Back in time at The Brown Palace |

Back in time at The Brown Palace

Alex Miller
Summit Daily News
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

There’s no shortage of good hotels in Denver, but when occasion calls for something above the norm, one name always rises to the top: The Brown Palace. Its doors continuously open since it was built in downtown Denver in 1892, Denver’s “Grand Dame” is a cut above the rest, not only in the quality of its accommodations but simply in the stately aura it projects in every corner. Travelers accustomed to cookie-cutter hotel rooms will marvel at the ornate detail, the Byzantine wallpaper, the marble floors and tile walls in the bathrooms. Enter the lobby, and you’re instantly transported into a time gone by, where wrought-iron rails and old-world chandeliers festoon the extraordinary lobby and inner atrium, which extends all the way to the ceiling. For god’s sakes, there’s afternoon tea daily, with a guy playing a grand piano in the lobby.

No, Johnny, this ain’t the Holiday Inn Express.

Needless to say, all this atmosphere doesn’t come cheap, but a room at the hotel is still more affordable than you might think. The Brown Palace also has introduced a new program aimed at Colorado residents to sweeten a stay at the Brown. Called Palace Preferred, it affords a variety of perks including a preferred rate, 20 percent off the valet parking, free Wi-Fi in the room, restaurant discounts and a couple of drink tickets. The basic Palace Preferred is free to sign up for, or you can upgrade to Palace Preferred Gold, which kicks in after you’ve stayed twice at the Palace in one year. Gold gives you free valet, automatic room upgrades, complimentary access to the Denver and Colorado athletic clubs and a $25 voucher good at any of the hotels bars and restaurants. Sign up for Palace Preferred on the hotel’s website,

On a recent stay at the Brown, I found the hotel as charming as ever and the staff as gracious as one would expect at a top-flight hotel. We had the opportunity to stay in one of the hotel’s corner king rooms, a lovely space that mirrors the unique rounded prow of the hotel itself. With a large oak desk, regal bed and old-fashioned drapes, one could imagine some old Colorado mining or railroad baron staying here, even as modern upgrades such as air conditioning, iPod-compatible alarm and a rain-style shower made it clear it’s 2011 even at The Brown Palace.

Don’t stay at the Brown and miss the chance to have a pint at the Ship Tavern or the Churchill Bar – or sip tea or a cocktail in the lobby during the Friday or Saturday evening jazz performances. If it’s a Saturday night stay, go all out and enjoy the Dom Perignon champagne brunch at Ellyngton’s, held every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The hotel has a spa, as well, featuring everything from massages and facials to manicures, soaks, steam rooms and mud wraps. The spa also features a list of services specifically for men.

Located on 17th Street right downtown, The Brown Palace is a great base camp for everything Denver has to offer. You can walk to many of the area attractions from the Brown, but the hotel also provides a complimentary car for anything in the immediate vicinity.

In a world where so much is cheap and rushed, a night or two at an old-world hotel such as The Brown Palace may be just the thing to remind us to slow down a little bit and enjoy something special.

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