Stay and Play

Additional reporting by Kendall Kostelic and Annie Nagel


Photography: Jeff Nelson Clothes: ON HER: Chaser “Heart Wine” shirt, $62, A Line Boutique, 2445 E. Third Ave.; Eberjay “Kiss the Bride” lace-hem shorts, $56, Neiman Marcus, Cherry Creek Shopping Center. ON HIM: Michael Kors joggers, $198, Neiman Marcus. Models: Paige G./Wilhelmina Denver; Stephen Miley/Donna Baldwin Agency Hair and makeup: Ashley Smith Stylist: Karita Cassia

Desperate for a quick getaway, but would rather skip the airport hassles or hours stuck in the car? A staycation is in order. And with more than 3,500 hotel rooms added to the local market by the end of last year (and some 2,000 more rooms expected in 2018), you’ve got plenty of fun, new options. According toSTR Global, a company that compiles hotel data, Denver ranks in the top 10 when it comes to most rooms in the nation, and though these properties—all opened in 2017—range from hipster-friendly boutique finds to more traditional models, they have all put a big emphasis on local art, food and, of course, beer. Yep, it’s time to pack your overnight bag—no passport required.


Courtesy Le Meridien

1475 California St. | Downtown 

General vibe: Opened in tandem last summer, the two Starwood/Marriott hotels share a building at the corner of 15th and California streets, both bringing a modern European flair to downtown. At the French-inspired Le Méridien, more than 1,700 works of art, including many from local artists, can be found, along with a trés chic sweeping grand staircase and shimmering crystal chandelier that might put a crick in your neck. At the more masculine-designed AC Hotel, there’s more of a Spanish influence, with darker colors (tobacco, charcoal, amber) and comfy seating beside the glass fireplace in the lobby. Rooms at both hotels come with floor-to-ceiling windows and modern, simple, elegant decor.
Rooms: Le Méridian, 272; AC Hotel Denver Downtown, 223
Great amenities: At Le Méridien: free WiFi for SPG members, 24- hour rooftop fitness center, complimentary access to the Clyfford Still Museum, complimentary bike rentals—and it’s pet friendly. At AC Hotel: free WiFi, fitness center, pet-friendly rooms.
Dining: Get breakfast, lunch and dinner at Corinne, the on-site restaurant serving American comfort food (try the Salisbury steak, lobster mac & cheese or crispy halibut sandwich).
Drinking: You’ll definitely want to head up, up, up to the 20th floor, where 54thirty, Denver’s highest open-air rooftop bar, serves up truly “elevated” cocktails (including the Key Lime Fizz with vodka, house-made pineapple shrub and seltzer), small bites (Habanero Popcorn and Cheesy Monkey Bread—forget it) and amazing city views.
Photo op: Jonathan Saiz’s “Marie,” an art installation composed of 1,000-plus 2-inch-square hand-painted portraits of Marie Antoinette, hangs behind the reception desk.
What’s nearby: Convention Center, Pepsi Center, Larimer Square, 16th Street Mall, Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Le Méridien and AC Hotel Denver Downtown

What’s the most difficult part of planning a hotel wedding?
It can be challenging to coordinate all of the vendors and the day-of details. I recommend working with a wedding planner who can ensure all of the details come together perfectly.

What might surprise people about planning spring weddings?
You have to stay flexible, as you never know what the weather is going to be like.

Any advice for couples planning their nuptials at Le Méridian?
I always recommend that a bride and groom find the three things most important to them, and focus on those throughout the planning. Couples should stay true to themselves and their vi- sion, and make sure they’re having fun!

Do you have a favorite wedding you’ve planned?
We hosted a wedding in November, and in every detail you could see the bride and groom: They were perfect for each other and each element of their day was specific to the two of them.

Has there been a memorable reception or toast?
We have seen great groomsmen toasts in the AC Library and Bar AC. And 54thirty is an excellent location for bridal party toasts with its views of the city and the mountains.


Courtesy Kimpton Hotel Born

1600 Wewatta St. | Union Station 

General vibe: This downtown hotel, which opened in August 2017, features more than 700 original or limited-edition works from 30-plus local artists commissioned exclusively for the Born, in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Art. Your interior design side, meanwhile, will appreciate the urban alpine room aesthetic, which includes knotty pine headboards, ceiling canopies, hand-knotted rugs, concrete ceilings, freestanding tubs and floor-to-ceiling windows. And the lobby, with its cozy living room/lounge area and fireplace, will quickly feel like your new home away from home.
Rooms: 200 rooms and suites
Great amenities: Tesla SUV rides within a 2-mile radius, complimentary access to the Colorado Athletic Club, Museum of Contemporary Art and an audio tour of art in the hotel, in-room yoga mats, free bikes, hosted daily coffee and wine service; $20 amenity fee per night.
Dining: First, there’s the in-hotel Citizen Rail, a chic American restaurant with a wood-fired grill open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, serving local beef, pork, lamb, game and seafood (try the Colorado lamb tartare, house-made charcuterie boards, bone-in short ribs or organic roasted chicken—yum). Then, there’s the hotel-adjacent Tavernetta, the new Italian hotspot from the team behind Frasca Food & Wine, where you won’t want to miss the Crudi Misti, $36, the chef’s selection of raw seafood, or the Tagliatelle, $21, with lobster.
Drinking: We could make Citizen Rail’s combo deals, $7 each (glass of rosé and mezcal; saison and amaro; IPA and rye; stout and bourbon; lager and corn whiskey) a nightly indulgence.
Photo op: You can’t leave without taking an overhead shot of Union Station’s lights from your room.
What’s nearby: Union Station, Convention Center, Coors Field

Kimpton Hotel Born

What’s the best bribe you’ve been offered for an upgrade?
A bottle of tequila—kidding! That only happened once. The most memorable was some extra concert tickets a guest had.

What are some strange requests you’ve gotten in the middle of the night?
I haven’t had anything too crazy, but sometimes people ask for things that are harder to get late at night, like a gallon of water for a sleep apnea machine. Or something we don’t have, like chicken nuggets from a menu that only lists salads and panini.

Your favorite spot in the hotel?
Our Ridge Boardroom. It is decorated so perfectly and is a quaint place to take a breather.

Why do you like the night shift?
You can take a step back and see the bigger picture. Everything is fairly calm.

How do I score a room upgrade?
By creating a “moment” with the guest service agent. If the agent feels a connection with a guest, he will usually take the time to find the best accommodation possible.

What’s the best nearby spot?
The Highlands are a must-see, especially on summer nights when Little Man Ice Cream hosts a small event with their twinkling lights. And Avanti has a great view of Denver’s gorgeous skyline. 


Correction: Kimpton Hotel Born opened in August 2017, rather than May, and features more than 700 original works of art, not 200.

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