Whether you are an art connoisseur or a traveler that just enjoys the finer hotels in life, you’re going to love the 165-room ART Hotel, which opened early summer of 2015. Located in downtown Denver’s Cultural District, the boutique hotel is simply unique, capturing the contemporary art scene as if the hotel were its sketching pad.
I’m lucky to live in Denver metro, where the hotel scene in the Mile High City is amazing. New hotels are cropping up all over the city, in downtown and its suburbs. I’ve had my eye on one of the newest Denver hotel openings, the ART, a hotel, and finally, I had an excuse to leave my west suburbia home for a weekend night stay.
Arrival at the ART hotel
Rush hour in Denver on Friday afternoon can be brutal. My husband had to work late, so he would be arriving later. I thought my timing was spot on, with a mid-afternoon departure from west Denver. But accidents, heavy traffic, and impatient drivers turned my 20-minute drive into 45 minutes before arriving at the ART Hotel. (Good news for those arriving from Denver International Airport, you can take the Light Rail (the “plane to the train”) from the airport to Downtown Denver or vice versa.
As a long-time Colorado transplant, I’m familiar with downtown Denver, but I just couldn’t wrap my mind’s map around the location of the ART hotel. With GPS guiding, it all made sense as I passed the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver Public Library, and the Denver Art Museum.
And then there it was…right in the heart of Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District, inside a nondescript cement block of a building, at the corner of Broadway and 12th, directly across from my family’s favorite re-imagined museum, the History Colorado.
This Denver boutique hotel replaced a gravel lot and a concrete wall facing Broadway — yes, a sore spot in the otherwise historically impressive block. Perhaps that’s why the first impression of the ART Hotel is not that artsy — still sort of a concrete block, until you look up to the facade with its large airy windows. And in the evening, the spectacular Colorado sunset illuminates off the glass, white-wash and stucco of this building.
The first-floor motor lobby entrance is modern (again) with strategically placed artwork and furniture (likely to lounge while waiting for your car to return from valet). You’ll get your first look at what’s to come with the large-scale light installation by artist Leo Villareal. Villareal is well-known for his San Francisco Bay Bridge’s “Bay Lights,” and here in Denver the motor lobby is a custom created piece of work made of 22,000 light bubs.
In fact, artwork is the theme of the hotel, thus the name, right? Artwork lines the walls of every level, and each floor is dedicated to a different artist and their work. Even the elevator features video art!
But this is not where the lobby and reception desk are located, although you’ll see hints of what’s to come in its large airy open space accentuated by color and artwork.
Take the motor lobby elevator to the fourth floor. Once the elevator door opens, art greets you, starting with the friendly girl statue with a bouquet of flowers, almost waving you in.
It’s not often you’ll see an open air lobby in Denver (with doors that close in the winter), but my summer check-in to the ART hotel was just that. The floor-to-celing lobby windows disappear, creating the open lobby space. On the morning of my departure, while the restaurant (FIRE) served brunch, the outdoor terrace provided space for a yoga session.
And as their website boasts, I was notified that my hotel room would be upgraded, but that it might be a 15-minute wait.
To compensate for my wait, I was given a complimentary drink and made my way to the terrace bar and enjoyed the view.
The ART hotel Rooms
The wait was worth it! I was upgraded to a museum suite, and the rooms are stylish, with flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, luxury linens, and marble bathrooms.
Our suite had a separate living area, and the bathroom!! Wow, loved the huge tub and marble showers. Did I mention complimentary snacks?
Each guestroom floor also features a particular artist, showcased in the hallways and in each of the guest rooms.
FIRE is the contemporary American restaurant with a terrace and cocktail lounge, although I didn’t have the opportunity to taste test this.
We did, however, enjoy late night cocktails with friends in the cocktail lounge. It was a super busy night, and service was slow…but friendly.
For those, who prefer to explore their surroundsings, there are over 100 restaurants, bars and clubs, within walking distance. Or as mentioned above, take advantage of the hotel’s SUV to take to you to any number of destinations within 1 mile.
In addition, 7 meeting rooms with even more art are available. As these meeting rooms were being used, I didn’t have the opportunity to check them out, but I was told that even more artwork was on display there too.
It’s All About the Art
The ART, a HOTEL, is seriously all about the art, and there is even an in-house curator, Dianne Vanderli (of Denver Art Museum fame). who assembled the hotel collection of artwork gracing the walls and halls of this hotel. It’s quite an impressive collection (even for those who aren’t that familiar with artists), with names who even I can recognize, such as Andy Warhol, while other artists were commissioned from far flung places across the world — and of course, Denver.
Downtown Denver Location
The Mile High city literally buzzes with activity at night, and the ART Hotel’s surrounding neighborhoods are bustling. Outside of the museums, guests will find plenty to see and do, mostly within walking distance.
The hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle (upon request and based upon availability) to within a mile. We had an event in the Santa Fe Art District, so we did take advantage of a drop off and pick up (by phone), which was efficient and very convenient.
For those arriving via Denver International Airport, the ART Hotel is a 40-minute drive from the airport.
Room rates: Classic guest rooms start from $309. Suites start at $469. Make your reservation online at the ART, a Hotel website or try one of the many booking sites such as Expedia, Travelocity or Hotels.com.