Winter at The Broadmoor, February, 2017

the broadmoor, colorado springs, winter visit holiday vacationMy 13yo daughter K- and I have had multiple opportunities to visit the lovely Broadmoor Hotel and Spa in Colorado Springs, but never in the depths of winter. With a few days off school for mid-February break, however, we got all the stars to align and headed off to Colorado Springs from our home in Boulder, Colorado for a few days vacation, courtesy of the hotel. We drove a 2017 Lexus NX300h, which added to the luxury of the adventure: a fancy car for a fancy hotel.

Having stayed at The Broadmoor before, we knew our way around and called ahead to arrange dinner and activity reservations, our first night’s dinner — and bowling — at Play, the second afternoon at Restaurant 1858 up in the mountains above Colorado Springs, evening at The Golden Bee, and a mani-pedi for K- at the Salon the morning we had to depart. As with anywhere popular, it’s smart to plan ahead: The Broadmoor has an impressive 20 restaurants and eateries on property.

We checked in — receiving the traditional box of chocolates from reception along with our keys — and were delighted with our Premier room. Two luxurious queen beds and oodles of room to stretch out and relax, along with a luxe bathroom that features a mirror with a secret identity: an embedded tv screen if you want to turn it on. The view off our balcony was nothing to scoff at either:

view across the lake, the broadmoor, colorado springs

The Broadmoor is huge, as you can see: The buildings above are the main, older part of the hotel, while our room (and Play, among other restaurants) are located in the West building. And The Broadmoor has quite a history too, first opening its doors as a private hotel back in 1918. Next year is its 100th anniversary and we hear that there’s going to be a splendid historic book published as part of the celebration.

Our first order of business was to unpack and arrange our clothes, which was considerably easier for me than it was for K-. If heavy is the opposite of light, then that’s how she travels, as you can see in the comparison between our suitcases. Remember, this was for a two-night stay:

big suitcase, little suitcase

I’m not really the kind of guy who changes outfits multiple times a day, so two nights requires fairly little gear. K-, on the other hand, well, she didn’t wear all of the clothes she brought, but she did have a surprisingly number of outfits! One of those things I suspect most dads just grin and bear, since we’ll never really understand it. 🙂

We headed down to Play for dinner and bowling, but were sidetracked by the pool table (which brings back memories of my college years, but that’s another post entirely) and the table shuffleboard game. Eventually we made it to the bowling alley and were there early enough that it was lovely and quiet:

bowling the broadmoor play

Though not for the budget-minded, the bowling alley at Play is one of my favorite in Colorado with its pristine balls and luxurious finish. We bowled pretty well and worked up an appetite, so migrated to the dining area for dinner.

K- got sushi while I tried the curried chicken with sticky rice and a mango slaw. Much deliciousness:

medallions of beef, play restaurant, the broadmoor

See the green stack with the gold “The Broadmoor” lettering on it? That was our handy deck of playing cards. They show up in many photographs because K- and I were constantly battling in an epic Gin Rummy game that spread across the entire trip. She’s quite the card shark, a definite chip off the old block!

Dinner was quite delicious, as I’ve mentioned, particularly the sauce on the meat. A modest portion, it proved exactly the quantity I wanted for a meal during an active evening.

We were soon back to the pool table for some additional games. When they bring over the billiard balls, they’re on a silver platter too. How awesome is that? You can’t play games without at least a modest treat, so we opted for some churros. Quite light and tasty, as you’d hope:

churros from play, the broadmoor

Definitely not amusement park churros, that’s for sure. And, served with a butterscotch sauce, they were quite yummy!

We headed back to the room to watch The Food Network (our go-to channel when traveling) and the next morning got up slooowwwwllly. Hey, we were on vacation! The weather had turned colder and there was snow in the forecast, but we were scheduled to head up to Seven Falls and Restaurant 1858 and since we’d never been there before, bundled up and grabbed a shuttle.

