The Broadmoor ~ for the Penultimate Resort Experience
Are you looking for a long luxurious getaway weekend? Or perhaps the ideal spot to celebrate a special occasion with your family? Or maybe you are seeking the ultimate in adventure experiences. And who would not be interested in superb food and wines along with lots of pampering?
We recently returned from four glorious days at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, and I can tell you without hesitation, that we enjoyed the penultimate resort experience. So good in fact, that whenever I now find my mind slipping into reverie, it is the spectacular Broadmoor about which I’m daydreaming. Whether you like the tempo easy and relaxing, or full of excitement, whether you are looking to rekindle a romance or just have great fun with your family or friends, if you are seeking la crème de la crème, my reply would simply be … try The Broadmoor.
Why indeed? One of only 11 resorts in the world to receive the Forbes Triple 5-Star rating … specifically, a 5-Star rating for the hotel, a second 5-Star award for its signature restaurant the Penrose Room, and a third 5-Star award for its spa, the Spa at the Broadmoor … The Broadmoor holds the unique distinction of consistently receiving this industry accolade from Forbes and its predecessor publications for the past 57 years, a record which outshines any other hotel in the awards’ history.
Yet this illustrious resort, identified by The National Trust as an “Historic Hotel of America”, remains unpretentious and does not rest on its laurels. Far from it. Let me tell you why I am so enchanted and bewitched by this property.
The setting is simply stunning! Nestled within the Rocky Mountains of Colorado Springs at an elevation of over 6,000 feet, The Broadmoor offers magnificent views from most anywhere on the property of some of the most breathtakingly beautiful mountain peaks in the country. But while Mother Nature sets the backdrop and oversees the staging, the resort itself is a central performer. Complementing the natural beauty of the setting is the refined, elegant old-world beauty of the immense structure of The Broadmoor. My first impression of this strikingly elegant hotel upon arrival was that I was admiring am impressive Grande Dame of a Hotel from the French Côte d’Azur … except that rather than being captivated by the views of the azure Mediterranean Sea, I was being awed by the purple majesty of the surrounding mountains.
At The Broadmoor, beauty is everywhere. The man-made elements are striking … from the architectural workmanship — I just love the Italianate majolica over the grand entryway of the main building — to the exquisite and impeccably maintained landscape design with its abundance of color and vegetation, to the extraordinary art collection within the walls of the resort. In fact, according to the influential World Property Journal, The Broadmoor has the largest and finest collection of Western U.S. art in the world gracing its walls, from Frederic Remington to Albert Bierstadt. Honestly, we had to allow additional time to get anywhere on the resort simply because everywhere we went, we couldn’t resist stopping and admiring the extraordinary collection of paintings, sculptures, and objets d’art, not to mention the magnificence of the architectural decor of the buildings. And the art was so perfectly placed. World-class resort or museum? I would say both!
But lest you think that The Broadmoor is just a pretty face, let me change that limited perception immediately. One of our favorite features of the resort is what we called “the friendliness factor”. Broad smiles are a part of the culture at The Broadmoor … wherever we went, the staff greeted and welcomed us while always making us feel as if serving us was the most important part of their day. We felt perpetually well-pampered.
Interestingly enough, these pervasive friendly Broadmoor smiles seemed to be contagious. I remember the first night of our stay crossing the bridge over Cheyenne Lake from Broadmoor Main to Broadmoor West to go have drinks and dinner at Ristorante Del Lago when, much to my surprise, several guests – not staff – smiled and said “hello”, inspiring us to respond in kind. One of the ladies even winked and said that the staff were all saying “hi” to the guests, so why should we not greet each other? Why not? When you realize that The Broadmoor employs almost 3000 staff for its close to 800 accommodations during the high season while we were there, you can appreciate even more the impressiveness of this “friendliness factor”.
So, you have a magnificent resort in a stunning setting with extraordinary service. What about the rooms? We stayed in a Lakeside suite overlooking the impressive infinity pool and the adjacent Cheyenne Lake, where the ducks and swans made their daily appearance along with the fabulous paddle-boats. From our charming balcony, comfortably furnished with two lounge chairs as well as a breakfast table with 2 chairs, we could enjoy magnificent vistas of the glorious Rockies. Whether eating breakfast out on our balcony or sipping champagne while we watched the sun set, it was impossible not to be charmed by the beauty and serenity of the setting.
