"It was fair to say it was not a good time for architecture, in general, in the '70s," said Broadmoor President and CEO Steve Bartolin "The building, while very functional in its day, as we look at it in 2014, it was clear that architecturally it didn't fit into the family of buildings around the rest of the property."
Broadmoor West's rooms also were too small and antiquated for today's luxury travelers, he said.
That's all changed.
On Friday, The Broadmoor will reopen Broadmoor West after a nearly seven-month, $57 million renovation that added three floors, increased the number of rooms and dramatically changed the building's appearance.
Balconies and porches, a tower, a porte cochere - or covered entry - that's nearly identical to the one at Broadmoor Main and other new features give Broadmoor West a look and feel that more closely resembles the other buildings on the 3,000-acre resort.
Guest rooms were gutted, enlarged and made over with new furnishings and fixtures; the lobby was remodeled with new light fixtures and other features; and the entire building was brought up to code.
"It's a handsome building now, and it really fits the family of architecture around the property," Bartolin said. "We feel it belongs. It's a timeless design."
The Broadmoor West project is part of a $120 million investment by the Denver-based Anschutz Corp., which bought The Broadmoor in 2011. That investment includes the addition of three wilderness retreats on sites away from the hotel, a new fly fishing school on the main hotel property, a new entertainment center already completed at Broadmoor West and improvements to the Golden Bee and Tavern restaurants.
The goal of the projects: Keep The Broadmoor at the top of the list of the world's luxury resorts, Bartolin said. The hotel is the longest-running consecutive winner of the Forbes Travel Guide's five-star and AAA's five-diamond awards, yet competition from high-end resorts in Arizona, California and Florida has become fierce, he said.
"If you don't keep up, you get left behind quickly," he said.
Broadmoor West's makeover was planned around 2008 or 2009, but shelved when the economy tanked, Bartolin said. As the economy improved, and with the need to keep freshening the hotel, the project was launched Oct. 26.
Among Broadmoor West's enhancements:
- Three floors were added to the building, while its footprint was expanded on its east and west sides. The number of rooms increased to 181 from 150; the building also has seven suites, up from two. The Broadmoor now has 779 rooms on its property.
Increasing the building's footprint also allowed the size of rooms to be increased from about 420 square feet to 525 to 575 square feet.
"The rooms themselves were not terribly small, but they were not as spacious as people would like," Bartolin said.
- Rooms were upgraded with custom furnishings, fixtures and amenities, Bartolin said. Before, for example, Broadmoor West bathrooms had a single sink, a combination tub and shower and a toilet. They're now "five-fixture" status - double sinks, a separate soaking tub, separate shower stall and a toilet separated by a door from the rest of the bathroom, Bartolin said. The rooms are now considered part of the hotel's premier offerings, and go for $605 - up from $345 - a night, although rates will vary depending on the time of the year and demand, he said.
- The building's appearance now resembles Broadmoor Main, although it's not a mirror image. Previously, Broadmoor West had the look of four identical layers of rooms stacked on top of one another - "a long, linear, low-slung look," said John Goodloe, project architect and an associate with CSNA Architects, the Colorado Springs firm that has served as architect on several Broadmoor projects over the years.
The addition of the three levels and tower creates more of a stair-step appearance, giving the building an old-world look.
"You see that form repeated around the campus quite a bit. Our intent was to make it fit in a lot better," Goodloe said.
Getting Broadmoor West to look as if it fit with the rest of the property was key because it always was separate from the rest of the resort, Goodloe said. Guests could only reach it by driving around to the resort's west side. A pedestrian bridge that spans Cheyenne Lake wasn't added until 1996.
"If you stayed at West, that was really second-level accommodations," Goodloe said.
- The drive leading up to Broadmoor West on the building's west side and the entrance itself has been enhanced, Bartolin said. Landscaping has been improved; a new hand-carved fountain, imported from Italy, replaces an older, contemporary fountain; and a gray, stucco porte cochere, with stone bases, replaces the old covered entryway.
"It's a much grander experience when you arrive," Bartolin said.
- The lobby and common areas were remodeled with rich cherry mill work and walnut insets; a stained-glass, back-lit ceiling feature; and decorative art work painted in ceiling beams, much like at Broadmoor Main, Bartolin said. Artwork from the collection of Philip Anschutz, head of the Anschutz Corp., also is being displayed around the building, Goodloe said.
- Charles Court, the longtime Broadmoor West restaurant, is being replaced by Ristorante del Lago, an Italian restaurant designed by world renowned restaurant designer Adam D. Tihany. The restaurant, which will open Monday, will appeal to a broader audience with both its menu and atmosphere, Bartolin said. The menu was created by Broadmoor culinary experts after visits to at least eight different regions of Italy, all of which will be represented on the menu, he said.
"Italian food never goes out of style," Bartolin said.
A second restaurant, Natural Epicurean, will open June 1, replacing Cafe Julie. Natural Epicurean will specialize in "natural, fresh, organic and wholesome" foods, Bartolin said. In addition to contracting with a growing operation south of town, Bartolin said The Broadmoor will grow its own produce on a 6,000-square-foot outdoor garden adjacent to its greenhouses.
"We're getting into the farming business," he said.
Bartolin wouldn't say if the hotel has other major projects in the works, adding only that the property is always evolving.
With the expansion, The hotel is adding 40 to 50 people to its workforce, which reaches the equivalent of 2,000 full-time workers during the summer, he said.
Doug Price, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, said it's significant that the The Broadmoor continues to invest in its property.
"Whether you come here for a vacation or you come here on business, people need reasons to come back to places," Price said. Broadmoor West's new facilities and restaurants, "will give people reasons to come back to see the Broadmoor, and that's critical."