There are five of us in the Hayward family. My wife and I, and three kids who are a mix of teens and preteens. This means our lives bustle with swim meets, violin lessons, homework, Instagramming, lunch packing, car-pooling and having to wake up way too early every morning.
We’re the sort of people who need a vacation, but we can’t really afford anything grand—and who has time anyway?
One morning on the way to school, I proposed a staycation.
“What does that even mean?” said my daughter, Frances. She’s 15, the skeptic of the family. She did not look up from her phone when she said this.
“It’s like a vacation, only it’s not,” Eddie said. He’s 13 and knows everything. He was texting someone at the same time. He also did not look up from his phone.
“Can I get a phone?” asked Jimmy, the baby of the family. He’s 11. A born optimist.
“You’re right,” my wife, Katherine, said to me. “We need a break.”
So when Friday came around, we picked up our kids from school and drove to the Cheyenne Mountain Resort.
Despite being about 15 minutes from home, nothing seemed particularly familiar on our journey. There is something pleasantly disorienting about the weaving, hilly streets of southwestern Colorado Springs that lead to the unpretentious but elegant resort. It’s no small part of its charm.
We pulled up to the wood and stone reception area, let the valets take care of the parking, and promptly turned into holidaymakers, as the Brits would put it. We began inspecting brochures detailing the resort’s many amenities and activities. The kids were impressed. There was a lot to do, which meant we needed a plan. It was quickly decided that one half of the Haywards—the kid half—would don bathing suits and spend the afternoon poolside. The parent half of the Haywards would go golfing.
Mapped out by the renowned designer Pete Dye, the resort’s 18-hole course is challenging, though doable even for golfers who may only get out a couple of times a year. At the pro shop, the friendly staff set up both of us with clubs on short notice and imparted advice that was useful to time-crunched and inexpert golfers like us. The front nine, we were told, is slightly more challenging than the back—if we only had time for nine, those were the ones.
It was slightly overcast, which was not a bad thing. The course is fairly open, and on a cloudless day, we imagined it could get warm. Cheyenne Mountain towered, majestic, on the near horizon. As I teed up, I joked about being careful not to put a ball through one of the NORAD windows. My wife laughed, or pretended to; it was a small consolation for how soundly she whipped me that day on the links.
For dinner that night we headed to Elevations, one of the resort’s many tempting dining options. A roomy indoor space where big-screen TVs are flanked by tall windows framing Cheyenne Mountain outside, Elevations is comfortable and inviting, perfect for a sometimes-noisy group recounting their poolside adventures. The menu had a unique Colorado spin to it. Selections included a delicious elk bolognese and a platter of bison bratwurst, and there was a full complement of craft beers to choose from.
The next day was spent playing at the resort’s sandy beach and tranquil 35-acre lake. We rented paddle boats and swam in the outdoor 50-meter pool. My wife and I went for a quick workout nearby in the well-appointed fitness center. We emerged to discover that our kids, in the meantime, had decided to play tennis.
Following a great lunch at the Pineview Grille, which overlooks the golf course, it was time for a visit to the newly opened Alluvia Spa. My wife and daughter headed in one direction, and I went in the other. After changing into a lush white robe, I was shown to the Sanctuary Room and invited to take a few moments to decompress before my massage. Post-massage, I was presented with a complimentary glass of champagne and invited to spend as long as I liked in the spa and sauna.
I could have stayed there forever, but I emerged eventually to find my wife and daughter waiting for me. They’d both had facials and their nails done, and my daughter described her massage as “awesome.”
When Sunday rolled around, it was time to leave—but not before taking time to enjoy one of the resort’s signature events, the Mountain View Restaurant’s lavish Sunday Champagne Brunch. Well known to Springs insiders as a perfect place to take guests from out of town, the brunch offers a sumptuous buffet of everything from salt-crusted prime rib of beef to eggs Benedict to, of course, complimentary champagne and mimosas.
“This is the most incredible breakfast ever,” Frances said. Still 15, she had somehow abandoned her skepticism.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Eddie, who even at 13 had found something new.
“We should totally post this on Instagram,” said Jimmy, still 11 and still an optimist.
The kids looked for their phones, and we looked for ours. Somehow, they were back in the room, forgotten entirely.
Check out your own staycation at Cheyenne Mountain Resort at cheyennemountainresort.com.