Luxury & comfort without opulence at 9,200 feet.
The Broadmoor, the Five Star, Five Diamond luxury resort in Colorado Springs, has developed its rustic side. Cloud Camp is a new mountain aerie at 9,200 feet occupying one summit of Cheyenne Mountain. It opened on August 15, and I was lucky to be one of the first guests.
Its main lodge has but six guest rooms on the second floor. Eleven intimate cabins are tucked in among the trees, and some are cantilevered over the steep slope, giving guests the feeling of floating. The last accommodation to be completed will be the Fire Tower Suite, requiring an ascent of 153 steps. The bedroom occupies the entire top floor of the tower, with a living room below. It is an aerie above an aerie.
The 8,000-square-foot main lodge recalls the grand historic timber and stone lodges of the American West, with massive public spaces, soaring ceilings and rough-hewn beams. Designed for both relaxation and contemplation, it manages to feel both baronial and intimate. Comfortable sofas, armchairs and rockers encourage conversation, board games, reading and general socializing. Stone fireplaces on each end, enormous ceiling fixtures overhead and Western art and Indian artifacts on the walls create an ambiance of relaxed elegance. The enormous table in the center can seat 30. Smaller tables for two or four are in an adjacent dining area, and there are additional tables outside as well.
An expansive wrap-around deck envelopes the main lodge, and the cabins have their own porches as well. From this unsurpassed location, guests enjoy epic views. To the north is the huge bulk of Pikes Peak, rising to over 14,000 feet. To the east are Colorado Springs’ southern suburbs and the plains beyond. A forest of communications antennae bristle from Cheyenne Mountain’s south peak. These varied views make Cloud Camp seem all the more remote.
There are no televisions and there is no room service, but rusticity only goes so far at The Broadmoor. The cabins are furnished with beautiful, solid Western-style furniture. The beds feel like soft cocoons with down pillows, down comforters and even European-style featherbeds between the mattress and the occupants. Of course, those with feather allergies may request bedding made of synthetic materials instead.
Private cars are not permitted at Cloud Camp, so even getting there is an adventure. Guests may choose to travel in comfortable vans (expect Cadillacs next year), ride a mule or hike up for roughly three hours. The Cheyenne Mountain Highway is a narrow road that winds 3,000 feet, literally through the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and past the towering Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. Then the pavement ends, and the “highway” becomes a graded dirt road with acute hairpin turns. Most guests, at that point, are relieved not to be doing the driving.
Activities at Cloud Camp are low-key: hiking, exploring the trails of the Pike National Forest, archery, basket weaving, birding and visiting the mules in the corral below. Guests who are interested in cooking are invited to join the culinary team in the professional to help prepare fresh Colorado cuisine and get tips from the chef. All meals and all but premium beverages are included in the nightly rate (currently $800). Breakfast is buffet-style. Lunch is informal and can be eaten in the main lodge or packed as a picnic lunch. The dinner menu includes a choice of two to four items for each course. The selection rotates every four days, which works out since most stays are anticipated to be two to four nights.
Cloud Camp stays open through the end of October. Next year, it is set to open on May 1 and close for the season in late October.