When I first started my Adventure Wall, The Broadmoor Hotel was one of the first adventures to be pinned up and completed. I have put off writing about it, because, well, it’s famous and who wants to read another bit about a famous place? The point of the Adventure Wall, however, is to involve my far-off friends and family in my life and it was a little dumb of me to leave off The Broadmoor since it has become one of my favorite places in the entire world.
Not having a fancy lifestyle myself, I had NOT heard of The Broadmoor until I visited Julie Penrose’s Carriage Museum. After moving to Colorado Springs, I had become fascinated with Julie and all that she and her husband Spencer brought to this area. Besides having been amazing people in and of themselves, they are directly responsible for most of the culture to be found in our city. On my visit to see all of the Penrose carriages, I got chatting with the curator and since I can talk to anyone about anything, he discovered my interest in Julie and told me all about The Broadmoor.
The hotel, then casino, was purchased by Spencer and Julie in 1916 and re-opened in 1918 complete with golf courses, riding stables, world-class restaurants and even better musicians to accompany the new dance floors. In the almost hundred years since, it has been loved and cared for by many, staff and guests included.
My friend, Ruth was in town in July and we decided to go to The Broadmoor. As she and I quickly found out, we did not need room keys at the hotel to be treated like guests. Royalty would come closer to describing how we felt during our few hours on the grounds. The valets greeted us kindly, the doormen gave little bows as they opened doors, and every person we met asked if they could help or just smiled and asked if we were having a good time. We meandered our way through the lobby to our destination of the coffee shop and armed with truffles and coffee, we started our exploration.
It’s not often that Ruth and I are quiet, but it was hard to talk since our mouths were constantly hanging open at the loveliness that surrounded us. Each window covering, bit of wallpaper, chair, tapestry, painting and carpet is a work of art in and of itself. Julie was well known for her style and taste and even though the hotel has been remodeled since her time there, her spirit can still be felt in every detail. The entire place has a sumptuousness that defies stuffiness or pretention and instead invites you warmly in to be a part of it’s extended family for however long you choose to stay. The outside is even more beautiful than the inside with a walk around a large lake complete with white swans, fountains, grass cut to perfection and flowers at every turn.
Even though The Broadmoor is the fanciest place I’ve ever been, Julie and Spencer‘s sense of humor can be found in the details. Spencer was a well-known antagonist to the Prohibition Movement and he stashed away thousands of bottles of liquor, all which are now on display on the ground floor. My favorite is a bottle of 12 year old scotch, bottled in 1894. In one sitting rooms, an oddly shaped footstool reveals itself to actually be a turtle, complete with feet and tail. In another section of the building are several walls dedicated to 8×10 photographs of the rich and famous who have graced The Broadmoor with their presence. My favorite pairing of photos are Princess Anne and Aerosmith.
Every visit to The Broadmoor since Ruth and I first started our exploration has been equally special. My dad and I enjoyed the beauty of the grounds on one of his visits and my husband and I celebrated my latest birthday there, spending more than we imaged was possible on one dinner, but not regretting a penny! We still talk about how great the food was that night.
This last weekend, though, capped off every experience to date. We had been having Christmas event failure, having gone to two different tree lightings and left both freezing cold and fed up with awkwardly standing around watching salsa dancers and ill-prepared carolers and still not seeing the tree lit or any sign of Santa. So, when The Broadmoor announced it’s annual White Light event, I figured third time’s the charm. I also strongly suspected The Broadmoor was too classy to screw anything up! It was worth the trip to see three foot tall gingerbread houses in the shape of everything from the house from UP to a strawberry-shaped house for Strawberry Shortcake. There was a Christmas tree at every turn, impeccably decorated. There was an ice sculpture of a train and one of the best bands I’ve ever heard was playing music across the lake from the main hotel. Thankfully, they had every outdoor fireplace lit and space heaters to warm the thousands of people crowded around the lake. And when Santa pulled the switch to turn on the lights, it was truly an amazing sight. Every tree, every bush and even a few staff members had been decorated with white lights and each one was reflected in the now frozen lake. It was stunning and I was moved to tears when, at just the right moment for the awe-struck crowd, the band played Silent Night.
The Broadmoor has been wrapped up in so many special memories for me and I’m excited to see what else it holds for me. I’m curious to know if any of you have been to The Broadmoor. I’d love to hear your stories! Thank you, as always, for being part of my adventures! It’s nice to have you along for the ride.
Next up on the Adventure Wall: Pikes Peak Highway