The glass door opening from our bedroom onto the balcony, along with the windows on either side of the door, permitted us to also appreciate these views from inside our bedroom. Moreover, simply opening the shutters, which divided the bedroom from the spacious marble bathroom, enabled me to enjoy the views as I relaxed in the soaking tub. Heavenly and luxurious!
Our Lakeside Suite was elegantly furnished for ultimate relaxation with a king-size bed, plush chairs, a gas-lit fireplace, a large dressing room, and all the comforts we could possibly need … from a valet stand for the dinner dance evening at The Penrose Room to beer glasses for our taste test of The Broadmoor‘s custom craft beer, Prospector’s Pick.
As much as we enjoyed relaxing in our room, there were many fascinating activities at the resort backed up by top quality training of devoted employees managing the activity and beckoning us to come to come try them. Here is an overview of our favorites from this visit …
Couples Massage at The Spa at The Broadmoor … I imagine you would not be surprised that this spa, with it Forbes’ Five-star rating, is designed to offer the utmost in quality and service. With spectacular vistas overlooking the mountains, a wide selection of healthy snacks and waters plus teas, and an impressive choice of relaxation rooms, The Spa at The Broadmoor speaks to graciousness and refinement in every possible way. With the addition of my favorite waiting room, the spectacular“Oxygen” room designed to help restore your oxygen level which the resort’s 6000+ foot altitude can impact, The Spa goes beyond the “norm” in traditional spa offerings to the realm of “innovative”. Plus, Denis and I can testify — the innovative Oxygen room restored our energy and works superbly! As for the couples massage treatment Denis and I enjoyed — it was as professional, soothing and relaxing as we have ever had in a spacious room that uniquely combines old world elegance with “western U.S. decor”.
A Paddle Boat Ride on Cheyenne Lake … I paddled and admired the views while Denis took photos. Such a charming and elegant setting, paddle-boating on Cheyenne Lake reminded me of my first experience with paddle boats in Geneva on Lac Leman.
Visit to Cloud Camp … Our visit to Cloud Camp, the newest of The Broadmoor‘s three ultimate wilderness camps offering adventure experiences located off the main resort property, began with an unforgettable drive up Cheyenne Mountain Road. In fact, this very road was featured in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” as the most crooked highway up the steepest mountain. Lucky for us, we did not have to navigate this rather daunting highway ourselves as we had a professional driver very familiar with its many steep turns and single-lane restrictions. Once we arrived up at the camp, we were immediately struck by the breath-taking views. Extraordinary. An absolute homage to Pikes Peak, and a not-to-be-missed Broadmoor experience!
The Broadmoor’s wilderness camps offer a true respite from civilization, or as Lisa, the Manager of Cloud Camp, perfectly described the experience … Cloud Camp is “9000 feet above stress level”. The ultimate goal is to rejuvenate, relax, leave your stress behind, and disconnect in order to re-connect with nature and the wilderness, and if you are so inclined, also connect with your fellow guests over a camp-fire with s’mores as you gaze at the star-filled sky. And, of course, that connection with nature, in particular with the wilderness, will include some form of adventure sports.
Cloud Camp offers extensive hiking, mule rides down & up Cheyenne Mountain Road, yoga classes with a view, cooking lessons, hot tubs from 8am until 10pm, and various other mountain activities. I was not only awed by the views, but impressed as well by the superb food and the extraordinary elegance and decor of Cloud Camp … architecturally in harmony with the splendid mountain surroundings and decorated to showcase the best of Western U.S. art. Guests wishing to enjoy the stunning vistas and exceptional wilderness offerings at Cloud Camp should book an-overnight, all-inclusive experience.
Pikes Peak Cog Railway … There are basically three ways you can reach the summit of Pikes Peak. You can drive or have a driver take you up, you can climb — which is what Wellesley College Professor Katherine Lee Bates did which inspired her to write the lyrics for “America the Beautiful”–, or you can take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway up to the 14,115-foot high summit, and spend a while taking photos and gazing upon the natural beauty which is what we did. Speaking of man taming nature! This cog railway is an engineering wonder. Plus, it offers a strikingly beautiful ride, especially the closer you get to the peak, it is well-narrated by the train’s conductor, and in its own way, this ride up and down the mountainside offers you a superb chance to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of your surroundings.
