Among the magnificent Rocky Mountains lies the gem that is the Broadmoor Resort- a luxury hotel nestled in between Colorado Springs’ treasured wilderness. Built almost a century ago, The Broadmoor boasts an upscale, best of the “American West” experience amongst the simplicity of nature coupled with elegance and grandeur of a bygone area. With amenities like championship golf, a world-class spa, and unique wilderness experiences (Cloud Camp, anyone?) We had the pleasure of visiting this one-of-a-kind venue in August, and literally the moment we left the grounds we were already plotting about how quickly we could come back. We can only imagine how incredible it would be as the backdrop for your special day…
Picture: an amazing getaway for you and your guests in some of the freshest air the world has to offer, where hiking and wilderness adventure are only a few steps away. Only an hour from Denver (although it feels like worlds away from any kind of hustle and bustle) with all the amenities of a luxury resort.
Cuisine: 10 world-renowned restaurants ranging from Italian, Seafood, and French, to organic farm-to-table cafes.
Ceremony/Reception space: both
Accommodates: They say yes to pets! This detail truly makes it feel like a home away from home, and even has it’s own adorable pet-shop on property.
Accommodations: 784 guest rooms, suites, cottages, brownstones, and magnificent Estate. Private cabins and upscale ranch accommodations are also available at the Broadmoor’s Wilderness Experiences.
Time of Year: March to May and from September to October for cooler, comfortable weather and less crowds. Holidays are cold but cozy!
*Broadmoor photos courtesy of their website.
The main ballroom with the grandeur of a bygone era.
A guest suite in the main resort.
Ristorante del Lago overlooking the lake.
One of the many cozy gathering areas and fireplaces around the resort.
The romantic back room at La Taverne Restaurant – love the ceiling installation!
Those desiring a more rustic option for the wedding reception or rehearsal dinner, Cheyanne Lodge includes expansive views with an outdoor stone fire pit and outdoor kitchen.
As we were ultimately headed to Aspen for a Wedding FAM trip, our trip to the Broadmoor was a welcome detour – but a short one! We really wish we had more time, but we fit a lot of exploring into the time we had so that we could come back with a full report for our clients and readers!
Just an hours drive from Denver made the trip super easy and the resort very accessible! We met with Catering Sales Manager Melissa Fike (a wealth of knowledge!) who gave us an extremely thorough tour of the gorgeous resort and amenities – which could take a whole day in itself. There were some incredible backdrops for ceremonies – the entire resort is perfectly positioned around a large circular lake with mountains painted in the background and impeccably manicured gardens, which I commented felt very much like Switzerland. Melissa then informed us that the original owner gathered his inspiration there and wanted to bring a piece of it back with him, so he designed the resort in that style – it was definitely apparent! So gorgeous.
After spending a few hours exploring the resort (and wow-ee, is it big! But not at all in an overwhelming and impersonal way, the resort felt very cozy and welcoming despite it’s size), we went over to Seven Falls (named Colorado’s most majestic waterfall) for a low-country meets frontier style lunch at Restaurant 1858. This did not disappoint! We are so glad we did this – the restaurant is in perfect theme for the “wild west” with it’s gold rush-era decor and would make an awesome welcome party/rehearsal dinner venue with wrap around windows – can you say waterfall views for days? Even the entrance into Seven Falls just walking up to it his breathtaking through Cheyenne Canyon.
After a yummy lunch and taking in the waterfall views from the top (we cheated and used the elevator instead of climbing the stairs, I was still in heels from our previous meeting…what can I say!) We went back to the main resort to meet our driver who would take us up to The Ranch at Emerald Valley, one of the unique wilderness experiences the resort has to offer. **Side note: I must say, we kind of lucked out the the Resort was at 100% occupancy the weekend we visited because we may have never discovered the ranch which was truly a treasure!** When you leave your car behind (because the only way to get to/from the ranch is the resort’s chauffeured SUV) – I’m pretty convinced you leave every care behind as well. As you travel the rocky, less-traveled road up the mountain (8,200 elevation, to be exact), you can literally feel the stress draining from your body 🙂 I asked our driver if many guests take advantage of the wilderness experience by day and glamour of the main resort by night? Our driver said not really, because of the 45 minute drive up the mountain, most guests staying at the ranch stay put once they arrive. The [all-inclusive] experience, while still luxurious, is a completely different one than the main resort. However, should a guest tire of “roughing it” at the ranch, the resort shuttle will gladly run him down to the main resort to play 18 holes on one of three championship golf courses and still be back in time for cocktail hour.
