The Crawford Hotel is set inside historic Union Station — Photo courtesy of Ellen Jaskol / The Crawford Hotel
The Crawford Hotel may be the most surprising element in the renovation and revitalization of Union Station in Denver, completed with much fanfare in summer 2014. The boutique property was ingeniously retrofitted into the station’s footprint where there was no hotel before. In fact, if you didn’t know it was there, you could easily miss it.
The small registration area is tucked into one side of the Great Hall, a busy hub where local residents, tourists and Amtrak train passengers cross paths or maybe sit down at adjoining tables at one of the station’s new restaurants or the Terminal Bar.
Some of the hotel’s 112 rooms are situated on the second floor, a floor that didn’t even exist when the Beaux Arts building was constructed in 1914. Fittingly, those rooms are long and narrow, designed to evoke Pullman sleepers and the golden era of train travel.
The Pullman rooms capture the romance of a private sleeper car — Photo courtesy of Ellen Jaskol / The Crawford Hotel
Classic guest rooms have astonishingly high ceilings and bathroom doors that could pass as carved artwork. Huge windows let in an abundance of natural light and oversized, fanciful light fixtures add a touch of whimsy. Yet these rooms draw inspiration from the building’s Victorian roots.
On the top floor, contemporary loft accommodations with exposed brick, timber and smaller windows give a new – and charming – face to the concept of attic rooms. To be sure, no guest will feel closeted away here. Rather, these rooms manage to be cozy and airy at the same time.
The Classic guest room features high ceilings and an oversized lampshade and light — Photo courtesy of Ellen Jaskol / The Crawford Hotel
All of the rooms come with a slew of modern amenities, including 46-inch Smart LED HD TVs and an iPad mini loaded with The Crawford app, through which guests can arrange wake-up calls, get info on the hotel and surrounding area and order room service from two of the Station’s popular restaurants, among other things.
Access to the guest rooms, which occupy floors above each side of the Great Hall, is via private elevators requiring a room key for operation.
Naturally, hotel guests have easy access to all that Union Station offers, including multiple restaurants and a few well-chosen retail outlets.
The hotel also offers a 24-hour fitness center, Panda Bicycles available for rent, concierge service, valet parking (you’ll want to use it if you arrive by car), complimentary WiFi, concierge service and special access to the spa and salon at The Crawford’s sister hotel, The Oxford, just across the street, where you can hobnob with LoDo’s well-massaged and meticulously manicured crowd.
The Loft rooms recall a western lodge; wall art and carved bathroom doors create an inviting aesthetic — Photo courtesy of Ellen Jaskol / The Crawford Hotel
Guests who want to branch out and experience restaurants, attractions, shopping or sports and entertainment events in Denver can request Tesla car service for destinations within a two-mile radius. But public transportation here is a breeze. The city’s busses and light-rail service come and go from a ultra-modern hub underneath Union Station, making most of the Denver metro area easily reachable, no rental car required.
One highlight of The Crawford and Union Station is the incredible collection of artwork by Colorado artists, as well as pieces from the history of the building. Ask about the self-guided walking tour. One fun piece you’ll notice is the stack of suitcases on the third floor.
Loft rooms were built around exposed timber. Even the bathrooms feature artwork — Photo courtesy of Ellen Jaskol / The Crawford Hotel
Also, there's The Cooper Lounge, open only to hotel guests, with or without a reservation, and in-the-know locals who make a reservation in advance. This exclusive perch overlooking the Great Hall offers high-end crafted cocktails along with a panoramic view.
It’s the perfect spot to relax with a martini or Old Fashioned and imagine yourself back in the 1920s and ’30s, when life was not lived at cyber speed and train travel was a romantic, glamorous adventure.