us a clue to the incredible service we’d receive all weekend. Lots of “How is your stay Mrs. Williams?” and “Whatever we can do to help, Mrs. Williams.” I loved the intricately tiled mosaic floor in the entryway to the lobby, as well as the historic photos, marble staircase, ornate chandelier and brass escalators.
The Tavern: The steaks were excellent at this landmark restaurant at The Broadmoor, dating back to 1938. We ate in its enclosed “Garden Room,” filled with lush vegetation and twinkling lights overhead. No fusion foods or unusual entrees here; just favorite hand-cut prime steaks, chops, seafood, prime rib, plus shellfish appetizers, soups and salads. One must-see: Bottle Alley, where all the liquor and wine bottles that were consumed during Prohibition are displayed; check it out just not far from the entrance to The Tavern (also near the main lobby).
The Swimming Pools: We arrived on an unusually chilly and rainy day in July, so we took the kids to The Broadmoor’s indoor heated pool (near the spa, which I wish I had time to experience), with outdoor hot tub and heated lap pool. This is a huge boon for parents who like to be able to keep a close watch on their kids, as the indoor pool is not huge and there are plenty of lounge chairs if you don’t feel like going in yourself! The next day, just hours before we had to get on a plane, we hit the big, outdoor swimming pool, where we were greeted by one of about a dozen staff members whose sole job is to outfit you with fluffy beach towels and lead you to lounge chairs. The outdoor infinity pool is next to Cheyenne Lake, so matter where you are in the pool — or adjacent hot tub — you’ve got great views of the grounds. Two water slides entertained the kids — that is, until my son got sick (yes, puked) in the pool, and closed it down. While that’s an entire blog post in itself, let’s just say that a) it was hugely embarrassing and b) The Broadmoor staff responded quickly and with grace (not making us feel badly at all). And yes, we did make it to our flight and he traveled the rest of the day without incident.
The Cottages: We stayed in one of the brand-new (as of May 2009) two-bedroom, one-story cottages just off the 18th fairway of the east golf course. At the same time charming and elegant, these accommodations feature high ceilings, window doors that open to an expansive veranda, heated bathroom floors, and hand-crafted area rugs. We all appreciated the luxurious bedding and the mini fridge to store our drinks and snacks.
If you’re looking for something romantic and rustic, check out this post about our stay in the Fire Tower Suite.
How to Plan the Perfect Day
I’ve now spent a total of four nights at The Broadmoor with my family over the past two summers. If I could move into this grand property permanently, I would. No joke.
The attentive customer service is excellent, the variety of restaurants divine, the guest rooms sophisticated without feeling pretentious.
The Broadmoor’s beautifully landscaped grounds transport me to a country club state of mind, and around every corner I’m reminded of the hotel’s rich history, with fabulous memorabilia dating back to the early 1900’s.
It’s luxurious and legendary and yes, expensive, but for a special occasion or a long-weekend splurge, I cannot recommend more highly a stay at The Broadmoor.
Here’s my take on what your perfect family day at The Broadmoor would entail:
8 a.m.: Wake up in your connecting rooms in the West Tower of the property overlooking Cheyenne Lake. Scoot over to the main building for the lavish buffet breakfast spread at the Lake Terrace Dining Room.
(Though the a la carte menu here is also quite good; husband loved his Crab Cake Benedict.) Another option: breakfast on the patio at Charles Court Restaurant.
Play it healthy with items like the Egg White Frittata or indulge with the Creme Brulee French Toast.
9:30 a.m.: Pick up your car from the friendly valet staff and drive a short five minutes to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Here, your kids will love feeding the giraffes (at their eye level!), meeting the gorilla troop, watching the otters get fed and getting up close and personal with small animals at The Loft.
The zoo is built into the side of the mountain, so be prepared to climb some hills. (The up side: fantastic birds-eye views of The Broadmoor and Colorado Springs below.)
There’s also a tram that makes its way around the grounds; pay just day per person to hop on and off all day. To note: Spencer Penrose, who founded The Broadmoor in 1918, also founded the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in 1926.
Noon: Rest weary legs at the recently revamped Grizzly Grill, where you’ll find healthy (or healthier) food items besides standard hot dogs and French fries zoo fare (though you can get that, too). Choose from a freshly made deli sandwich, a made-to-order salad or an Asian rice bowl.
Here, grinning towel-bearing staff members will greet you, to usher you personally to chaise lounges on the grass (if you’re lucky, there will be a spot still available under a big umbrella; or pay big bucks for your own shaded cabana).
Lounge with a trashy magazine while the kids enjoy the zero-depth-entry infinity pool and the two steep water slides (one’s more mellow than the other.)
3 p.m.: Leave Dad at the pool with the kids while you stroll over to the Spa at the Broadmoor for a pampering treatment, like the signature Mountain Showers Massage, performed under an overhead shower, or a delicious wine therapy sugar scrub.
5 p.m.: Take a nap.
6 p.m.: Drop your kids at the evening Bee Bunch program, where kids play with other young guests and counselors (at a 1 to 5 staffer to kids ratio) in an inviting, 2,000-square-foot space. Dinner might include chicken fingers and fries, and activities typically feature arts-and-crafts and a movie.
6:30 p.m.: Finish primping and put on your dancing shoes for once-in-a-lifetime meal at Colorado’s only five-diamond and five-star restaurant, the Penrose Room. Jackets are required for men at this elegant dining establishment that has been offering exquisite cuisine and top-notch service since 1961.
Go big with the Chef’s Tasting Menu with wine, and you’ll dine on such specialties as Belize Island Shrimp and Crispy Prok Belly Fricassee or Pan Seared Atlantic Turbo with Green Pea Cassoulet.
(When I sampled this exquisite meal, the final cheese course and hazelnut chocolate dessert were especially divine.)
Josh, the handsome, knowledgeable sommelier pairs each course with a half glass of wine, and he takes the time to explain the nuances of each varietal with such class and professionalism that I wanted to take him home with me to suggest wines to me nightly.
All through the meal, you’re serenaded by a three-piece band and talented singer; get up and dance to salsa, swing and ’50s tunes whenever the mood strikes!
10 p.m. Waddle out of the Penrose Room (if you’re good, maybe you didn’t lick your plates clean like I did), and pick up your kids at the Bee Bunch room.
Retire to your rooms (where your plush beds have been turned down with chocolates left behind) for a good night’s sleep. After all, I didn’t even mention the options for tennis, golf, horseback riding and other fabulous Colorado Springs attractions that might fill your family’s agenda tomorrow!