where to stay in denver

Denver Hotel Guide

denver co hotel guide

Happy Friday! Hope you guys have had an excellent week! I am home from Mexico after spending a few days in Riviera Maya (blog post coming soon!) which means it's time to knock out some posts before my next set of travels. So today, let's rewind to my most recent trip to Denver. 

I've talked about my love for Colorado on here before (you may remember reading my weekend travel guide). So naturally, I made a point to stop through on my way home from my west coast road trip. As I've previously mentioned, I usually stay with friends when visiting Denver, so this trip I made a point to visit some of the hotels in the city to put together a guide of where you should stay. But being a sprawling metropolis, how do you narrow down the options? For starters, let's talk location. 

 

There are tons of great neighborhoods to see in Denver, including: 

-Five Points and River North (RiNo) - for great bars and art galleries. 

-Highlands and South Pearl - for some great restaurants (like Linger or Old Major).

But my (personal) favorite neighborhoods where I always end up spending the most time are LoDo (Lower Downtown) or LoHi (Lower Highlands- which is technically part of the Highlands I mention above). I recommend staying in this general proximity if you want to be in the center of all the action. These areas put you close to Larimer Square (one of my very favorite spots in the city), all sporting venues (Coors Field, Pepsi Center + Mile High Stadium) and some of my favorite restaurants (see my travel guide for more on that!) With that said, I've rounded up a few of my favorite hotels in these areas that are sure to give you an excellent Denver experience. 

 

FOUR SEASONS DENVER

four seasons denver colorado

It's no secret that I have a special place in my heart for Four Seasons (I don't like to play favorites, but they might be mine). No matter where I've traveled, every property has always been exceptionally beautiful and had the most wonderful, friendly staff you could ask for. Four Seasons Denver kept that reputation just as pristine as it ever was, if not elevating it a bit more. This icon of sophistication is housed inside a 45-story tower in central Denver. The hotel has an urban-chic design that subtly reflects the natural beauty of Colorado (complete with oversize windows to show off both the city skyline as well as the majestic Rocky Mountain views). 

four seasons denver colorado

I spent some time in their spa which was truly world class (I was most impressed with this spa out of all the ones I visited on my US road trip). The interior boasts sleek, modern wood and stone--which brings the outdoors inside.  Their whirlpool, sauna, relaxation rooms and everything else were stunning- I wished I could spend my whole day there. For my treatment, I got a microdermabrasion which was one of the best I've ever had (I was told my skin was glowing by multiple people in the days to come!)

four seasons spa colorado
four seasons denver colorado

After my time at the Spa, I went downstairs to EDGE, the signature restaurant on-site, to have a bite to eat with my friend Jim. EDGE offers an extensive wine selection and a varied menu that highlights Colorado-ranched beef. I had the filet, which was honestly one of the best steaks I've ever had in my life. But the entire menu was full of quality dishes I genuinely wanted to try (guess that leaves something to come back for!) 

four seasons Denver colorado

All in all, I was highly impressed by every little detail about this property. They get a lot of business travelers, so there's more of a demand during the week (and the cost at that time will reflect that) but that means you can find some really competitive rates if you're coming for a quick weekend jaunt! If you have the budget and you're wanting a luxury experience in the heart of the city, I'd argue you won't find a place with better hospitality to rest your head than Four Seasons Denver. 

$$$ | 1111 14th St, Denver, CO 80202

 

ritz carlton denver

Another luxury option I visited just down the street is The Ritz-Carlton Denver. This hotel is the city's longest running AAA Five-Diamond property (and from the moment you walk into the beautiful lobby,  it's easy to see why). This was actually my first visit to a Ritz-Carlton so I was curious to explore more about the brand. My initial reaction was sophisticated luxury. Every detail I came across in the hotel was impeccable. 

