“Welcome to my princess land, Gramma” is how my four-year-old granddaughter greeted me at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs on our recent visit there. I could see how the historic towers might resemble a castle to a four-year-old enthralled with the storybook world of princesses and princes. Perhaps the only missing structures were a drawbridge and moat, but Kaydence didn’t seem to notice.
And it's no stretch of the imagination that the attention you receive from the uniformed staff is fit for a princess. A security guard greets you first, and from that moment, you’re whisked away into your own magical kingdom with what seems like your own personal servants. This wasn’t my first visit to the luxurious Broadmoor, but it was my first hotel adventure with my two grandchildren, Kaydence and two-year-old Ryland.
Surrounded by the mountains and framed by Cheyenne Lake, the historic Broadmoor is just 90 miles south of Denver, or a few miles from its own airport. The resort sits on 3,000 beautifully sculpted acres with splashes of brightly-colored flora and manicured lawns. The lake’s glassy surface is marred only by the occasional floating duck, and with the right amount of rain (such as we experienced), other creatures like earthworms and frogs might catch your child’s attention. Other animals, such as deer and foxes, frequently cross the fairways on the resort’s three 18-hole golf courses.
Unfortunately, our last-minute booking was too late for a stay at the new Broadmoor Cottages, touted as a unique gathering place for family and friends, but our room in the south wing was perfectly acceptable with a king-size bed and roll-away bed.
Before the traditional jumping on the bed, the grandkids inspected the oversized tub in our room and announced that it was their new “swimming pool.” After a late dinner at the Golf Club Grille followed by a quick dip in the pool, located near the fitness center, somehow I convinced the kids to go to sleep—or maybe it was I who dozed off first.
The next morning, I’d made plans to connect with a family friend, also on vacation with her kids. Instead of the free hotel shuttle, I opted to drive the few minutes to meet them for our first adventure at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the highest altitude zoo in the U.S.
The up-close-and-personal visit with the giraffes was the highlight as both grandkids fed the long-necked creatures with nervous excitement and an “ewww” from my granddaughter. This was the first of many hands-on animal meetings. Feeding the birds and petting a baby wallaby were also met with fascination and giggles. We were minutes from the Skyride over the new Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit, before thunderstorms necessitated a quick exit back to the hotel.
The rain may have chased us away from the zoo, but we still wanted to get wet at The Broadmoor’s 11,000-square-foot outdoor infinity pool, Slide Mountain water slide, and kiddie pool with a waterspout. Our return to The Broadmoor was hopeful, but the clouds and rain continued while my grandkids pretended they were ducks, stomping their sandals in the puddles along the way.
Historic carriages, cars, and American memorabilia fascinated my grandkids during a visit to the free Carriage Museum. Located across the street from the hotel in Broadmoor Hall, the items once belonged to the Broadmoor founders Spencer and Julie Penrose. The little ones were more inclined to believe they belonged to Cinderella’s fairy godmother.
Rain or shine, The Broadmoor offers plenty to keep you busy, from family bingo to Wii tournaments, to paddle boats and biking. Instead of holing up in your room, end the day in the Little Theatre; bring your own snacks or drinks and enjoy a movie as a family. Most kids are also happy to hang around the pool, and The Broadmoor offers both an outdoor and indoor pool to keep from getting the rainy-day blues.
If you’ve been here, I don’t have to tell you about the guaranteed amazing experience any age will have. The Broadmoor is luxury travel at its best, and not just for the traveling business person or luxury-inclined adult traveler. The Broadmoor welcomes families with a kid-friendly taste of luxury from frolicking in its swimming pools to a horseback ride at their stables, or pampering for parents at their full-service spa.
However, don't let all that luxury intimidate your wallet. Surprisingly, for those willing to scout around its website, the Broadmoor offers a budget-friendly value for families, including a summer of deals when kids ten and under stay and eat free.
If you manage to tear yourself away from the luxury hotel experience, the Colorado Springs area offers an abundance of activities—many of them free. From riding the Pikes Peak Cog Railway (especially exciting during a spring snowstorm) to hiking the majestic Garden of the Gods, The Broadmoor is indeed a vacation in a princess land. --Diana Rowe
Diana Rowe is a Denver-based writer, addicted to travel whether in her own Colorado backyard or across the pond. You can read about her travels at dianarowe.com, or as Denver Travel Examiner at Examiner.com
PHOTOS: Top: Room at the Broadmoor; Middle: Pool at the Broadmoor; Bottom: Feeding giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Diana Rowe)
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