By Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer
The Mile High City is a great weekend getaway. Book a room at one of the new boutique hotels for a unique experience.
Denver is more popular than ever and that means that while people are moving to the Mile High City in droves, they are also visiting en masse. To keep up with demand, over the last five years, new properties have been popping up all over downtown Denver with more slated to open this year.
An interior design trend within these hotels has been to procure local art in order to tell a story, and whether it’s a story of history, creativity or fashion, through its art and design each hotel tells a different narrative. The following four hotels each impart a unique story to their discriminating guests.
The Past & Present Artfully Collide at The Maven
The Maven, just a line drive away from Coors Field, is in Denver’s newly renovated Dairy Block. This micro-district in LODO is located between 18th and 19th and Blake and Wazee Streets. The block includes places to eat and drink as well as shopping destinations.
The Maven’s interior design theme is a blend of Denver’s history and the city’s modern-day story. Telling that story was the job of the architects and designers at JNS | Johnson Nathan Strohe and NINE dot Arts.
Their concept was the idea of creation, specifically the “makers” who built Denver during the town’s beginnings as a railway town and the “makers” who flock to the Mile High City to create things today.
The result is a hotel filled with things that draw the eye such as exquisitely planted window boxes featuring succulent plants and colorful art such as the tattoo-inspired design in the elevators. There’s a bit of whimsy here too, such as hanging chairs in hallways and guest rooms.
The 172 rooms are crisp and clean and some include patios with fantastic views of the city. Described as “industrial chic,” they feel urban and yet retain a high level of comfort and the aforementioned whimsical appeal.
Don’t miss the creative drinks at Poka Lola, The Maven’s bar. It’s a bit of a throwback and the menu includes things like absinthe and old-fashioned.
With Coors Field a quick five-minute jaunt away on foot, it’s the perfect place to stay for a baseball lover. Be sure to check out The Maven’s Park and Play packages that include complimentary parking, available at TheMavenHotel.com.
A Fashion-Forward Stay at Le Méridien
Le Méridien and AC Hotel occupy the same building, but each has their own check-in desk. AC is a slick hotel that’s spot-on for business travel. Le Méridien would also be well-suited for business travelers but is perfect for anyone looking for a fashionable Denver weekend.
Fashion played a huge part in the design theme here, both high-fashion, think Paris runway, and ski fashion. This contemporary blend of the Colorado mountain world and France can be seen in custom art like “Mountain Range,” a painting by a local snowboarder, Samantha Madd.
Simeone Deary Design Group is responsible for the hotel’s haute couture look that includes a sparkly chandelier in the lobby that attracts pedestrians passing by the building. Be sure to take a closer look at the art behind the lobby’s front desk. In an ode to its French influences, it has dozens of framed Marie Antoinette paintings.
Corinne Restaurant at Le Méridien is quickly becoming a Denver brunch hotspot and a stay isn’t complete without a meal here; the pecan praline French toast is photo-worthy and so good.
Located just feet from the Denver Convention Center and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the location of AC Hotel and Le Méridien couldn’t be better for conference attendees or theatergoers.
Take advantage of the Colorado resident rate available at Le Méridien. Residents can receive up to 10 percent off room rates and other benefits. Available at LeMeridienDenverDowntown.com.
Modern Mountain Comfort at Hotel Born
Last summer, Kimpton Hotel Born opened within a stone’s throw of Denver’s Union Station. The hotel embraces Colorado style in the form of a cozy interior design theme that’s reminiscent of a modern mountain lodge with custom millwork and exposed wood and concrete.
An inviting fireplace welcomes guests to the lobby, as well as local art that is part of the hotel’s 700-piece collection, all created by Denver artists. Adam Lerner, director of the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, asked 32 artists to create bodies of work specifically for the hotel. The museum, which is a three-minute walk from the hotel, features regional, national and international artists and offers a wide range of exhibitions promoting creative experimentation with art and ideas.
Hotel Born’s 160 rooms and 40 suites continue the modern mountain theme, feeling upscale and yet comfortable. All rooms include breathtaking views of downtown Denver and floor to ceiling windows that let in the city’s ample sunshine.
Citizen Rail, a Kimpton restaurant concept, is located inside the hotel. The restaurant has its own dry-aging room and the menu highlights wood-fired preparations. The hotel is adjacent to another fine restaurant, the Tavernetta by Frasca, co-owned by the sommelier and chef behind Boulder’s famous Frasca Food & Wine.
Foodies should take note of the hotel’s Born to Dine package. It includes a food and beverage credit at Citizen Rail and is available online only at HotelBornDenver.com.
Old-school Style at The Crawford
The Crawford Hotel opened in 2014 and immediately gained a reputation as Denver’s hottest new hotel. While the hotel is only four-years-old, it feels like a historic property because it is located inside Denver’s Union Station.
From the wide hallways to the carefully curated art, it’s a throwback with everyday modern conveniences like the in-room iPad featuring hotel information, 5,600 online newspapers and magazines, streaming music, access to online room service and more.
The Crawford offers 112 rooms, including one-bedroom suites, loft rooms, classic guestrooms and the coveted Pullman-style rooms, a nod to the hotel’s location inside an operating train station.
As the elevator doors open and guests enter the hotel, the environment feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of Union Station. Guests are provided with a publication that includes write-ups on the 600 pieces of art that are featured throughout the hotel property. Curated by NINE dot Arts, with the exception of the “found objects” display, which features objects found during the renovation of the train station during 2013-2014, each piece was thoughtfully curated for the hotel.
After checking in, guests have very few reasons to leave Union Station as there are multiple restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping and more within steps of their room. Upon arrival, guests of The Crawford should make a reservation at Cooper Lounge, Union Station’s very own Mad Men-esque bar complete with cocktails served on trays and an oyster cart.
The Crawford offers many packages, but one of the most interesting is the Bigsy Folly Wine Package that includes making a customized bottle of wine in the nearby RiNo Art District. See all The Crawford’s packages at www.TheCrawfordHotel.com.
Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer covers festivals and travels across the west. She’s the founder of HeidiTown.com and author of The Heidi Guide for Mountain Living. To comment on this article, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.