When looking for a perfect hotel for a one night, one day vacation in Denver for four adults, one teen and one baby, the hotel’s pool fit into my decision-making. The Holiday Inn Denver-Cherry Creek’s pool was one of its selling points. So were the room options, lobby with a stone fireplace, two on-site restaurants and the proximity to the Denver Botanic Gardens. The Walmart across the street was another plus on our quest for a pair of ski pants.
On a family vacation of just one day and one night, perfection may not make or break a good time, but it can help. In general, this stay was perfect, despite a couple of quirks that we rolled with since we helped create them. The staff was super accommodating, friendly and busy–as in I’m not sure when there weren’t at least one or two guests at the reception desk checking in, checking out or asking for some service.
During our stay, staff were bustling about helping with a wedding and a day before New Year’s Eve event for a Mongolian dance group. The result of the diversity of guests and hum of activity in the lobby added energy we enjoyed. I felt we were part of humanity that included a wide range of ages and ethnicity, and all in an upbeat mood.
Despite the fact our checked-bag didn’t arrive, and my son and I were separated on the leg of our flight from Detroit to Denver by the airline–something that should not have happened, the Holiday Inn’s cheerful staff and willingness to let us check-in early washed away travel woes. Although we could check in early, only one room of our two rooms was available. In a visiting mood, all six of us piled into our standard double queen room and managed to eat a lunch of Taco Bell eats without dribbling lettuce, cheese and chips over bedding.
My daughter, son-in-law and grandson’s wait for their standard king room ended in vain. When they did check in when the room was ready, they had two queen beds instead of the king. Really, not that big of a deal even though they could have checked in earlier when we did and had the same room. Besides, the desk clerk had tossed in two breakfast buffets for them at no cost. (see later details about breakfast)
By 5 pm, with the last of Taco Bell gone, and the baby’s nap finished, we headed out for the holiday light up at the Denver Botanic Gardens even though my son didn’t have his warmest winter coat. Travel hint: Do not put a winter coat in a checked bag. Fortunately, a sweatshirt and his hockey jacket sufficed.
Later, back at the hotel, I was concerned that the airline had not yet delivered our wayward bag and trotted down to the reception desk to ask if the airline perhaps had called. No, it hadn’t, but there was the bag. As it turned out, the bag was delivered before 5 pm but no one told us. Not the front desk. Not the airline. Still, the staff was friendly–and busy, and the bag had arrived with all its contents. No sense crabbing–time to eat.
Because looking for a place for dinner seemed like way too much work, we stayed at the hotel to settle into a meal at Flagstone’s the hotel’s restaurant/bar. This turned out to be a great option. The specialty here is Southwestern comfort cuisine. It was really, really good–flavorful and lovely. I had the Alameda Street Tacos, opting for one of each: carnitas (pulled seasoned pork), shredded chicken, and barbacoa (spicy shredded beef) served with three different sauces, and a cup of Hatch green chili soup. The flavors brought back memories of living in New Mexico. Splendid.
Flagstone’s menu does include standard burgers, wings and salads, as well as an extensive bar menu. To drink local, there are several craft beers or Coors.
In the morning, after a good night sleep–beds were comfortable, the room was clean and had what we needed, particularly a free Wi-Fi to keep the teen happy, we headed to the buffet at Eggcetera, the hotel’s restaurant that only serves breakfast. The buffet includes: made-to-order omelets, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, fresh fruit and more. The buffet is not included in the hotel price unless you add it in for a fee. I paid the extra when I booked our room at Hotels.com. My daughter and son-in-law had the military discount which I booked through the Holiday Inn Denver -Cherry Creek website because it was cheaper for them.
Oh, yeah. The decision to stay here because of the pool worked out well. My son and a friend of his who lives in Denver were quite affable about trying it out. The pool is huge for a hotel pool. Enclosed by a pitched glass ceiling that gives a greenhouse feel and adds light to the room, the pool is kid and adult friendly. For non-swimmers, there’s plenty of seating. Before my son and his friend took their dip, a grandfather watched over two grand kids who had the pool to themselves.
In warmer months, the outdoor courtyard with its fire pit is accessible to the pool by connecting doors, but in the winter, that door is locked. I did go outside to the courtyard though a hall from the lobby, but the nippy weather sent me back inside. Strings of lights at night create a wonderful ambiance. In warm weather, this would be a perfect hangout spot.
A few details: Room keys double as pass keys for the elevator so if you don’t happen to have your room key on you, you can’t access the up feature of the elevator. Also, the parking is free, but awkward due to narrowness of spaces and cement pillar placement. We parked on the top floor of the above ground garage since the underground garage would have been a tight fit for my daughter’s truck.
Room amenities include: a Keurig coffee maker, hairdryer, individual reading lamps (my husband said we should get these) and plenty of outlets. The decor is aesthetically pleasing with sleek modern furnishings and an earth tone palate. I normally don’t take photos of lamps, but I though the accent lamp next to the Keurig coffee maker was particularly swanky for a less expensive hotel. The bathroom artwork and granite counter also caught my eye.
The spacious, substantial workout room is off the pool. Another hotel perk is the free shuttle that will take guests up to a three mile radius from the hotel. We could have used this service for our trip to the botanic garden, but drove instead.
Room rates from hotel’s website are $162 for a one bed king to $ 176 for a suite. If you are an IHG loyalty customer you can earn points and book through their website. Mountain view rooms run a bit higher. The Hotels.com rate was nominal for us because I used a room discount that I earned from all our Hotels.com stays.
Post and photos by Jamie Rhein