RITZ CARLTON DENVER COLORADO

I started my visit with a trip to their spa for a manicure and pedicure (along with some time in their relaxation lounge). The room was bright + beautiful, which made for a really enjoyable atmosphere for that particular treatment. I went on a Monday, which #funfact also happens to be Mimosa Monday (complimentary with any service). Talk about a way to start your week off right!

ritz carlton spa denver colorado

After wrapping up at the spa and showering, I went downstairs to check out Elway's- named after beloved Denver Broncos hall of famer, John Elway. Their signature restaurant is a seven-time recipient of the award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine. We also nibbled on their Lamb Chop Fondue (lamb chops, green chile cheese fondue, Chimayo tortillas and roasted sweet potatoes) which was delicious. Our wait staff was friendly (not to mention funny) and extremely helpful in selecting our food + wine. 

elway's ritz-carlton denver colorado
ritz carlton denver

My overall Ritz-Carlton takeaway was great, and I have no doubt that anyone would enjoy staying here! I'm excited to visit more of these stunning hotel properties- they made quite the first impression on me. 

$$$ | 1881 Curtis Street Denver, CO 80202

crawford hotel denver colorado

If you're wanting somewhere nice, but are on a tighter budget than the options above, consider The Crawford Hotel. Located inside Denver's Union Station, this hotel provides guests with the best of Denver all within steps (literally walking distance to all the city recommendations in my weekend travel guide). Each of the three hotel floors represent a different era of Denver Union Station's history, so no two rooms are alike. And within it's four walls you'll find access to shopping and dining with an emphasis on Colorado craft. 

$$ | 1701 Wynkoop St. Denver, CO 80202

oxford hotel denver colorado

The Oxford is the first of historic Denver Hotels to open its doors (back in 1891). The luxury accommodations are elegant, classic and romantic. Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, family or romance, The Oxford is sure to meet your needs and give you a unique Denver experience. 

$$ | 1600 17th Street Denver, CO 80202

 

Still haven't found what you're looking for? There are always great rentals on Airbnb that will give you a taste of local life in Denver, and you can scale to any price range! 

 

I hope this helps you find the perfect place to stay based on your individual needs. If you have any questions for me, let me know in the comments below. Have a great weekend, and stay tuned for more travel tips on the blog next week!

 

xx, 

Whitney

DENVER HOTEL GUIDE

Weekend Guide to Colorado

COLORADO TRAVEL GUIDE

Between family vacations, previous jobs, and general travel I'm lucky to say I've spent many months of my life in Colorado. 

It's no secret this state is brimming with some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world, so naturally it's a popular destination for travelers from all over. I'm frequently asked by those planning trips of their own what they should do. Should be an easy question to answer about someplace that I love so much, right? Wrong. 

You see, every time that I come back to this glorious state, I somehow manage to find new and wonderful things (in addition to trying to see and do everything else that I already love). There is absolutely no shortage of entertainment here, which makes travel time management incredibly daunting to prioritize.  

But since I've come to find that the majority of people who are planning trips and ask me for recommendations are coming for a long weekend, I've managed to whittle my recos down to my absolute top favorites that you can accomplish within a few short days. 

 

DENVER

Denver is an amazing city with dozens of unique neighborhoods to explore. If you want to experience it at it's best, give yourself more than just a weekend. But even if you only have a few short days, you can still get a taste of my favorite mile-high highlights. 

 

STAY

Selecting a place to stay is important, and there are lots of details to consider! For that reason, I put together a separate blog post specifically dedicated to the best hotels in Denver. 

 

EAT

LINGER

linger denver rooftop downtown

Linger is the former site of Denver's historic Olinger Mortuary (where the body of Buffalo Bill supposedly was kept for six months) . Slightly creepy? Perhaps. But you'll quickly get over it when you see the view (it's no wonder Linger was included in Travel + Leisure's "Coolest Rooftop Bars in America"). The team has embraced it's history by intentionally darkening the first letter of Olinger's bright neon sign, and also changing the word "mortuaries" to "eatuaries." Whether you visit for brunch, lunch, dinner or simply drinks, you won't be disappointed. 

2030 W 30th Ave Denver, CO 80211

 

 

 

BISTRO VENDOME

bistro vendome larimer square denver restaurant
bistro vendome creme brulee denver restaurant

Named after the renowned historic square in the heart of Paris, Bistro Vendôme offers an exceptional dining experience in a charming neighborhood setting. Take a break from strolling under the twinkle lights in Larimer Square (which one of my favorite spots in all of Denver) and pop into this quaint bistro for a quintessential French experience. Everything I tried was wonderful, but don't leave without tasting the crème brûlée. 

