80202 Travel Guide
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]
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120 years after it initially opened (that's 1892, for any of you who haven't had your coffee yet), the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver has been scooped up by Marriott's Autograph Collection, which includes The Cosmopolitan in Vegas, The Algonquin in New York, and 30 others.
According to Denver Business Journal, Brown Palace is the city's second-oldest hotel (after The Oxford), and over the years has hosted presidents (Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Clinton) as well as big name guests like the Beatles, Oprah, Jimmy Stewart, and even Queen Marie of Romania.
If any of those fine people once counted themselves as Marriott Rewards members, we bet they're kicking themselves now!
Ahhh...we all remember what it's like to be young and in love on a cross-country road-trip staying in a different hotel each night. Or maybe not. For those of you who never got the chance to drive across America after college, we've got a special Summer Road Trip series from Teddy Worcester, a recent Wheaton College grad who's making his way out to San Fran for a tech job. Along the way, he's hitting up about six hotels and reporting back to us on each one. So grab your iced beverage of choice, settle into your lawn chair and let the sprinkler run.
We rolled into Denver Friday night after staying in St. Louis with college friends for the night. We had intended to tent out both Friday and Saturday nights in Boulder but we ultimately decided that after 13 hours on the road that day and 40 hours total of driving that week, we would snag a hotel for another night before roughing it.
We used HotelTonight yet again to book The Curtis. The price, $81 including taxes and $71 after using a HotelTonight credit. The uniqueness of The Curtis particularly appealed to me and the hotel is a Hilton Doubletree property, but you'd never know it, aside from the signature warm Doubletree cookies handed to you at check-in.
Here at HotelChatter, we loathe to use the term "girlfriend getaway," so let's just call this fashion-inspired package at the Ritz-Carlton Denver what it is: a decent excuse to forget about doing your laundry or dishes or whatever for a day while you drink, dress up and pretend it's what you do everyday.
The "Haute Heights at 5280 feet" has a focus aside from indulging, however; guests at the Ritz-Carlton with this package get VIP tickets to Denver Art Museum's exhibit Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective , plus a whole host of other extras. The package starts at $399 and boasts:
Oktoberfest may be officially over according to the Germans, but there's still a way for you to soak in your love of beer, literally, at the Ritz-Carlton Denver thanks to their Mile High Malt Scrub and Microbrew Massage offered at the hotel's spa.
Here's how it works--arrive at the spa to check-in and instead of cucumber water, you'll get a chilled brew from a neighboring brewery put in your hands. Once that starts to kick in, you can begin your exfoliating Vichy shower experience. First, a barkeep, er, "treatment therapy provider", will mix a light rice Ale beer into the brewery's own malt. Then a full-body exfoliation is done on you using a malt scrub, followed by a body mask of dark rich Stout which apparently gives you a silky soft skin.