Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Cruise Ship to Nowhere 

Visiting Colorado's "Grand Dame of the Rockies"

It truly IS grand! So good that we came twice in one year! We usually travel out of state during the off season in Vail to visit family and friends or a beach somewhere while the The Little Diner is closed in May and October to recharge, but this year we decided to stick around and check out what our friends have been raving about. We came in the spring for a few days to "scope it out" over Mother's Day weekend and since we couldn't travel in the fall with Peg being pregnant we decided to go back during our wedding anniversary week! 

You could probably produce an entire coffee table book about The Broadmoor with all the history, natural beauty, activities, artwork, and food in and around the resort (and I'm sure you can buy one in one of the many shops around the resort or on Amazon), but I'll try to do it some justice here.. I say coffee table book because you cannot capture it in a smaller book format, on a webpage, or even this blog post for that matter! Sorry for the pedestrian attempts at good photography, but when we came here in both May and October and the weather didn't cooperate too much.. The hail and rain was so bad I missed two tee times because of it! 
You can read more about it [here].

None of my pictures do this place justice even on the cloudy and rainy days it is beautiful!

You can explore everything the resort has to offer in detail by going to their website [here]. 
Be sure to check out their low-season specials and packages from October through May. 
It is never cheap, but the service and amenities make it worth every penny! There is a reason why it has been ranked 5 stars by Forbes for 54 consecutive years (longer than any other resort on its list) and 5 diamond by AAA for 39 years.. That is just for the resort as a whole! This doesn't include all the individual accolades the restaurants and golf courses have been awarded.

The Resort

The property is HUGE! The hotel itself has 779 rooms in five buildings built in the Italian Renaissance style from 1918 to 2001. The resort sits on one square mile of land with Cheyenne Lake, three championship golf courses, eighteen restaurants (if you count cafes & lounges), a world class tennis center, four swimming pools including an indoor pool and an outdoor infinity pool with water slides, full service spa with 43 treatment rooms and nail salon, fitness center, 25 retail shops, a bowling alley, movie theater, 185,000 sq ft conference center, the Broadmoor World Arena, Pauline Chapel, El Pomar House & Foundation, and the Penrose Heritage Museum. There are also cottages on the golf courses available to rent and free shuttle service between all resort areas - be sure to tip your driver. They even had their own ski area, Ski Broadmoor, up by the zoo on Cheyenne Mountain from 1959-1991!

Looking north from our "suite" in the Broadmoor West Tower where we stayed during our anniversary week in October.

Looking east from our "premier room" in Broadmoor West during our May getaway.

While our "suite" in the West Tower in the top photo was very large, appointed similarly, and had a large deck with sweeping views of the property we actually preferred this "premier" room (in the picture above) in the main part of Broadmoor West instead. The West Tower is a little more quiet, but the main part of Boradmoor West seems more centrally located. Also, the "premier" rooms in Broadmoor West were just remodeled two years ago so they are the newest rooms in the hotel with a few more modern touches.

The brand new bathrooms in the "premier" rooms feature a steam shower, jacuzzi tub, and this large backlit mirror with a TV that appears in the middle when you switch it on! You can see it in the photo, but it is hard to make out with the naked eye in person.. We loved this room and the resort so much we extended our stay a couple days.

The Shrine

Hear the Westminster chimes from the mountainside every hour or so? Be sure to take the time to go to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun high above the resort. Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose, his wife Julie, and two close friends are interred in the chapel. It is named for Spencer's close friend Will Rogers who performed at the hotel for many years and died tragically in an airplane crash in Alaska. Operated by the Penrose's charitable organization, The El Pomar Foundation, admission is free with your stay, but you have to enter through the gate at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo which requires admission. Make a day of it and do both! Your zoo entry is valid all day. If you go to the zoo late in the day to view the feedings they may be nice and let you up to the shrine the next day if you present your receipt. Technically the shrine closes at 5:00pm, but be sure to drive up there earlier because the road closes at 4:00pm and you'll want plenty of time to explore! More information [here].

The Views are SPECTACULAR! If you go earlier the light for photo's is much better as the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain starts creeping across the valley floor after about 2:30pm or so - especially from fall to spring when the sun is lower in the sky.

El Pomar (the Penrose estate) - to the left, the hotel grounds - center left, and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo - below right.

