BY MONICA PARPAL STOCKBRIDGE
Picture this: you’ve just arrived in Denver for a long weekend — or maybe you’re a local taking a staycation — and you know you’re in for a treat the moment you lay eyes on your lodging for the weekend: The Curtis Hotel, smack in the middle of Denver’s hip theater district. From the 42-foot All Together Now sculpture standing like a tower of children’s blocks on the street corner, to the sound of clinking martini glasses from The Corner Office restaurant and martini bar, the area is buzzing with the sights and sounds of urban Mile High.
From the second you step inside The Curtis, you can tell this is no “traditional” hotel. Is it the pop of the bright orange accent colors? The “world’s largest Lite-Brite” art hanging inside the lobby lounge? The reception clerk challenging guests to games of rock-paper-scissors upon check-in?
Whatever it is, The Curtis Hotel’s independent and funky spirit shines through in all these ways and more. Opened in 2007 on April 19 (which happens to be Bart Simpson’s birthday, if that tells you anything), The Curtis has always been a bit of a maverick in the hospitality world. Though it became a DoubleTree by Hilton in 2010, it’s never lost its hip sensibility thanks to Denver’s own Sage Hospitality and a commitment to keeping alive the original idiosyncrasies.
Inside the recently renovated lobby you’ll find glimpses of local art alongside funky orange light fixtures, tufted leather armchairs, and a wall of pop fiction books and classic board games. The check-in desk is another major touchpoint for showing off that personality, and again the fun and games shine through. Want an upgrade to your room? Challenge the receptionist to a hula hoop contest. During the recent Summer Olympics, people could enter $5 to guess the latest gold medal counts for a chance at a free stay. The money collected went toward Sage Hospitality’s Dollars for Dreams, which supports different charitable recipients each quarter.
Along with the fun and philanthropy, the hotel recently announced the implementation of Digital Key access for each of its 336 guest rooms. This allows guests to check in, choose their exact room from a digital floor plan, and request a Digital Key all through the HHonors app.
“Most of our loyal guests are incredibly tech-savvy,” said General Manager and “Starship Captain” Scott Sloan. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer HHonors members this cutting-edge Digital Key technology and give them an easier, more convenient stay.”
THE GUEST ROOMS
Once you check in, ride the talking elevator (which announces each stop with cartoonish voices overhead) to your floor, where the fun really begins. In 2014, each of the guest floors at The Curtis was renovated to reflect its own music, film, or pop culture theme intended to deepen and differentiate the hotel experience.
From the Sci-fi floor, to the Chick Flick floor, to the Dun Dun Dunnnnn! floor occupying the 13th story, each is decorated with movie posters, custom art, and thematic touches to bring out the different motifs. While every room offers modern amenities balanced by touches of retro pop art, the 13 “hyper-themed” rooms and three 1-bedroom suites take it to another level entirely. In these rooms, every detail is fine-tuned to fit the topic, from the wall vinyls to the curtains to the art on the walls.
For instance, the 15th Mad About Music floor features a hyper-themed KISS suite, fittingly decorated with KISS concert photos, a face-painted panda, and black leather furniture fit for a rock star (no smoking guitars or pyrotechnics required). In the 13th floor’s Ghostbusters-themed room, green “Slimer” floor tiles and ghostly 3D art add spooky touches.
But it’s the sixth floor that garners the most attention. “The Fun and Games Floor is by far our best-selling floor,” says Marketing and Graphic Design Manager Ty Shell. “It’s very popular with families, and always fills up when Comic Con comes to town.” Step onto the sixth floor landing and you’ll feel like you’ve tumbled into a game of Pac-Man, complete with ghost-shaped room number placards and joysticks on the console tables.
The best part? The rooms and floors at The Curtis are constantly evolving. Later this year, the eighth-level Sci-fi floor will transform into a Star Wars versus Star Trek theme, while the 10th floor theme will soon be renewed to reflect the city’s local heroes: The Denver Broncos.
DINING AT THE CURTIS
Be sure to spend a meal dining at The Corner Office, accessible through the hotel’s lobby. Here, Chef Rich Byers leads the global comfort food concept, with a menu that changes quarterly with updates to items every few weeks to reflect the change in seasons. Servers like Nate Gray may point you in the direction of the sweet and smoky Duck Skewers and Brazilian Cheese Bread. He’ll also recommend one of the cocktail “experiences,” like the Four Kingdoms Sake Martini which you customize with a spritz of “hibiki harmony” (peated Japanese whisky) from a miniature spray bottle. Of course, the entire cocktail experience at The Corner Office is first-rate, with all the traditional favorites enhanced with rare liqueurs, housemade tinctures, and even an impressive mezcal list.
For dinner, the sizzling rice bowl with marinated steak, zucchini, rice, and a poached egg is a savory delight, served piping hot in a Korean granite bowl. Tikka Masala and Moroccan Crusted Lamb Rack offer creative takes on traditional dishes.
The Corner Office is also known for its showstopping Disco Brunch, featuring “I Will Survive” bottomless marys and mimosas, irresistible red velvet waffles and apple bread pudding French toast, and savory chorizo quiche—just to name a few.
From the lighthearted lobby to the one-of-a-kind guest rooms to memorable meals, The Curtis Hotel does everything it can to help its guests “stay happy.” And whether you’re a loyal guest or first-time visitor, there’s always something new to discover at this pop culture paradise.