Where to Stay in Denver for the Best Access to Top Activities
While on our West Coast road trip our stop in Denver, Colorado gave us the wonderful opportunity to stay in one of the coolest hotels in Denver, The Brown Palace. Since we were exploring Denver during the holiday season we were lucky enough to see The Brown Palace completely decked out with Christmas lights, poinsettia lined staircases and red and gold ornaments and huge red bows.
Denver is a large city and has so many options for accommodations, from low budget inns to high-end hotels, quaint B&Bs to AirBnBs, and everything in between. It can be hard to know where to stay in Denver, but if you want a unique experience in a historic hotel, then the Brown Palace Hotel is the place for you.
Where to Stay in Denver – Brown Palace Hotel
The Hotel Location
The Brown Palace Hotel is located in downtown Denver, just a few blocks from Civic Center Park, the Denver Art Museum, and the Colorado Convention Center. While it is a mile and a half from Union Station, you have the option of several bus or rail lines to get you to the hotel.
When looking at where to stay in Denver, make sure it’s close to restaurants, entertainment, and easy transportation. This will make your travels so much easier and relaxing!
The Brown Palace History
One of the most fascinating things about the Brown Palace Hotel is its history. We visited during their 125th anniversary, quite a special event. Built as a grand hotel by renowned architect Frank E. Edbrooke, this triangular building is made of local red granite and sandstone from nearby Arizona. Its façade and exterior are in remarkable shape for their age, with little change since its inception.
The interior was built with an atrium, soaring up eight floors. Here you find the lobby, a bar, and the Brown Palaces’ Afternoon Tea. Looking up you will be amazed at the intricate grillwork that lines the atrium side of the hallways, the grand chandeliers, as well as the beautiful stone floors you’re standing on. You can just imagine the decades of visitors that have passed through the doors, including presidents, heads of state, celebrities and other global luminaries.
The rooms at the Brown Palace Hotel are very modern with clean lines and comfortable furniture—almost minimalist in nature. The named suites (Royal, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Reagan, Beatles, and Top of the Brown) are all more classically appointed, with comfy couches and overstuffed chairs, each looking very much like the person(s) they were named after.
Brown Palace Hotel Restaurants
If you’d like to indulge and have a really great meal, then the Palace Arms is the place to do it. This is fine dining that incorporates seasonal ingredients, much of which is locally sourced, and changes on a daily basis based on what is available. (The menu even states where the main ingredients come from.)
One of the best options at Palace Arms is a tasting menu. The chef offers a 4-course tasting menu incorporating items on that day’s menu. Should you be adventurous, put your palate into the hands of Chef Kasper, who will create either a 6- or 8-course menu. We were pleasantly surprised that in this very heavy meat-centric state, that we could request a vegetarian menu if we had desired. My guess is that it would just as tasty and filling.
The wine list is even more impressive than the food, and regularly makes Wine Spectator’s “Best of” lists. The Palace has its own sommelier for recommendations and wine pairings to go with your tasting menu if you so choose.
For something a bit more casual, the Brown Palace Hotel has Ship Tavern. This restaurant is a cross between a steakhouse and pub, reminding me a bit of the Old World pubs I’ve visited in London. Lunch and dinner are served here, with an emphasis on steak and fish. They specialize in slow-roasted prime rib, which you can get as a whole slab (with all the fixings) or in a sandwich.
Should prime rib not be your thing, they also have filet mignon, buffalo ribeye, and what looked like a very tasty Rocky Mountain trout. To end your meal, and help celebrate the 125th birthday of the Brown Palace, try a slice of their 20 Layer Cake. (Just make sure you leave enough room!)
TIP: If you are around later in the evenings (Wednesday–Sunday), Ship Tavern has live music from 8:30 – 11:30. The perfect way to end your day at the Brown Palace.
This restaurant only serves breakfast and lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends (including a Dom Perignon Champagne Brunch). White tablecloths, attentive waiters, and a mouth-watering menu make this a venue not only for the guests of the hotel but local business people, due to its proximity to downtown.
