A Hotel in the Clouds

Looking to really get away? The Broadmoor's rustic-luxe Cloud Camp is home to one of the most secluded hotel rooms in the West

It takes some doing to stay in one of the most secluded hotel rooms in Colorado. 

To reach the Fire Tower Suite at the Broadmoor's Cloud Camp, you'll first have to make your way up the 7-mile-long Cheyenne Mountain Highway, a narrow, unpaved series of steep switchbacks—once featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not as the most crooked highway up the steepest mountain—that climbs more than 3,000 feet to the mountain's 9,560-foot summit. (Upon its opening in the mid-1920s, the Broadmoor's founder Spencer Penrose made the inaugural journey up the road by elephant, but these days your choices are a retired Grand Canyon mule or chauffeured luxury vehicle.) 

Eleven private log cabins are clustered around Cloud Camp's timber-and-stone main lodge.

The road ends at Cloud Camp's 8,000-square-foot main lodge, built on the site of Penrose's Cheyenne Mountain Lodge, which was opened in 1926 and demolished in 1976. And for guests who opt to stay in one of the lodge's seven accommodations or the 11 one- and two-bedroom cabins clustered around it, the journey ends here. 

Designed by Johnson David Interiors, a guest room in the main lodge is furnished with Adirondack-style twig furniture, Native American rugs and an inviting claw-foot bathtub.

But not for you. To reach the Fire Tower Suite, built atop the stone foundation of a historical fire tower, you'll have to climb 145 wooden steps that wind up through the forested hillside, past towering pines and giant boulders.

No fewer than 145 steps lead from the main lodge to Cloud Camp's one-of-a-kind Fire Tower Suite, built atop the foundation of a once-operational fire tower.

We recommend stopping from time to time on the way up to catch your breath—you can say you're bird-watching—because you're really going to need it when you reach the top, where the views of Pikes Peak and the valley some 3,000 feet below are truly breathtaking. 

The lights of Colorado Springs twinkle 3,000 feet below Cloud Camp's Fire Tower Suite.

But your real reward for all that huffing and puffing is the 300-square-foot Fire Tower Suite, a cozy little aerie consisting of a bedroom furnished with Adirondack-style twig furnishings, colorful textiles and hickory floors, and an adjacent bathroom. A comfy double bed abuts a window wall that affords incredible views of the valley below. We recommend keeping the curtains open at night—don't worry, it's impossible for anyone to see in without a telescope—so you can fall asleep to the twinkling of stars and city lights. 

Views from the Fire Tower Suite's cozy double bed are spectacular day and night.

Directly above the bedroom—and accessed via an exterior staircase—is a private observation room with 360-degree views, furnished with a desk, chairs and telescope. (If you have a novel to write, we can't think of a better place to do it.) A few steps below the bedroom is your own outdoor hot tub.

The Fire Tower Suite includes a private observatory with 360-degree views and adjacent outdoor viewing decks.

Keeping and eating food in your room isn't recommended (this is true wilderness, after all, and bears aren't uncommon), but the gourmet meals served at the lodge's massive communal dining table are well worth the trip back down the stairs. After a hearty breakfast or four-course dinner, you can settle into a rocking chair on the wrap-around deck or explore the timber-and-stone Great Old Hall, furnished with Molesworth-style furniture and an extensive collection of art and artifacts, including traditional Native American garb, leather chaps, antique spurs, and custom-commissioned art panels that pay tribute to the Native American tribes of the Western Plains. 

The Great Old Hall's massive communal dining table can seat as many as 28 guests.

The Great Old Hall is furnished with Molesworth-style furniture.

Other activities that might tempt you down those 145 steps include morning yoga classes and an afternoon cooking club with Chef Alex, twice-daily guided hikes, archery and basket-weaving classes, and evening gatherings 'round the campfire, complete with s'mores. If you plan in advance, you can book everything from Jeep tours and river-rafting adventures to fly-fishing excursions and hot-air balloon rides. And of course, all the amenities at the Broadmoor Resort are just a short drive (or mule ride) away.

Cloud Camp is open from May through mid-October. To learn more, or to book your stay, visit broadmoor.com.

See also: The Broadmoor Gets Wild

Categories: Mountain Travel