Tuesday 10: Great Colorado Hotels

Next week, my wife and I celebrate our 42nd anniversary. Some years, like this one, we enjoy a quiet night with good food, and others we celebrate with a staycation close to home.

Fort Collins makes it easy to take mini vacations. If we feel like the mountains, there’s Estes Park an hour away. If it’s city, museums, and theatre, we drive the hour to Denver. If it’s beer and a visit with our favorite middle daughter, it’s an hour to Boulder and Avery Brewing. We’re pretty lucky.

As fall takes hold and special occasions abound, take a staycation close to home and experience one of our wonderful Colorado historic hotels, not in any particular order:

1.Stanley Hotel, Estes. A few summers ago, we checked into the Stanley and requested that they give us a room on the second floor, away from the third floor and its resident ghosts. After a relaxing cocktail on the veranda looking up at the full moon, we retired to our room. In the middle of the night, our peaceful sleep was interrupted by a pounding on the door from the adjacent room. We sat straight up in bed and waited for another sound. Was it our imagination? Nope. All of us woke at the same time and all of us remembered the knocking. In the morning at check-out, we thanked the staff for not putting us on the third floor because of the ghosts. Then we were told, “oh, you were adjacent to the most haunted room in the hotel where Stephen King wrote “The Shining”. http://www.stanleyhotel.com/

2. Brown Palace, Denver. What’s not to love about “The Brown”? When our daughters were young, we would go take an overnight journey to Denver at Christmas time to experience all of the festive events. One year, the valet took our car as we unpacked and prepared to go to Zoo Lights. We called for the car and were told that management needed to speak to us in person. The valet had crashed our Minivan in the parking garage and the manager wanted to know how to create a better experience for us at the Brown (with the whole side of our car crunched). We had heard about “the Beatle Suite” where the Beatles stayed in 1964, so I requested the suite and flowers for my wife. My Dad always said, “shoot for the moon”, and I did. The Brown accommodated our request and it was quite the memorable evening! http://www.brownpalace.com/

3. Broadmoor, Colorado Springs. The Colorado Association of Realtors held its annual convention at the Broadmoor for 40 years. Some years our daughters would join us, in particular when I was incoming President in 1993 and outgoing President in 1994. It was another favorite Christmastime destination. Nothing beats the “fairy lights” of the Broadmoor on a crisp December evening as you walk around the lake. http://www.broadmoor.com

Broadmoor at Christmas time


4. Armstrong Hotel, Fort Collins. My wife and I became tourists one night and stayed at the Armstrong in downtown Fort Collins. It was a blast! We first attended a CSU Basketball game, checked into the lovely hotel, had dinner at Sonny Lubick’s and ended with a nightcap at Ace Gillette’s. The next morning it was coffee and croissants at Le Creperie and then we made our way back home feeling like we had traveled miles away. http://thearmstronghotel.com/

5. Hotel Colorado, Glenwood Springs. Another haunted treasure in Colorado! We love Glenwood Springs from the hot springs to the Pullman Restaurant to hiking Hanging Lake. The Colorado Association of Realtors has held several conferences in this hotel and we always look forward to going there. Ask me about our haunted experience at the Hotel Colorado…. It’s even better than the night at the Stanley! http://www.hotelcolorado.com/

6. Oxford Hotel, Denver. My wife and I went to Denver for one of their 5280 specials in December one year (Mile High Holiday Hotel Deals). The hotel opened in 1891 and is as charming as it gets. We often have fun eating dinner at the bar in a restaurant, chatting with bartenders and surrounding patrons. The Cruise Room is a dynamite post-prohibition style bar with great food and drinks. http://www.theoxfordhotel.com/

7. Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center- This year, we celebrated my birthday at this new favorite Downtown Denver hotel. Former home to the Colorado National Bank, the soaring lobby is filled with Alan Tupper True murals. A client of mine is the granddaughter of Alan True, American illustrator, easel painter and muralist who specialized in depicting the American West. This 1915 treasure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Not only is the building breathtaking, but the service is impeccable. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, stop into the bar for a drink or head toward the stairs and watch the video on the amazing Alan True and his soulful depiction of native americans. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dendr-renaissance-denver-downtown-city-center-hotel/

8. Cliff House at Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs. Our daughter spent 3 years in college in Colorado Springs and Parents Weekend happened to correspond with our anniversary one year. So, we spent the night in this lovely little hotel tucked into the mountains in Manitou Springs. A fireplace in the room took the chill off an October evening and breakfast in the morning looking out over colorful autumn leaves was most memorable. http://www.thecliffhouse.com/

9. Hotel Teatro, Denver. The Ju Ju Bistro was a family favorite after attending matinees at the Buell. It was the first place we had truffle fries and the addiction began. Gone are the family theatre days and sadly, the Ju Ju is no longer at the hotel. However, the restaurants continue to serve wonderful food. Our daughters loved to use the restroom in the downstairs level because the walls are filled with theatrical costumes. Originally built in 1911 as the Denver Tramway Building, the elegance of the marble flooring and wainscoting was a perfect segue as the building was transformed into a first class hotel. http://www.hotelteatro.com/

10. Strater Hotel ,Durango. Nothing captures the 1880s west as a visit to the Strater Hotel . We attended a conference in Durango and were housed in this fun and funky hotel. Surrounded by the San Juan Mountains, it is a place to kick back and enjoy Colorado at its finest. http://strater.com/

What’s your favorite Colorado hotel?


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