To the left beyond the parking lot for the shrine is the steep unpaved road to Cloud Camp. Be sure to shift into low gear on your descent to prevent overheated brakes - the road is deceivingly long and steep back to the hotel.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

The zoo is a must do and one of the best I've ever been to! It's not huge, but you need to take a half day or so to explore everything it has to offer. The hotel opened the zoo after the wild animals Spencer Penrose bought to roam freely around the hotel grounds started disturbing the guests. Afternoons are best for feeding times for most animals, but you can feed the giraffes any time of day! More information [here].

Many of the more docile animals are kept in a spacious common area near the entrance where they are free to roam about.

Peg feeding the giraffes.

The bears at feeding time.

The Wilderness Experience

Recently the Broadmoor has expanded their offering to "The Wilderness Experience". It includes several smaller boutique properties that offer unique outdoor activities that are separate from the resort. 

Cloud Camp - An all inclusive mountaintop lodge high above the resort on Cheyenne Mountain with seven fully appointed guest rooms, a honeymoon suite, twelve cabins, and 360 degree views.

The Ranch at Emerald Valley - A full service guest ranch with one guest room and six cabins located on the western side of Cheyenne Mountain near The Stables at The Broadmoor.

The Broadmoor Fishing Camp - An exclusive fly fishing encampment with five miles of private water on the Tarryall River, seven guest cabins, and main lodge near Lake George.

Seven Falls - "The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado" since 1885! Located just five minutes away from the hotel on the free resort shuttle is this spectacular site with day and night activities including hiking and zip-lining. Up until three years ago this was a private tourist attraction owned by the same family 68 years! There is an additional entry fee even though it's associated with the resort, but it is totally worth it. More information [here].

Take the time to visit Seven Falls while you are there. This is a MUST DO while at the resort. The hike up the stairs isn't for the faint of heart, but is very rewarding once you get to the top. Those with a fear of heights can take the elevator up to the viewpoint where I shot this picture from. Bring some quarters with you so you can feed the trout! There are fish food dispensers next to the trout ponds at the bottom of the falls.

Even I had a little trouble with vertigo coming down from the top! At night they light up the main falls area. Restaurant 1858 sits right next to the main trout pond and is open for lunch and dinner service.

Peg negotiating the steps on the way down the deepest section. I love the patio with the Adirondack style chairs - very tranquil despite the loudness of the falls. Two years ago the canyon was filled-in with mud and debris during a torrential flash flood and everything was destroyed. Philip Anschutz, the owner of the Broadmoor, stepped in and purchased the management rights to the area. In the process they've completely remodeled everything and upgraded all the infrastructure with new stairs, trails, lighting, roads, elevator, and buildings.

The brand new Restaurant 1858 at the tram circle with the gift shop behind me. Be sure to plan your visit around a meal here with plenty of time to hike and explore everything the canyon has to offer. Even the walk up the road from the main gate to the turnaround is great, but you can always take the tram up or down. Late spring and early summer is the best time to visit as there is more water moving through the area.

The restaurant specializes in cuisine inspired by the late 1800's. This was probably one of the best prices of trout I've ever had! They have several different preparations of the dish..

Other Activities

As you've seen so far there are plenty of things to do in and around the resort that will appeal to even the most discerning visitor. Below I've listed some the unique things we were able to participate in (or wanted to do) beyond the spa, the golf courses, or bigger attractions. There truly is something for everyone at the resort. More information [here].

Pikes Peak:

In addition to the resort properties, the World Arena, and the Wilderness Experience the resort owns and operates the Pikes Peak Railway in Manitou Springs. Be sure to plan ahead! You have to book in advance and it takes about a half day to take the train up and back. We made this mistake and were unable to do it. Take the whole day to explore Manitou Springs while you're there! Great for kids - so we'll definitely take Charlotte next time we visit! More information [here].

Penrose Heritage Museum:

This is actually two small museums in one! The El Pomar Carriage Museum houses the Penrose's personal collection of carriages, automobiles, and memorabilia. It is also home to the Pikes Peak Hillclimb Museum. Spencer Penrose founded the Pikes Peak International Hill climb in 1916 and it is still run every 4th of July weekend! Admission is free to all hotel guests.

Penrose House:

We didn't get the chance to visit the Penrose's home either time these past two visit's, but we will definitely do it during our next stay. It is a beautiful estate and we can't wait to check it out! Try to schedule on a nice day - the grounds are as amazing as the mansion. Tours are free and available by reservation only every Monday at 10:00am and 2:00pm. More information [here].

