Nearly five years after its new owners launched a multimillion-dollar makeover, the Garden of the Gods resort, wellness center and private club in Colorado Springs has received its first four-diamond rating from AAA.
The 334-acre resort and club, at 3320 Mesa Road on the city’s northwest side just east of the scenic Garden of the Gods park, has ramped up its marketing of the property in recent years to nonmember guests. Among its upgrades: renovations of 56 guest rooms that are available to the public; improvements to common areas; completion of a building that houses a spa and wellness center; and this year’s addition of six luxury cottages.
“It puts us into a class of other properties that people would aspire to visit and understand that with that particular rating, there’s a definite level of service, as well as amenities,” Scott Marble, the resort and club’s assistant general manager, said of the four-diamond rating. “It really is just adding to the exposure for us as we continue to grow.”
AAA, the travel organization, rates 27,000 lodging properties in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, assigning one to five diamonds to reflect the quality of a hotel and level of service.
Locally, The Broadmoor hotel carries a top-of-the line, five-diamond rating. Four diamonds also have been awarded to The Cliff House at Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, the Cheyenne Mountain Resort and The Mining Exchange in Colorado Springs .
The property dates to 1951 when oilman Al Hill developed and opened the private Garden of the Gods Club and added a golf course nine years later. Much of the club was demolished and rebuilt in 1995 and sold along with undeveloped land in 2007.
In December 2013, an investment group headed by local business executives Brenda Smith and Judy Mackey bought the Garden of the Gods resort and 2,500-member club, launching improvements to guest rooms, dining areas, lounges, a lobby, meeting rooms and recreational facilities. Guests have access to the property’s 27-hole golf course, outdoor and indoor tennis courts, swimming and dining.
In 2016, the Gateway Building was opened and features a holistic wellness center staffed by team of physicians and therapists who integrate Western and Eastern medical science with nutrition, fitness and medication for guests.
Three guest cottages, each with one to three bedrooms, opened in the spring and summer. Fourteen “casitas” — identical to cottages, but with full kitchens — also are being developed. Two casitas have been completed and a third is due to open in October, Marble said. The casitas are privately owned homes, but managed by the Garden of the Gods resort and club and available for rent.
In all, the property upgrades will cost at least $60 million, which includes the development of 17 private home sites.