Looking for a place to stay with a healthy dose of artistic flair? Denver is undergoing a renaissance of new hotels that are very purposefully integrating art into their design panache and were inspired by a handful of others that set the stage for a new style of hotel. Denver-based NINE dot ARTS has curated many of the hotel collections mentioned here and beyond the metro area.
If you want to be smack dab in the middle of art attractions, head to the Golden Triangle Creative District and stay at the ART, a hotel just steps from Denver Art Museum, Clyfford Still Museum and the new location of Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. The exterior captures the dynamic spirit and look of the district, and guests are wowed the moment they arrive in the Portico Gallery and see Leo Villareal’s undulating and never-repeating art installation created from 22,000 LED lights. Art graces the elevators and public spaces and spills into the hallways and adorns every guestroom. Even the fire pits on the FIRE Terrace are works of art!
The boutique hotel’s collection is a nod to 20th- and 21st-century artists from around the world, with certain works such as the one by Villareal and Larry Bell’s installation of "Light Knots" in the FIRE restaurant, were commissioned especially for the ART. Others were acquired from local artists and those as far-flung as Dusseldorf, London, New York, Vietnam and Los Angeles. Catch a glimpse of how the collection was installed.
Denver’s newest micro-district, the Dairy Block, is situated in the heart of Lower Downtown (LoDo) and features 750 pieces of art created by 31 Denver and Front Range artists. Dairy Block once housed the Windsor Dairy and is anchored by The Maven Hotel, which has 433 works of art in the guest rooms alone but perhaps most notable is “The Quantifiable and The Ineffable” by Andrew Ramiro Tirado, a giant hand sculpture made from reclaimed wood that hangs in lobby and points to Travis Hetman’s 300-plus piece installation “Dark Matter Gathering.” On the lower level, sound works by Jim Green greet visitors as they enter the restrooms while Chris Bagley’s interactive “Disco River” creates a psychedelic experience in the hallway.
The Alley at Dairy Block, a pedestrian alleyway, features 10 major public art pieces, including the massive "Spilt Milk" sculpture by George Peters and Melanie Walker celebrates the block’s history and originates near the top of The Maven’s eighth story. Woven throughout the Alley, the interactive sculptural installation "Musical Churns" by Nikki Pike is synchronized with LED lights and musical compositions from the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
Also in LoDo and situated next to Denver Union Station is Kimpton Hotel Born Denver, featuring 700 original and limited edition works by local Denver artists that help impart an elevated, urban vibe that is uniquely Colorado. Adam Lerner, director of the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver), asked 32 of the most talented artists in the city who represent a diversity of styles to produce bodies of work specifically for the hotel. Approximately 300 works are displayed in the hotel’s public spaces and corridors, while the rest hang in guestrooms. Don’t miss the surprise original mini-murals in guest room closets! Guests also receive free admission to MCA Denver.
The Crawford Hotel, located within the beautifully restored Union Station, features more than 600 pieces of eclectic art. Unique pieces include vintage travel postcards, aluminum prints by Mai Wyn Schantz, paintings by Virginia Maitland, suitcase installations by Phil Bender and the “Station within the Station” photo collage. Plus, access all the locally owned shops, restaurants and bars within Union Station as well as light rail, train and bus transportation within the city and beyond.
Nearby, The Oxford Hotel dates back to 1891 and recently completed a major renovation. The property has an extensive collection of Western art, including a new painting in the lobby “Trouble Checks In – A Night at the Ox” by Denver artist Duke Beardsley, a sixth-generation Coloradan. The painting features a lineup of seven cowboys transposed over a historic Oxford Hotel guest ledger that includes the names of two of Beardsley’s ancestors as well as former Denver Mayor Quigg Newton.
The new Le Méridien Denver Downtown is only a few blocks from the Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC), which houses 10 performance spaces on its four-block, 12-acre site. The hotel immediately creates a sense of arrival with one-of-a-kind artwork installations that are constructed with vintage pieces and reimagine the intricate and rhythmic nature of snowflakes. More than 30 pieces of artwork created by local artists convey the property’s European influence and location near the Rocky Mountain foothills.
