Several TDN readers have commented to me about the ads we have been running for the Kiwi Collection, offering our readers "2,500 hand-picked hotels in 135 countries."
"What's that all about?" they have asked. "How are the hotels? Are they owned by one company? Are the deals reallly that good?"
|The Cliff House at Pike's Peak|
As my family is in Colorado, and I had a visit planned, I looked to see what hotels the Kiwi Collection offered in the state on their handy booking widget, which is found here on the TDN website: (http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/members/collection/kiwi-widget.cfm). A search for Colorado found 24 options, most of them ski resorts, but two of which caught my eye: the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, and The Cliff House in nearby Manitou Springs. We had planned a trek up Pike's Peak, so chose The Cliff House for its proximity (and for the fact that Travel and Leisure called it one of the top 100 hotels in the world.) Again, I was willing to make the sacrifice for our readers.
I rented one room for myself and two kids, and another for my 85-year-old aunt and uncle, who live in Estes Park, a few hours away.
|The view from Pike's Peak, where you're literally up in the clouds.|
|The NY Attorney General told the TRF that the Colorado|
Springs area wasn't suitable land for horses...but we saw
hundreds like these, and they all seemed pretty happy.
Tucked one block off the main road, however, The Cliff House may as well be on a different planet. Most closely resembling a huge Victorian home, it has a distinctive Saratoga feel to it, for good reason.
|Sarah Finley feeds a giraffe at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.|
|The junior suite.|
The rooms are not huge, but are sumptuous, with multi-head showers with steam, free wifi, hundreds of channels, and a DVD library with 300 titles to borrow. They wouldn't allow three people in a standard room, so we upgraded to the junior suite. Again, I'm all about the sacrifice. Pillow-top beds, 400 thread count, and dead-quiet rooms ensure a good night's sleep. Each room has a mini-fridge, and stocks it with free bottles of water to ward off elevation sickness. At 8,000 feet above sea level, being in Manitou Springs is like being on a plane, 24/7, complete with the dehydration that accompanies it. As most of the guests will travel up Pike's Peak, to 14,110 feet, staying hydrated is a must.
|The Pike's Peak cog railway bring thousands of visitors|
a year to the summit.
Everything has re-opened since the fire, but the damage is quite visible outside of town, and a sudden heavy rain sends dirt sliding onto the the main road, which is quickly cleaned up by crews. But the fires never quite reached town, and after two days at The Cliff House, I find myself immensely grateful the beautiful old hotel was spared.
The best part? By booking through the Kiwi Collection, our double room was $110, and the suite $170--an absolute steal for one of the world's top 100 hotels.
But come to think of it...I think I'd better try out another Kiwi Collection hotel. Say...Turks and Caicos? February?