September 29, 2014
Denver, CO 80202
The newly renovated Union Station in Downtown Denver deserves more than a whistle-stop, more like a weekend, but I thought “whistle-stop” was a catch title!
On a rainy Monday night, I was fortunate to visit Union Station with my friend Caro, who is a member of the Denver Art Museum’s Design Council. Through programs and events, the Design Council, which was established in 1990, provides a variety of unique opportunities to it’s members and a tour of Union Station and the Crawford Hotel was no exception. What a treat! http://www.denverartmuseum.org/membership-support/design-council
Having only been in Denver a few years, I was not familiar with the history of the station, but I understand that it was somewhat dilapidated, stinky, and threatened to be demolished at times. The station opened in 1881 to serve four different railways. During its heyday in the 1900’s it served 80 trains a day. Today it serves 2 trains a day though the service will be expanding with the new and improved station that has an “old-timey” feel, but looks lovely.
Our tour was led by Dana Crawford, for whom the Crawford Hotel is named. What a lady! Ms. Crawford has been involved in Urban Renewal for decades. She pioneered the redevelopment of Larimer Square in the 1960’s and was involved in saving Union Station from being demolished many years ago. http://danacrawford.net/home.html
Now the station will house RTD’s front range bus route, light rail, and a full Amtrak schedule. The light rail from DIA is scheduled to arrive in 2016! The station is also home to a few shops and a variety of bars, fancy restaurants, and a 112 room hotel. The hotel rooms wrap around the wings that extend from the station’s lobby. The 22 foot ceilings allowed for an extra floor to be added to create three types of rooms: small, art deco pullman rooms; classic rooms, and loft rooms. Several people like the small, pullman rooms, that emulate sleeping in a train car. I personally loved the lofts decorated with rustic looking furniture and complete with the wooden beams that cut through the bathrooms. http://thecrawfordhotel.com/
I’m not sure if we saw the deluxe or premium or superior category of each room, but rooms are available for about $260/night and increasing, not counting taxes. After seeing the rooms, we enjoyed cocktails at the lounge that overlooked the lobby before we finally ventured down to the Mercantile for a fantastic dinner! Caro ordered the short ribs. I ordered the fish. Both were flavorful. My “snack” (as they call it) appetizer which included a variety of spreads for bread was enough for two and only priced at $6. http://mercantiledenver.com/
Despite the stormy weather, the restaurant was quite full, and from what I understand, Union Station is packed on the weekends, so plan your visit for a dinner, night or a weekend…it’s worth it! ETB