The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa is the grand dame of Denver hotels, hosting the state’s movers and shakers and the nation’s presidents for more than a century, plus a long list of other notables, ranging from the Beatles and Rolling Stones to Chinese President Sun Yat-sen and Margaret “The Unsinkable Molly” Brown.
The hotel opened in 1892 on a triangular parcel bounded by Broadway, Tremont Street and 17th Street, and it was named after its owner, real estate baron Henry Brown. He had arrived in Colorado from Ohio in 1860 and made a fortune from his land investments on Denver’s Capitol Hill, donating the land for the state Capitol.
The $1.6 million hotel was designed by architect Frank E. Edbrooke in Italian Renaissance style, using Colorado red granite and Arizona sandstone for the exterior and Mexican onyx for the interior, which featured an innovative atrium lobby with eight floors of balconies surrounded by cast iron railings with ornate grillwork panels and a stained-glass skylight. The hotel had 400 guestrooms that rented for $3 to $5 a night.
Today, the hotel has 241 guest rooms and suites, six restaurants and a spa. The three presidential suites are named for Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt. The hotel is served by an artesian well located 720 feet below the lobby floor.
Regular events include high tea, a champagne cascade during November buffet brunches and a visit from the Grand Champion Steer at the National Western Stock Show each January.
The hotel offers a one-hour historical tour on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Reservations are required. The tours are free to guests and $10 per person for the general public. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.