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After a busy 2014 that saw Denver's hotel scene hit its highest peak, the city is wasting no time keeping the momentum going, announcing yet another downtown hotel project, this time in the form of a dual-branded property.
This spring, Marriott and Starwood will team up to break ground on an 18-story building that will house an AC Hotel and Le Méridien Hotel. To be located at the corner of 15th and California, a block from the Convention Center, the two hotels will add a total of 491 rooms. Each will have its own separate entry, lobby, and restaurants.
Just over a year ago, when marijuana first became legal in Denver, we wondered when - or if - the city's hotels would begin to openly allow pot smoking in the rooms. One particular small inn made headlines when it began marketing itself as a "bud and breakfast," but overall, in the face of all the hype over marijuana tourism, the question of smoking pot in hotel rooms has been met with resounding silence from all major hotels over the last 13 months, especially the corporate-owned variety.
Despite the desire for out of town tourists to toke up, hotels wouldn't even so much talk about it, let alone discuss what might happen in the future. When asked directly, the common refrain was that there is a $250 or more charge for smoking anything in the rooms.
Flash forward to last week, when something peculiar happened, something that could suggest a slight loosening of the collar. The Curtis Hotel, known for its funky floor decor and big personality, offered a pot-friendly Valentine's Day package that included - get this - a ride to the dispensary, in-room munchies (brownies, Cheetos, Red Vines, water) and a vase of Colorado weeds in place of romantic roses (seriously!).
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What to do for some January fun when you’re known as the most haunted hotel in America, so spooky that Stephen King penned The Shining after one terrifying night at yours?
Why, in addition to the ghost tours and looping the film on your entertainment system, you realize the one thing missing that would really cement your reputation is a Shining-style maze. So you build it.
The Lodge at Vail
The town's first and original hotel, the 52 year-old Lodge at Vail, completely renovated its 56 Deluxe guest rooms, corridors, main stairways, and lobby, putting the exclamation point on a seven-year project that saw the entire property refurbished, including the addition of Elways' steakhouse and a new spa.
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The BEFORE shot. Keep reading for the AFTER goodness.
2014 was a big year for the Denver hotel scene thanks to the opening of two of the city’s now-finest hotels, the Crawford Hotel and the Renaissance Downtown Denver. With a few more in the pipeline for this coming year, it should come as no surprise that properties across the city are beginning to renovate. The Four Seasons redid its restaurant, the Warwick began redoing its rooms, and now The Ritz-Carlton has announced it too will spruce things up.
Set to be finished in March, Ritz-Carlton Denver is undergoing a soft renovation of its 202 guestrooms, including updates to the wall coverings, carpeting, headboards, upholstery, and corridors. The plan calls for a combination of natural and modern elements, lush textures, a fresh color palette, and the addition of “tech-savvy innovations to suit both the business and leisure traveler.”
That’s pretty vague, so instead of dwelling on the description, simply have a look at the rendering below:
Here's a random video to make your day go by a little faster: A pilot from GoFast Jet Packs took a spin around the top of the Four Seasons Denver this summer as part of a training exercise. The flight lasted about 30 seconds as he lifted off, circled, and then returned to the hotel's roof.
We were certainly pumped to see this video, partly because we didn't realize jet packs actually existed and partly because it helped to draw attention to the Four Seasons, a hotel that has lived in the shadows over the past year as new hotels celebrated their openings across the city. Despite this, the Four Seasons remains, along with the Ritz-Carlton, the city's highest-end property. Right now, the hotel is in the process of redesigning its in-house restaurant, Edge, to be a little more, well, edgy.
The videos below show the stunt. The kid in us wishes that this experience will be offered down the line as part of a hotel package. Any takers?
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
As new hotels continue to open up across the city of Denver, the Hotel Teatro is not letting the new kids in town steal the entire spotlight.
This month, the hotel showed off its recently transformed common areas, including a brand new lobby and restaurant concept. The changes keep the marble and architectural detail of the original 1911 building, but definitely inject a sense of modernism. Let's take a look inside with some before and after photos:
Exterior of Denver's Union Station, location of the Crawford Hotel
If the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center has the most beautiful lobby in Denver, then the one at the brand new Crawford Hotel has the best buzz. Maybe that's because it's not really a lobby at all. Located in the freshly renovated Union Station in downtown Denver, the hotel sits above the main train terminal, home to ten bars and restaurants. If you're looking for a place to escape the vibe of the city, the Crawford Hotel is not the place to do it. As the newest refurbishment project in the city, Union Station has embraced the spotlight since opening in late July.
