Category Archives: Denver

Crowne Plaza Denver Grand Re-Opening

Latest in new and renewed hotels in Denver.

Nothing confirms Denver’s current boom as much as the spate of  openings of new hotels and renovations of older ones. The Crowne Plaza Denver is the latest. The hotel is right near the convention center, the State Capitol, the 16th Street Mall and other attractions. Its site on an especially uninspiring block of 14th Street (mostly parking garages and parking lots), but otherwise it is being spiffified with a new restaurant and redone guest rooms.

The other evening, the hotel threw a party to celebrate the big changes — something like $27 million worth. Public spaces feature little work station pods so those who are always glued to their laptops don’t have to stay in their (nicely redone) rooms to be productive. The restaurant/bar areas is now called Lockwood Kitchen. The food laid out in the ballroom foretold  a terrific new savory menu (memorable tacos and lamb chops) and the desserts set up in the bar? Beautiful and scrumptious.

Restful and tasteful dcor in the guest room, which are wired to the 21st century guest expectations.
In-room coffee and tea set-up.
One of several work stations on the lobby level. The bar is around the corner for those who want to sip an adult beverage while they work. Note the blue footstool under the desk.
The lighting wasn’t accurate or flattering, but the tacos were fabulous — tuna or shrimp with different salsas (shrimp with mango salsa here).
Exquisite and scrumptious pastries, artfully displayed.
Heated pool on the sixth-floor deck with skyline views.

I understand this renovation is a model for other Crowne Plaza properties. The hotels are part of the InterContinental Hotels Group. The Denver hotel is at 1450 Glenarm Place; 303-573-1450.

Hello, Halcyon!

Cherry Creek North hotel a stylish newcomer.

halcyon-logoTwo months ago, I posted news of the high-tech, high-touch features of the Halcyon Hotel that was about to open in Denver’s tony Cherry Creek North.  I get a lot of news about hotel openings, but I post very few that I haven’t seen or experienced. This one, however, interested me because of the location and the features. At the time, I wrote, “No pix yet, because I haven’t been there, and there as yet are no images on the hotel’s website, but I’m intrigued enough to post it now.”

The Colorado Tourism Office hosted a reception at the Halcyon, so I can now confirm that it is delivering on its promise and I also have some photos to post:

Sophisticated décor with clean-lined furniture, white bed linens and well-placed lighting in all guest rooms.
Sophisticated décor with clean-lined furniture, white bed linens and well-placed lighting in all guest rooms.
Vinyl whimsy.
Vinyl whimsy.
Soaking tub and wubway tile.
Soaking tub and subway tile.
A place for keys and men's wallets neat to the door is a simple, thoughtful feature.
A place for keys and men’s wallets neat to the door is a simple, thoughtful feature.

Continue reading Hello, Halcyon!

Lufthansa Adding Denver-Munich Nonstops

New Airbus service to begin in May.

Lufthansa-logoI have long felt that Denver and Munich are twin cities in spirit, separated by history and time zones. Both are near the mountains but not in the mountains. Both display the energetic pulse of a young, active population. And of course, they are both famous for beer. And come May 11, they will be on either end of new nonstop flights. My husband and I were just talking about our next European trip, so we might well book this one.

A Lufthansa Airbus A330-300 will fly the five-times weekly service. The new eastbound LH 481 will operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing Denver at 4:05 p.m. and arriving in Munich the following morning. The westbound LH 480 service will also operate on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing from Lufthansa’s Munich hub at 11:45 a.m. and arriving in Denver at 2:30 p.m.(all times local) after a 10 hour, 45 minute flight.

The Denver-Munich route is  the first time that the A330-300 has been scheduled for regular service at Denver International Airport — 177 in Economy and Economy Plus, 30 in Business and a handful in the ethereal front cabin.

Denver Art Museum Wows With Wyeths

Father and son works juxtaposed in exclusive exhibition.

Jamie Wyeth at the entrance to the new exhibition at the Denver Art Museum.
Jamie Wyeth at the entrance to the new exhibition at the Denver Art Museum.

I first “met” the Wyeths — N.C., Andrew and Jamie — at the Brandywine River Museum, dedicated to preserving the landscape, art and culture of a poetic part of Pennsylvania and Delaware. I got to know them better at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockport, Maine. Now, highlights of the Wyeths’ remarkable artworks have come practically to my doorstep.

Two of the three generations of this gifted family are represented in “Wyeth: Andrew & Jamie in the Studio,” which opens tomorrow at the Denver Art Museum. Jamie Wyeth was in town for the media preview. What a treat to hear his stories of the ways he and his father create(d) art. Timothy Standring, the DAM’s curator of painting and sculpture, spent 4 years assembling the show. Its 100-plus works in various media ( including pen and ink, graphite, charcoal, watercolor, dry brush, tempera, oil and mixed media, including ground-up pearls from a necklace of Jamie’s wife) are in Denver through February 7.

Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s Word,” enshrined at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, is not in the exhibition. It is an iconic painting, IMO on the order of the “Mona Lisa” or”Whistler’s Mother,” this is a a must-see for the legions of visitors who visit the museums that house them. MOMA has loaned it out just once and only for a single day. The Wyeth exhibition does include a study for this famous work.

Jamie is delightful raconteur but also an intense and private painter. For a time in Maine, he painted in a plywood bait box where he wouldn’t be disturbed. He likes to do subjects in series — farm animals, dogs, ravens, Rudolf Nureyev, the Seven Deadly Sins, Andy Warhol, nudes, currently screen doors. Famous for his portraits, Jamie doesn’t take commissions but paints only those people he wishes to. He often asks the “sitter” (i.e., the subject) to sign the work because he feels that each one is a collaboration between painter and subject.

I asked whether there are any younger Wyeths painting? He replied, “God, I hope not!” and then admitted that some younger relatives are artists. Lauren Whitney of CBS4 also came to interview him. This exhibition is at the DAM through Feb 7, and then a portion goes to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid — and that’s it. Aren’t we lucky to have it in Denver?
@WyethInDenver

Denver Zoo Package + New Giraffe Feature

Grand Hyatt in downtown Denver’s neat seasonal package.

DenverZooGiraffe-signThe Grand Hyatt Denver’s family-oriented new Zoo Safari Package  coincides with the opening of the Denver Zoo’s brand new Giraffe . Two platforms at different heights enable visitors to hand-feed lettuce leaves to the zoo’s four giraffes — the tallest of which is named Dikembe after the Denver Nuggets’ former star player, Dikembe Motumbo.  Zookeepers on-site answer questions and provide tidbits of information about giraffes.

Lucky youngsters get to be the first to hand-feed giraffes at the Denver Zoo's new Giraffe Encounter. Photo: The Denver Channel
Lucky youngsters get to be the first to hand-feed giraffes at the Denver Zoo’s new Giraffe Encounter. Photo: The Denver Channel

The package (from $229 per room) includes an overnight stay in a newly refreshed, spacious accommodation, two adult admission tickets to the zoo (regularly $17 each) and free valet parking in the in the hotel garage in the heart of the Mile High City — not a trivial savings.  A kids’ scavenger hunt challenges them to find favorite animals and then rewards them with a prize from the hotel’s treasure chest. And when families return to the hotel, a dip in the indoor pool awaits. The seasonal package (through September 30) is only available online or by calling 800-233-1234.

Opening Date Set for Westin at Denver Airport

Hotel to open before Thanksgiving rush.

DIA-logoDenver International Airport — the nation’s 5th busiest and the world’s 15th busiest — has operated for more than two decades without a hotel connected to the terminal. The Westin Denver International Airport, which is set to open on November 19, will change that.

The 14-story hotel with 519 guest rooms will serve both business and leisure travelers and locals when the 82,000- square-foot open-air public plaza is completed. It is expected to  become Denver’s newest venue for entertainment and will create a community connection between the airport and downtown Denver. When airport rail service begins, reaching it will be swift and easy.

The hotel's reception area provides a reflected view of the terminal's signature tented roof.
The hotel’s reception area provides a reflected view of the terminal’s signature tented roof.

A couple of months ago, I took a fascinating hardhat tour of the architecturally inventive hotel. It is designed with walls of towering, shimmering glass offering view of DIA flight paths and both the mountains and the plains. Building upon imagery of flight and aviation, the sleek hotel resembles a bird with its wings extended as it hovers above the public plaza, framing and accenting the signature tents of the Jeppesen Terminal roof.

Endless Winter in Colorado’s Iconic National Park

Trail Ridge Road just opened for the park’s centennial summer.

Logo_FINAL_BLUE_4CP_NEWTrail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park between Estes Park on the east and Grand Lake on the west is one of the country’s iconic drives. Cresting at an elevation of 12,183 feet, the road is usually plowed out by Memorial Day. But not this year — the park’s centennial — when high road opened today but with probably night-time closures for a while.  The snows have been coming, and the plows and shovelers are still at it.

May 29, 2015, on Trail Ridge Road.
May 29, 2015, on Trail Ridge Road.
Still all sorts of snow at the Alpine Visitor Center.
Still all sorts of snow at the Alpine Visitor Center.
Aerial view of Trail Ridge Road today.
Looking down at Trail Ridge Road today.

The park’s centennial celebrations kicked off in low gear last fall, were confined largely to historic exhibits, workshops, presentations and such that lent themselves to indoor venues.  An RMNP exhibit  will continue for some indefinite time at the History Colorado Center in Denver, the state’s wonderful historic museum.

Rocky Mountain National Park artifacts and memorabilia.
Rocky Mountain National Park artifacts and memorabilia.

