GRAND PLANS FOR A GRANDE DAME

The luxury resort industry may be flying high on soaring occupancies and room rate, but it dare not bask long in the glow — particularly such grande dames as the historic Broadmoor, nestled close to the foot of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, CO.

The fact is, resorts like The Broadmoor can only leverage their storied legacies so far. Today's younger, time-crunched travelers are less likely to value the genteel and more formal atmospheres of these properties. In fact, they might even view historic hotels as dinosaurs. So, how to match the lifestyle hotels that also offer luxury accommodations, but in a hip, updated atmosphere geared toward a younger set?

Well, the old-line resorts may never be “hip” but with the right leadership and vision, they can fight back, and prosper. The Broadmoor's President and CEO, Stephen Bartolin, certainly aims to. The resort's long-reigning, driving force is only too aware of the challenges facing resorts like his, and he and his management team have implemented numerous updates in recent years, both to the physical structure and operationally.

“The competitive forces are real — cruises, fractional ownership and second homes,” says Bartolin. “We have to give people a reason to come. We keep tweaking our existing product — retail, dining, recreational, etc. About 56 percent of our revenue comes from non-room sources. We are constantly reinventing ourselves, watching what our competition does, looking at what our guests' demand and desire, and reacting accordingly.”

Meetings business fills 65 percent of the hotel's rooms on a year-round basis, reports Bartolin. “We've built a large amount of meeting space and we're now competing against second-tier cities and their convention centers. People aren't coming in for a traditional resort experience with a half-day meeting followed by golf or tennis but more intense conferences with trade shows attached.”

The Broadmoor also offers activities that “appeal cross-generationally,” says Bartolin, “like fly fishing and white water rafting and ballooning. With more than 32 years in this business, I always hear about how different each generation is but I believe at the end of the day, if you offer enough variety and the quality is there, people will support you. Also, trends fade. We try to offer things that stand the test of time.”

Recent upgrades and enhancements to The Broadmoor include:

  • Major renovation of the main building. Each of the original 142 rooms, the lobby, lounges, restaurants, retail outlets and public spaces were redone. The guest-room renovation included high-speed Internet access, multiple phone lines with PC dataports, and enhancements like large, five-fixture bath facilities with soaking tubs, separate showers and dual basins.

  • Addition of The Broadmoor Spa, Golf and Tennis Club, featuring a full-service world-class spa and state-of-the-art fitness center.

  • A $75-million renovation project that included addition of the Lakeside Suites building, with 21 spacious rooms, most with fire-places and either patios or balconies. An additional 60,000 square feet of column-less meeting space brought the total available conference and meeting space on the property to 185,000 square feet.

  • Summit, an Adam D. Tihany-designed restaurant with a boldly modern style and sensibility, opened to rave reviews in December 2005, reports Bartolin.

  • In July 2006, the Mountain Course opened with 18 holes designed by Nicklaus Design, bringing The Broadmoor's offering to 54 holes of championship golf.

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