- Best Historic Hotels: From its spacious, well-appointed lobby to the richly polished wood of its elegant Victorian and almost whimsical Art Deco rooms, the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, 321 17th St., Denver (tel. 800/321-2599; www.brownpalace.com), has an air of sophistication, refinement, and class. The Brown has operated continuously since August 1892.
A handsome downtown establishment, the Hotel Boulderado, 2115 13th St., Boulder (tel. 800/433-4344; www.boulderado.com), has been skillfully renovated and restored. It retains its original Otis elevator, lovely leaded-glass ceiling, and spectacular cherrywood staircase, which caused quite a stir when the hotel opened in 1909.
Designed by New York City architects in the Italian Renaissance style, the Broadmoor, Lake Circle, at Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs (tel. 800/634-7711; www.broadmoor.com), opened in 1918. Colorado’s most elegant and best-preserved hotel of the era, it’s filled with objets d’art from around the world, including Oriental art from the Ming and Tsin dynasties and a huge carved wooden bar from an 1800s British pub.
- Best for Business Travelers: Rooms at Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th St., Denver (tel. 800/233-1234; www.denverregency.hyatt.com), are the biggest in downtown Denver and feature ergonomic workstations; the location, next to the Colorado Convention Center, is convenient to the light rail.
- Best for a Romantic Getaway: Ideal for overnighting theatergoers--it’s across the street from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts--the Hotel Teatro, 1100 14th St., Denver (tel. 303/228-1100; www.hotelteatro.com), is furnished with plenty of goods from the costume and props departments, and the luxurious feel helps make it the most romantic of all of the downtown properties.
In Estes Park, the old-world Della Terra Mountain Chateau, 3501 Fall River Rd. (tel. 970/586-2501; www.dellaterramountainchateau.com), features ambience, scenery, privacy, and private balconies with hot tubs. The hotel is also nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Best Hotel Lobbies for Pretending You’re Rich: The lobby of the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa (tel. 800/321-2599; www.brownpalace.com) features walls of Mexican onyx and a floor of white marble. The elaborate cast-iron grillwork surrounding the six tiers of balconies draws your eye to the stained-glass ceiling. Lunch and afternoon tea are served in the lobby nearly every day.
When the Broadmoor, Lake Circle, at Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs (tel. 800/634-7711; www.broadmoor.com), opened in 1918, the first guests were millionaire John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and his party. When surrounded by priceless 17th-century art, it’s easy to imagine yourself mingling with the wealthy, reading the financial news, and sipping a cognac by the hotel’s elegant marble staircase.
- Best Moderately Priced Hotels: The colorful Boulder Outlook, 800 28th St. (tel. 800/542-0304; www.boulderoutlook.com), is fun, fresh, and definitively Boulder, with such unique perks as two bouldering rocks (one is 11 ft. high, the other 4 ft.) and a fenced, 4,000-square-foot dog run. Best of all, the rates are typically cheaper than those of its chain counterparts.
Also in Boulder, the Colorado Chautauqua, 900 Baseline Rd. (tel. 303/952-1611; www.chautauqua.com), isn’t exactly a hotel, but its lodge rooms and cottages are midpriced, and it’s a National Historic Landmark to boot.
- Best Inexpensive Lodging: An apartment-turned-hostel near City Park, the Innkeeper of the Rockies, 1717 Race St., Denver (tel. 303/861-7777; www.innkeeperrockies.com), offers inexpensive bunks and private rooms a mile east of downtown.
The Foot of the Mountain Motel, 200 Arapahoe Ave., at the mouth of Boulder Canyon, Boulder (tel. 866/773-5489; www.footofthemountainmotel.com), is a nicely preserved relic with cozy rooms and easy access to the outdoors.
- Best Service: Dedicated to providing guests with the best possible service, the Brown Palace Hotel (tel. 800/321-2599; www.brownpalace.com) succeeds extremely well, and without pretension. Among other things, it offers 24-hour room service, concierge, and in-room massage.
Taking good care of its guests is a point of pride for the Broadmoor, Lake Circle, at Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs (tel. 800/634-7711; www.broadmoor.com): It offers 24-hour room service, a concierge, in-room massage, valet laundry, a shuttle bus between buildings, and a multitude of recreational activities, as well as almost anything else you might ask for.
- Best Bed-and-Breakfast: A great location, striking art, and modern convenience make the Bradley, 2040 16th St., Boulder (tel. 800/858-5811; www.thebradleyboulder.com), one of my very favorite B&Bs on the Front Range.
In Denver, the Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast Inn, 2147–51 Tremont Place (tel. 800/432-4667; www.queenannebnb.com), has new ownership, introducing eco-friendly policies and contemporary style to the grand old pair of homes.
At Old Town GuestHouse, 115 S. 26th St., Colorado Springs (tel. 888/375-4210; www.oldtown-guesthouse.com), each room is delightfully decorated around a theme, ranging from Saharan to Victorian. This B&B also has just enough in the way of modern convenience.
- Best Views: The gorgeous St Julien Hotel & Spa, 900 Walnut St., Boulder (tel. 877/303-0900; www.stjulien.com), is the nearest hotel to Boulder’s even more gorgeous foothills. Rooms don’t come cheap, but the views rival those from the windows of Colorado’s ritziest mountain resorts.
The JW Marriott, 150 Clayton Lane, Denver (tel. 866/706-7814; www.jwmarriottdenver.com), the standout hotel in the tony Cherry Creek shopping district, looks out over the Denver Country Club and the creek itself.
The view from the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, 3225 Broadmoor Valley Rd. (tel. 800/428-8886; www.cheyennemountain.com) is actually better than the nearby Broadmoor, thanks to a little distance from the foothills.
- Best for Families: Two swimming pools, water slides, and a fabulous summer kids' program at the Broadmoor (tel. 800/634-7711; www.broadmoor.com) will help keep youngsters busy while parents enjoy the golf courses, spa, and seemingly countless other facilities.
At the Hotel Monaco, 1717 Champa St., Denver (tel. 800/397-5380; www.monaco-denver.com), kids get a kick out of the colorful decor, the complimentary goldfish, and the “Director of Pet Relations,” a Jack Russell terrier named Lily Sopris.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.