The Broadmoor – Grande Dame of the Rockies

Colorado Springs Broadmoor HotelIt was a clever stroke indeed to have John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his party sign the guest register at this superlative resort hotel the day it opened in 1918.Although they allegedly checked out almost immediately, driven away by the smell of fresh paint, the Broadmoor has maintained the highest standard of excellence ever since. Entrepreneur Spencer Penrose created the resort around the same time he built the toll road up nearby Pikes Peak for a then mind-boggling quarter-of-a-million-dollar investment. Intending to compete with the Cog Railway, he then bought the railway, too.

The Broadmoor’s thirty buildings occupy 3,500 magnificently landscaped acres at the foot of Cheyenne Mountain, with Italianate architecture set off by pink stucco and palazzo-style towers. The main building features the Old World opulence of a marble staircase and fountain, hand-painted ceilings, and Italian tile. The hotel’s art collection ol Ming dynasty ceramics and works by Toulouse-Lautrec and its assortment of restaurants, lounges, bars, and caffes feed the eye and palate. The culinary possibilities are excellent: from the exquisite French menu of the elegant Penrose Room and the English-style Charles Court to the more informal Golden Bee, a gloriously old-fashioned bar (with an excellent wine list).

Three world-class championship golf courses—designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., Jack Nicklaus, and Donald Ross—coupled with the sheer beauty of the Rocky Mountains, make this a golfer’s dream destination. Of the three pools, one measures 11,000 square feel at the north end of private Cheyenne Lake and comes complete with waterslides and private cabanas. Seven courts (two of which are covered) make up the tennis complex, known for its outstanding junior tennis camps. Families come for paddleboats on the lake in summer, horseback riding in the fall, or ice skating in winter. Couples gravitate toward private lakeside rooms and two-al-a-time Swedish massages in the resort’s top-notch spa.

Colorado Springs has lots of other historical and recreational options, making it one of the state’s most popular destinations. Home to Colorado College, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the ProRodeo Hall of Fame & American Cowboy Museum, it also has a downtown central park and plaza as charming as any in the state.