Escape: Play Hard in Denver, Colorado

by Brook Benten Jimenez on August 26, 2021 in Travel,
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Denver is “Rocky Mountain High” for all things art, culinary and hospitality.  

After tackling a Fourteener, among other adventure junkie excursions in Central Colorado (read parts one and two in our mini-series), we return to Denver for solace before bidding adieu to the state of Colorado.  

Denver is “Rocky Mountain High” for all things art, culinary and hospitality. Photo Andrew Coop on Unsplash

Denver International Airport is the easiest Colorado airport for Texans to access, with nonstop flights from every major Texas city. You’ll find smaller, regional airports, which may get you closer to your destination upon landing, but to get to that landing often entails connecting flights, a greater chance of schedule changes, a bumpier ride on a smaller plane, and you’ll probably pay more.

We decided to fly into Denver, rent a car and drive to Central Colorado to work hard, then drive back to Denver to play hard. 

Self-taught local artist Pat Milbery kicked off the “Love this City” mural series in tandem with the 10th anniversary of Denver Arts Week in 2016. Although all six murals are different, they all contain the words, “Love This City.” Find this one at the intersection of Broadway and Arapahoe St.
Photo Pieter van de Sande on Unsplash

The living was easy at Halcyon Hotel Cherry Creek’s rooftop pool deck, Local Jones restaurant, on a self-led art tour, and hanging our hats at the highly decorated (and award-winning) ART Hotel.

Halcyon Rooftop Views

The Halcyon Cherry Creek is a modern 154-room luxury hotel located just outside of downtown Denver. Hipsters with dough to drop will be living their high life at Halcyon.

Live the high life at the Halcyon, a hotel in the fashionable Denver neighborhood of Cherry Creek. Courtesy photo

The high life gets higher at the rooftop pool with cabanas (the only rooftop cabanas in Denver).  Whether lounging at the pool or protecting from the UVs under a cabana, a server from Elevated Rooftop Bar will provide your every need with food and beverage. (We have to give major props to the ample and varied non-alcoholic beverage list).

For a limited time, Elevated has live music by local artists on Wednesday evenings on the West Deck. Enjoy a gorgeous view of downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains while listening to music and sipping on a cocktail or kombucha. 

Located atop Halcyon, Elevated Rooftop Bar is an exquisite outdoor space with unrivaled views of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Courtesy photo

Dining at Local Jones

Local Jones is the warm and inviting hotel restaurant, located on the street level of Halcyon.  The food and service at this restaurant was the pinnacle of our Denver trip. Our server was attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable, giving us recommendations that we trusted.

Appetizers Set the Bar

Our meal started with the Roasted Gulf Shrimp. The nutritionist in me had to quit doing the calculations of how much butter must have been in the dish, and just let go and enjoy the out-of-this-world culinary excellence. The accompanying fresh herbed crostini toast was the perfect sidekick to the shrimp, and equally as buttery.

The Roasted Gulf Shrimp and accompanying fresh herbed crostini toast at Local Jones set a high bar. Courtesy photo

Main Decadence

The rest of the meal measured up to the high bar set by the appetizer. The main course of Organic Salmon was served with the complementary textures and tastes of purple snap peas and arugula. As a side dish, we ordered the Brussels sprouts. The toasted almond pesto, Grana Padano cheese, and copious amounts of olive oil obliterated any health benefits of the Brussels, but they were decadent to the point of sinfulness. Dealing with the devil has never been more delicious than wiping that bowl clean.

Organic Salmon served with the complementary textures and tastes of purple snap peas and arugula. Photo courtesy Local Jones

For dessert, we opted for the tiramisu. It was balanced tastes of sweet, ever-so-slightly bitter, and creamy with crunchy-topped crispy pieces on top of espresso-drunken ladyfingers in heavy cream. I levitated. From sin to saved, we played hard and dined sensationally at Local Jones.  We give it top honors of the food we indulged in in Denver.

Located in downtown Denver, the ART was named one of the top 25 Hotels in the World in the 2020 Conde Nast Travelers’ Readers Choice Awards.

ART Hotel

The ART was named one of the top 25 Hotels in the World in the 2020 Conde Nast Travelers’ Readers Choice Awards. Located a stone’s throw away from Denver Art Museum, you don’t have to leave the hotel to enjoy an art tour among the 165-room luxury hotel. This exceptional hotel offers guests a special book to enjoy a self-guided art tour through the property.

When the day is done, enjoy a luxe shower and transcendent bed in your spacious room at the ART. Courtesy photo

Room & Board

The ART has a fourth-floor balcony lounge where you can grab a cocktail, listen to music, or eat dinner.  You’ll also get a bird’s eye view of the Golden Triangle Creative District. When the day is done, enjoy a luxe shower and transcendent bed in your spacious room. The ART was in-between pastry chefs at the time of our visit, but the temporary team delivered a chocolate cake that was visual and culinary art itself. Have your cake and eat it, too, at The ART Hotel.

At the ART, you’ll find a stunning curated collection of original works. Some were commissioned especially for the hotel, other works were acquired from artists in New York, Los Angeles, London, Dusseldorf, Vietnam, and, of course, Colorado. Courtesy photo

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Cover photo courtesy Jakob Rosen on Unsplash

Brook Benten Jimenez, M.Ed. is an Austin-based fitness expert who was named Austin’s Fittest Fitness Professional, 2012.  She travels Texas and beyond, seeking wellness adventures worth storytelling. Galavant with Brook on Instagram @BrookBenten.