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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.
We 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.
The 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!
Having 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!
The 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.
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.
Location: 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