Imagine traveling through a zoo, up 8,000 feet in the air and high atop a mule trained to ascend the death-defying heights of the Grand Canyon? Or spending the day splashing at an indoor or outdoor pool at a Disney-pristine resort with shopping and fine dining? Or your first fly-fishing cast whirring past the sound of, well, nothing, set deep in the heart of the wilderness? All of this and more are at your family’s fingertips at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado, where there’s a variety of experiences no matter what your family’s preference. (Especially exciting if you all prefer something different.)
No matter who you are, you’ll enjoy easy access to it all from the Colorado Springs Airport. Small and easy to navigate, The Broadmoor resort desk is right next to the luggage pickup so they can answer all of your questions and you can take a complimentary shuttle just 15 minutes away. (Driving from Denver International Airport is just about an easy hour and a half, too.) Vibrant flowers, rolling emerald green lawns originally designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, stately gates and pink palatial towers juxtaposed by views of the Cheyenne Mountains greet you — likely along with just about every service person there, from bellhop to bartender. A welcome as warm as the gorgeous Colorado summer (almost no humidity) awaits when you check into a whopping 779 rooms for this, the centennial year of The Broadmoor’s founding by magnate Spencer Penrose in 1918. A bit of an eccentric with a large collection of animals that became an impressive zoo just up the road, his story is lovingly retold as local legend and lore by any number of Broadmoor employees.
Over the years, this Historic Hotel of America has seen its share of additions and refurbishments, including the newest West Tower and, most recently, a lobby renovation project for the centennial celebration that opens up space for an even grander staircase, a more open common area and Café Julie’s, a brand-new Parisian-style patisserie. Delicious chocolates, ice cream and coffees are whipped up on site, complementing eight other dining choices including Colorado’s only 5-star restaurant, Penrose Lounge.
Admire the view from the outdoor pool or from the hot tubs near the indoor pool that conveniently overlook the same lush golf course where the ninth U.S. Senior Open was played this summer. Those into a bit more activity can take the hotel shuttle or walk the mile to Seven Falls, a series of easily accessible cataracts. If the ropes courses and chutes and ladders on the way up catch your eye, work up your courage for The Broadmoor’s death-defying zip-line course high atop the mountain.
Used to the altitude after a day or two? Head up to Cloud Camp and enjoy luxury lodgings with just the right amount of “roughing it” and relaxation. A shuttle service will lead you past Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (you can visit this preeminent facility for giraffe breeding in your spare time, if you like), and trek on up to the summit any number of ways. Sure, a lux vehicle with leather seats is easy, but why not get into the “wild” spirit and try one of the mules for a fun adventure around several switchbacks?
Camp dog Zoe will lovingly greet you once you make it to the top, along with innkeeper Lisa. She’ll likely be holding a gin concoction or mule of another sort to satisfy your uphill thirst before heading inside for magnificent views both inside and out. Try one of Alinea-trained chef Jonathan Frakes’ cookies and marvel at the interiors and the soaring ceilings with regional décor, including some of Penrose’s collection of Native American art, one of the country’s largest compilations of such works.
What is there to do? Well, anything or nothing! Spend the afternoon in the kitchen learning how Frakes bakes his sinful cinnamon rolls at high altitude, admire the view from one of the many cabin configurations with panoramas of Pikes Peak (for families or couples) or sign up for archery lessons. There’s a new pickleball court, crafts, lawn games like horseshoes or simply sit at the main lodge and marvel at the many hummingbirds who flock to the feeders from the clouds. Part of the fun is meal time, when everyone mixes and mingles to share the highlights of the day’s adventures.
The feeling of camaraderie is the same at Broadmoor Fishing Camp, where you can also sit around the campfire or just take as much time as you need sipping a fine wine after a gourmet dinner next to new friends. More savory steaks and chops than fish fillets, you’ll share more than food — swap stories of who caught the biggest rainbow trout of the day as you try to ward off the weepy-eyed advances of shaggy golden retriever Blue, the “Zoe” of fish camp. He’ll be wandering the grounds for a good scratch behind the ears if you’re in a rocking chair outside your cabin or suiting up in head-to-toe waterproof Patagonia gear.
In the coming months, expect that branding to change since Broadmoor was just certified as an Orvis facility, an exclusive designation reserved only for the best accommodations, expert guides and the five-plus miles of private, fully stocked waters on the Tarryall River. This pristine environment borders 120,000 acres of Lost Creek Wildnerness, part of Pike National Forest. After just a day here, you’ll find yourself escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life, getting lost in all the right ways.