I’ll take my hotel room with a side of Western art and the coziest library on the planet, thank you very much.
Last week, I flew to Colorado to pick up a new campervan and drive it back to Texas. I didn’t rough it all the way home, though. I stopped for a night at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, a posh, stately old five-star resort where I spent a long time ogling western art and drooling over the first library with a rolling ladder that I’ve ever actually stepped foot inside.
First, that library. It’s the stuff of dreams, with tiny reading alcoves, a proper reading table, and floor to ceiling books. I climbed the ladder, rolled it around, and checked out the books stacked on the highest shelves. All I needed was a glass of bourbon to sip, but if I’d indulged in that, I might never have left.
Named the Pourtales Library, after a Prussian count who came to America and helped bring the Broadmoor Dairy Farm back to life, the library was once a ladies’ sitting room. But real ladies (me!) don’t just sit around, so a longtime Broadmoor guest donated the books and the hotel converted the space into something that grabs hold and won’t let go. Hotel guests are invited to borrow books, bring them back to their rooms, and return them on the honor system. The shelves are filled with classics, best sellers and children’s books, and the little room is always open.
Then there’s the art.
Those who know me know of my obsession with the glamourized version of the Old West. When I walked into the lobby of the Broadmoor, not knowing it’s home to a fabulous collection of originals and reproductions from the Anschutz Collection at Denver’s American Museum of Western Art, I nearly tossed my cowgirl hat up in the air. In all, more than 300 paintings are on display at the Broadmoor.
Philip Anschutz, just the third owner of the hotel, which opened in 1918, is a well-known collector of art. Walk through the main lobby and you’ll find a Frederic Remington sculpture of a cowboy on a horse around one corner and an Albert Bierstadt painting around the next. (The collection includes Bierstadt’s “Oregon Trail, one of only two night paintings in the collection.)
My favorites? A Charles Russell painting called “Buffalo Hunt,” a William Tylee Ranney painting titled “Trapper’s Last Shot,” a John Mix Stanley painting called “Indian Telegraph,” and a landscape of Zion Valley by Thomas Moran.
If you’re passing anywhere near Colorado Springs, stop and take a look.