Some hotels might say they’re fit for a king, but in the case of The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa it is undeniably true, as King George V once stayed here, as well as nearly every US president since Roosevelt, and not to mention rock royalty in the form of The Beatles and Rolling Stones.
Sat in the heart of downtown Denver, it remains one of the most luxurious and iconic hotels in the Colorado capital since opening its revolving doors in 1892.
Upon entering the triangular red sandstone building you are greeted by the sight of a nine-story open atrium with a giant US flag hanging down the centre of it. Elaborate wrought iron panels decorate the balconies, with dramatic Florentine arches overarching the main floor, and an intricate stained-glass skylight at the top. It is truly a picture of Victorian grandeur on an epic scale.
A popular daily afternoon tea is served on the atrium floor, with a harpist or pianist providing gentle background melodies. Meanwhile there are six unique restaurants and bars, a spa and salon, a flower and gift shop, and an almost 6,000sq.ft grand ballroom for weddings and large-scale events.
I was fortunate enough to stay in one of the 33 rooms on the top two floors of the hotel, which expand upon the classic accommodation elsewhere with added room and a central desk and other amenities designed with business travellers in mind.
All of the 241 rooms come complete with 42-inch flatscreen HD televisions, personal device charging stations, a Keurig coffee maker, plush terry robes and pure water from the hotel’s own artesian well. Bathrooms are dressed in white tile and marble, with a contemporary rain shower but antique-inspired sink and vanity setup.
There are several types of suite on offer, including Royal, Grand, and three Presidential, each named after a president who’s stayed here before (Reagan, Roosevelt and Eisenhower).
There’s even a retro Beatles Suite, where the band stayed in 1964 while playing the Red Rocks Amphitheatre just outside Denver. With its custom jukebox playing only Fab Four records and framed pictures of the band on the walls it’s the ultimate accommodation for lovers of Liverpool’s finest.
On the dining front, the award-winning Palace Arms is the signature restaurant at Brown Palace, rated one of the best downtown Denver fine-dining experiences, its menu showcasing steak and seafood, from Chilean Seabass to prime cuts of beef by the ounce. Napoleonic antiques adorn the main dining room, including a set of flintlock duelling pistols that belonged to the Emperor himself.
The Ship Tavern offers a more casual atmosphere where you can catch a sports game over a micro-brewed beer. Meanwhile Ellyngton’s is renowned for breakfast and brunch – an elaborate champagne Sunday brunch in particular – while the Churchill Cigar Bar has more than 60 cigars in its custom humidor if you fancy an aromatic puff to conclude your evening.
For anyone who likes a pamper, the Spa at Brown Palace encompasses 5,200 square feet over two floors. It offers six massage and skin treatment rooms; steam rooms with aromatherapy; a nail and hair salon; and a private couples suite with dual reclining hydrotherapy tub.
Its custom spa treatments are specifically designed for Colorado's climate, and use water drawn from the hotel’s natural artesian well located beneath the building, as well as honey-based beauty products made from honey produced by a colony of bees on the hotel’s rooftop. Sustainability is very much at the forefront of things here.
If you can manage to extricate yourself from the hotel and spa, there are plenty of cultural and leisure options within easy walking distance. Art lovers are particularly well catered for: literally across the road sits the American Museum of Western Art, which embraces art of the American West from the early 1900s to the modern day.
Slightly further away but still reachable by foot, the sprawling Denver Art Museum, one of the largest art museums in the Western states, focuses on indigenous works alongside international collections and world-class exhibitions.
Then there is the renovated Beaux-Arts Denver Union Station in the historic Lower Downtown (LoDo), which houses an assortment of shops, restaurants, cafés, bars and galleries, to keep you well occupied of an afternoon or evening.
Or, if beer’s your thing, you’ll quickly find out why the city is known as the ‘Napa Valley of Beer’, with more than 100 breweries and taprooms in the metro area alone. A memorable way of sampling a selection of the best, while seeing the urban sights of some of Denver’s coolest neighbourhoods, is via a private eTuk Ride.
No matter what you end up doing around town, you’ll be coming back to one of the finest hotels this writer has stayed at throughout decades of visits to the US of A, if not the finest. And if you happen to be a fan of The Beatles, you know which suite to book.
For further information and to book a room, go to www.brownpalace.com
Address: 321 17th St, Denver, CO 80202, United States