80202 Travel Guide
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!).
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:
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.
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.
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.
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We've seen all kinds of pop-up hotels here on HotelChatter from the glamping kind, the sleep around kind, the "world's smallest kind" and even an edible kind and so many more. But this latest pop-up hotel from The Curtis Hotel in Denver, a DoubleTree Hotel, might just be the craziest we've seen yet.
The hotel has created a $50,000 floating bounce house hotel, billed as "the world's only floating pop-up hotel room" and referred to as Lloyd in the Sky With Diamonds. That's because the hotel stay includes a Tiffany diamond necklace & earrings, a 60s themed party for 100 friends, and the butler service of Lloyd, the hotel's spokesrobot who will give you Swarovski binoculars and iPad mini loaded with the Stargazer app. Um, yes, please!
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Ask anyone in Denver about the city's oldest hotel, and they'll either point you towards the Oxford Hotel or the Brown Palace (technically, the Oxford opened a year earlier, in 1891, but in our eyes, they're both pretty special). However, in terms of star power, we think the Brown Palace wins out.
The hotel, which recently became an Autograph Collection property in September, has hosted every president since Teddy Roosevelt, with the exception of Calvin Coolidge and Barack Obama. And on the ground floor, the room that Henry C. Brown (the hotel's founder) used as his office is now a kick-ass cigar lounge named Churchill, with a customized humidor of over 60 cigars.
But our favorite feature about the hotel is the thing you see above. It's a water fountain, yes, but the story goes deeper than that.
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You saw their videos and heard their stories, and now you'll get to pick out the colors (and more) of their wedding. Congratulations to Robin and Jeremiah, who won the Embassy Suites Denver's $30,000 "Win a Wedding" contest.
More than 10,000 people voted in the online contest, which was held on the hotel’s Facebook page. The couple will tie the knot in front of 100 family members and friends on Saturday, May 18, in the hotel's Crestone Ballroom. We're not going to call it a celebrity wedding, but it comes pretty close. To hear more about their story, including jumping out of an airplane on their first date, see our first post profiling the constants.
That's settled, but the fun is far from done: Voting will start next week to select all the wedding details, from the dress to the entertainment. Each week there will be something different to vote on. Invitations are on the ballot now (as of Wednesday), and the wedding dress is next up on February 27th (we imagine that will be one of the bigger debates). You can vote on the hotel's Facebook page.
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You'll be able to vote on every detail down to the dress, but first you must decide which couple deserves to walk down the aisle in style. The contestants' videos are out, and the voting is in full effect! Now it's time for you to weigh in and decide their fate!
Robin and Jeremiah had a family member sing a song about them which, we must say, is so bad it's... bad (you'll see at the end). Jennifer and Chad literally put all their cards on the (poker) table (above) to convince us to vote for them.
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Even though we've taken shots to the ribs of reality shows in the past, there's something about the Denver Embassy Suites wedding giveaway that has us intrigued.
The fact that the hotel is giving away a $30,000 wedding is impressive to begin with, but when you factor in the complete concept -- that you can decide the details of the wedding itself -- the whole thing begins to get bizarre in a "can't wait to see how this plays out" sort of way.
Three finalists/couples have already been chosen by the hotel and will be revealed tomorrow on its Facebook page, at which point it will be up to voters to decide who will walk down the aisle (for free). You'll be able to see photos and video of the contestants upon which you can base your decision, and the winning couple will be announced on Valentine's Day. From there, the attention will turn to the planning phase.
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It's the 120th anniversary of Denver's Brown Palace Hotel and Spa. To celebrate the hotel’s opening in 1892, this fixture in the city's downtown area since 1892, has joined Marriott’s Autograph Collection as we mentioned it would last month. This collection of luxury hotels includes New York’s Algonquin Hotel, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas and Turnberry Isle in Miami. The properties in the Autograph Collection are located in major cities, and each has its own distinctive style and ambiance, so they're a far cry from typical cookie-cutter hotels.
So, what does this union between Marriott and the Brown Palace mean for you? For one, the hotel’s inclusion allows guests to use Marriott Reward system points for stays at the Brown Palace.
To make it even sweeter, Marriott is offering 1,000 reward bonus points to guests who book a stay at the Brown Palace between September 12th and December 5th 2012. There are some restrictions, and details are online at Marriott. The hotel will, of course, benefit from Marriott’s marketing machine, too, though Brown Palace will continue to be operated by Quorum Hotels & Resorts, which has run the hotel since 1987.
Rooms rates begin at $400 per night.
[Photo: Marriott International]