1420 Larimer Street Denver, CO 80202

 

 

RIOJA

rioja larimer square denver restaurant

Also on Larimer, and owned by Bistro Vendôme, you'll finde Rioja- a Mediterranean inspired menu that's locally sourced and imaginative. Excutive Chef/Owner Jennifer Jasinski also happens to be a 2016 James Beard Foundation Semifinalist for Outstanding Chef (so you it's good). Try the Truffle Tremor goat cheese to start and for a unique dessert option, indulge in the sweet goat cheese and black mission fig filled beignets with a ruby port wine reduction.

1431 Larimer St. Denver, CO 80202

 

 

 

OLD MAJOR

OLD MAJOR DENVER LOHI RESTAURANT
OLD MAJOR LOHI DENVER RESTAURANT

If you're looking for a relaxed atmosphere with high-quality ingredients, look no further than Old Major. They pride themselves on being friends with their farmers and fishermen, and focus on heritage-raised meats from Colorado farms they know and respect. They cure meat in-house and make the most of the meat with their nose-to-tail butchery program. Don't miss their delicious charcuterie and signature cocktails (that Oaxacan Breeze is everything). 

2216 Tejon St Denver, CO 80211

 

BOULDER

Ahhhhh, Boulder. I could get all sorts of sentimental and sappy about this place. I moved here for a month for a new job where I knew no one, and spent lots of time exploring solo. Work brought me back for a week every month for over a year. Needless to say, we became great friends (and over time, I made many wonderful human friends too). But I cherish the time I spent here and the fact that I was able to discover so many places that created so many memories. Even without all the sentimental ties I have, I'm confident you'll still find it to be an incredibly special place. 

 

STAY

ST. JULIEN HOTEL & SPA

st julien hotel boulder colorado
st julien hotel and spa boulder colorado

The moment you set foot in St. Julien Hotel & Spa, you can't deny that it's an oasis of tranquility. It offers stunning views of the Flatiron Mountains and has doorstep access to the famous Pearl Street Mall (another reco I call out below). Whether you stay at the hotel, or simply stop for a drink at Jill's Restaurant, you're guaranteed to love every second of your experience. 

900 Walnut Street Boulder, CO 80302

 

 

 

HOTEL BOULDERADO

hotel boulderado boulder colorado
hotel boulderado boulder colorado

I've called Hotel Boulderado home for the week many a time while visiting Boulder. This historic boutique is also near Pearl Street Mall, and offers modern amenities with a charming Victorian ambiance. The gourmet on-site dining is fantastic (I adore Spruce) and the guest rooms are all elegantly furnished. Regardless of whether you stay here or simply dine with them, be sure to look up when you walk into the lobby, because the stained-glass ceiling will take your breath away. 

2115 13th St Boulder, CO 80302

 

EAT

THE KITCHEN

THE KITCHEN RESTAURANT BOULDER COLORADO
THE KITCHEN UPSTAIRS BOULDER COLORADO

The Kitchen is actually a family of restaurants across Colorado (and now Chicago too) but the original location is along Pearl Street in Boulder. The Kitchen restaurants are built by a community of craftsman, serving food & drink from local farmers, ranchers and purveyors for the sustainable enjoyment of the whole community. They are committed to environmentally friendly practices, including composting, wind power, eco-friendly packaging and recycling. But above all, they believe in the power of good food and good drink to connect people as family, friends and a community. They're my favorite place to eat in the state of Colorado, and I promise you won't be disappointed with whatever location you visit. 

1039 Pearl St. Boulder, CO 80302

 

 

BLACKBELLY

BLACKBELLY RESTAURANT BOULDER COLORADO

Blackbelly started as catering, and soon thereafter became Blackbelly Farm. The idea was to create food from the source to the plate without a middleman, and embrace the food of the seasons. It's now their mission to not only know where the food comes from, but to serve their customers with the very best product they can find. The menu items are inventive, fresh, but most importantly- delicious. Be sure to order a cocktail with your meal, because every single one I've had has been incredible. 

1606 Conestoga St. Boulder, CO 80301

 

 

RIO GRANDE

RIO GRANDE ROOFTOP BOULDER COLORADO

If the weather is nice and you're craving a delicious margarita from scratch, head to the rooftop of Rio Grande as fast as you possibly can. While they have seven Colorado locations, I'm biased to the one in Boulder (you just can't beat the view of the foothills). Their mission is simple: treat people well and deliver wholesome food. I think they do a pretty incredible job at both. 