With the approach of summer, summer events are coming into view.  A group of Model T enthusiasts plans to car-camp in August with old-style canvas tents; the Colorado Mountain Club is organizing a series of hikes, climbs and wildflower walks, and the Rocky Mountain Conservancy has a passel of commemorative activities planned too, including a John Denver tribute concert by local musician Brad Fitch in Estes Park on July 25 and in Grand Lake on August 1.

Click here FoMoInfo on Centennial celebrations, which conclude with a rededication of the park at Glacier Basin Campground on September 4, the Friday before Labor Day. I plan to be there. You too?

Denver Botanic Gardens’ Permanent Chihuly

Denver-Botanic-Gardens-LogoThe Denver Botanic Gardens’ 2014 exhibition of works from glass-meister Dale Chihuly’s Seattle studio was a blockbuster success with enormous day-time crowds and sold-out evenings. Now, a grand Chihuly work fittingly called “Colorado” has a forever home in the Gardens and is on view in the Ellipse garden. “We” have it, through the generosity of private donors including Robert and Judi Newman, John and Ginny Freyer and the RC Kemper Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee.

Chihuly's "Colorado" blazes in the snow.
Chihuly’s “Colorado” blazes in the snow.

This stellar 14-foot-tall piece made with 1,017 hand-blown glass elements. Viewing of Coloradois, of course, included in Gardens’ admission. Chihuly used a red, orange and yellow color palette as it reminded him of the beautiful skies and sunsets he enjoyed during Denver visits. He further drew inspiration for the new work from one of his most challenging outdoor installations, “Icicle Creek Chandelier,” a permanent outdoor piece that he did in 1996 at Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth, Washington. Installed on a granite rock, the chandelier is a permanent reminder of how a work of art can be framed in nature and find harmony within it. Like the Leavenworth piece, “Colorado” is designed to survive similar outdoor weather conditions.

 

Cartier Jewels Dazzle at the Denver Art Museum

Exclusive exhibition of treasures from Parisian jeweler.

DenverArtMuseum-logoI don’t generally wear much jewelry: my wedding ring, my late mother’s wedding ring, my birthstone in a simple setting on a thin gold chain around my neck and cheap earrings that I bought somewhere on my travels. My few good pieces reside in the safe deposit box, taken out only for the rare dressy occasional in ultra-casual Boulder. But I love to look at bling. At the Tower of London, I ride the moving walkway along the Crown Jewels several times. On tours of stately homes, palaces and museums, I am also entranced by the precious jewels. So “Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century” at the Denver Art Museum through March 15 has my name all over it.

Here I am. Does the drool show? I love seeing grandiose bling.
Here I am near the entrance to “Brilliant.” Does the drool show? I love seeing grandiose bling.

Some 250 items, mostly from the Cartier Collection in Paris, are on dazzling display at the museum. The earliest pieces before World War I belonged largely to European royalty and nobility — and to the occasional American heiress who married a titled European. Later, even as the world plunged from Jazz Age prosperity and imped through the Depression and World War II, Cartier kept designing jewelry, decorative accessories and fashion accessories. The exhibition, which snakes its way through several gallery pods, includes “Aristocracy and Aspiration,” “Art Deco: New Outlook,” “Art Deco: Foreign Fascination,” “Masculine View,” “Age of Glamour” and “Icons of Style” (this last being Cartier jewels that belonged to Daisy Fellowes, the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Elizabeth Taylor and Mexican film star Maria Félix. Be awestruck:

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One room contains such man-pleasing objects as aircraft and space commemorative items.
One room contains such man-pleasing objects as aircraft and space commemorative items.
After the opening of King Tut's tomb in 1922, Egyptian design themes were all the rage.
After the opening of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, Egyptian design themes were all the rage.
Even stars and other celebs kept scrapbooks.
Even stars and other celebs kept scrapbooks.

 

Chihuly After Dark: Magic in the Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens’ blockbuster dazzles at night.

010Glass artist Dale Chihuly first entered by consciousness during a visit to Tacoma, Washington, were the Museum of Glass had recently opened. I can’t recall the year, but my fascination with art glass in general and with Dale Chihuly in particular stems from that visit. I was awestruck fantastic forest of brilliant blown glass stalagmites by Chihuly in one large, dazzling gallery. Since then, I’ve seen his works in museums, lobbies of hotels and performing arts venues and at Pismo Glass, the Colorado galleries that carry his work. I went to the opening of the “Chihuly in the Gardens” exhibition at the Denver Botanic Gardens last June. It was, of course, wonderful, as I wrote here. Now that days are shorter and nights are longer, “Chihuly Nights” is on view beginning at 5:30 p.m. we were there until nearly 8:30 p.m., and no one was yet hustling us out.

Hard to believe, but the glass is even more stunning and magical during the day. In summer daylight, the glass is counterpointed with the floral. After dark, nothing really competes. This exhibition continues through November 30. Don’t miss it. Click here for tickets, but hurry. They are selling fast. Here are a few after-dark dazzlers (captions not needed):

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