Hotel Watch: Luxury in the Clouds

by Editorial

Colorado’s Broadmoor resort whisks you away to the top of the world.

By Alice Shapin

The Broadmoor's sprawling compound.

The Broadmoor’s sprawling compound.

The Broadmoor, Colorado’s historic five-star resort, is soaring even higher. It’s going 9,200 feet atop Cheyenne Mountain for the resort’s newest wilderness experience, Cloud Camp, to cap off two years of renovations and expansion that started when Phillip Anshutz bought the resort.

Anticipation began to build even before we arrived at Cloud Camp since it can only be reached by either a 4-wheel drive chauffeur-driven jeep, mules for the more adventurous, or a two-hour guided hike to the camp’s location. That decision was a no brainer — we chose the vehicle, but even that was an adventure. Think winding gravel roads with steep climbs and hairpin turns flirting with steep 1,000-foot drops.

Cloud Camp's Honeymoon Suite

Cloud Camp’s Honeymoon Suite

Once at the camp we felt as though we had landed at the top of the world. Cloud Camp’s 8,000-square-foot main lodge is modeled after the historic stone and timber lodges of the national parks. But make no mistake, while it has the feel of a national park, that’s only if the park earned five stars, with the ultimate in service and luxury. The lodge features hand-hewn beams and massive stone fireplaces, a great room, home to the dining hall with a table for 28, bar area, library with books and board games and some of the accommodations. With its wraparound deck and panoramic views, including Pikes Peak, all we wanted to do was sit in a rocking chair and take it all in, watch the blazing sunset and later stargaze at the inky night sky, with wine glass in hand.

Cloud Camp on the deck with its breathtaking views.

Cloud Camp on the deck with its breathtaking 360-degree views.

Cloud Camp has 11 one- and two-bedroom guest cabins, as well as seven guestrooms in the lodge, and a Fire Tower Honeymoon Suite accessed by way of a 145-step climb, perched atop a historic Colorado fire tower, which features a copper soaking tub, stunning 360-degree views, and is even farther away from civilization. All accommodations are beautifully appointed with rich furnishings, hickory wood flooring and paneled wood walls, private porches, and modern amenities including rain showers. The luxurious feather beds made us feel as though we were wrapped in a cocoon, floating on cloud nine.

An all-inclusive venue, guests enjoy three meals a day, campfires, archery and can explore the Pike National Forest on numerous hiking trails. The culinary experience includes such dishes as beef Wellington, duck a l’orange, filets de sole Newburg, and apple tarte tatin. It celebrates the 1918 era when the hotel first opened and also features Cloud Camp’s signature drink, the spiced rum punch, a cocktail hour where caviar and blinis are served. After dinner, hot toddies are enjoyed around the fireplace.

If you’re not up for being in the clouds, down below, at only 6,000 feet, there’s still plenty to do. The Broadmoor’s main campus has incredible amenities and activities. The towering Cheyenne Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop for the Broadmoor’s accommodations, restaurants, spa and pool. All ring the peaceful Cheyenne Lake and are connected by bridges and exquisitely landscaped walkways.

Award-winning golf courses provide a challenge for sporty guests.

Championship golf courses provide a challenge for sporty guests.

With so much to do, it’s hard to fit it all in. Golf is king at the resort. As golfers, we wanted to play all 54-holes of championship golf, the East and West on the main campus and the Mountain Course above the resort. The courses have played host to the U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and PGA Cup Matches. Not surprising, Golf Magazine named the Broadmoor, the “Number One Golf Resort of North America 2014 – 2015.”

The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Spa offers a varied menu of treatments. Relaxing in the co-ed Mountain View Room, which overlooks the golf course and the Rocky Mountains, immediately put us in a relaxed mood. When looking for exercise we had the choice of the well-equipped fitness center, a dip in the indoor pool, or the outdoor lap pool and whirlpool, open year-round.

We didn’t have any kids with us but families tended to flock to the infinity pool with stunning views of the lake and mountains. There are two water slides and two 14-person outdoor whirlpools and children’s wading pool. Another family spot is Play, a new restaurant with six bowling lanes, a lounge and a game room.

A rustic yet luxurious setting.

A rustic yet luxurious setting.

We stayed at the newly renovated West building, which had never quite fit in with the rest of the resort until the renovation was completed. Not only were the guestrooms enlarged, but another floor was added and the exterior façade totally changed so it follows the design of the main building and the original Broadmoor architecture. The luxurious marble bathrooms have a soaking tub, shower, double sink with a TV in the mirror. The beds offer the same comfortable night’s sleep as those at Cloud Camp.

Elegant accommodations in the main building.

Elegant accommodations in the newly renovated West building.

Two new restaurants were opened in the West building. Ristorante del Lago is reminiscent of a luxurious villa perched above Lake Cuomo. It offers vintage wine and an indoor/outdoor fireplace and views of Lake Cheyenne. It’s hard to resist the scrumptious breads, but remember the meal (homemade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, rotisserie chicken) and the desserts are yet to come. The other addition is Natural Epicurean, which features a wholesome, healthy and organic cuisine with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options as well as sustainably raised meat and fish dishes. It’s perfect if you want to grab and go or just have a quick meal. It has indoor and outdoor seating.

Our favorite thing is to dine al fresco or enjoy a drink outdoors. Outside of Penrose Lounge in the Main building we sipped on mojitos and bellinis , had light fare, took in the views and watched the sun set (a resort tradition.) Many of the guests had their dogs with them for this ritual since the resort is pet friendly.

For 93 years the Broadmoor, has been the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards. With Cloud Camp, part of the Wilderness Experience, which also includes The Ranch at Emerald Valley, the Broadmoor’s Fishing School and Fishing Camp and more projects on the drawing board, this historic resort is certain to continue the streak. We certainly plan to go back again.

Alice Shapin is a travel and lifestyle writer in the Washington area. She can be reached on Twitter @greatraveldeals.

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