More than three months after closing amid the global coronavirus pandemic, The Broadmoor reopened to guests Sunday, a day before the historic resort’s 102nd anniversary.
Among those who checked in at earliest opportunity was Diane Fadley of Dallas, a veteran of over 30 visits to the Forbes Five-Star resort, which her family started visiting in 1998 for annual retreats involving three generations.
“It’s sort of like coming home,” Fadley said as she and her husband, Jim — both in N95 masks — exchanged hugs with reception staff, while masked and gloved bellhops handled their luggage.
Social-distance markings on the lobby floor, and automated hand-sanitizer stations at main entrances and elevator banks, are among the visible changes. Behind the scenes, efforts to minimize risks from COVID-19 are more extensive, spelled out in a 13-page health and hygiene directive available at the resort’s website.
In addition to stepped-up sanitation, the Broadmoor is using “electrostatic sprayers” to apply an antimicrobial coating to high-touch areas and fabrics in its rooms. Guests who become ill will receive "paramedic/in-house doctor assessments," either by phone or in person.
All 784 rooms will be available to guests, including those in suites, cottages, an estate house on the Broadmoor’s southwest campus and three offsite wilderness retreat areas. Several of the resort’s best-known amenities are back online, including the spa, the Golden Bee Tavern and Ristorante Del Lago, and its golf courses, but are only open to guests and golf club members. The Broadmoor Seven Falls, a series of scenic waterfalls in South Cheyenne Canon, will reopen Thursday, with adjusted hours.
An entertainment center with bowling lanes is on course to open Wednesday.
The Penrose Room remains closed, with no opening date listed; the resort suggests that guests and prospective guests call ahead for details on other services and offerings.
The Broadmoor closed on March 21 as the coronavirus began its sweep through Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West, joining seven other major hotels in temporarily ceasing operations amid dwindling reservations and convention and meeting cancellations. Hotels as essential businesses were exempt from Gov. Jared Polis' stay-at-home order that shut down the state's economy, but many chose to voluntarily close until travel could safely resume.
“The Broadmoor is a Colorado Springs staple, and the hotel’s history is intertwined with our region’s,” said Doug Price, CEO of Visit Colorado Springs. “While The Broadmoor isn’t the first hotel to reopen, it will serve as a leader to pave the way for best practices in operating safely for leisure travelers and groups both large and small.”
The Cheyenne Mountain Resort and Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Colorado Springs have likewise reopened. The Mining Exchange hotel is slated to reopen Wednesday, and Great Wolf Lodge and Water Park is set for a July 8 reopening, by which time all hotels that closed during the pandemic will have reopened.
COVID-19 has pummeled hotel occupancy rates in Colorado Springs, which remained at a fraction of the rates reported this time last year, according to recent figures.
The occupancy rate in local hotels rose to 31.2% last month from 18.1% in May. Despite the rise, that’s still less than half the 73.6% rate reached a year ago, according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. Colorado Springs still fared better than the rest of the state, whose overall occupancy rate in May was 26.5%, down from 69.5% in May 2019.
The Broadmoor, which opened in 1918, previously closed for nine months in 1935, as the Great Depression roiled the nation’s economy, said Broadmoor President Jack Damioli.
“The Broadmoor has survived world wars, Prohibition, and the Great Depression, and we’ll survive the pandemic as well,” he said.
The more than three-month closure comes after more recent disruptions to business dealt by the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks and the Great Recession of 2008. Just how severe the hit to the Broadmoor’s bottom line isn’t clear. Damioli declined to discuss the financial fallout, and though he said the resort is “near capacity” for the Fourth of July weekend, he declined to provide occupancy rates.
“All businesses have been greatly impacted by the pandemic, as well as The Broadmoor,” Damioli said. "Everything has changed. The world is different than it was on March 21st."
An estimated 1,500 people worked at the resort when it closed. Damioli declined to say how many were brought back in their previous roles, though he said “the vast majority have been offered opportunities” for continued employment.
Damioli said meeting new cleaning protocols goes hand in hand with the resort’s commitment to good housekeeping, which has been singled out by Forbes and the travel organization AAA, which in in January awarded The Broadmoor five diamonds for a 43rd year.
“We’re just trying to do what we need to take care of our guests, get our business back open, and we’re excited to be able to do it,” Damioli said. “To see people in the lobby is just something that is amazing.”
Fadley, who booked her stay at The Broadmoor in February, said she was pleasantly surprised that the resort was able to hold her reservation, letting her experience the energy of the “grand reopening.”
The hotel’s guest liaisons allayed any concerns she might have had about safety, she added.
“I know what The Broadmoor is like, and I knew it would be done with excellence.”
The Broadmoor is owned by the Denver-based Anschutz Corp., whose Clarity Media Group owns The Gazette.
Gazette reporters Rich Laden and Wayne Heilman contributed to this report.