AOL PICK from our Editors
Because it gets 7 million visitors per year, the Pikes Peak region has a glut of hotels ranging from hotel and motel chains to some unique local hostelries. You can spend $59 a night or $650 a night here but, generally speaking, rooms are more affordable here than in larger cities. A number of bed-and-breakfast inns offer lodgings with personality, mostly on the west side of Colorado Springs, in Manitou Springs and up Ute Pass. Big hotels, mostly downtown and on the west side, offer more anonymity and amenities. And there’s everything in between, including some retro motels along Manitou Avenue, complete with neon signs. You can stay at the home of William J. Palmer, the city’s founder (Glen Eyrie), or at one of the world’s classiest resorts, The Broadmoor. Find the price and accommodations that suit you.
Neighborhood: Broadmoor/Southwest Price Range: Expensive
It just doesn’t get any better than this. The Broadmoor, a 744-room luxury resort hotel complex, is a five-diamond, five-star property. You won’t want to—or need to—leave once you check in. With a backdrop of Cheyenne Mountain and a lake of its own, the ornate 1918 hotel looks like a postcard of an imaginary wonderland. But it’s very real—and very expensive; we’re talking $300 a night and up. But you get the best service, the best food and endless amusements and diversions, from a world-class spa to 54 holes on some of the best golf courses in the West. There’s even a small movie theater. A dozen restaurants cater to your every culinary whim—from a confection and coffee shop to the state’s only five-diamond restaurant, the Penrose Room. Plush beds, sumptuous linens, elaborate bathrooms, thick carpets and robes make every guest feel like royalty. The European-style pool area, with an infinity pool overlooking the property’s own lake (with its own island) is a real treat, and it’s pretty cool to have the staff greet you by name everywhere you go.
Neighborhood: Northwest Price Range: Expensive
For a knock-your-socks-off view of Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak, you can’t do any better than staying at the Garden of the Gods Club, perched on a ridge overlooking the scene. With this kind of view, who can play golf? But do. It’s a 27-hole championship course. This elegant club, private for many years, now allows non-members to stay and enjoy their upscale cuisine and elegant spa, so take advantage of this bit of indulgence while you’re in town. The food is excellent and the rooms are spacious—or book a golf cottage of your own.
Neighborhood: Manitou Springs Price Range: Moderate
This lovely landmark in Manitou Springs was the haute-est thing going when it was built in 1873. Over the years it deteriorated, and when a fire nearly gutted the place in 1982, it was boarded up. In the late 1990s an investor stepped in and saved the historic property, bringing it back to its original glory. Packed with charm and antiques, no two rooms are alike. (We especially enjoy the turret rooms.) It’s all part of the pleasure of staying in a place where the history is richer than the people who once stayed there—Henry Ford, various presidents, movie stars and J. Paul Getty, among others. A four-diamond restaurant, a well-stocked wine cellar and lushly landscaped grounds add to its ambience. In the evenings, grab a rocker and sit out on the front porch to enjoy the mountain air.
Neighborhood: Downtown Price Range: Moderate
The original Antlers Hotel was built as a centerpiece of downtown Colorado Springs in 1883 by Gen. William J. Palmer, the city’s founder. Two years later, it burned down and an even more elegant hotel was built on the spot. Unfortunately, that grand edifice was torn down and replaced with an architecturally uninspiring modern building in 1967. But inside, you’ll figure out why it’s a four-diamond property. Elegantly appointed guest rooms are particularly suitable for business travelers, with every amenity one could want. We especially appreciate the lobby-level Judge Baldwin’s microbrewery. With its pub food and dark wood, it’s just the place to relax; locals love it. Be sure to swim in the hotel pool with its floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic view of the Front Range.
Neighborhood: Northwest Price Range: Moderate
Colorado Springs’ city founder, William J. Palmer, built his stone castle in a small valley just north of Garden of the Gods. He named it Glen Eyrie for the eagles that nested there. Over the years, it has changed ownership several times, but is now owned by The Navigators, an international Christian organization. For some years, it was used as a Christian retreat and was not open to the public. In recent years, the group re-opened the castle and its grounds to the public with high tea, tours and overnight stays. If you want to stay in a real castle, this is it. If you want a really special treat, ask for the honeymoon suite on the fourth floor, notable for its views and privacy. Be aware, though, that the Christian influence is evident even to visitors who are not interested in that aspect of the property.
Neighborhood: Broadmoor/Southwest Price Range: Moderate
Overlooking Broadmoor Valley, with unobstructed views of an 18-hole golf course and Cheyenne Mountain beyond, the Cheyenne Mountain Resort will remind visitors of mountain properties they’ve visited in Vail and Aspen. Undergoing a $20 million renovation, the resort’s 316 rooms and public areas will have a fresh, new look come spring of 2011. The resort is famous for its elaborate Sunday brunch, and local golfers say the golf course is more affordable than The Broadmoor, but just as much fun to play. It’s also a popular conference hotel, and has a business-like feel. The resort has its own lake, where you can fish, rent a boat or windsurf.
Neighborhood: Northwest Price Range: Budget
This 200-room full-service hotel is conveniently located for visitors to cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy. It’s a great value, though it just barely meets the “budget” category of $100 per night. Renovated in 2009, it’s looking pretty spiffy, with a Colorado-style lobby with lots of wood and stone. A stay includes a full breakfast, with an omelet bar, waffles and a buffet. There’s a full bar and restaurant on site, and a 24-hour pool. The business center has been updated, too.
El Colorado Lodge
Neighborhood: Manitou Springs Price Range: Budget
One of the oldest businesses in Manitou Springs, El Colorado Lodge is a trip back in time…or to old-style Santa Fe. The 27 adobe cottages with wood-burning kiva fireplaces and lodgepole pine ceiling beams are Southwest in style; the décor was here long before it was popular. Each cabin is a little different. Outside, the grounds are scattered with picnic tables, barbecue grills, a children’s playground and one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in Manitou Springs. Families love this place for its homey feeling.
Kim Cook, Getty Images for AOL
Neighborhood: Cripple Creak
Price Range: Budget
If you want to escape the madding crowd and the sounds of slot machines in Cripple Creek, head up the hill to the Hotel St. Nicholas, in the oldest part of this historic mining town; it has character and it’s affordable. Built in the 1890s as a hospital to treat miners and prospectors, it underwent a major renovation to become a bed-and-breakfast inn. It will delight those who love Victoriana—with lots of red and ornamentation, it’s kind of romantic. But don’t let the old-fashioned stuff fool you—they have cable TV, and a rooftop hot tub. Cripple Creek is about an hour’s drive from Colorado Springs.
Bed and Breakfast located in Cascade, Colorado.
Neighborhood: Manitou Springs Price Range: Budget
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Located just west of Manitou Springs, up Ute Pass in Cascade, Eastholme in the Rockies is one of the oldest lodgings around. This bed-and-breakfast inn, with rooms starting at just $100 a night, will remind you why you come to the mountains on vacation. About half an hour from downtown Colorado Springs, it deftly combines the Victorian with the 21st century—you can soak in a claw-foot tub or a whirlpool. Take your leisure in front of a fireplace or out on the 40-foot porch. The décor is old-fashioned, but the amenities are modern. We hear the three-course breakfast is a winner. It’s been a vacationer’s haven since 1885.
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