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Menu items at the Renaissance Denver Downtown.
Last week, while having a drink in the lobby of the Renaissance Denver Downtown - we opened the bar menu to take a peek at the fare. Amongst the typical city-priced items, we noticed that one option stood out from the rest.
It looked strange and out of place, that last item with the peculiar price tag: 99 cent homeamde chips and dip. Was this a mistake? If soft pretzels are $8, and almonds $6... were the chips stale or something? We immediately put our hand in the air for the bartender to come over. We pointed at the menu. Are you serious with these chips?
Well, wouldn't you know that we just so happened to stumble upon one of the industry's best kept secrets. Turns out, all 157 Renaissance Hotels around the world have featured 99 cent chips on their bar menus since 2010. We've always been told to never question a good thing, but that simply doesn't work for a writer. Why, in a world where, quite frankly, hotel guests have become complacent and accepting of overpaying for food and beverage, would a hotel do such a thing?
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.
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If you live in the area or plan to pass through Denver next week, the JW Marriott Cherry Creek is going to be the temporary home for an exclusive showing of Impressionist & Modern paintings, American art, 19th Century European art, and luxury timepieces on April 22rd through 24th.
It promises to be a pretty impressive exhibit, featuring more than 15 pieces that include paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Thomas Moran, Camille Pissarro, and Norman Rockwell, plus sculptures by Edgar Degas and Henry Moore.
Put on in a partnership with Christie’s Fine Art, the collection is making a stop in Denver on its way to be auctioned off in New York City later this year. Believe it or not, the painting shown below by Thomas Moran, entitled "The Grand Canyon of the Colorado," was painted in 1904 and is expected to sell for $8 million. $8 million!
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Back in January, we asked the question, "When will the first Denver hotel openly allow pot smoking?" now that the state has legalized marijuana and today, we find out that a hotel is already in the works.
Except it's not a traditional hotel. But rather, a bed and breakfast which will be turned into a...wait for it...bud and breakfast.
Eater reports that a company called...wait for it... The MaryJane Group, Inc. has bought the Adagio Bed and Breakfast with the hopes of turning it into a "pilot project in the marijuana-friendly lodging industry." And...wait for it...the B&B will be all-inclusive!
Guests will have "unlimited food, drink and, of course, the best marijuana and marijuana edibles Colorado has to offer." There will also be an on-site chef available to cook meals to order as well as unlimited luxury transportation within Denver city with...wait for it...24 hour security. Here's the full press release if you're interested.
If this pilot project is successful, The MaryJane Group hopes to expand to other B&Bs.
So we gotta ask--Would you stay at a Bud and Breakfast? Sound off in comments below!
[Photo: Adagio B&B]
It's been no secret that Denver, a city once considered a "cattle town," is growing up right in front of our eyes. With six hotels in the pipeline for the next two years, it is an incredible increase considering the city's relatively small downtown. We look forward to watching the progress it makes in the coming years, and wish each of the hotels luck in serving their role. Here's an updated list with details and opening dates:
1. The Crawford Hotel:Much of downtown's growth is revolving around Union Station, which is being completely redeveloped in anticipation of the launch of the airport line in 2016. The Crawford Hotel, set to open July 12th with 112 rooms, will be the only hotel to rest within its walls. It should be pretty impressive and we can't wait to get a glimpse of its railcar-themed rooms.
As part of a big upcoming year for Denver's hotel scene, The Crawford Hotel will open in the repurposed Union Station this summer on July 12th. Looks like the momentum will continue into 2015, as Kimpton has announced it will build a property nearby in the same "LoDo" neighborhood.
Details are very slim, but we do know that the new hotel, which is currently without a name, will have 200 rooms and become the city's second Kimpton property and the third in the state overall, joining the Hotel Monaco a few blocks away and the party-oriented Sky Hotel in Aspen.
It's hard to believe that the Hotel Monaco opened over 15 years ago in 1998, and we're happy to see Kimpton make a return to the Mile High City, which has been absolutely blooming of late. The new property is slated for a late 2015 opening, and we'll be sure to pass on details as they are announced over the next year.