Ellyngton’s has its own in-house bakery where they turn out bagels, muffins, croissants, Danish, and all manner of yummy breakfast treats. There are some old-school items on the menu (Creamed Chipped Beer and Corned Beef Hash), as well as a light and airy Brioche French Toast and the infamous Denver Omelette.
Lunch offers a little something for everyone from Croque Madame to Lobster BLT, salads and soups, to burgers and fresh fish. Make sure you end your meal with a Brown Palace Macaroon, something that they have been making for 125 years.
Stately and sophisticated would be the terms I would use for the Churchill Bar, open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. It’s a scotch-lovers paradise with a great selection of single malt scotches, craft bourbons, and premium spirits of all kinds.
Choose from a classic Chivas or go big with a pour of the Johnnie Walker Blue 200th Anniversary scotch ($250/glass). Try a single-malt Glenlivet (12, 15, 18, or 21 years) or sip slowly on $400 glass of Macallan M. No matter your taste or budget, there’s a pour here ready for you.
Of course, if your tastes run to gin, vodka, tequila, rum, or bourbon, the Churchill has you covered. There are also some unique signature cocktails (try the Buster Brown), as well as wines by the glass, and a variety of ice-cold brews.
The unique thing we found at the Churchill Bar was its selection of cigars, not something you see every day in a rabid smoke-free environment. But it pairs perfectly with the ambiance and the scotch.
After Afternoon Tea service (see below for full description), the Atrium turns into a cocktail bar, complete with small bites and specialty cocktails, many of which have been influenced by the tea served earlier in the day.
The small bites menu rotates based on the season and availability of ingredients. Like the restaurants here at the Brown Palace Hotel, the majority (if not all) of the ingredients are organic, locally sourced, humanely raised and GMO-free. We especially liked the Bacon & Egg Bites, which had steamed egg whites, slow-cooked egg yolk caramel, and bacon-onion marmalade. Kind of like breakfast in a bite! They’ve also got standards like sliders and a cheese & charcuterie plate.
The bar, in addition to the aforementioned specialty cocktails, has about 25 beers available. These range from large local brewers like Coors and Blue Moon, to smaller craft brewers like Breckenridge Brewery, as well as imports. There is also a decent wine list featuring various types and vintages from around the world.
Tea Time at the Brown Palace Hotel
Enjoy the silver tea service, china cups and tiered trays of treats at the Brown’s Afternoon Tea!
Most large metropolitan cities have proper British tea rooms, either as standalone establishments or within hotels, and Denver is no exception. And as far as tea service goes, I believe the Brown Palace serves up a superior experience.
From the clotted Devon cream imported from England to the musical accompaniment (often a piano or harp), we felt that the Brown’s Afternoon Tea would pass stringent British standards.
When the hotel began the tradition, tea was served upstairs in a small space where the Ship Tavern now resides. It later moved down to a corner on the ground floor of the hotel, and over the years has migrated to different locations, finally landing in the Atrium smack dab in the center of the hotel. We found this to be a beautiful location, bright and airy and open. Being that we were here during the holidays, it was extra special, with the chandeliers popping with red, green, and gold Christmas ornaments.
The menu itself is small and very traditional. The Brown Palace Signature Tea ($40) delivers a selection of finger sandwiches, scones (with that delicious Devonshire cream as well as jam), small pastries, and a pot of tea. The Royal Palace Tea ($46) adds in a glass of Kir Royale and a truffle. Should you want to go fancy, there is the Veuve Clicquot for Two ($134) – which adds a half bottle of Veuve to your tea service; or, the Moet & Chandon Tea for Four ($200-250), where you get a whole bottle of the high-end bubbly with your tea treats.
We also fund the selection of teas impressive. While there is the typical Darjeeling and Earl Gray, you have the choice of 5 black teas, 3 green teas, 4 specialty teas and 3 herbal teas. The Brown also has a rotating selection of seasonal teas to choose from.
The Afternoon Tea at The Brown Palace Hotel is open from 12 – 4 p.m. daily. Afternoon Tea is a very very popular event at The Brown Palace so make sure to book in advance because it will sell out!
I hope this post has helped you figure out where to stay in Denver! The Brown Palace Hotel is a gorgeous hotel that you’re sure to enjoy!
PS. If you’re exploring Colorado here is a travel guide on the 10 Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs!