The Broadmoor resort celebrates 100 years of luxury
Considering Colorado didn’t even join the union until 1876, it’s pretty unusual to find a 100-year-old business within our borders. But The Broadmoor, the uber-elegant European-style resort nestled at the base of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, is celebrating its centennial this year, and if it’s been a while since your last visit, it’s time for a return trip.
With origins as a gambling casino in 1891, the property, founded by Spencer Penrose, opened its doors as a luxury resort on June 29, 1918. Since then, it has earned many accolades: It’s the world’s longest-running Forbes Five Star resort and has been a AAA Five Diamond award winner for 42 consecutive years.
In its 100-year history, the resort has had just three owners: Penrose (and after his death, his charitable organization, the El Pomar Foundation), the Oklahoma Publishing Company (in 1989) and the Anschutz Corp., which took control in 2011. In honor of its rich history, we scoured “The Broadmoor Story,” a coffee table book paying homage to the Grande Dame of the Rockies, and rounded up 10 Broadmoor facts—one for each decade.
1. Ever wondered about the raised “A” in the Broadmoor’s logo? Legend has it Penrose meant it as a dig to The Antlers, then the Springs’ top hotel, which Penrose had unsuccessfully tried to acquire. “Further embellishment holds that Mr. Penrose rode his horse into The Antlers Bar and ordered drinks for himself and the horse.” The truth? The flourish was for copyright reasons.
2. Opening rates for the 1,000 guests in 1918: $10 to $12 a night. In attendance: John D. Rockefeller.
3. Three “beaches” surrounded Cheyenne Lake at The Broadmoor until the early ’60s—one for guests, one for staff and one for the public. Two sea lions were brought in to eat excess goldfish in the lake, but guests complained of noise—apparently, sea lions prefer saltwater fish. The solution: Barrels of saltwater fish were flown in daily to hush the animals until 1952, when they were moved to the local zoo.
4. The Broadmoor Estate House, the stately 12,000-square-foot manor across the street from The Broadmoor Cottages built in the ’30s, was bought by Anschutz and restored Gatsby-style. It can be reserved for groups.
5. The resort campus includes 784 rooms and suites, but Anschutz has also introduced the Wilderness Experiences, nearby offshoot properties for adventure seekers. They include Cloud Camp, the Ranch at Emerald Valley, Fly Fishing Camp, The Broadmoor Seven Falls and the Broadmoor Soaring Adventure, a series of seven waterfalls and zip-line tours, respectively.
6. When the 18-hole golf course opened July 4, 1918, it was the highest course in terms of elevation in the country. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. played there in 1924, and Jack Nicklaus won his first major title there, at the 1959 U.S. Amateur Championship. The Broadmoor has hosted eight USGA championships and 23 major tournaments—though the most famous golf moment may have been during the 2008 Senior Open when a black bear crossed the tee box on hole No. 14.
7. Ten restaurants are on site, including the Penrose Room, Colorado’s only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond winner. Of note: There have been just six executive chefs in the hotel’s history.
8. The world-class Spa at The Broadmoor is also a Forbes Five Star winner. In 1918, the early version of today’s space was known as the “thermo hydrotherapeutic department,” which included a Turkish bath steam room, an electric light bath and shower, a tonic bath, a half-hour massage and an oil or alcohol rub and salt glow—with separate facilities for men and women, naturally.
9. Bringing the family? Bowl at Play; take part in the Wild West Experience, in which you can throw tomahawks or learn archery; enroll in a falconry program; or go to a “dive-in” movie at the indoor pool. Fun fact: Ski Broadmoor (1959–1991) was the first Rocky Mountain region ski area to make artificial snow. The slopes formed the shape of a “B” and included a double chair lift and 20-meter ski jump.
10. The Broadmoor is home to one of the largest collections of Western art in the world. Anschutz, a prolific Western art collector, has installed original works and high- quality reproductions at the resort, making a self- guided art tour a must.
UPCOMING EVENTS & OFFERS
Centennial Weekend Celebration
- The weekend package ($1,918 per person for two nights) includes a black-tie gala dinner, welcome reception, history tours and lectures and a Prohibition-era themed cocktail party.
Challenge America Concert
- Amy Grant and Vince Gill perform in honor of military service members, veterans and their families, with all proceeds benefiting the national veteran nonprofit Challenge America. The concert package (starting at $950 per person) includes a one-night stay and tickets for the dinner show.
June 25–July 1
U.S. Senior Open
- The 39th annual tournament will be hosted by John Elway. A fireworks show will take place June 29. Get tickets here.
The Broadmoor Invitation
- Since 1921, the nation’s top amateurs, college players and pro tour prospects have played in this tournament.
Broadmoor Centennial Package
- Available throughout 2018, this offer (rates start at $190 per person, per night) includes classic accommodations; a copy of “The Broadmoor Story”; sparkling wine and a candy nut tin; a $60 breakfast credit per night; and suites available at 25 percent off published rates.
1 Lake Ave.