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May 16, 2014

Denver’s Luxury High

By Chris Boyle

While any jokes about Colorado’s legalization of marijuana use would be a bit old and overdone at this point, somewhere beyond the haze Denver has been upping its luxury quotient.


Hotels, restaurants, roof cafes and bars, breweries and trendy shopping areas having been sprouting up, and this fall “Brilliant:  Cartier in the 20th Century” will run at the Denver Art Museum from November 16 through March 2015.  It will feature jewelry, timepieces and decorative objects produced between 1900 and 1975, including baubles worn by Princess Grace of Monaco.

Denver Art Museum Image 3

This week Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center opened, part of a renovation of the historic Colorado National Bank featuring a three-story atrium with white marble columns.  Three blocks from the Colorado Convention Center the lobby of the 230-room hotel features 16 important works from muralist Allen Tupper True. A unique feature of the hotel will three of the bank’s vaults that have been turned into meeting rooms.


Coming in July, located in Union Station The Crawford Hotel will open.  Two blocks from baseball stadium Coors Field, the 112-room hotel will have unique room layouts as a result of the historic structure it is built in.


In December the 165-room Art Hotel is due to open as part of a $50 million, nine-story multi-use complex that according to reports will be the anchor of “the city’s cultural-center redevelopment.”

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Next year the openings will continue with a Kimpton hotel, a Hyatt Place, Hyatt House and a Westin at Denver International Airport joining the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Brown’s Palace, Teatro, Oxford and Monaco among upscale places to bed down.


Of course if in checking out the Mile High city’s various galleries, exhibits and museums you work up a thirst, there are some 100 microbreweries in the metro area, including 30 in downtown. Many of the breweries will host private parties and events. Last year, there was one brewery opening a week in the state, so perhaps it’s not surprising the city hosts the annual Great American Beer Festival, which last year sold some 49,000 tickets.  The event draws a worldwide audience including 400 media.


Thirty rooftop cafes mean you can get high on the supreme mountain views.  At Coors Field several thousand seats were removed to create a rooftop bar and at street level the city has over 40 outdoor cafes.


Rich Grant, Communications Director for Visit Denver, said much of the visitor count is driven by business travel, conventions and people coming from neighboring states and counties to attend games of seven sports teams that play in Denver.  At the same time he said, the city is now comparable to Seattle, Portland and Austin when it comes to its music, arts and food scene.


For elite travelers who may want to scout business opportunities, Grant says Denver is “becoming another Silicon Valley” and there are growth opportunities in medical, creative technology and energy, where the city sits between Houston and Western Canada.


According to NBAA, Centennial Airport, about 20 minutes from downtown, already ranks in the Top 25 busiest general aviation airports with over 300 arrivals per day, generating more than $1 billion for the local economy.


Grant says Denver is a perfect private jet hop for elite travelers who want a change of pace for a day, evening or overnight when visiting nearby mountain resorts where flying time is under 30 minutes.

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