There is that saying, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Sometimes that’s a good thing, especially when it’s Colorado’s historic hotels we’re talking about. For more than a century, these venerable properties have hosted presidents, royalty, prima donnas and groups.
THE BROWN PALACE HOTEL & SPA, Denver
The Brown Palace, built in 1892, has been visited by nearly every president since Theodore Roosevelt. The 241-room hotel offers 25,000 square feet of meeting space for groups from 15 to 800. The 5,800-square-foot Grand Ballroom is adorned with imported African mahogany paneling and Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers and can be divided into two 2,900-squarefoot rooms. The Brown’s meeting facilities include 18 separate rooms of various sizes.
THE OXFORD HOTEL, Denver
Denver’s first hotel opened down the street from busy Union Station in 1891. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 80-room Oxford features 10,000 square feet of function space. The restored carriage house next door features 8,600 square feet of the meeting options. The Oxford’s Grand Ballroom and Oxford Theatre have theaterstyle capacities up to 240 and 150.
“At the Oxford, you get an immediate sense of Denver and the pride of our city’s history,” says Nancy Montgomery, senior manager of event marketing at CoBank. “The recent renovations have absolutely maintained that but have really enhanced the hotel’s elegance, making it feel high end and appropriate for the business that needs to be done there, and yet that it also fits in with the hip, modern ‘new’ Denver where it is located. I knew that historian and hipster alike would love it.”
STRATER HOTEL, Durango
The 93-room Strater Hotel, built by a Cleveland pharmacist, opened its doors in 1887. It displays the largest collection of American Victorian-era walnut furniture in the world. The Strater has 6,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 3,000-square-foot Henry Strater Theatre that accommodates 150 seated, 260 theater-style and 300 standing. The Strater also has three restaurants and bars.
HOTEL BOULDERADO, Boulder
Back in the early 1900s, Boulder was becoming the place to see and be seen. To house the sophisticates streaming into the city, business owners sold stock and formed the Boulder Hotel Company with eyes toward building a luxury property. When doors opened on New Year’s Day in 1909, everyone agreed they had succeeded. These days, thanks to modernization and recent renovations, the hotel boasts 12 meeting and event spaces featuring more than 10,000 square feet of options.
HOTEL COLORADO, Glenwood Springs
Theodore Roosevelt was a frequent visitor to the 1893-era Hotel Colorado, utilizing the property as his hunting base. After he returned empty handed from a hunt in 1901, maids pieced together a fabric alternative, creating the beloved teddy bear. The 130-room Hotel Colorado features 10,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space that can accommodate 700 attendees.
The investors who built Hotel Jerome in 1889 at the height of the silver boom intended to rival London’s luxurious property, The Savoy. All 99 guest rooms were extensively renovated in 2012, and the courtyard and pool terrace were upgraded in 2018. Hotel Jerome also added residential suites and four vibrant social spaces. The hotel’s “mine-camp Victorian style” has been preserved and interior décor reproduced to match the historic time period. For meetings and events, the property offers seven rooms (including a courtyard and terrace) that range from 640 to 3,450 square feet.
NEW SHERIDAN HOTEL, Telluride
In 1891, gold and silver investors built the Sheridan Hotel. The original wood structure burned down two years later, and the New Sheridan Hotel was rebuilt on the original site. A smaller property with only 26 guest rooms and suites, meeting space options are more limited with the 650-square-foot American Room, accommodating 35 seated or 50 standing.
THE STANLEY HOTEL, Estes Park
Built by the co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer Automobile, who moved to Colorado to recover from tuberculosis, The Stanley Hotel is known for its classic elegance and sweeping front porch and claims to house a few spirits. The 1909 property offers 41,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including The Pavilion, a beautiful new option with an auditorium and banquet space.
THE BROADMOOR, Colorado Springs
The iconic property did a fair share of sprucing up in anticipation of its 100th anniversary in 2018, including updating two eateries, expanding the main lobby and refreshing the rooms and suites in Broadmoor Main. There also is an incredible 185,000 square feet of meeting facilities. The Broadmoor is the longest consecutive winner of the Forbes FiveStar and AAA Five-Diamond awards.
THE CLIFF HOUSE AT PIKES PEAK, Manitou Springs
Once a stagecoach stop along the gold route from Colorado Springs to Leadville, the “inn” was a boarding house for rich capitalists. In 1876, the property was turned into a resort hotel where guests such as P.T. Barnum and Thomas Edison overnighted. The Cliff House offers five rooms for events including a 2,500-square-foot ballroom, 1,850-squarefoot pavilion (with retractable walls and windows in its front room), two boardrooms and a solarium.
Jim Fariss, owner of Black Forest Piano Tuning & Repair, scheduled the Master Piano Technicians annual convention at The Cliff House in 2018. He neatly wrapped up what makes historic hotels so memorable. “Our MPT group will never recall the rooms or hotel from previous conventions where we stayed at large chain motels, but they will always remember that special hotel they stayed at during the 2018 Manitou convention.”
The Rest of the Story
Armstrong Hotel, Fort Collins
When the Armstrong opened its doors in 1923, it was the tallest building in town. The property was lovingly restored in 2004 and is currently undergoing renovations. The owners carefully preserved building’s history by recreating the original storefront and neon sign from photographs. Three event spaces accommodate from 16 to 150 guests.
Beaumont Hotel, Ouray
The Beaumont Hotel was built at the height of gold fever in 1886 as the flagship hotel of the San Juan Mountains. For elegant affairs, book the 115-person capacity Grand Ballroom, an opulent space with a vaulted wood ceiling and arched gothic windows in original stained glass. A separate private conference room seats 20.
The Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel & Spa, Colorado Springs
While not technically a historic hotel, The Mining Exchange is located in a stunning historic building completed in 1902. The property sat empty for years before it was restored to the original grandeur and turned it into a luxury hotel. The Mining Exchange features 17,000 square feet of function space.