No matter how you get up to the summit, expect the temperature there to be up to 40 degrees cooler than down in Colorado Springs so do bring a jacket. Plus I have an alert for you … there is a Pikes Peak Summit Complex Project in the works to build a new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center which will be stunning.
The Broadmoor Falconry experience, featuring a well-trained group of captive-bred birds of prey, is an ideal complement to the wilderness and adventure component of the resort.
We spent a fascinating 90 minutes with Dan, the licensed master falconer. Passionate about what he does and clearly very devoted to his birds, he provided us with an educational and interactive experience and patiently answered the many questions we posed to him.
My favorite interactions were with Julie, the very sociable North American Harris Hawk who worked very hard to demonstrate her precision training and earn her edible reward, with Chase, the one-year old Saker Falcon who politely came over to sit on my gloved arm and then had a very friendly personal interaction with Denis, and lastly with Dalilah, the Eurasion Eagle Owl who after listening to our interaction with Chase and Dassie, clearly vocalized her desire to meet us .. and ooh what a piercing look from this magnificent bird when we finally met!
A complimentary Cadillac for exploring the area … Following our return from Cloud Camp, we picked up the complimentary Cadillac we had reserved and headed off property to check out the environs and visited the area’s top-rated tourist attraction, the Garden of the Gods. Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971, this park offers dramatic views of 300-foot sandstone rock formations with, not too surprisingly, Pikes Peak in the background. If you are interested in this unique viewing experience, I suggest saving some time to also go to the park’s Visitor Center where the photo ops from the second-floor terrace are superb.
Dinner with live entertainment and dancing at the award-winning Penrose Room … We enjoyed a 9-course tasting menu prepared for us by the restaurant’s extremely talented Chef de Cuisine, Maxwell Robbins. The evening was sheer delight, from the entertainment and dancing to the superb food and wine. Perhaps our favorite dish of the evening was the chef’s hand-cut Tagliatelle pasta with Parmesan sauce and a generous amount of Australian Summer Truffles, although the Ahi Tuna au Poivre with Citrus Sabayon sauce was spectacular as well! If you are interested in the details of this extraordinary evening and all the fabulous culinary spots and meals we enjoyed at the resort, please see our article “Fine Dining at The Broadmoor’s Romantic Penrose Room“ as well as an upcoming article on the other phenomenal “culinary experiences” we enjoyed at The Broadmoor.
In addition to the above activities, The Broadmoor not only boasts three award-winning golf courses but also is rated by Tennis Magazine as one of the top 20 tennis resorts in the country.
Moreover, the resort offers a private movie theater, a bowling alley with six lanes, a large indoor pool at The Spa, and a multitude of other pleasures.
Setting the standards for the ultimate in luxury resorts, interestingly enough, The Broadmoor’s ambiance is relaxed and casual which we liked very much. Yes, there is a dress code, but very few places require a sport jacket and a tie is not even de rigueur at the chic Penrose Room. Moreover, while families are very welcome with children and pets, the resort has separate areas specifically designed for young children to spread their wings and be kids. So, while I could walk by and enjoy some of their adorable antics, I never once heard a crying child.
Plus, the commute to Colorado Springs from our home base of Washington, D.C. and return was simplified by the short 3 1/2-hour direct nonstop flight, making The Broadmoor an ideal getaway destination.
One of the finest resorts in the world with a record of excellence bar none, offering the ultimate in luxury, relaxation and pampering to the ultimate in adventure sports, featuring breathtaking views and outstanding food, The Broadmoor is the kind of magical resort which pulls you back time and time again. Here are some additional Broadmoor experiences which we didn’t have the time to enjoy but came highly recommended to us during our stay: (1) a trip to The Broadmoor’s Seven Falls Park, another off-property dimension of the resort, to see the falls and enjoy Restaurant 1858, (2) a trip to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo which I’m told is cleverly interactive, and (3) visits to the two Broadmoor wilderness camps we did not see this time, The Ranch at Emerald Valley and the Fly-Fishing Camp.
Many thanks to The Broadmoor for this spectacular visit. As always, our focus at BonVoyageurs is on the joie de vivre we experience when we travel, and all opinions expressed in our articles are our own.
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