1101 Walnut Street Boulder, CO 80302

 

BLACK CAT

blackbelly restaurant boulder colorado

Black Cat is unique because every single menu item comes directly from their very own 130 acre, Certified Organic farm located just outside the city. They also supply a bounty of restaurants, CSA's and booths at both the Boulder and Denver Union Station Farmer's Markets. Not only do all the ingredients come from the farm, but they are harvested every single day.  Because of this, the menu changes daily and always has a sense of discovery and delight (and as you can imagine, everything has a freshness you can truly taste). 

1964 13th Street Boulder, CO 80302

 

DO

CHAUTAUQUA

chautauqua park flatirons boulder colorado

One of my favorite Boulder memories was waking up early before work or spending an entire afternoon on the weekend to hike at Chautauqua. There's no place better to get a view of the Flatirons, so be sure to put it at the top of your list. There are tons of easy loops to choose from, but if you're up for a bit more of a challenge, I highly recommend hiking Royal Arch. It's a 3.2 hike round trip with a 1,400 foot elevation gain. The view from the top is incredible (and there are lots of spots to stop and rest - so don't let the incline intimidate you). 

900 Baseline Rd. Boulder, CO 80302

 

PEARL STREET MALL

PEARL STREET MALL BOULDER COLORADO
PEPPERCORN BOULDER PEARL STREET
CEDAR AND HYDE BOULDER COLORADO

Pearl Street Mall is one of Boulder's most well-known attractions. This four block pedestrian stretch (and surrounding side streets) is filled with amazing stores that you can spend hours browsing. My favorites? Peppercorn (home to beautiful imports, gourmet and imported foods, kitchen gadgets and many other gems that make for incredible gifts) and Cedar & Hyde (a modern day mercantile filled with home goods, apparel, and market items).  

 

 

rocky mountain national PARK

No matter if you decide to stay in Denver or Boulder, you're only a short drive to Rocky Mountain National Park. If you plan to stay in Colorado for more than a few days, look into staying in a cabin or chalet in Estes Park (which will put you conveniently between town and the National Park). But either way, be sure you pay the park a visit to experience some great hikes with amazing views. 

 

TRAILS

GEM LAKE

gem lake trail estes park colorado

Head to Lumpy Ridge Trailhead to hike Gem Lake if  want something short but challenging (3.5 miles roundtrip with a 1,000 foot elevation gain). The views are breathtaking (and there are lots of them along the way to the top). 

 

DEER MOUNTAIN

deer mountain estes park rocky mountain national park

Once you head into Rocky Mountain National Park, you can hike Deer Mountain- one of the more popular trails. It's known for it's panoramic views and is moderate in difficulty (6.2 miles round trip with a 1,210 foot elevation gain). 

 

EMERALD LAKE

emerald lake colorado rocky mountain national park

If you start at the Bear Lake trailhead and head towards Emerald Lake, you're in for a treat. Not only will you see Bear Lake at the start and Emerald Lake at the top, but you'll also see Nymph Lake and Dream Lake along the way (and each one offers wonderful views). The entire hike is only 3.5 miles roundtrip, and the total elevation gain is only about 650 feet. In summary? It's pretty perfect for anyone who wants to hike (no matter what skill level) and see beautiful scenery. 

 

HALLETT PEAK

While this hike offers outstanding views- be warned: it's not for the faint of heart.  The roundtrip length is about 10.5 miles with an elevation gain of 3,240 feet. Get there early (we arrived around 7am-they'll start to turn people away once the parking lot fills up) and plan on having at least 6 or 7 hours to spare. But more importantly, pack appropriately. I was sweating in a tank top around the base of the trail, but freezing cold at the summit in multiple layers- so bring items you can easily add or shred as needed. And of course, bring plenty of food and water- you'll need it. You'll also summit Flattop Mountain on your way, which is a good place to break for food and soak in the views. While I was definitely exhausted, it wasn't as challenging as I had imagined it would be, and I felt like a badass when it was all said and done. If you have the time and energy, I highly recommend it. 

 

COLORADO WEEKEND GUIDE DENVER BOULDER ROCKY MOUNTAINS

Whether you do everything on this list or nothing at all, I know you'll love the time you spend in Colorado. It's one of the most beautiful places on the planet and will forever hold a special place in my heart. It won't take you long before you understand why. 

 

COLORADO TRAVEL GUIDE
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