While the inclement weather wasn’t expected at that time of year, it didn’t detract from the majestic beauty of our surroundings. Nestled at the southern edge of the Rockies, at the bottom of Pikes Peak (at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet), the Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond Broadmoor resort caters to the upscale visitor but is also home to renowned meeting facilities.
Built by gold and copper magnate Spencer Penrose in 1918, The Broadmoor practically oozes history, with turn-of-the-century décor and views that have barely changed in a hundred years. An on-site archivist, who is available for group property tours, told us about the historical documents that are still being discovered on site, including photos from throughout the resort’s lifetime. The property’s 744 guest rooms soon will increase to 775 in an upcoming $60-million renovation of the West Building, slated for completion in May 2014.
Our first night at The Broadmoor, we were treated to a round of bowling at the newly opened PLAY. We sampled upscale “alley food” as we waited our turn on the lanes, including New Mexico Nachos, crab-cake sliders, and sushi, courtesy of Chef David Patterson. Six lanes of bowling are available to resort guests from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m., and lanes can also be reserved for private events.
The morning of our second day, we loaded into vans for a half-hour drive up the mountain to tour The Broadmoor’s under-construction Ranch at Emerald Valley inside the 100,000 acres of Pike National Forest. Scheduled to open next month, the ranch is an all-inclusive destination that can be used for small groups or retreats, sleeping up to 32. Ten cabins are currently being refurbished along with The Grand Lodge, where guests will take family-style meals provided by a Broadmoor chef. Ranch guests will also enjoy access to The Broadmoor’s facilities and activities, not to mention a host of outdoor activities in a setting that takes your breath away (and not just because of the 8,100-foot elevation).
Our group of 10 was also able to experience some of the amenities The Broadmoor has to offer, including services at The Spa at The Broadmoor, which features 39 treatment rooms. Group members also partook in indoor tennis drills, although unfortunately options for golf at one of the resort’s three championship-level courses were curtailed by thunderstorms. An indoor and outdoor pool, hot tubs, 25 retail shops, and all manner of outdoor activities are also available.
With all these activities and entertainment options, you might think the actual meeting could become an afterthought. Not so — The Broadmoor offers a number of spaces for meetings and breakouts of all sizes throughout the property, including the 18,000-square-foot International Center and the 15,000-square-foot Colorado Hall. Adjacent to these (and just a short walk from the main property) is Broadmoor Hall, a 60,000-square-foot, pillarless ballroom where we experienced just one of the many meeting services provided by Destination Services Corporation, The Broadmoor’s in-house destination management company: Human Foosball in a giant, inflatable court. We worked up a sweat, but also got to see the flexibility and versatility of the resort’s spaces and services. And with audiovisual services also conveniently located on site, The Broadmoor can provide complete support for a meeting or trade show.
We also visited Cheyenne Lodge, a 6,300-square-foot facility located next to the Mountain golf course, that is often used for receptions or other events. With a large terrace overlooking the mountains and the city of Colorado Springs, the lodge can hold up to 350 people for a seated meal — and is home each year in June to Barbecue University, a three-day workshop that the Food Network has named the “best BBQ experience in the U.S.”
No trip to The Broadmoor would be complete without a sampling from its many world-class restaurants. Our second night, we dined at Summit, the contemporary counterpoint to The Broadmoor’s usual classic design. Serving a menu full of local and seasonal American ingredients, Summit features both “seasonal” and “favorites” menus, where you’ll find such staples as lobster mac and cheese and the Angry Trout (whole and filleted, with its tail pulled through the mouth — hence its fury).
The Golden Bee is an English-style pub that serves up traditional cocktails and beer, as well as a live piano sing-along nightly. Songbooks are provided, and patrons are encouraged to make requests and join in the ragtime-style belting. We did so, enjoying Pimm’s Cups and Moscow Mules, singing along to songs like “Piano Man” and “The Dock of the Bay.”
Perhaps the most iconic dining option at The Broadmoor is the Penrose Room, which opened in 1961 and is Colorado’s only Five-Star and Five-Diamond restaurant. Located at the top of Broadmoor South, for larger groups the restaurant features three- or four-course meals, and a chef’s tasting menu by Chef de Cuisine Korey Sims, complete with wine pairings. We wrapped up our Broadmoor experience in the restaurant, against the backdrop of Cheyenne Mountain with a stunning view of the property’s lake and golf courses.