When I first saw Delilah, I squealed. I couldn’t help it. It was an involuntary sound that was part elated, part alarmed, totally awed. Because Delilah is a huge Eurasian eagle-owl, with a wingspan as wide as some members of the Denver Nuggets are tall, and she unfurled those wings in flight just a dozen or so feet away from me as she emerged from her room in the mews, a small concrete building housing the trained raptors that star in The Broadmoor Outfitter’s falconry experience. A rouse of her feathers, a flap of her wings is strong enough to blow back the hair from my face as Delilah flies to perch on the gloved hand of her trainer, where game meat treats await. As it turns out, Delilah is more fluff than heft—and she’s absolutely stunning.
So she fits right in around here, at the iconic landmark resort nestled at the foot of the Rockies in Colorado Springs. The Broadmoor is a statement property that announces its grandeur the moment you enter the drive, its stately pink stucco facade and commanding presence washing over you as you pull up its stately drive lined with hedge boxwoods and junipers. At least that’s what it did upon my arrival and again upon my return from a trip on the cog railway to the summit of Pikes Peak to bask in the awe-inspiring views.
We all need more moments of awe in our lives. Research suggests that experiencing the complex and mysterious emotion can make you happier, healthier, more humble, and more connected to the people around you. It can even alleviate the feeling of time starvation that plagues our modern lives. The transformative effects of awe can be gained through engaging with nature, enjoying great art, marveling at incredible architecture, or even petting a snowy white barn owl named Cupid—all experiences The Broadmoor can provide.
More is More
More than a mere hotel resort, The Broadmoor is an all-encompassing experience. It’s an escape into the serene, an enclave of elegance. The main resort offers 784 guest rooms, suites, cottages, brownstones, and estate house accommodations, plus a whole lot more: two championship golf courses, a world-class tennis club, pickleball courts, an award-winning spa, a plethora of retail boutiques and galleries, indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, a wide array of restaurants, cafes, and lounges—there’s even a six-lane bowling alley bedazzled by chandeliers and an on-site movie theater. And that’s just scratching the surface.
You can wander the resort’s 3,000-acre main property all day and still not see it all. But if you have questions about what you do see, the 1,800-deep staff has answers, no matter whom you ask. Or maybe they have your mitten, as they did mine. I dropped it somewhere on property during my walking tour, which I mentioned in passing to the concierge on my way to dinner at Summit, the resort’s French-style bistro. By the time I returned, so too had my mitten. It’s a level of service that’s rare in even the most refined hospitality venues, and it’s why The Broadmoor is the world’s longest-running consecutive Forbes Five Star and AAA Five-Diamond resort.
That’s just as its founder, an eccentric wealthy mining entrepreneur by the name of Spencer Penrose, envisioned more than 100 years ago when he acquired a former hotel and casino and surrounding property nestled up to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs and embarked on his dream of transforming the Pikes Peak region into the most interesting, multifaceted resort area imaginable.
Modeled after the great alpine resorts of 19th century Europe, The Broadmoor’s brilliant architectural design borrows heavily from the aesthetics of the Italian Renaissance. Penrose brought in skilled artisans from as far away as Italy to hand-adorn the elaborate moldings, embellishments and paintings throughout the original building. On the main mezzanine, Italian artist Giocanni Battista Smeraldi, renowned for his work on the Vatican and the White House, created a near-perfect fresco of two dancing cherubs, one depicted with two left feet—a purposeful flaw the artist intended to serve as a reminder that nothing in this world is perfect.
It’s easy to lose sight of that amid the lavish Old World opulence: the curved marble staircase, the dramatic crystal chandeliers, the intricately detailed wallpaper, the plush furniture and richly patterned carpets and curtains, the sculpted fountains both indoor and out, the oil paintings adorning the walls, the objets d’art displayed everywhere you look, not to mention the stunning natural setting. It’s too much to try to notice it all, best to just let the elegant ambiance wash over you. Highly recommend doing so from the balcony of your king Lakeside Suite complete with a sitting room parlor and fireplace.
It’s hard to resist trying to capture photos and videos of everything, for everything is as picture-perfect as can be. Resist that urge, that modern compulsion to document every miniscule moment to share with friends and followers. If they want to know what it’s like, they too can book an escape. Putting down your electronic devices will only enhance the well-being benefits the escape will provide. So says the science, and lots of it. Disconnect to reconnect—that’s why you go to the Broadmoor, and you do it for as long as your calendar permits and your budget allows. You go to recharge. Book a spa treatment while you’re at it, get there early to fully enjoy the amenities. Spending time in the steam room and sauna help prepare your body to fully receive the benefits a signature massage provides.
When I return to my room after dinner, I find that even the turn-down service is above and beyond. The lights in the main room are off, the blinds all drawn. Soothing classical music plays from the TV, where a message informs me where and when breakfast will be served. It’s barely 7:45 p.m., and I am in for the night, desperate to crawl into the fluffy bed and sleep. That’s why you come to the Broadmoor—for a night, for a weekend, for as long as you can. To experience the awe-inducing bliss the enveloping experience can provide.