For nearly a century, the Broadmoor, located in Colorado Springs, has reigned over the hospitality industry with unwavering gentility and grace. Her founder, Spencer Penrose, set out to make his hotel America’s finest. During the age of the railroads Penrose amassed a fortune from mining claims, and after a grand tour through Europe—staying at first-rate hostelries—he decided to build one. Construction began in 1917 and after eight months and at the hands of 700 artisans (most brought in from Italy), the Broadmoor, with no expense spared, opened its doors on June 29, 1918. The hotel attracted a wealthy clientele in the early 20th century, drawn to the opulence of the place, the beauty of Pikes Peak, as well as the mountain air, which was said to aid recuperation from tuberculosis. Penrose was so pleased with the Broadmoor that he completed a mausoleum, the Shrine of the Sun, overlooking the property. This Grande Dame of the Rockies has had only three owners in its history—the current owner, Philip Anschutz, acquired the property in 2011, and again, no expense has been spared with renovations and expansion (a $90-million tab to date), including the opening of a sister property, the Ranch at Emerald Valley on August 1.
Just a short drive up the mountain from the Broadmoor and set in 16 acres within the Pike National Forest is the Ranch at Emerald Valley. The ranch may be only 13 kilometres of dirt road from the Broadmoor, but it may as well be 130 kilometres. What was originally Penrose’s hunting preserve—and after other ownership in between, the Broadmoor purchased back the property in 2012—today, combines the rustic charm of a wilderness enclave.
The ranch has 10 cabins—wood-burning fireplaces, rich furnishings, and modern amenities—to choose from, each with distinct mountain atmospheric touches. Ranch life centres around the Lodge, a large central cabin housing the dining room, bar, and registration/concierge overlooking two ponds. The high-mountain charm is infectious and activities include horse trail rides, archery, fly fishing, mountain biking, canoeing, and horseshoeing. A dedicated ranch staff is on hand to ensure your every whim is catered to.
Meals are prepared by chef Kevin Reinhold (under the direction of the Broadmoor’s executive chef Bertrand Bouquin) and include a wide selection of gourmet fare from brisket sandwiches, roasted rack of Colorado lamb, grilled ricotta salata, Colorado red trout amandine, Wagyu côte de boeuf, ahi tuna tartar with American paddlefish caviar, a selection of ranch pies, and the divine peach-filled doughnut holes.
Day’s end draws guests to the central fire pit for a nightcap and the making of s’mores while sharing fireside tales. What sets the Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley apart from other mountain retreats is the intimacy of place. The hideaway experience is elevated beyond its 2,500-metre altitude and yet, should mountain life be too much of a respite, one phone call and a resort vehicle will whisk you down the mountain to enjoy all the amenities the Broadmoor has to offer.