Western Art & Historical Tour:

We actually did this twice because the two tour guides concentrate on different aspects of the history and art of the hotel. They take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays and meet at 10:00am at the concierge office next to the Hotel Bar. The tours last about an hour to hour and a half. In addition to some history of the hotel and some funny facts the tour guides tend to focus primarily on the artwork throughout the property. The Broadmoor and El Pomar contain the largest and most diverse collection of western art in the world! More information [here].


Check out the hotel's events calendar [here]. New release (in-theater) as well as popular (released to dvd) movies play in the "Little Theater" next to the main hotel lobby every day and are free to guests. There are also cooking, wine pairing, and mixology classes listed. Even more activities as well as the current movie schedule are on the hotel's blog [here]. 


With all the the things the hotel owns, operates, or is associated with in the Colorado Springs area you'd think there is almost nothing else to see right? Well, there are still a few things worth checking out. Garden of the Gods is awesome, Manitou Springs is worth a stop, and the cathedral at the Air Force Academy is very beautiful. You can even take a drive up to the historic mining town of Cripple Creek to hit the slots! Just ask the concierge and they will be able to assist you with whatever your heart desires.. :)

Food & Dining

I bet you thought I'd never get around to this part right? Well, of course the main reason we came to the Broadmoor was the food. It would be difficult to justify a research & development trip for The Little Diner without it. Initially it was for the "world famous" Mothers Day Brunch held at Lakeside Terrace in the main building, but as we soon found out every restaurant at the hotel was awesome and  are some of the best in Colorado!

Technically the resort has 18 food service outlets- this includes all the snack bars and grab & go's as well as the bars & full service restaurants. In reality the hotel has 12 full service restaurants. Most are open year round with the exception being the ones at the golf courses.

Please keep in mind there are dress codes for all the food outlets on the property and most of the restaurants require a reservation - especially for brunch at Lakeside Terrace and at the dinner establishments (even at The Golden Bee!). If you go to the individual webpage of each spot on the Broadmoor website [here] they will give you detailed information on policies as well as restaurant hours as not all of them are open 7 days a week - even more so in the off season. We usually try to figure out a dining itinerary and book our meal reservations when be book our hotel room to guarantee a table. The restaurants are not only popular with hotel guests, but also with the entire greater Colorado Springs area!

Lakeside Terrace Dining Room:

The Sunday Brunch (and especially the Mothers Day Brunch) is what Lakeside Terrace is famous for! In fact, breakfast and brunch is all that is served here 7 days a week. Monday through Saturday there is just a standard breakfast buffet served from 7am-11am and Sunday brunch starts at 9am and the last seating is at 1:30pm. If you plan on going to the Mothers Day Brunch you must book it at least 3-6 months ahead of time over the phone. Insist on dining in the Lake Terrace Dining Room and show up on time otherwise you may get seated in another location. They sometimes put the overflow in other meeting rooms on the property without a view of the lake.

The buffet area is very impressive with several stations. To the left is the Bloody Mary/ Mimosa Bar, the guy playing the grand piano, pastry station, antipasti station, waffle station, omelet station, eggs-to-order and Eggs Benedict Station. In the middle is the seafood station with a guy shucking oysters & clams and serving crab legs, smoked muscles, and shrimp cocktail. Behind the seafood station is the hot food buffet including two carving stations with roast beef & ham and multiple hot dishes including scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, roasted chicken, salmon w/ bernaise, leg of lamb, hash browns, mashed potatoes, vegetables, soup, etc.. To the right is the dessert buffet complete with chefs manning a crepe station! Proper dress is required for the Sunday Brunch.

The dining room with the fountain in the middle and panoramic views of the lake and the mountains behind me.

Everything is delicious!

The Penrose Room:

Colorado's ONLY Five Star/ Five Diamond Restaurant as voted by Mobil and AAA respectively. Very appropriate as this place is awesome! The food is to die for and the service is second to none. It is a seasonal "european inspired" contemporary menu that changes constantly. You can either order off the 3 or 4 course a la carte menu or try the Chefs Tasting Menu. Personally I get the Chef's Tasting Menu with wine pairings. The sommelier's here are pro's and very accommodating. Add to it the sweeping views from the top floor of Broadmoor South and the jazz entertainment & dancing and you have a romantic dinner out that is very hard to beat anywhere! Open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday and proper dress is required.

