There’s just something about Denver that makes me smile. I don’t know if it’s the promise of mountain adventures nearby, or just the city for its own inherent charms, but the fact remains I love Denver. It’s an odd thing to say because, ultimately, I haven’t really spent that much time there. I’ve flown through there a couple of times and four years ago I spent a day exploring it en route to a nearby conference, but that’s it. I think that’s why I was so excited to return recently as part of a countrywide tour with The Ritz-Carlton; to once again visit this sunny city and see how much it has changed since my last visit. As a base for these explorations, I couldn’t imagine a better host than The Ritz-Carlton, Denver.
Embracing Denver culture
The goal of any great luxury hotel isn’t just to provide great service and fine accommodations, that tends to be a given. No, it’s also important to embrace the local community and to share with guests what makes that place in that particular city so great. No one wants a generic travel experience, we want to feel connected and it’s in this area that The Ritz-Carlton excels particularly well. Denver is fun and lively but it’s also incredibly quirky. Made even quirkier in recent years thanks to an incredible growth in population. People from around the world want to live in this mountain city, to grab a piece of the Colorado dream for themselves, and it’s this spirit that The Ritz-Carlton shares so very well with its guests.
If there was ever any doubt that beer is an important institution in Denver, one need to look no further than the luxurious spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver. I love being pampered when I travel and spending time in the hotel’s massive and newly renovated spa was high on the list of things to do on my visit. That’s why I found myself there as soon as I arrived, and welcomed to the spa experience with something a little unusual – a frosty pint of lager from nearby Great Divide Brewing Company. I was scheduled to experience The Ritz-Carlton, Denver’s very unique Mile High Malt Scrub & Microbrew Massage. I have to admit, I was first attracted to it for the novelty. Where else are you going to find a beer-inspired spa service at one of the best luxury hotels in the world? But within minutes I knew that this was much more than mere novelty as I enjoyed new levels of relaxation and bliss.
The treatment is a wonderful way in which the hotel embraces the importance of microbrewery culture in the city, arguably the best city in the world if you’re looking for unique and delicious beers. The treatment itself involves an exfoliation using skin softening organic hops and a malt sugar scrub, the building blocks of brewing. Then guests enjoy a warm Vichy Shower treatment before being painted with a skin conditioning beer mask. The spa service is finished with a calming beer hair treatment and scalp massage that left my legs feeling like jelly. It was honestly one of the best spa services I’ve ever enjoyed and although I left with a slight aroma of fine beer surrounding me, it was the best re-introduction to local Denver culture that I could’ve hoped for.
That’s not the only way The Ritz-Carlton, Denver embraces its city, food is another way in which this iconic property shares the best of the city with its guests. Throughout the week in the afternoons, guests are surprised to find a small stand set up in the lobby offering complimentary treats to anyone passing through. What is served might not be expected, but as it turns out the traditional root beer float owes its very existence to Colorado. Also known as the Black Cow, the float got its start in Colorado in a mining camp back in the 19th century. While this popular dessert has since traveled the world in its popularity, The Ritz-Carlton, Denver pays playful homage to this state treasure by offering it as an added bonus to their guests. It’s fun, it’s unexpected and is yet another reason to love the hotel.
The star of the culinary experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver though is the popular restaurant, ELWAY’S. Denver is known for its fun dining scene; restaurants where friends and family can go and enjoy a delicious and enjoyable evening out on the town. ELWAY’S captures this same spirit in a way that’s elevated, but no less fun. As you probably guessed, one of the founders of the restaurant is football legend John Elway, who envisioned the world-class restaurant that it is today. The restaurant is known around the city for its great steaks and other delicious treats, but it’s also well known for its incredible wine selection. Consistently recognized as one of the top wine restaurants in the country, it’s a fantastic marriage of fine dining with a casual, laid-back Denver spirit. My own meal at the restaurant was a delicious experience and one that I hope to repeat the next time I visit.
Spas and food are important, but at the end of the day the spaces where we relax are the most important aspect of any hotel experience. My own room quickly became my sanctuary during my brief stay in Denver, a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. Both the public areas and the rooms are newly updated and the look is modern and crisp without being cold or impersonal. One of my favorite aspects of any experience with The Ritz-Carlton though is the Club Lounge and in Denver I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Very few, if any, other luxury hotels offer the incredible array of services that Club Level with The Ritz-Carlton provides and for me the star of that experience is spending time in the expansive lounges.
With several meal presentations every day, it’s a fantastic place to spend some time, enjoy a snack or drink and just relax. From my own experiences, the service in the lounges is also usually the best in the hotel and in Denver that was no exception. No request was out of line and when the hostess learned that I had missed the root beer service in the lobby earlier in the day, she thoughtfully surprised me with my own Black Cow right there in the lounge. It was an incredible act of kindness that forever endeared this luxury hotel to me, but ultimately, that’s one of the hallmarks of every The Ritz-Carlton property.
The Ritz-Carlton, Denver enjoys a fantastic location in the Mile High City and provided me with the perfect home base from which to explore the rest of the city. Whether it’s the up and coming RiNo neighborhood or some of the more traditional tourist sites, nothing was out of reach. But more than that, the ways in which the hotel embraces the city they clearly love so very much improved my own visit in every way imaginable. When we travel we want to feel as if we are traveling, it’s a basic fact but too many times hotels are generic, bland. The Ritz-Carlton, Denver goes to great lengths to bring the city into the hotel experience and for the guest that means a visit that is immersive, fun and enlightening in every possible way.