the lux score


the lux score explained

Service 9  
Rooms 8  
Food & Beverage 8  
Ambience 9  
Attention to Detail 10
Generosity & Value 9  
Wow / Hip Factor 7  
Facilities 7  
Location 9  
Fit to Promise 9  

The Brown Palace Hotel is a Denver institution that opened its doors in 1892 when Denver was a major staging post for adventurers seeking their fortunes in the West. It has been continuously operating ever since. Named after its original owner, Henry Cordes Brown, the triangular-shaped hotel is designed in the Italian Renaissance style, using Colorado red granite and Arizona sandstone adorned with 26 carved stone medallions of native Rocky Mountain animals. It is one of the first atrium-style hotels ever built and the lobby sports an impressive original stained-glass ceiling. The lobby interior walls are made of onyx while balconies with cast-iron railings rise up eight floors.


The hotel’s original artesian well is located 720 feet deep beneath the Ship Tavern floor and still provides water to every faucet in the hotel.


Every U.S. president has visited The Brown Palace since Teddy Roosevelt (1905), with the exception of Calvin Coolidge.  President Eisenhower often stayed at the hotel for extended periods, making it the “The Western White House.”.


Past guests include the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown (she stayed at the hotel only a week after the Titanic disaster), infamous Denver crime boss Jefferson “Soapy” SmithDr. Sun Yat Sen (just before becoming the president of the new Republic of China), Queen Marie of Romania, and The Beatles.


Interestingly, the hotel does not rest on its historic laurels. What distinguishes the Brown Palace from its other luxury competitors in Denver is not only the sense of place but also the attentive and professional service of all the staff. The hotel is also on the cutting edge of green initiatives, which highlights a forward-looking philosophy.



Arrival and Location

The hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Denver within walking distance of the Capitol building, the Denver Art Museum and the major shopping and entertainment district.

On arrival, we were greeted warmly by the doorman who whisked our luggage into the foyer. The bellman was extremely personable and gave interesting insights into the hotel’s history.




The hotel has a total of 199 guest rooms and suites on floors 3-7 that are decorated in Victorian style, 33 suites on floors 8 and 9 that feature Art Deco décor. In addition four of the hotel’s suites are named after famous guests who stayed in the hotel: The Beatles Suite, Eisenhower Suite, Reagan Suite, and Teddy Roosevelt Suite.

The Eisenhower, Reagan, Roosevelt and Beatles Suites’ decor reflects their namesake visitorstimes and tastes. Eisenhower is decorated in late-colonial/Federalist style; Reagan is done in California Ranch style; Roosevelt in Edwardian style, with wilderness & wildlife touches to reflect his interests in hunting and conservation; Beatles is done in 1960s decor, prints of posters and album covers, and a jukebox that plays everything the Fab Four ever recorded — more than 225 songs – no coin required.

We stayed in one of the Victorian rooms, which while not overly large was beautifully appointed. The bed was extremely comfortable, with luxurious linen. Interestingly, there was no mini bar but you could order from the room service menu. The rather small bathroom featured a shower with dual shower-heads for a luxurious, although not a water efficient, wash.


The Royal and Grand Suites are generally larger, architecturally unique rooms. The rooms on floors 8 & 9 are larger because they were originally residential apts. The corner suites are particularly spacious.




The hotel prepares all of its own baked goods in a unique, carousel oven – catalogued at more than 65 years old. The oven is one of only three in the world known to be in existence and is still used every day.


Another wonderful Brown Palace institution is the daily high tea served in the atrium. We enjoyed scones, tea pastries and tea sandwiches. The Devonshire cream is shipped from England.


We also enjoyed some delectable prime rib, one of the best in Denver, at The Ship Tavern, which serves lunch and dinner in a nautically-themed vintage pub atmosphere. Even though Denver is miles from the sea, The Ship Tavern sports 11 remarkable clipper ship models that were bought in Cape Cod by one of the former owners of the Brown Palace, C. K. Boettcher. He opened the Ship Tavern in 1934 to celebrate the end of Prohibition. Be sure to sample The Ship Tavern’s terrific collection Colorado craft beers on tap and in bottle.


The fine dining Palace Arms consistently rates among Denver’s finest dining experiences and has received numerous accolades from the US Wine Spectator for its exceptional wine list. Next door is the Churchill bar, which exudes something of an old boy’s club atmosphere, with its extensive list of single-malt scotches, small-batch bourbons, premium spirits and wines in addition to its customized humidor offering more than 60 different cigars.  Both the Churchill Bar and the Ship Tavern are extremely popular with the locals, which speaks volumes for each institution.


Ellyngton’s offers an exception breakfast selection as well as a lavish Champagne brunch and casual lunch fare.



Guests can take the sky bridge to the workout facility across the road at the Comfort Inn.

It is well worth taking a history tour of the hotel, offered free to guests at 3pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which cover the story of founder Henry C. Brown, various architectural features of the building and visits to the restaurants and special suites.

The hotel also offers several special themed tours including ghost tours, presidential tours, architectural tours, Ladies of the Brown, and Affairs of the Heart (stories of hotel romance and scandal!).

The concierge is adept at getting highly sought after restaurant reservations as well as tickets to performances and sporting events.

The hotel is also a pioneer in urban beekeeping since 2010 and also has a rooftop herb garden.



The Brown Palace Spa has six treatment rooms, including separate manicure/pedicure room, hair salon, and couples’ VIP suite.  Custom spa treatments are offered specially designed for Colorado’s climate and lifestyle along with a wide arrange of services including massages for men and women, skin, hair and nail care, scrubs, wraps and soaks.

Popular treatments are the Special Soaks, which draw from the natural artesian well, located 750 feet beneath the hotel


The Lux Traveller Loves

The atmospheric ambiance of such a beautifully preserved historic hotel.

The exceptional levels of professional and friendly service by all the staff.


Splitting Hairs

It is ridiculous that a luxury hotel like this charges $13 a day for internet access in the rooms. You can, however, use the computers in the business centre free of charge.

In our standard room, the bathroom, while well appointed, was quite small. We were also only furnished with one bar of soap for use in the sink and shower each day.

About the Author
Sue Henly

Sue Gough Henly is an award winning travel writer, photographer and blogger at Genuine Journeys. She specialises in luxury travel, soft adventure and food and wine stories. Her app Australia’s Best Places gives the lowdown on the best there is Down Under.