View of the lake and mountains from the Penrose Room.

Kamachi Sashimi appetizer.

The Fois Gras is always on the menu!

Ristorante Del Lago:

Del Lago is a newer rustic Italian eatery in Broadmoor West opened just a year or two ago and is open only for dinner Thursday through Monday. They specialize in fresh house made pastas and wood fired oven pizzas. It is recommended that you get 2 to 3 courses and most everything is made to share family style. They have a chef's tasting menu which I highly encourage. Del Lago is also open for breakfast every day and I actually prefer it over Lakeside Terrace except for Sundays (obviously.. lol). Business Casual dress is suggested for dinner.

Clockwise from top - house made sausage & meatballs, seafood antipasti, fire roasted cauliflower, and roasted chicken w/ fingerling potatoes.

More fire roasted veggies, house made pesto gnocchi, and house made bucatini all' amatriciana.


Summit restaurant is the Broadmoor's French - American Bistro. The wine cellar is particularly impressive here and the restaurant itself has won numerous awards. The food is great and the cocktails are very good! Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner only. Business Casual dress required.

Steak Frites. Very good! The mini baguettes in the background were especially good! In fact ALL the bread at the Broadmoor is incredible! Hats off to the bakery - they make the bread for the entire hotel fresh every single day. It is very difficult to not fill up on it at all the restaurants on property.

La Taverne:

The tavern is the hotel's main restaurant and is open for Lunch and Dinner daily. It is basically a french inspired steakhouse with an oyster bar and offers solid classic stick to your bones fare and great old school cocktails. The steaks are great and they have a few unique things that aren't offered widely anymore like Shrimp Louis, Croque Monsieur, Salmon Tartare, and Dover Sole. Business Casual Dress suggested.

Fresh Oysters!

Porterhouse & Onion Rings!

PlAy at the Broadmoor:

Is it a bowling alley, game room, restaurant, or sports bar? The answer is all of the above! It's also very good. The food is great - like gourmet bar food from all over the world. The cocktail & drink list is very impressive as well - especially the boozy shakes. Open daily for lunch and dinner with business casual dress suggested.

Chicken wings and a beer.. Mmmmm.

Golden Bee:

A real english pub that was disassembled and installed into the Broadmoor's conference center. You can get true yards of beer here as well as traditional pub fare. We had the Fish & Chips and Bangers & Mash with some Scotch eggs last time and they were great! Reservations are highly suggested during the times of the Ragtime Piano performance and the Sing-a-long. Open daily for lunch and dinner with Business Casual dress suggested.

Complementary house made pub cheese & Melba Toast. 

Scotch Eggs! Yummy.

House made Bangers & Mash w/ a pot pie!

Other outlets:

Natural Epicurean- 
The Broadmoor's fresh & healthy eatery with locally sourced ingredients from Broadmoor Farms nearby. Serving salads, sandwiches, and pastries daily for breakfast & lunch. Located in Broadmoor West. Casual dress.

Espresso News- 
Patisserie, ice cream, and coffee shop located in Broadmoor main. Open all day and every day from 6am. Casual dress.

Golf Club Dining-
Seasonal Only from May through October. Hotel guests are welcome to enjoy the food at the Golf Club Dining Room and the Golf Club Grille for lunch and dinner daily during the season. Breakfast is available at the Golf Club Dining Room on Sundays only. The Mountain Course restaurant is closed at this time. All golf course restaurants serve classic clubhouse fare like meatloaf, fried chicken, burgers, sandwiches, and Cobb & Cesar salads. Business Casual dress or golf attire suggested.

The Hotel Bar-
Experience some history with the murals around the bar while enjoying a signature martini! Limited bar food menu is also available. Business Casual dress suggested.

Well, we hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed visiting! 
Maybe not, but our wish is that you take the time to visit this special place. 
This is a way to walk back in time and experience what vacationing 
used to be like and should be again..

Safe travels and Bon App√©tit!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful article! We went there once when visiting Colorado Springs for the annual induction ceremonies for the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. It was kind of an in and out visit just to see what it was like after hearing about it for many years. Hopefully sometime in the future I would like to stay there for a few days. Even then I don't think it would be possible to take it all in on one visit. This is definitely some place to revisit numerous times. The food services sound great.