For almost a century, The Broadmoor has been known as the most upscale hotel in Colorado, with a signature reputation for elegance and service that extends far beyond the state. In the clear air of Colorado Springs, bordering a lake, the glamourous Italianate hotel, with its frescoed ceiling and stained glass skylight, has added several new buildings, an infinity pool, renowned golf courses, a spa and tennis courts. The property drew American Presidents foreign VIPs, movie stars and sports figures.
There was always a sense of continuity and a one-property attitude, ever since the first owner, the eccentric mining magnate, Spencer Penrose, opened the Broadmoor in l918, after making the grand tour of Europe and staying its finest hotels.. Now the current and third owner (in a century), Philip Anschutz, has taken the reins and extended The Broadmoor to new heights. Literally. The new “wilderness experience”, the Ranch at Emerald Valley, which opened August 1, sits on untouched land over 8,2000 ft. above sea level. It’s a cluster of ten renovated vintage cabins and a grand lodge set among old growth Ponderosa pine. The sixteen acres are surrounded by over 100,000 acres of wilderness in the Pike National Forest. If glamping is glamourous camping, then a new word should be invented for luxurious log cabining.
After checking into The Broadmoor, you are driven eight miles up and up, along roads – some paved, mostly rough -until you get to the Ranch at Emerald Valley. There you are shown to your cabin, one among ten, with rustic luxe appointments that include woven rugs and a wood burning fireplace. The front porch offers a view of the trees and the profusion of wildflowers.
For meals and events there’s the main house, called the Lodge. It recalls that lovely 1910-ish time, when great inns were built in national parks like Yosemite. (Indeed Broadmoor founder Penrose built this place as a private getaway for himself and his guests.) The Lodge has a lounge with leather chairs and a large fireplace, a dining room, and an irresistible terrace where you can inhale the scent of pine, spruce and aspen, and gaze out at the forest.
With a skillful young chef, Kevin Reinhold, and the resources of The Broadmoor (expertly made breads and Lavash crackers are delivered daily), the meals are about the only thing that can draw people away from the scenic outdoors. The breakfast buffet, with its fresh juices, fine pastries, eggs, bacon and cinnamon rolls, is a good start to the day. Lunch can be a bisque of juicy tomatoes and cream, and gourmet sandwiches. Dinner is whatever strikes the chef’s fancy, especially if it’s local. On a recent visit, menus included Wagyu cote de boeuf, roasted rack of Colorado lamb, Colorado red trout amandine, American paddlefish caviar, seared dayboat scallops with kale and white bean salad. Desserts include profiteroles, ice cream and delicate fruit-filled pastries called ranch pies.
After dinner, guests congregate around the outdoor fire pit to talk, roast smores, or just silently experience the place.
During the day, there’s hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, mountain biking and archery. These activities will be expanded as time goes on. Given the August 1 opening, everything is new, except, of course, the primeval wooded setting. And if anyone feels like a spa treatment or a round of golf, a phone call will bring a car to the site and the guest will be whisked down the hill.
At the Ranch at Emerald Valley, all activities, as well as lessons – and all meals exclusive of alcoholic drinks – are included in the rates of $435 per night, per person. Until Oct 31, the new facility offers a 25 per cent discount.