Hotels that pretend to be dog friendly yet charge extortionate fees are my literal pet peeve. Not so Kimpton, which is perhaps the paw-friendliest chain. Downtown Denver’s 200-room Kimpton Hotel Born opened in August 2017, with a Wild West-goes-modern aesthetic, and when we checked in with our papillon, Huckleberry, we were greeted with peanut butter and molasses treats. That was nearly where our pampering ended, though, as some amenities the hotel’s website promised — including Tesla rides within a two- mile radius and an art tour of the hotel’s collection curated by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver — were not available, nearly three months after opening (both are there now). The hiccups may have been symptomatic of growing pains: Kimpton has launched upward of eight properties a year since International Hotels Group acquired the brand in 2015.
Unbeatable. The hotel sits adjacent to Denver’s dazzlingly revamped 1914 Union Station, so guests are within walking distance of Tattered Cover Book Store; the Cruise Room, a 1933 Art Deco time warp of a bar modeled after the Queen Mary; and Sassafras American Eatery in the Highlands neighborhood, which serves the best Southern breakfast I’ve had west of Dollywood.
Designed by Colorado-based firm Semple Brown Design, our King Deluxe room (translation: standard category) felt large at around 350 square feet, with Frette linens, down bedding, a wood and steel barn door sliding over the closet; blonde walnut and pine wood walls and ceiling added necessary visual warmth against the exposed concrete columns. Our floor-to-ceiling windows overlooked the Beaux-Arts roofline of Union Station and whisper-quiet Wewatta Street; rooms with views of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains are available upon request. Not long after check-in, a hotel staffer brought up a faux-fur-topped dog bed and lion head bowls for Huckleberry, which he promptly ignored.
The most timelessly beautiful part of the room by far, our bathroom had a backlit LED mirror, quartz stone countertops, and gleaming fixtures by Waterworks. Toiletries were in eco-friendly full bottles by Atelier Bloem — a brand created for Kimpton by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz — including shampoo scented like oolong tea and geranium conditioner. My two complaints: the shower’s water pressure was abysmal, and there was no bathtub.
Guests pay just a penny to visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, a block away. There’s a 1,000-foot gym, a fleet of public loaner bikes and yoga mats in each room. Boulder-roasted Ozo Coffee awaits in the lobby every morning; a complimentary evening wine hour includes Colorado beers and appetizers like smoked duck breast with dried fig. Our in-room mini bar held Coloradan items, like Avery Brewing Company beer and Rocky Mountain Sunscreen. Sign up for the free IHG Rewards Club for free high-speed Wi-Fi.
The hotel’s first floor restaurant, Citizen Rail, is nearly as sceney as Denver gets, with an open kitchen where much of the menu is cooked on a wood-fired grill. Many guests take their drinks into the quiet lobby to cozy up by the flickering gas fireplace. We ordered room service, and while the woman who delivered our dinner was an absolute delight, a couple of the items the kitchen sent up were not. I suppose there’s a reason the expression is “now you’re cooking with gas” — the “ember-melted” apples in my apple crumble were still crunchy. My Nightmoves cocktail — with rum, Cynar, vermouth and black walnut bitters — tasted, frankly, like acetone smells (not great). But the bone-in smoked short rib with tempura fried green beans was excellent, and my french fries arrived hot — an all-too-rare feat of hotel room-service wizardry.
Despite its kinks, Kimpton Hotel Born is a worthy stay in downtown Denver, thanks to its locale, Instagrammable collection of local art and inventive amenities for both human and hound alike.
Kimpton Hotel Born; 1600 Wewatta Street, Denver; hotelborndenver.com
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