Summit Restaurant: Hospitality Design at its "Peak"

By Jamie Nicpon

Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, The Broadmoor’s Summit Restaurant offers ambiance and design excellence that are sure to make it a culinary destination.


With fluidity and motion, Summit Restaurant's design incorporates innovative architectural elements and panache while providing a stunning, yet seemingly natural counterpoint to the Victorian majesty of the historic Broadmoor—a Five- Star, Five-Diamond hotel and resort located in Colorado Springs, CO.

Designed by internationally-renowned hospitality designer Adam Tihany, Summit is The Broadmoor's first free-standing restaurant. From the outset, Summit was intended to be an American brasserie, with Tihany Design handling front-of-the-house design elements, while back-of-the-house functionality, including the kitchen, was the responsibility of Ricca Newmark Design (RND).

Summit Restaurant was given a sleek, modern design intended to be dynamic and comfortable at the same time. The dynamism comes from the angularity of the front of the house that gives guests the feeling of movement around corners that hide the surprise of upcoming spaces.

The restaurant's contemporary design provides a dramatic though natural counterpoint to the Classicism of The Broadmoor itself. Built along a curve, Summit's stand-alone façade is accented by steel I-beams that project an impression of power and durability that resonates against the grandeur of nearby mountains. Ten glass windows wrap around the exterior of Summit and are interspersed with structural columns paneled in wood. Also echoing the Rockies theme is the slanted, stone-flanked entrance that suggests the opening to a mineshaft.

As guests enter into the bar, to the left is a lounge and to the right is the main dining room, which follows the curved configuration of the building. The crown jewel of Tihany's design endeavor is Summit's 14-foot, cylindrical wine turret, which stores more than 2,000 bottles of wine and slowly revolves at a speed just below conscious perception. With wine bottles jutting out from its steel scaffolding, the glass-enclosed turret provides a focal point for the dining room.

In keeping with the intent of the restaurant, the unifying theme of Tihany's design is motion, inspired by the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb—an annual event held nearby, also known as The Race to the Clouds.

"Everything was created to give the illusion of speed and movement," says Tihany. "It is meant to convey the feeling that you are sitting in a car, and everything is going by very quickly. The carpet simulates the movement of car gears, the ceiling in the main restaurant is designed like a racetrack, and I conceived the wine turret, complete with moving racks, to suggest the gears of a racecar. However, none of these details are evident. They are only suggestions, hints and metaphors."

Indeed, there are a series of design details that allude to the spirit and style of mountain car racing. The slanted glass angles of the wine cellars and the funnel-shaped center display unit are evocative of a soaring mountain while the rotating wine display with the exposed gears and pulleys make strong reference to the industrialized character of the car mechanisms. The horizontal bronze rods on the back walls also suggest speed and movement.

An askew wood, glass and stone entry takes you inside a roaring view of the bar. A cone-shaped glass-revolving wine unit is the centerpiece, flanked by two glass wine cellars. The rich green leather bar with wooden countertop, seats 40, and a lounge area, with darkbrown leather banquette seating, provides for a relaxed setting.

The 124-seat dining room is cosmopolitan with warm green and brown hues. Wood canopies are featured to create an intimate dining experience. The back wall is made with a combination of a series of metal tubes—sometimes semi-spaced to reveal the green color in the back—and glass backlit rods. A vignette of the kitchen allows for a peak of the magic behind the scenes. Two private dining rooms highlighted with metal artwork by New York-based artist Nathan Joseph, add to the industrial, yet lively feel of the décor.

Slightly inclined ceilings, metal beams and circular patterns are whimsical references to the engineer spirit of The Broadmoor. Pike's Peak provides a soothing backdrop for the Summit, which is sure to bring an unparalleled dining experience.

Tihany further describes Summit as an active design with two different parts. "It is slightly darker in the evening, (it's) more moody with proper lighting," he explains. "The lighting is so important, because with it you can make a space dramatic, fun, exciting and sexy."

As a result of the contributions made by RND, Tihany Design, CSNA Architects and representatives from The Broadmoor, this renowned resort now offers a signature, destination restaurant that continues The Broadmoor's grand tradition of providing guests with "peak" experiences, in lodging, recreation, and, most certainly, dining.