For tourists coming into the Mile High City looking to take advantage of its newly legalized recreational marijuana laws, a roadblock quickly reveals itself.
By law, pot can only be smoked in the privacy of your own residence. Not in public, not in bars, not in your car. So, if you're a tourist and you go buy pot legally, where exactly is the most obvious place to smoke it? That's right -- your hotel room.
But, according to a source who spoke to HotelChatter on the case of anonymity, most brand-name hotels are terrified of being portrayed as pot-friendly. Many impose a fine on guests who are caught smoking pot in their rooms, similar to the cleaning fee associated with cigarette smoking.
We've said our piece about how impressed we are with Denver's up-and-coming hotel scene (seriously, we think we've done more stories on the Mile High City in the past few months than we ever have), so we'll get right to the new juicy deets on two new Starwood properties: The opening of a Westin at DIA Airport in 2015 and an Aloft downtown in July of 2014.
Westin DIA: Once the train is complete that will connect DIA with downtown, a Hotel and Transit Center (shown above) is on track to open that will house entertainment and restaurant options as well as lodging. Thus far, the only announcement has been a 519-room Westin. Details of the hotel are scarce at this point, other than that it will open in 2015 and include "nearly 26,000 square feet of meeting and conference space as well as restaurants, a health club and swimming pool and a parking garage." There's also no word yet on whether there will be other hotels on-site, but we'll keep you posted.
Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Denver is one of the most developing cities in the country when it comes to its downtown, slowly but surely transitioning over the past decade from a mountain town to a legit metropolitan area.
The latest chatter to come out of the Mile High City is last week's ground breaking of the Art Hotel, one of four new hotels to open in 2014 (the other three are the Marriott Renaissance in the Colorado National Bank Building, the Union Station Hotel, and the Aloft Downtown Denver). The first three floors of the nine-story building will be office space, and guests will check in via iPads on the fourth floor.
If you're a die-hard Denver Broncos fan, or even if just like getting your nails did in a fun way, then pop into The Spa at The Four Seasons Denver where they are now offering a "Manning-cure".
The Bronco's signature blue and orange colors will be painted on your nails (French manicure-style) along with Manning's #18 on your disco nail (typically, your ring finger.) But if there's a Bronco you love more than Manning, his # can be painted on instead.
The Manning-cure is available for $35 but if you're rooting for the opposing team, that's gonna cost you $45. Make your reservations at the Spa by calling 303-389-3020. The next home game for the Broncos is on November 17th. Room rates at the Four Seasons that night are $465 for a Deluxe room.
[Photo: FS Denver]
Most hotels spend lots of money to bring themselves out of the prehistoric era, but the Best Western Denver Southwest did just the opposite, throwing down $4 million to convert itself into a dinosaur-themed property.
The idea for the design came from nearby Dinosaur Ridge, an archaeological site 10 minutes from the hotel that houses the footprints of long-necked sauropods. The 112-room hotel is now all decked out with dinosaur paraphernalia, including skulls, fossil tables, classic dinosaur artwork and an on-site natural history museum dedicated to the prehistoric beasts.
The co-owners of the property said they hope the theme will draw some attention to the excavations that have taken place in the area and help bring tourists to see for themselves.
It's a very intimate procedure, getting a massage. You're naked. You're exposed. Enya's blasting in the background. Just how well do you know the person who is about to have their hands all over your body? We tracked down Marrana Davis, Spa Coordinator at the Oxford Hotel in Denver, to get some answers to our burning questions about life in a hotel spa.
HC: Marrana, you work in an urban hotel in downtown Denver. You get locals and tourists coming in for treatments. Who needs more TLC?
Marrana: Tourists. People that live and work down here tend to know us, and they’re very comfortable with our Colorado-type of place. We’re all kind of easy going, laid back for the most part. We operate in a vintage building. I think sometimes when people come in from out of town and they expect to find a spa that’s completely cut off from the outside world. We have a fitness room and a salon mixed in beside our treatment rooms. Our facility is a little more community-based.