The Grand Dame of Downtown Denver just got a facelift. And she’s looking pretty snazzy for a 130-year-old.
Here’s a reason to burst out of the “Boulder bubble:” Downtown Denver’s iconic, historic Brown Palace Hotel & Spa recently completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of its unique “Top of The Brown Suites.” These luxurious rooms on one of the top floors are spacious and feel like a dream home away from home – because that’s what they used to be.
As the story goes, during The Great Depression, the Brown Palace survived the economic hardship by converting the top two floors, previously its staff quarters, into sought-after apartments called the Skyline Apartments. That’s why they look and feel so different from the rest of the hotel, down to the balconies being glassed in (the residents wanted some privacy and a little more peace and quiet in the bustling hotel). People lived there all the way through the 1980s.
Today, the suites retain glimpses of their history and provide a unique staycation destination right in the heart of Denver. They’re the perfect centerpiece of a luxurious getaway that’s simultaneously close to Boulder, but also transcendent of time.
The Brown is packed with other ways to treat yourself with a taste of historic luxury, too.
Start your trip with elegant afternoon tea in the eight-story lobby, with its ultra-tall ceilings topped with Italian Renaissance-style stained glass. While in the lobby, make sure to take in the architecture and enjoy live piano music.
The Brown Palace dates way back to 1892. If you can arrange a historic tour of the hotel, it’s more than worth the time. Over the years, the hotel has attracted a long list of celebrities, politicians and cultural icons. Today, it’s ideally located in the center of all the action, only a block from the 16th Street Mall and a short walk to LoDo.
Now, in the lobby, notice the spa, with its dramatic, pillar entrance. This didn’t always used to be a spa. This used to be a massive fireplace in the lobby. Today, walk through the doors into one of Denver’s top spas and enjoy a facial, massage, or get a relaxing manicure and your nails updated for fall. You’ll be looking nice and sharp for dinner – also conveniently located off the lobby in a restaurant called the Palace Arms.
The Brown Palace has six on-site restaurants, but Palace Arms is especially thrilling for a history buff – because its walls are a living museum of artifacts. Standing in the entrance of the Palace Arms, make sure you turn to face the lobby and give it a long look. This was actually the hotel’s original entrance; this is how guests were meant to experience their first impressions of the hotel. It’s pretty dramatic – much more so than its newer doors (off a less-busy street – a smart and safe, if not quite as aesthetic, move).
The menu at Palace Arms is full of great options, so you can’t really go wrong. But you can go really, really right: Order the tableside caesar salad. Even if you’re not a salad person. This salad is carefully and artfully prepared in front of you (entertaining to watch), and it’s so fresh that the flavors seem to dance in your mouth. Even amid steak and other rich entrees, this salad steals the show.
Palace Arms also recently got an update, as did various meeting spaces and the Club Lounge.
After a delicious dinner, don’t miss the swanky cigar lounge, if you like that kind of thing. Your server will perfectly cut and prepare your cigar that you can smoke right at your table. It’s quite the novelty, if you don’t mind the smoke.
Then it’s time to retreat back to your hotel room, with views overlooking the city and a comfy bed. Among the suites recently renovated are the three famed Presidential Suites: The Eisenhower, The Reagan and The Roosevelt, named after the U.S. presidents who stayed in these rooms. In addition, there’s the fun Beatles Suite, where the famous band stayed in the ’60s. This room has a custom jukebox and entertainment center. In total, there are 33 modern Top of the Brown suites.
Although the hotel is historic, it is full of modern-day amenities, such as HDTVs, multiple phone lines with a private voicemail, nightly turndown service and even artesian water from the hotel’s own well. The suites come with rain showers, marble sinks, oversized tubs, Keurig coffee machines, cozy bathrobes and some of the best views in the city.
Pro tip: Pre-order breakfast in bed from the front desk so you can wake up with a cart of silver platters next to your pillow. Don’t forget to request a late check-out; you’ll be glad you did. You’ll want to maximize every last minute you can at the new (but old, in the best way) Brown Palace Hotel.