The Garden of the Gods Collection, formerly called the Garden of the Gods Club, is in the midst of an expansion costing at least $60 million, which will put the 2,500-member club in northwest Colorado Springs further into competition with The Broadmoor hotel for wealthy customers.
The 334-acre resort just east of Garden of the Gods park completed a $12 million International Health and Wellness Center that includes medical offices and a spa and is just starting construction on 37 upscale cottages and villas that will cost at least $48 million and will have access to all of the resort's facilities. While the spa, cottages and villas are targeted at club members, they will be available to the public.
The expansion comes as hotels nationwide are adding new types of rooms, amenities and experiences to lure upscale guests, said Robert Benton, a Parker-based lodging industry consultant who also co-authors the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report that tracks hotel occupancy trends statewide. The Broadmoor hotel, the city's largest lodging property that for decades has been ranked among the top hotels in the world, built a spa as part of its golf club in 1994 and built upscale brownstone townhomes in 2005 and a condominium complex a year later in which owners have access to the hotel's facilities.
"It is a way for them to diversify and offer a different type of product. People are looking for different experiences beyond the traditional hotel room, and this project will offer them that. Many resorts have opened spas, for example, as a way to attract an upscale clientele to offer more of a destination experience or as a way to attract people looking for a getaway," Benton said. "While The Broadmoor markets itself to large groups and the Garden of the Gods Collection does not, they both are going after the leisure traveler, though they offer different experiences."
Laura Neumann, managing director of the Garden of the Gods Collection, said her resort's new additions are aimed at a "slightly different audience. (The Broadmoor's) spa customers are hotel guests who are looking for a pampering experience. Our spa has that element, but our focus is more therapeutic and on wellness. There also are similarities between people who choose to live in The Broadmoor's residences and those who want to live in the Garden of the Gods Collection. Both are seeking a sense of community and access to the amenities available at each property."
The Garden of the Gods Collection expansion began in late 2015 with construction of the International Health and Wellness Center, which more than quadrupled the size of the resort's previous spa and salon. That facility was converted into an expanded fitness center for members and resort guests.
In 2014, renovations began on most of the resort's guest rooms, dining areas, lounges, lobby, meeting rooms and recreational facilities. That followed purchase of the property by a limited-liability company headed by local business executives Brenda Smith and Judy Mackey.
Wellness center upgrades
The health and wellness center includes a spa and salon staffed by more than 20 therapists, hairstylists and other beauty specialists on the upper level. A medical clinic is staffed by 14 doctors, nurses, nutritionists and health coaches on the main floor, and the lower level has meeting and event space for up to 250 people. The center is open to the public, but resort members have priority for appointments and are eligible for discounts and special offers on services, said Rebecca Johnston, executive director of the spa for the resort.
The clinic offers services ranging from internal medicine and basic cardiology care to naturopathic and chiropractic treatments and also helps patients set up diet and exercise plans. The clinic doesn't accept insurance but will help patients file claims with their health plan, said Mike Barber, a cardiologist who is the center's medical director.
"We are trying to integrate wellness throughout the property, including nutrition and hydration," Barber said. "Our wellness program includes spa treatments because we believe if you look and feel good on the outside, you will look and feel good on the inside. Our overarching theme is to re-establish the patient's best medical, physical, functional and mental equilibrium. We believe that wellness is for more than just the select few."
The salon offers hair cutting and styling, permanents, coloring, scalp treatments, manicures and pedicures ranging from $30 to more than $100. The spa, which includes changing rooms and lockers, offers facials, several types of massages and treatments ranging from $75 to more than $700 and is also available for couples. The treatments are offered with minerals, oils, poultice, muds, algae and other substances and also are available with an aromatherapy shower and a "soft-pack" fluid-filled bed that simulates a weightless experience.
"While we have an extensive menu of services, that is just a starting point, and everything we do is customized for individual clients. We are taking care of issues the guest has," Johnston said. "Our staff is highly trained and continue that training constantly. We feel that we are as well-trained if not more so than any other spa in the region. While most of our clientele is local, we have clients that travel here for our treatments. Our focus is on achieving results."
The resort is starting construction on 20 three-bedroom cottages, or "casitas," ranging from 2,200 to 2,500 square feet. The casitas will be available for rent and owned by the Garden of the Gods Collection and private investors who will be able to purchase them for prices starting at $800,000, Neumann said. Also planned are 17 three-bedroom private villas ranging in size from 2,800 to 3,200 square feet that will sell for $1.8 million to $2.8 million and will not be available for rent. The cottages and villas are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
"These residences are born of a strong desire of our members to live in a community that is part of the club. Most, if not all, of the owners and residents will be club members," Neumann said. "They want the amenities and services that are available from the club in their residences."
The Garden of the Gods Collection also includes 44 traditional hotel rooms, 12 suites, the 27-hole Kissing Camels Golf Course and clubhouse, four indoor and two outdoor tennis courts, three swimming pools, a dining area and lounge as well as about 15,000 square feet of meeting space. The resort is managed by Texas-based Benchmark Hospitality International, which also manages the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in southwest Colorado Springs and more than 50 other hotels, conference centers and resorts in 17 states, Canada, the Caribbean and Japan.
The late Dallas oilman Al Hill bought the 1,600-acre mesa east of Garden of the Gods park in 1949, built the Garden of the Gods Club two years later and built the golf course in 1960. Much of the club was demolished and rebuilt in 1995 and was sold along with the undeveloped land on the mesa in 2007.
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