10 Best Denver Hotels in the Heart of Downtown

Hotels in Denver's lively downtown capture the essence of this city on the move--and there are still more planned as Denver comes into its own as one of the country's fastest growing urban areas. New on the scene is the impeccably stylish Crawford Hotel, integrated into artfully renovated Union Station, which now anchors downtown. Also new is the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel, housed in the former Colorado Bank Building on 17th Street. Like the Crawford, the Renaissance has historic Colorado artwork on display. For value-conscious travelers, it's hard to beat the new Holiday Inn Express Denver Downtown, which opened in December 2014. Although it's moderately priced, t's connected to the historic, opulent Brown Palace Hotel, where HIE guests have access to a luxury spa and all of the Brown's highly regarded restaurants--but at a lower room rate. Hotel Teatro, one of the city's chic downtown boutique hotels, wrapped up a major renovation in TKTKT and now offers a nicely conceptualized new restaurant, The Nickel, as well as the Library, a cozy gathering spot where guests and local residents can sit by the fireplace and sip tea and read or meet friends and colleagues for a power breakfast. While the best of the downtown hotels are not budget oriented in the strictest sense of the term, they offer tremendous value being walking distance to some of the nation's top restaurants and entertainment venues.


Cozy and romantic, the Oxford Hotel Denver is one of the city's true gems. Originally opened in 1891, it's is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Oxford is home to a coveted spa and salon and to the ageless Cruise Room, a 1933 Art Deco landmark and one of the best places in Denver to sip a martini. Each of the 80 guest rooms is individually decorated with such elements as floor-to-ceiling Chinese silk curtains, French and English antiques and claw-foot bathtubs.There's also an extensive collection of Western American art on display. McCormick's Fish House has long been a favorite of guests and locals. The Oxford is across the street from Union Station and walking distance to Larimer Square and the 16th Street Mall; for those who'd rather catch a ride, there's complimentary car service within a two-mile radius.

Recommended for Downtown Hotels because: The Oxford manages to retain its historic nature while providing guests with all the amenities today's guests desire. Did we mention the spa?

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Grand Hyatt Denver
Photo courtesy of Grand Hyatt

After a hotel-wide renovation completed in late 2013, The Grand Hyatt is better than ever, especially the dynamic Pinnacle Club ballrooms with the most expansive panoramic views in Denver (rumor has it you can see all the way to Wyoming on a clear day). While the AAA Four Diamond hotel is an ideal venue for elegant weddings and private events, it also has a welcoming vibe and the occasional excellent special deal, especially on weekends. For views of the mountains, book a corner king room or an executive suite. To get insight into one of Colorado's great passions, head down to Pub 17 where more than 50 of the state's microbrews are available in bottles or on tap, paired with a menu celebrating "high plains" culinary fare. Among the amenities are a rooftop jogging track and tennis courts, shuffleboard, a 24/7 health club and a pool.

Recommended for Downtown Hotels because: The Grand Hyatt Denver manages to feel spacious and intimate, western and trendy and it celebrates its Colorado location in multiple ways.

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Denver history is always interesting. Before this historic building on the 16th Street Mall was home to the Courtyard by Marriott Denver Downtown, it housed Joslins Dry Goods Department Store, where J.C. Penney began his retail career as a stock clerk. Today, the building gives the hotel a cozy, evocative ambiance not usually associated with the Courtyard brand. Guest rooms are outfitted with luxury linens and feature stylish decor. For floor-to-ceiling windows and spectacular views of downtown, book a king room in the line that ends with 25. Among the amenities are complimentary Wi-Fi and three-meal restaurant Rialto Cafe, which offers bottomless mimosas with its weekend brunch. The hotel is on the free MallRide route, giving guests an easy way to get around much of the downtown area.

Recommended for Downtown Hotels because: It's a strong brand yet its historic building makes it quintessential Denver. A good neighbor, the hotel spiffed up its alley to display art, too.

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Opened in 2014, the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel celebrates the past but adds a distinctive contemporary vibe. It's located in the historic Colorado Bank Building, which has long added architectural grace and refinement to downtown Denver. Among the historic elements preserved in the hotel are 16 murals painted for the bank in 1925. Guests can take a complimentary interactive tour via smartphone to learn more about the history of the building, including the murals. The Teller Bar, located where busy bank tellers once stood, features small bites, craft cocktails and Colorado brews. At Range restaurant, the focus is on culinary techniques of the American West, from smoking and grilling to cast-iron cooking. Range also features a prohibition-style creamy ale created for it by Denver brewery Former Future, available nowhere else except at the brewery.

Recommended for Downtown Hotels because: It's hard not to love a hotel with a microbrew created especially for it, then you add a location inside the historic Colorado Bank Building.