Surrounded by over 100,000 acres of Pike National Forest, the Ranch at Emerald Valley is an unmatched, all-inclusive retreat that combines the rustic charm of a wilderness enclave with The Broadmoor’s incomparable luxury and service. Once we arrived, I realized why no one wanted to leave. Now THIS – this is glamping at it’s finest. No cell phone service and spotty wi-fi? I could get used to that. Craig, the manger of the ranch (who, lucky dog, also calls the ranch “home” – can you imagine?) greeted us upon arrival. Speaking of dogs – the ranch’s very own adorable goldens are never very far from Craig’s heel and are the mascots of the property. The usually will help the guests who are fly fishing by retrieving their catch! Craig helped us with our bags and showed us to our postcard perfect cabin. The overall experience felt like arriving at a good friend’s amazing vacation property. So cozy, welcoming and personal, despite the luxury status. As we walked into our beautiful log cabin, the fire was going and the music was already on. Welcome home!
Our cabin, nicknamed the “Copper Cabin” because of it’s incredible ceiling.
We only had an hour or so until dinner was served in the lodge – so we settled our belongings and ventured out for a quick “nature walk” around the pond’s loop, which we were told would take about 45 minutes – perfect. We followed the pathway parkers through the woods – it was cool but not cold, a light windbreaker was sufficient. There was not an ounce of humidity or a bug in sight. Heaven? Some may say so. We of course stopped to take one too many photos along the way and had fun crossing the “bridge” – a fallen tree across a stream…the only way to progress, although I was admittedly unsure of it’s sturdiness. However it was that or go back the way we came, so we journeyed on – and that feat made these city-slickers feel quite adventurous!
The lodge at dusk.
The Tavern Bar – all drinks are included with your stay.
Check-in and dining area – your rate is inclusive of all meals.
We made it back to the cozy lodge fashionably late (but just before it was completely dark, which was a good thing seeing as we had no flashlights.) The most delicious aroma greeted us (along with the adorable mascot goldens, and about 12 other guests also staying at the property that night.) We apparently came on one of the best nights – Saturday’s they do a gourmet “cook out” including steak, salmon and lobster tails. Everyone was chatting in front of the roaring fire, wine in hand. There were a combination of smaller tables for couples having a romantic evening, and larger king style tables for those wanting to engage in conversation and make new friends. After a delicious dinner, I gilded the lily on skillet cherry pie. When everyone gathered ’round the outdoor fire pit for s’mores, I finally drew the line, and feeling a cold coming on I opted for a hot toddy. The intimate setting of the ranch provided a camaraderie and we met several interesting couples and nice families. There were several jacuzzi’s down by the ponds edge (one I had my eye on in particular was nestled perfectly in front of an outdoor stone fire place which the staff kept blazing once it fell dark.)
My husband got up at sunrise to get amazing photos, and also tried his hand at fly fishing. I slept in (again, what can I say – I was fighting a cold and really enjoying this no cellphone service thing…) We met back up with Melissa (the lovely catering sales manager) and her boss, the Director of Sales, to chat over a hot buffet breakfast and cowboy coffee back in the lodge (at this point I started thinking about going on a juice cleanse when I got home to justify my over-indulgence!) After breakfast, we bid adieu to the ranch (totally bittersweet) and hopped in the SUV to go explore Cloud Camp – the other wilderness experience, which was another 45 minutes away since there’s basically one little windy mountain road.
The setting of Cloud Camp is different than the Ranch – it’s higher elevation for one (over 9,000 to be exact), so instead of being nestled in the forest it’s at the top of the mountain with the most incredible panoramic views of Pikes Peak and of the valley. It is actually a historic site and Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose’s personal residence – known as Cheyenne Lodge. Penrose was apparently quite the character, the Gatsby of the west who loved nothing more than to show off his home with a good party…our sources say he had two [real] tigers chained up outside the lodge just for kicks. And he built the lodge at at the tippy top of the mountain because of…the prohibition era – enough said
There is a dramatic, long dining table in the main part of the lodge that seats up to 32 guests. Guests dine together, communally – or if rented for a private event (such as a wedding or family reunion, corporate retreat) – then it can be exclusively yours for the occasion. The setting looks like something out of a movie – decorated to the T, and exactly what you would dream up an American-west inspired luxury lodge to look like. The lodge also boasts an expansive wrap-around deck – cocktails and canapés, anyone? The camp has leisure activities – albeit, not as many as the ranch. Most guests come here for the views, the wonderful meals and just to – well, relax. You’ll find most guests nestled in a cozy corner with a good book in hand and a beverage.
A lovely guest room in the main lodge – there are also cabins available for more privacy, or families require more than 1 bedroom.
Transportation to this Rocky Mountain retreat is an adventure in itself. Guests have the option of either (again) a ride in a Cadillac Escalade, mule, or for the more adventurous, a rewarding three-hour hike with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet, starting at The Will Roger’s Shrine of the Sun to the camp’s location at the summit of Cheyenne Mountain.
When first approaching Cloud Camp, you first arrive at this newly built event space perfectly perched on the edge of the cliff. Great for smaller groups.
Thank you SO much to Melissa Fike and the entire staff of the Broadmoor Resort for their warm hospitality and making it possible for us to discover such a truly amazing place. We have traveled all over the world and there is something truly unique and magical here. We can’t wait to share this gem of a place with future clients, friends and family. We simply cannot return soon enough!