7 things you might not know about the famed Brown Palace Hotel and Spa
It’s hosted presidents, rock stars and Hollywood elite. It boasts 241 rooms and suites, six restaurants, a coffee shop, afternoon tea service, a spa and a flower shop. Add in its Richardsonian Romanesque design, unique triangular lot, stunning atrium, grand staircase and lobby faced with rare golden onyx from Mexico, and it’s no wonder The Brown Hotel and Spa is a Denver icon. One of the city’s oldest businesses, opened on August 12, 1892 (the doors have never been locked since), the Brown is the city’s longest continuously operating hotel. And, in honor of its 125th anniversary, it’s time for a revisit for a dose of luxurious Victorian charm. Here are seven things you may not know about the legendary hotel—now, let’s celebrate!
LOOK UP The Brown boasts the nation’s first atrium hotel lobby (it’s eight stories, with an Italian Renaissance-style stained glass ceiling).
QUENCH YOUR THIRST The hotel draws pure artesian water from its own well located 720 feet below its foundation.
PLAY POLITICS Nearly every president since Teddy Roosevelt has stayed at the Brown. In fact, it was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1955 campaign headquarters, his suite dubbed “The Western White House.”
NAME DROP The hotel’s namesake is Henry C. Brown, an Ohio native who was the 19th of his father’s 20 children and a carpenter-turned-entrepreneur. Brown headed West in 1860 during the gold rush and donated 10 acres of his property to be used for the new Capitol building. His fortune came from the soaring property values on his surrounding land.
GEEK OUT ON ARCHITECTURE Designed by Chicago architect Frank E. Edbrooke and faced with Colorado granite and red sandstone, the Brown was Denver’s first steel-skeleton structure and took four years and $2 million to build (that would be about $54 million today). At the time, it was Denver’s tallest building.
SEE STARS A sampling of famous guests: The Beatles (a juke box in the “Beatles Suite” plays every single Fab Four song), John Wayne, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Katharine Hepburn, Warren Beatty, Harrison Ford, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend, Metallica, Cindy Lauper, Pearl Jam and Victoria Beckham. One we would have liked to have seen: Western movie star Monte Montana, who rode his horse into the lobby and up the grand staircase.
GET BUZZED Up on the roof? Five beehives are maintained by a dedicated Palace beekeeper. The honey is then used in spa products, afternoon tea, seasonal recipes, cocktails and more.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE …
4 ways to join in on the anniversary party
DRINK A BROWN BEER. Grab a pint of 125th Anniversary Barrel-Aged Imperial Honey Brown Ale from Strange Craft Beer Company—made with honey (in honor of the hotel’s rooftop hives) and water from the hotel’s artesian well.
PARTY LIKE IT’S 1899. A weekend celebration August 11-13 will include cocktails popular in the 1890s, staff dressed in period costumes, historical tours, lectures, a specially themed brunch and afternoon tea. Bonus: Each Friday in 2017, the lobby is playing host to live music, small bites, samples from breweries, wineries and distilleries and more from 6 to 8 p.m.
SPEND THE NIGHT. The signature anniversary hotel package includes a stay, $125 hotel credit for the Brown’s restaurants and a collectible gift. Prices start at $279. Hit the spa while you’re there: Get a 50-minute massage, facial and express mani or pedi (plus a gift) for $300.
TAKE A SHOT. The hotel also is offering a VIP Stranahan’s package that includes a onenight stay, a bottle of the limited-edition and numbered 125th Anniversary Whiskey (also made with the hotel’s water) and commemorative whiskey glasses.
GO ON A TOUR. Each Wednesday and Saturday at 3 p.m., Debra Faulkner, the hotel’s historian, leads public tours (free for guests, $15 for the general public).
*Correction: The block party celebration on August 12 was cancelled.