It’s hard to top vacationing at The Broadmoor — both in service and in altitude — but the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star resort is intent on elevating its own iconic version of Colorado luxury with The Ranch at Emerald Valley, opening today. Set at 8,200 feet within 100,000 acres of Pike National Forest, the intimate retreat is the picture of rustic comfort. We got a sneak peek to gather all the details you need to know before you check into the all-inclusive enclave.
An 8.2-mile, 25-minute drive into the mountains of Colorado Springs behind The Broadmoor leads to a ranch-style gate that signals your arrival at The Ranch at Emerald Valley. (Don’t worry — a skilled Broadmoor driver navigates the switchbacks.) You’ll be greeted by Ranch staff and, perhaps, by resident border collies Blaze and Fly. Cell phone service fades here, replaced by the sound of a babbling creek, the smell of a fire pit and the sight of Mt. Vigil standing over 10 luxury log cabins — along with full Wi-Fi coverage and landlines to which you can forward your calls.
Each one-, two- and three-bedroom cabin is unique, though all have hardwood floors, wood-burning flagstone fireplaces, coffee bars and mountain-chic décor by local design shop Tweeds. Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose originally built this camp in the 1920s — some of the cabins date back to the ’40s — but complete renovations have introduced modern amenities, such as bathrooms with copper-topped vanities. These sinks aren’t the only nod to Penrose’s gold and copper mining fortune; lakeside Copper Cabin boasts a glimmering copper ceiling, not to mention an alluring deck from which to enjoy the pristine scenery. Hill Cabin, The Ranch’s largest and most recent construction, sleeps 10 and includes a full kitchen, with a private chef upon request.
Of course, you need only head to the main lodge for more top-notch cuisine. The Broadmoor has a long history of culinary excellence at its restaurants, including the Five-Star Penrose Room, and The Ranch is no exception. A Broadmoor chef prepares meals in The Ranch’s kitchen and serves them at a 32-seat communal table and at single tables for private dining. There’s also an antique, stained-glass bar serving drinks — and a nearby outdoor hot tub in which to enjoy that glass of wine.
More active endeavors include horseback riding or hiking to Gray Back Peak — there are 12 horses this season and 40 slated for next year — and fishing in the two onsite ponds, one of which is stocked with five species of trout. Fishing is catch and release, unless you’d like to have your haul prepared for dinner. And an impromptu seafood dish isn’t the only thing The Ranch’s staff will accommodate. If you feel like indulging in The Broadmoor’s many pleasures, from its three golf courses to the Five-Star Spa at The Broadmoor, staff will whisk you to the main resort and back. After seeing the many charms of The Ranch’s secluded setting, though, we’d be surprised if you can tear yourself away for even a few hours.
The Ranch at Emerald Valley will be open each year from May through October and will be joined in 2014 by Cloud Camp, a new mountaintop retreat fashioned after the historic timber-and-stone lodges found in U.S. national parks. Together, the two luxury camps launch The Broadmoor’s Wilderness Experience — luxury-minded encounters with nature that any discerning outdoors lover will adore.
Photo courtesy of The Broadmoor