Susan B. Barnes.
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When The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa opened its doors on Aug. 12, 1892, it was the tallest building in Denver and the city’s first steel-frame building. Known for its unusual triangular shape, the hotel was also lauded for its eight-story atrium, the first hotel atrium in the world, which is topped with a (still-in-existence) stained glass roof.
Ohio businessman Henry Brown arrived in Denver in 1860, and knew just what he was doing when he donated 10 acres of land to the city to build its new capitol building. As his surrounding lots grew in popularity and value, Brown sold them off and built Henry C. Brown’s Palace Hotel (now The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa) in four years at a cost of $2 million. Three hundred Knights Templar dedicated the hotel Aug. 12, 1892.
Over the past 125 years, some changes have been made to the historic hotel, such as moving the grand entrance from its original location on Broadway to Tremont Street, when Broadway became busy as more people began driving cars. In the 1930s, the hotel’s eighth and ninth floors were transformed into Art Deco-style permanent residences called the Skyline Apartments, essentially an early experiment in mixed-use space where tenants lived into the 1980s. Today, these floors house the Top of the Brown Guestrooms and Royal Suites, and the Deco aesthetics remain.
In addition to its notable architecture, The Brown Palace has lived up to its early motto, “Where the World Registers,” welcoming royalty, U.S. Presidents and celebrities over the past century. The Beatles stayed at the hotel before their performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre during their British Invasion in 1964 (drawing a crowd of 5,000 outside the hotel); Dwight D. Eisenhower made himself at home, using the hotel as his presidential campaign headquarters; and the Rolling Stones, John Wayne, Snoop Dogg and Taylor Swift have all stayed, to name a few.
In 2015, The Brown Palace underwent a major $10.5 million renovation and today, the hotel’s 241 contemporary guest rooms and suites blend with its original classic charm. All accommodations feature flat-screen HD TVs, personal device charging stations, an iPod docking station, twice-daily maid service, daily turn-down service, plush terry robes and 24-hour room service.
Within the hotel’s triangular city-block footprint are a boutique, 5,200-square-foot spa; recently renovated 24-hour fitness center; and four restaurants, a coffee shop, and afternoon tea and tapas and cocktails in the atrium lobby. Four-legged guests are welcomed, too, with a Puppy Love amenity, including a dog bowl and bed, and welcome treat from The Brown Palace kitchen.
To celebrate its 125th anniversary year, The Brown Palace is hosting whiskey-paired and re-creations of historical dinners; releasing special craft beers using locally produced honey and water from the hotel’s 750-foot deep artesian well; offering spa and dining packages; and more. For up-to-date information on celebratory events, please visit the hotel’s 125th anniversary page on the website.
In addition, public history tours are offered Wednesday and Saturday afternoons year-round, and ghost, architectural, romance, presidential, Ladies of the Brown and custom tours are also available upon request.
Browse through the photo gallery above for a look at The Brown Palace, today and from yesteryear, including rooms, restaurants, the spa and fun architectural features.