A hotel attached to Denver Airport has been in the planning stages for as long as I’ve been making regular trips to Denver (about 8 years), and according to some folks much longer than that.
I’ve watched the Westin Denver Airport come out of the ground next to the iconic tents over the last 18 months with a healthy bit of anticipation. Full service hotels aren’t something you’ll find near Denver Airport. To be quite honest, there’s really nothing near Denver Airport. It’s a pretty decent hike from downtown. You’ll find a few limited service hotels about a 10-minute drive from the airport, but not much else besides a few run-of-the-mill restaurants.
The airport planned a large outside plaza to coincide with the hotel that they say was inspired by the airport director’s visit to Munich a number of years ago. I’ve been to that airport and the plaza outside is a vibrant place. If that’s the end result of this construction, that will be a really nice addition to the train that connects the terminal to downtown and a brand new full-service hotel.
The hotel doesn’t officially open until tomorrow night but they were having a closed-door VIP event today. I had asked my SPG Ambassador a couple of times to see if I could get early access to share pictures with my readers but the message back was the hotel wasn’t ready to accommodate the request.
While I won’t be in Denver tomorrow for the public grand opening, I was today and I did what only seemed natural as a born and raised New Yorker. I walked up to the security guard at the door in between the airport and the terminal and explained what I was trying to accomplish, asking nicely if she could find someone who would show me around the property.
She called someone from inside the hotel who apparently was standing near a member of the PR team. They were happy to greet me and give me a quick walk around the hotel. Boy, is it nice. The PR folks who walked me around were exceedingly gracious with their time and access. I’m planning a stay at this hotel in a few weeks when I’m back in Denver, but for now, I’ve got early access pictures that show off a beautiful property.
The lobby area is interesting. It definitely has a modern feel, but also reminded me a bit to some of the Euro Saarinen works that occupy the aviation world (Dulles Airport’s main terminal and the old TWA terminal at JFK).
The property has 519 standard rooms and 35 suites, a pretty good ratio for suite upgrades by elite members. All the rooms have spectacular views, whether it’s off the iconic tent or the mountains stretching in each direction. As an aside, there are some nice touches I don’t recall seeing in too many other hotels, like windows at the end of the hallways that let in a ton of natural night and expose folks to more of the great views.
The guest rooms are thought out well. You enter through a hallway with a 3-door closet
. The first closet door has something I’m starting to see pop up more in full-service hotels, a refrigerator. That’s always a welcome addition for traveling families.
Because the closets take care of the necessities like drawers and coffee machines, the rest of the room design is exceedingly clean and uncluttered. Not stark, mind you. It manages to be warm and inviting at the same time it’s uncluttered.
The bed is as comfortable as you would expect a Westin bed to be and the comforter is awesome. I prefer a thick comforter like this one combined with a slightly chilly room. Above the bed are two small reading lights that swivel out. Turning them on and off is easy, simply twist the head of the fixture a quarter turn. Very intuitive.
The lamps on the nightstand have a standard electrical outlet and a USB port. Perfect.
The desk is a decent size for working but also manages to stay out of the way. Plenty of power here as well. Without the need for a full armoire, the TV blends into the wall when it’s not on. Two seats and a small end table near the window fill out the room
It was pointed out to me during the walk-through that this was the most sound-proofed airport hotel in the world. Boy, did it show. You can’t hear a peep in the rooms even with the runways not far away.
The pool and health club are on a higher floor, the top floor of the “saddle”, or the lower point in the middle. It’s a salt-water pool with a great view. I imagine watching the sunset from here during a swim would be quite nice.
I’ll get more background on the restaurants during my stay in a few weeks, but they did make a point to tell me the hotel would have 24-hour room service including an extended menu for guests arriving at odd hours. That’s a plus in a world where 24-hour room service is fading away.
There’s a 30-foot atrium outside the conference space in the hotel that has a nice view of the outdoor sculpture, train station and mountains on the horizon. Those high ceilings in the ballroom add a nice touch as well.
The hotel is a Category 5 property in the Starwood Preferred Guest program, or 12,000 Starpoints a night. It’s a beautiful hotel but I’m not sure the rates will support a category 5 (the Westin Denver Downtown is a category 4 and I would expect the rates to be the same or higher there given historical occupancy levels. Still, the hotel definitely has the location at Denver airport.
This hotel is decidedly a Westin. I’ve been in a few that didn’t necessarily have that feel, where I felt like I was in more of an upgraded Sheraton. This is a modern hotel with thoughtful design elements that will make for an enjoyable stay.
Denver has a decent amount of international traffic that a full-service hotel can support for connecting flights. For me, there’s also a big plus in being able to return my rental car and know I can walk from my hotel to the terminal for an early morning flight instead of trying to time an airport shuttle. There’s no question the Westin Denver is bound to be my new airport hotel when I travel to Colorado.