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One of the newer additions to the Denver skyline, Four Seasons Hotel Denver is all about luxury and location. It's in the heart of the theater district and walking distance to many of Denver's top attractions and restaurants, though you may not want to leave the rooftop pool or the Edge Bar, where locals and guests can nibble on tapas and consider which of 50 wines by the glass to try. It goes without saying that each of the 239 guest rooms offers superb accommodations to woo even the pickiest of travelers, to say nothing of oversized windows for gazing out over the city and Rocky Mountains.

Recommended for Downtown Hotels because: A rooftop pool, Four Seasons luxury and one of Denver's top trending bars on site are reason enough, but there's so much more.

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Like all Kimpton hotels, the Monaco aims to create community with its evening wine receptions and complimentary coffee and tea available in the lobby each morning. If you're traveling solo, those touches may be especially welcomed. Also welcomed is Kimpton's signature bright, colorful and cheerful decor, which is nicely paired with excellent service and upscale comfort. Panzano, the hotel's excellent restaurant, is popular with locals and visitors alike and one of the city's top eateries. In keeping with Kimpton's wellness and fitness bent, each room includes a yoga mat and bikes are loaned free to guests. Of course there's a spa and salon, too. Melding contemporary and western style with panache, Hotel Monaco is a fashionable boutique retreat in the center of downtown.

Recommended for Downtown Hotels because: It's a perfect fit for Denver with its fitness amenities and a focus on social networking.

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Connected by Skybridge to the opulent Brown Palace Hotel & Spa across the street, the new Holiday Inn Express Denver Downtown is not your normal value-priced hotel. While this is three-star lodging with three-star pricing, HIE guests have easy access to the Brown's excellent spa and restaurants and can simply put the charges on their HIE bill. Formerly the Comfort Inn, the new Holiday Inn Express Denver Downtown opened December 2014 following an $11 million renovation. All 231 guest rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi, and for added value guests can grab HIE's complimentary Express Start breakfast to get the day going.Valet parking and pet-friendly accommodations are among the other amenities.

Recommended for Downtown Hotels because: This is a value-driven hotel in a high-end area in one of the fastest growing cities in the country--an unbeatable combination.

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The Curtis celebrates pop culture with style, even a bit of flamboyance, and the effect is utterly charming. Part of the Doubletree/Hilton family, the retro-hip Curtis completed a renovation in 2014 and still makes you smile with its splashy colors, flower-power artwork and "personalities" assigned to each floor (the 9th, an ode to Big Hair, just might be our fave). Each of the 13 themed floors now features a "hyper-themed" suite, including a Startrek Enterprise suite on the Sci-Fi floor. The Corner Office restaurant is a favorite with locals and guests. Ask the bartender for one of the memorably monikered martinis or cocktails or grab a bite before a show at the Performing Arts Complex across the street. If staying in is on the agenda, the Curtis has your favorite games from childhood, including Clue and Boggle. Free Wi-Fi in every room adds to the fun.

Recommended for Downtown Hotels because: This energetic, hip hotel has an excellent location and offers a different pop-culture theme on each floor, making a stay here even more fun.

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The Crawford Hotel
Photo courtesy of Crawford Hotel

Opened in July 2014, The Crawford is located in one of Denver's most highly recognized buildings, Union Station, a commanding Beaux Artes structure that has been meticulously restored. The hotel was integrated into the station, part of it on a second floor that was created during the renovation where there had been none before. This is the perfect place to embrace Denver's history; look for historic artifacts and pieces of art hung throughout the hotel and Union Station. Guest rooms at The Crawford have a custom feel. The second-floor rooms are a nod to the golden age of train travel, evoking the old Pullman cars, while loft rooms on the top floor feature exposed brick and beams and opulent bathrooms. Crawford guests have access to the spa across the street at sister hotel, The Oxford.

Recommended for Downtown Hotels because: The blend of history, custom design, luxury and a location inside a magnificently restored train station sets The Crawford apart from all other Denver hotels.

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The Teatro, Italian for theater, is perfectly placed in the heart of Denver's performing-arts district and is as ideal for romantic weekends as for business gatherings. A renovation in 2014 resulted in several engaging new spaces. Among the most inviting is The Study on the lobby floor, where guests and locals can gather by the fireplace with friends to read and sip tea or meet colleagues for a power breakfast. Also new is The Nickel, an interesting restaurant concept where guests can check off the charcuterie items they want, sushi style, or order from a traditional menu. If barrel-aged cocktails are a favorite, the hotel's Barrel Bar is an excellent choice, and though there are many places within walking distance, a luxury SUV is available to shuttle guests throughout the downtown area. Sophisticated and exuding warmth and comfortable style, the 110-room Hotel Teatro prides itself on exemplary service.

Recommended for Downtown Hotels because: Hotel Teatro is hands-down one of Denver's finest hotels and a 2014 renovation has only made it better.

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Meet Christine Loomis

Christine has written about every aspect of travel, from romance and adventure to family and wellness. She is also lucky to have had three major home states through the years: New York,...  More About Christine