When “historic” and “landmark” are used to describe a hotel, buyer beware: In many cases these words are synonymous with “dated” and “needs an upgrade.” This is definitely not the case at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, which opened in 1918 — it’s one of the West’s most famous and beloved luxury resorts. Signs of significant investment to keep the facilities, grounds, and amenities top-notch and fresh — while preserving the spirit of the resort’s timeless bones — are evident in every facet of the guest experience.
My family spent four glorious nights at The Broadmoor this summer and fell in love with this 779-room resort, despite the fact that our stay coincided with four consecutive days of rain. There’s so much to do here for children and adults alike that the family challenge is choosing what to do when … It’s the kind of resort at which deciding where to relax and dine takes mulling, as there are so many compelling options.
Here’s a look at what makes The Broadmoor so exceptional for family and friends of all ages and stages:
Although there’s not a single style that pervades all the different facilities at The Broadmoor, one word describes the overall atmosphere: elegant. The reception areas are grand, with fine furnishings, decadent floral arrangements, and impressive works of art. Despite (or maybe because of) this grandeur, families routinely congregate here to play games and lounge. It’s not intimidating, but rather warm and inviting.
The staff goes a long way toward contributing to this friendly ambiance. It takes an army to run The Broadmoor, and the staff is from all over the world. They’re happy, with a can-do attitude fitting for a property of this caliber.
The Broadmoor is built around Cheyenne Lake, a picturesque outdoor playground with places to stroll, sit, and dine. A myriad of paddleboats, rowboats, and canoes are available for on-the-lake playtime.
At one end of the lake is a lovely infinity outdoor pool (seasonal) with a pint-size waterslide, rated excellent by my 12-year-old. There’s a full staff and food service at the pool — in nice weather, families can easily stay here for the day and thoroughly unwind. There’s an indoor pool near the spa that’s open year-round.
Golf is a favorite activity at The Broadmoor. The resort offers three courses. Junior players (ages 12-17) have special rates and family golf clinics are available on Sundays.
Likewise, the resort has extensive tennis facilities paired with junior and adult tennis camps offered throughout the year. Bikes are available to rent and there’s horseback riding as well.
The Broadmoor has a new in-house adventure outfitter, Base Camp, that organizes all kinds of exciting, guided outings right from the hotel. We did an hour-long fly-fishing lesson right on the resort’s pond. An experienced guide took us out and showed us basics and how to cast. Guess who caught the one and only fish in our lesson? Mom!
There’s no kids’ club, but there are seasonal kids’ activities offered. It makes sense that there’s no supervised kids programming; The Broadmoor is about families coming together to have fun. Case in point: PLAY, the dining and indoor activity zone, has six lanes of bowling and a variety of other games, video and otherwise. The secret sauce here is that PLAY offers a full bar and menu right in the entertainment zone; parents can socialize and kids won’t get restless. It’s absolutely ideal.
There’s also a hair salon, nail salon, and full spa offering an array of wellness treatments. With all the other things to do, I didn’t get a chance to try a treatment, but given the quality of everything else offered at this resort, I have no doubt it’s worth a visit.
The Broadmoor has 18 dining outlets — there’s something for everyone and all occasions. Here’s what we tried in addition to PLAY:
The Golden Bee: An entertaining and lively place, the Golden Bee is an authentic 19th-century pub moved over from England. The lighthearted mood is set when you sit down and the staff throws welcome “bees” at you (felt bees that stick to your clothes).Traditional pub fare and ales are served in an authentic English atmosphere with dark wood and old-world glass and iron finishes. The nightly piano tunes and singalong get everyone in the mood for fun. On the night we were there, the musician had an exuberant throng of wee fans around him all evening.
Pricing is reasonable and in line with the simple but hearty, traditional pub fare served. They have everything from Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar Potato Wedges to Pub Chili to Cottage Pie. Those who want something more sophisticated have options such as the delicious Oven Roasted Tandoor Salmon. Book early; the Golden Bee is very popular.
Natural Epicurean: Specializing in organic, locally sourced ingredients, Natural Epicurean takes the sting out of vacation indulgence. My family was in here at least three times a day getting espresso drinks in the morning, incredible salads for lunch, and homemade sweet treats in the afternoon. Natural Epicurean even has “wholesome” craft cocktails. The Watermelon Basil Martini sounds heathy, no? That’s what I said.
Ristorante Del Lago: We love all things Italian, and Ristorante Del Lago did not disappoint. With an open kitchen in an Italian-style modern space, extending to a delightful patio right on the lake, it has a wonderful ambiance day and night. For a more casual setting, the adjacent bar has a fireplace and cozy seating. The classic Italian fare and wood-fired pizzas are excellent, as is the service and wine list. This was also our favorite venue for breakfast, with an extensive buffet including fresh bread, fruit, charcuterie, and eggs made to order.
We barely scratched the surface of the dining scene at The Broadmoor. Clearly, families don’t have to leave the resort for meals.
Guest rooms, suites, cottages, and brownstone accommodations are spread throughout the property. Many of the accommodations have been renovated from top to bottom. Families can choose from rooms with two queen beds, connecting rooms, suites, or a plethora of multi-room units. Given their room capacity, the nice thing about The Broadmoor is that there’s a more accessible entry-level price point than other resorts at this quality level. In addition to the vast number of things to do, I suspect this is one of the reasons that The Broadmoor is so popular for extended family gatherings.
The room design is classic and comfortable, with high-quality linens and luxurious bathrooms. In-room coffee makers are provided, as well as a fully stocked mini-fridge.
Two connecting premier rooms are ideal for families, offering one king bedroom and one bedroom with two queen beds. The starting rate is $405++ per room per night.
Honestly, we barely scratched the surface of things to do in and around Colorado Springs. We did manage to make it to the adjacent Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, one of the best zoos I’ve experienced anywhere in the world. The mountain setting is beautiful and the animal exhibits are engaging. At every corner, we were literally face to face with an amazing animal.
The zoo encourages interaction where possible, from feeding the giraffes to docent-led tours and scheduled animal encounters. Yes, it’s a zoo, and by nature the animals aren’t free to roam wherever, but conversation is the clear mission at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. From what we witnessed, it’s successful in terms of education and exposure.
We also made it to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, where massive red sandstone formations are set against the mountain scenery. It’s wild and beautiful.
Other area attractions include Pikes Peak and its cog railway, as well as Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings and Cave of the Winds. There’s a laundry list of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, river rafting … the list goes on. The Broadmoor is as wonderful for a short getaway as it for a weeklong vacation venue.
Celebrities and dignitaries from around the world have stayed at The Broadmoor over the past century. Proof is in the Hall of Fame, showcasing photos though time: presidents, movie stars, sports stars, heads of state … the list goes on. This resort has a persistent place in American history, for good reason.
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Editor’s Note: The Broadmoor provided a media package for our stay. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy except where noted.
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