Dominating the scene in the "lobby" is the Terminal Bar, which, while having its own dedicated space, pours out into the terminal and offers about 40 Colorado beers on tap. Two shuffleboard courts sit in the middle of the main room, and a walk-up window allows easy access for those who prefer to have a drink in the common space and watch the coming and goings of the station. The rest of the restaurants and bars are located outside of the main room, designated by signs reminiscent of old-school train schedule boards, similar to the one below that marks the location of the Crawford's concierge desk.
Signs reminiscent of old-school train schedule boards hang on the walls of the terminal
One of the most unique things about the Crawford is that you can "go out" without really "going out." Sure, lots of hotels have restaurants in their lobbies, but most of the time, you feel like you're having dinner in a hotel. Because there is so much going on at the Crawford - and the fact that there's really no lobby - a guest instantly forgets they are in a hotel upon exiting their room. Eatery options range from small coffee shops to local favorites: Stoic & Genuine for seafood and raw bar, the Kitchen Next Door for farm-to-table fare, and Snooze, Denver's infamous "A.M. Eatery," known for its pancakes and Benedicts.
Monte Carlo Suite with King Bed
The Mile High City will have four new hotels opening this year, including the exciting Crawford Hotel in Union Station, so it's easy to see how an "older" property like the Hotel Monaco Denver could get lost in the crowd. And not just amongst competitors, but amongst its own brand as well. A few months ago, we learned that Kimpton will open its second property in the city next year.
But all hope is not lost. The 189-room boutique hotel was renovated back in December of 2010, and during our stay last week, we did not see any signs of aging. During happy hour, between the daily wine hour in the lobby and the crowd at the in-house restaurant Panzano, it was very obvious that the Monaco still has plenty of gas in the tank.
After touring the room options at the Monaco as part of our Best Room to Book series, our recommendation is the Monte Carlo Suite. Starting at $299/night during the summer, the upgrade will typically cost about $50-$80 more than a standard room. For that price, you get 125 more feet of space, which is mostly in the form of a separate sitting area with a pull out couch.
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It doesn't get much more Rocky Mountain than fly fishing for trout, andThe Broadmoor in Colorado Springs has launched an on-property fishing school to prove it to guests.
The fly fishing package corresponds with the opening of a new lakeside lodge on the Broadmoor's East Golf Course, which is decked out Adirondack style with Native American and fly-fishing memorabilia. The classes are offered year round on the docks surrounding the lodge and can be catered to any skill level on the art of fly-tying, casting, and approach. All the equipment is supplied, but if you're thinking about catching your own dinner, keep in mind the classes are catch and release.
A moose. On the loose. At a hotel called Antlers. Could this story get any better? Yes, actually, it can. It was a baby moose.
In news that surpasses even Norman the Scooter Dog in cuteness, a baby moose stumbled into the lobby of the Antlers at Vail hotel in, of course, Vail. According to a Colorado Parks & Wildlife spokesman (via CBS Denver), its mother probably abandoned it, then “humans chased it around town and it went into the hotel”. That’s a sad theory though. We prefer to think of it as a prodigiously gifted calf that read the word “antlers” and thought entering the hotel would be some kind of moose rite of passage.
According to the hotel’s Katie Nelson, having escaped from horrible children who were chasing it outside, the baby moose (mooselet?) lay on the lobby floor for 10-20 minutes – so long because the staff initially took it for a dog at this pet-friendly hotel.
Kicking off what is set to be a big summer for new hotels in downtown Denver, the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center, or as we prefer, the Ren Den, officially opened its doors late last month in the former Colorado Bank Building at 17th and Champa.
We knew to expect a sense of grandness given the pre-opening reports that the hotel would keep the major columns, vaults, and historical features of the building intact, but when we walked in for the first time last week, it was immediately clear that the hotel had done much more than simply overtake a historic building. No, this was something much more epic. This was the lobby that the local Denver press is referring to as the most beautiful room in city.
Despite being immediately impressed by how vast the room is and feeling small beneath its towering ceiling, it's all in the details at the Renaissance. Overhead, the Bank's original murals still hang, and the former safe, just off the lobby with the 62,000-pound door always propped open, has been converted into a meeting room. A drink at the lobby bar is an absolute must to take it all in, and be sure to take a walk downstairs, one floor below the lobby, to check out several other old vaults. Check out the photo gallery below to get a sense of the experience.