Denver reinvents itself every few decades. It began as an insignificant 19th century mining town, but the building of the Denver Pacific Railroad in 1870 put the city on the map, making it a major center of commerce and necessitating the building of many hotels. During the 1950s, Denver was a bohemian hangout, attracting Beat Generation writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Modern Denver is both a gateway to the Rocky Mountains and a city rich in culture and history, and its hotels reflect its character.
19th Century Hotels
Some of Denver's hotels are members of the Historic Hotels of America program, such as the Brown Palace, which opened in 1892. The hotel's exterior is made from Colorado red granite and Arizona sandstone, and features 26 hand-carved stone medallions depicting typical Rocky Mountain animals. Its interior features the first atrium lobby in the United States. White onyx and marble, as well as an elaborate stained-glass ceiling, embellish the lobby decor. In keeping with its commitment to preserve the hotel's historic integrity, the management offers tours of the premises, whose rooms tell some fascinating stories. There's also a bee colony on the hotel's rooftop, whose honey is used in your afternoon tea. The Brown Palace has three presidential hotel suites -- the Roosevelt, the Eisenhower and the Reagan -- named after presidents who have stayed there.
Early 20th Century Hotels
The 1917 building that houses the Hotel Monaco was once home to the Railway Exchange building. The adjacent Moderne Title building was built in 1937, and the two buildings were later merged and renovated to create the Hotel Monaco, a luxury boutique hotel that loans pet goldfish to guests desiring animal companionship. If you would prefer to bring your dog, the Hotel Monaco offers a Pampered Pet luxury basket, four hours of dog-sitting and use of in-room pet bowls and pet beds. Two-legged guests can enjoy in-room spa services. The Monaco also has several music-themed suites that feature artwork inspired by the music of John Lennon, Miles Davis, Grace Slick and other rock and roll artists. In 1911, the Hotel Teatro building housed the Denver Tramway offices. Its elaborate details, which include a marble entrance, were preserved during the 1997 renovation. Props and costumes from the Denver Center for Theater Company embellish the lobby and guest rooms. A chauffeur-driven courtesy vehicle transports you to destinations within a 5-mile radius of the hotel.
The 2008 National Democratic Convention put Denver on the map as a conference and convention city, and many of its downtown hotels are well-equipped for large and small meetings and conferences. The one-bedroom suites at the Magnolia Hotel offer a comfortable venue for smaller meetings. Special rates are available for extended stays. The Burnsley, a European-style, all-suite hotel, provides guests with a complimentary computer and printer. It also offers local shuttle service and special rates for extended stays.
While Kerouac and Ginsberg might not have been able to afford luxury hotels like the Brown Palace, Denver has a wide selection of budget hotels suitable for modern-day beatniks and ski bums on a tight budget. The Budget Host Travel Inn is just a few blocks from My Brother's Bar, once a hangout for Kerouac and his pal Neal Cassady, who inspired the novel "On the Road." The Knights Inn, located in the same neighborhood, is another low-budget option.
- denver image by Brett Bouwer from Fotolia.com