Seven Falls is a park area that The Broadmoor purchased in 2013 after a devastating flood washed away most of the road in this beautiful slot canyon with the titular seven waterfalls cascading down almost 180 feet. It took two years to rebuild and the result is beautiful, a rugged canyon with no private vehicles and a restaurant and bar – Restaurant 1858 – at the top of the road, just a few steps from the waterfall itself.

The restaurant is themed to the Colorado Gold Rush of 1858, with replica mining shares adorning the walls and a menu inspired by classic mountain foods:

restaurant 1858, the broadmoor seven falls

It was quiet the afternoon we were there because it was darn cold and snowing. Still worth the trip, however, a total of maybe 15 minutes in the Broadmoor shuttle.

K- didn’t find much to her tastes on the menu so got “chicken fingers”, which were surprisingly tasty. I ordered the pulled BBQ chicken hoagie, which was quite delicious:

pulled bbq chicken hoagie, restaurant 1858, the broadmoor seven falls

We also ordered a dessert, the triple chocolate brownie with ice cream, but it wasn’t properly cooked and we were definitely underwhelmed. Sometimes I think that restaurants have a hard time when it’s quiet and are at their best when there’s a crowd.

After our meal we bundled up and stepped out into the snow to check out the waterfall, and it was beautiful, a frozen waterfall. For once, I even have a photo of myself to share:

dave taylor standing in front of frozen waterwall, seven falls, broadmoor, colorado springs

Truly gorgeous, even though it was a little bit cold, maybe 22F or thereabouts.

We didn’t last long in the cold and headed back to The Broadmoor for a warm-up break. In fact, our warm-up was to head to the pool at the Spa, and oh, what a wonderful indoor pool they have! There’s a huge outdoor pool complex, of course, but that’s for summer visits, not February during the snow.

Seriously, though, how can you not feel like you’re in The Great Gatsby with a pool like this:

indoor pool, spa at the broadmoor, colorado springs

We had lots of fun and even had a chance to check out an underwater camera. Watch my video review of the Monster Vision 1080p Action Cam and you’ll see some of our Broadmoor pool footage!

Post pool showers in the room followed by some gin rummy and, yes, a bit more of The Food Network and we were ready to head to The Golden Bee, a classic English pub relocated to Colorado Springs. It’s one of K-‘s favorite places to eat anywhere, and she always gets the same thing: fish and chips. I do too, and I added a shandy (a mix of beer and 7up, it’s quite refreshing and tasty):

fish and chips at the golden bee, colorado springs

The pub’s also known for its piano players and as it turns out, the chap who was playing piano the previous night was a friend of a friend. Would have been fun to say hi, but we hadn’t quite gotten our times aligned. Still, tasty fish, crisp fries and an atmosphere that’s loud and fun. Friday nights were extra entertaining as K- looked around in amazement at the people around us drinking their “yard of beer”. A six-pack in a single glass, how handy is that? 🙂

The walk back was bone-chilling cold, so we spent a few minutes warming up in the main building, admiring the architecture. Really, what hotels have you stayed in that have hallways like this?

interior, the broadmoor, colorado springs

The next morning we were up and packed so K- could enjoy her fantastic manicure & pedicure at the Salon at the Spa, then managed to catch up with the ever-delightful Allison Scott, head of marketing for The Broadmoor and share breakfast at the Lake Terrace Dining Room. That’s where we got the scoop on 100th anniversary plans and activities, and had a fantastic brunch that featured a wonderful custom omelette.

All too soon we had to get back in the Lexus and begin our drive homeward. Three days at The Broadmoor. And it was wonderful. It’s by no means a budget venue, but if you pay attention, you can definitely find some bargains and promotions that make it a great place to sneak away with your partner or take the kids and splurge!

For reference purposes, our premier room with valet parking and all taxes was $839.58. Had we stayed in a classic room, that would have been cut down to $579.03 for the two nights. Dinner, gaming and bowling at Play was $196.88, lunch at Seven Falls was around $40, dinner at the Golden Bee was $67.10 and our second visit to Play for more bowling was $83.62.

Disclosure: The Broadmoor comp’ed our entire stay, including all meals, room, parking and more. Which was wonderful!

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