Normally I would say that we are not easy to bribe…but the piping hot, fresh-out-the-oven chocolate chip cookies we were handed during our check-in at The Curtis sure went a loooong way in making us feel right at home. The cookie is the same warm welcome received at all Doubletree hotels worldwide, though you wouldn’t know that The Curtis is part of the popular hotel chain.
In town for my best friend’s wedding the next day, we arrived to the hotel after the rehearsal dinner, just before midnight. Weary and ready to fall into bed, we perked up the minute we got to our floor. We were staying on the Dance Floor, one of the twelve Pop-Culture themed floors. The elevator let us right out to a wall-mount silhouette of John Travolta’s classic dance move from Saturday Night Fever. When we explored the hotel the next day, we loved the Chick Flick floor’s Charlie’s Angels piece, and the 13th floor, appropriately named Dun Dun Dunnnnn, has a Freddy Krueger silhouette coming at you when you arrive.
Posters of classic films along each theme line the hallways, like Mulder’s I Want to Believe poster from the X-Files on the Sci-Fi floor, but my favorite touch was the quote on the mirrors in the hallway. Up on Dun Dun Dunnnnn, the quote said “The call is coming from inside the hotel,” from the 1979 thriller When a Stranger Calls. On the Dance Floor, our mirror quote was the most classic line from Dirty Dancing: “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” (You tell ‘em Johnny!)
Luckily The Curtis put us in the corner. Our room at the end of the hall up on the 12th floor had two floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views. We looked right over the Denver Center for Performing Arts next door and out to the gorgeous Rocky Mountains beyond the city limits. The hotel has a great sense of humor and style, though the theme is not translated into the rooms themselves.
By no means luxurious, the Curtis offers guests quality Doubletree rooms with those first-class beds. Our room spacious and had a small sitting area with a couch and table, a desk, a wardrobe, and a 42-in flat screen TV. Though the bathroom was sans tub, the spacious shower, Tarocco from Baronessa Cali toiletries and plentiful fluffy white towels more than made up for that. What I really like is that even though there is a focus on fun, this is an entirely functional hotel as well. We don’t often need an iron, but due to the special occasion, we did and it worked great, plus the coffee machine made a nice cup of Joe and the free Wi-Fi never faltered. We did not make use of the wake up call service – you can choose to be woken up by Elvis Presley or Austin Powers – but we sure used the iPod dock stations to blast our favorite music.
The location of The Curtis was also perfect for us. Set right in the heart of the city, the famous 16th Street pedestrian mall, Capitol building and 40 restaurants are within walking distance – and Starbucks is right at the corner. Because we were driving all over the Denver/Boulder area for wedding related events, being able to get to the Interstate in five minutes made getting around so easy. This would also be great for guests making day trips to Boulder, Red Rocks or heading back to the airport. City parking is always a pain, but The Curtis has its own parking garage.
We had no time to take advantage of the excellent 24-hour fitness facility. This space (the door to which is next to the “Run Forrest, run” poster) is completely kitted out with cardio machines, weights, yoga mats, and enough medicine balls and kettle bells to sink a ship. Had it been a snowy, winter day in Denver, the quirky games area in lobby would be a great place to gather around a game of Monopoly, Candy Land or even Twister. The dedication to retro extends all the way to a 5 and Dime store, which sells retro games and trinkets like Etch-A-Sketch, Betty Boop pez dispensers, old school candies. This is a pet-friendly hotel as well and even though we do not travel with pets, we always appreciate this added element – especially city center hotels like The Curtis.
By far, The Corner Office is our pick for Hotel Bar of the Year. We loved the playfully naughty office affair vibe! What really won us over was the overstocked bar and the Happy Hour specials – beers for $2, prosecco and cocktails for $5 - which for a downtown hotel is downright cheap. Bar snacks like Colorado Poutine and Mexican Flautas sounded amazing, but we only had breakfast here.
The menu is hilariously separated into ‘Things my Spouse won’t let me eat’ and ‘Spouse approved items’. We opted for one dish from each: the breakfast burrito and the spinach-tomato-feta omelet. The food was good but not great, though we wished had been there on Sunday for the Sunday Brunch menu like the Flip Side French Toast (ciabatta in a coconut milk batter, with nutella and avocado ice cream), the You Sexy Thing sandwich (with nutella and strawberries) or one of Dani’s favorites: Israeli Shakshuka (poached eggs with salsa). I am guessing we would have completed our order with the ‘I Will Survive’ bottomless Marys and Mimosas!
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there are missing elements that keep this from being a true boutique hotel. For example, the staff, while not unpleasant, didn’t impress. No one was particularly nice (or un-nice), we waited a few minutes too long at check-in for the night receptionist to finish a personal email, and the doormen did not smile or even nod. While we did like the themes on each floor, they could be brought in to the rooms a bit more – maybe monogrammed towels and bathrobes to reflect each theme and a mini-bar to match?
Most certainly not your average downtown hotel, you have to be game for the just under-the-top retro pop-culture vibe at the Curtis. We definitely were, and found that while the creative touches kept us smiling but at the same time we could still escape into a classically comfortable Doubletree room at the end of the day. Oh, and we would advise you to plan in extra time to take a long ride in the elevator, and stop off to tour each floor.
Location: 1405 Curtis Street, Denver, Colorado, 80202
Price: Starting at $219 per double room
LGBT Friendly: Yes
Digital Nomad Friendly: Yes
Amenities: Free wi-fi, tea and coffee-making facilities in the room, fitness room, iPod docking stations, The Corner Office Restaurant on the ground floor
Disclosure: Though The Curtis hotel kindly sponsored our two-night stay, all opinions here are, as always, entirely our own.