Hotel Tip of the Week: Hotel Monaco | Denver, CO

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Right after we checked in the Hotel Monaco in Denver and oogled at the impressive ceiling in the lobby, I was confronted by my attacker. Now that I was good and healed from what I’ll call the India incident, we had a laugh and I posed for a few re-enactment photos. Cowboy western chic is the theme throughout this superior downtown Denver boutique hotel, but luckily our room was free of images of the black and white monster (almost – but I’ll get to that later). Our fabulous suite had a subtle horse theme, with one equestrian-themed painting in the bedroom and a gorgeous white horse head lamp in the living room I could not stop commenting on.

the monaco hotel denver colorado cowWe sunk into the super comfortable beds and mass of the biggest, fluffiest pillows at the Monaco and breathed in the room’s bold design that we like so much we talk about it in our Stand Out Feature section below.

We stayed at Hotel Helix (you can see our review of the hotel here), our first Kimpton property, last summer on the Washington, DC stop of our mega NYC2NOLA Road Trip and loved it. Even though the Monaco aims at a much smoother sensibilities (Helix was proudly over the top) those fun quirks are woven seamlessly into the stay. We had the same fun animal print bathrobes and cow-skin patterned blanket, which we cuddled up under during a well-deserved night in front of one of the two flat screens with red wine and a cheeseboard.

hotel monaco denver coloradoThe mini-bar was stocked with what looked like my grocery list: a bag of Almonds, one of Cashews and one of dried berries, Clif bars, bottled water. This was decidedly more grown up than the Pop Rocks and Push-Pops at Hotel Helix. The room is without a coffeemaker, but the lobby turns into a café each morning, with coffee, decaf, flavorings, even ice cubes and to-go cups which makes up for that.

The only gripe about the room itself is that the bathrooms could use a revamp. They feel a bit dated and frankly unspectacular compared to the rooms. The C.O. Bigelow toiletries, however, work miracles. My hair had more shine and bounce than it had had for month!

Hotel Monaco Denver Minibar and ToiletriesHaving used up all the shampoo the first night, the second night I thought I’d have to go back to my own and was sad as a clown. We had worked in the room through to the early afternoon and had sent away the cleaners. We are used to cleaning service as a now-or-not-today proposition, but to my absolute delight, the nightly turn-down service had turned in to a full room cleaning, instead. The bed was crisply made with five little chocolate fish lined up on the bedside table, the living room was put back together after our work tornado ripped through it and I peeked into the bathroom to discover that there they were – three brand-new little black bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion, plus the silky bar of soap in the shower.

These little customer service surprises seem to be par for the course at The Monaco. Reviewers on TripAdvisor mention all the little things that were done for them. There is a nightly wine and cheese reception from 5-6pm in the lobby, and when one guest expressed disappointment that she had checked-in too late and had missed it, they sent her up her own bottle, compliments of the hotel. Another pair of guests found champagne in the room at the slightest mention of their anniversary and countless people mentioned being bumped up to a suite when there was availability. In our case, the valet tipped us off to a parking garage up the street that cost half the $31 overnight rate at the hotel. Downtown Denver hotel parking is notoriously expensive, so we figured we just had to deal with the rate, but instead he sacrificed an extra night’s tip to clue us in to a deal!

Hotel Monaco Denver COThe Wi-Fi, which is free if you join the free Kimpton In-Touch rewards program (otherwise it is $10) worked perfectly in the room, which is where we remained during our limited time at the hotel. In town for my best friend’s wedding, we didn’t have time to hang out much in the deliciously decorated lobby, work out in the fitness center, spend an hour at the Veda Salon and Spa or eat a single meal at Panzano, the highly acclaimed restaurant – one of the US Top 100 restaurants, to be exact.

Stand Out Feature: The Design

No, Hotel Monaco is not a design hotel. There is nothing particularly contemporary, no re-fashioned trash-chic or other current design trend. We love the way the bold clashing blues and oranges, striking paintings and fearless accessories (seriously, a horsehead lamp) set atop reddish-brown woods all manages to feel entirely inviting and warm. We never wanted to leave the room. Ever.

Hotel Monaco Denver DesignRoom for Improvement: Communicating those little perks

Some of the coolest hotel perks went completely above our heads during our stay, and if it weren’t for a look at TripAdvisor while writing up this review, we would never have known about them at all. Hotel Monaco is a pet-friendly hotel, but if you don’t have a pet and they will bring you up your very own goldfish; as a Kimpton In-Touch member (which you are if you want the free Wi-Fi) there is an up to $10 ‘raid-the-minibar’ option (those nibbles would have been mine, all mine!) and a free newspaper down with the coffee in the morning. There were also rumors of bike rentals available online as well.


Essentially the worst thing we could come up with for the Hotel Monaco in Denver is that they could better communicate all the fabulous little extras they offer loyal guests. What I love about the Hotel Monaco – and Kimpton hotels in general – is that, in a world of cut-rate travel websites and apathetic chains, they still manage to make travel feel special. With so much for us left to explore at the hotel anyway, it looks like we’ll be back for Round 2 next time we are in Denver.

Hotel Monaco in Denver ColoradoLocation: 1717 Champa Street  Denver, CO 80202
Price: Special offers starting at $237 per double room
LGBT Friendly: Yes
Digital Nomad Friendly: Yes
Amenities: Complimentary wine and cheese reception in the afternoon, free coffee in the morning, dog-friendly, fitness room, iPod docking stations, complimentary newspapers, Panzano restaurant on the ground floor, wi-fi included with free Kimpton In Touch program, valet parking

Disclosure: Though Hotel Monaco kindly sponsored one night of our stay, all opinions here are, as always, entirely our own.

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Hotel tip of the week: The Curtis in Denver, Colorado

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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.

the curtis hotel denver reception and cookieIn 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!)

The Curtis Hotel Denver Themed FloorLuckily 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 Curtis Hotel Denver RoomThe 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.

The Curtis Hotel Denver viewsWe 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.

The Curtis Hotel Denver GamesStand Out Feature: The Corner Office

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 Corner Office DenverThe 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!

The Corner Office BreakfastRoom for improvement: It’s just not quite there…

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?

The Curtis Hotel DenverOverall

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.

The Curtis Denver ColoradoLocation: 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. 

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