Denver’s pop culture hotel, The Curtis, a DoubleTree by Hilton, also has an enviable location near DPAC in the Denver Theatre District as well as all sorts of fun art that will have kids and adults checking out all the themed floors. Last year, The Curtis installed a major new parking garage mural and local art in the elevator cabs. The five-story-high, 1,600-square-foot mural by Denver-based artist Forrest J. Morris explores the strata of the environment through art historical, parodical and pop cultural lenses.
Outside the hotel, "All Together Now," is a 42-foot-high sculpture by nationally renowned artists Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt that is a stack of three-dimensional building blocks made from steel and painted in a variety of vibrant colors. Inside, each of the hotel’s guestroom floors offers a hyper-themed suite featuring a custom art installation, including the Jimmy Buffett Suite on the “Mad About Music” floor and the new Marvel Suite on the “Superhero” floor. The Curtis recently rolled out a Denver Center for the Performing Arts package that includes overnight accommodations, a credit for The Corner Office for a pre/post-show snack or cocktail, a theater-themed welcome amenity and parking.
RIVER NORTH ARTS DISTRICT
In addition to the architectural and design features built within The Source Hotel + Market Hall that launched for business in September, the marketplace is home to Station 16 Gallery and other art- and design-forward vendors. Debuting their first location outside of Montreal, Station 16 Gallery continues to reinvent the white cube gallery experience by curating events and roster of local and international urban artists. Through this partnership, Cleon Peterson contributed a massive 780-square-feet graffiti mural covering three walls, adding to the innovative artwork that can be seen inside the property.
The Ramble Hotel debuted in May and embraces the ethos of rambling. Naturally, the hotel’s art collection emphasizes adventure and exploration through more than 250 pieces, including nearly 100 by artists who live or work in Denver. Each of the 50 guest rooms features a salon wall unique to the room’s configuration. Antique lithographs, vintage postcards, astrological star charts and compasses are interspersed with contemporary local photography, giclee prints and mixed media works creating a collection one might amass on worldly travels. The art spills outdoors to The Garden, a rooftop patio with Denver-based Scott Young’s neon “Wish You Were Here” installation.
One of Denver’s newest hotels, The Jacquard Hotel, opened on Oct. 3 in the upscale Cherry Creek district, which is filled with art galleries, shops and restaurants. The property’s treasure trove of 256 works art (204 in guest rooms and 52 in public places) reflects a collection of a sophisticated world traveler, including a 16-foot-tall suspended neon sculpture with an LED component by Young. The color-changing “I Have Seen Things You Would Never Believe” extends from the ceiling of the hotel’s second floor. Roger Reutimann, a Boulder-based sculptor, also is featured in the collection with his vibrant sculpture “Perception #1.” Look for colorful cherry sculptures in the guestrooms.
Also fairly new to the neighborhood is Halcyon with more than 750 works by more than 40 Colorado artists, including paintings, drawings, pastels, etchings, monotypes and sculptures thoughtfully placed throughout the property. One of the most memorable pieces is the rooftop pool mural “Eye on the Roof” by Yiannis Bellis. Up close, the mural is more than what meets the eye! Guests check in at the Kitchen Counter and can check out items from the Gear Garage.
JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek has long been a popular place to stay in Cherry Creek and features more than 600 pieces of original art created by local Colorado artists, including photographer Mark Sink, mixed media artist Sabin Aell, painter Ian Fisher, sculptor Tsehai Johnson and sculptor Pard Morrison. Respected art advisor Paige Powell, the former associate publisher of Andy Warhol’s "Interview" magazine, curated the collection.
DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Adjacent to Denver International Airport's Jeppesen Terminal, the distinct architecture of The Westin Denver International Airport has been recognized with several awards and is revolutionizing the way travelers view airport hotels. The art program at the hotel and the adjoining transit center, which connects the airport to Denver Union Station downtown via commuter rail, includes six public art installations. The works by local and international artists integrate Denver International Airport’s iconic architecture and denote elements of Denver's landscape and culture. For example, the wind-activated "Field of Air” by sculptor Ned Kahnon, located on the exterior plaza between Jeppesen Terminal and The Westin hotel, was inspired by the way the grasses of the plains expose the invisible force of the wind. A self-guided walking art tour is available.
Lead photo courtesy of The Maven Hotel; middle photo, The Jacquard Hotel by NINE dot ARTS.