We aren’t sure who decided Denver would become an artistic town, but over the last couple of years hoteliers and restaurant owners have gotten the memo. It appears that with every new hotel comes a bevy of original (and mostly local) art decking the lobbies, hallways and suites. That’s in addition to the Denver Art Museum, galleries and other venues showcasing a world of original works. Here’s a curated look at some of the city’s most colorful properties.
The Art, a Hotel
Opened in 2015, this museum-inspired property started Denver’s new art-in-hotel movement. Inside the modern building you’ll find a plethora of works, from paintings to sculptures to multimedia displays. In fact, you are greeted in a modern lobby designed to display large pieces from Sol LeWitt, Odili Donald Odita and Sam Francis.
Head upstairs to reception and you’ll see Kiki Smith’s Singer the moment the elevator doors open. Just beyond that piece stands sculptor Deborah Butterfield’s Otter, a giant horse made out of bronze-cast driftwood.
And that’s just the beginning. Nearly 200 unique works deck this hotel’s halls, making a visit to The Art worth it just to peruse the public spaces. In case you crave even more creative energy, the Denver Art Museum is right next door.
A giant hand by artist Andrew Ramiro Tirado welcomes you in the lobby of The Maven, one of Denver’s newest hotels. The fingers point to the entrance of the Dairy Block property, premeditating the unveiling of a whole new world of visual stimulation. And with 400 works on view in both the public spaces and the private units, that’s exactly what you get. The art in this 172-room hotel was commissioned by Sage Hospitality and curated by Nine dot Arts.
You’ll first spot the 300 black-and-white photos that artist Travis Hetman salvaged for his work Dark Matter Gathering before being whisked away in the elevator. In the hallways, look for artist Karrie York’s painted society foxes and the photo collages by Heather Oelklaus. There’s much to see in every nook, cranny and bathroom wall.
The Ritz-Carlton, Denver
At the beginning of 2017, this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property revamped its lobby and the accompanying art collection. The new series, “Sense of Place: Crafting Urban Adventures,” features six artworks by local talents Sarah Winkler, Jeff Richards, Brenda Biondo and Madeleine Dodge. See their efforts in the new first-floor lobby, behind the reception desk and next to the stairs by the elevators.
While at The Ritz-Carlton, check out the stunning glass chandelier by Robert Kuster — it’s not new, but it did get quite the cleaning, ensuring that it sparkles more now than ever before.
Kimpton Hotel Born
Located next to Union Station, this property boasts more than 700 pieces of original art by 32 local artists. Each of the 200 rooms features its own conversation starter hanging over the bed, in the bathroom and even tucked into the closet. When hanging up your coat, look for a square of graffiti created by famed street artists Jonathan Lamb and Michael Ortiz, who own the area art collective Like Minded Productions.
As for the other paintings, photos and installations, you will have to wait for the soon-to-come self-guided tour to find out who did what. Not a single piece is labeled, and if you want to see them all, you’ll have to stay in every room along the way.
Le Méridien Denver Downtown
Not only do you get complimentary access to the Clyfford Still Museum during your stay at this downtown address, but the whole property itself teems with instillations and canvases to ponder. Don’t miss the stunning mosaic Marie by Denver-based artist Jonathan Saiz; this original piece is made up of 1,100 painted portraits of Marie Antoinette that are situated to look like a Rocky Mountain sunset from a distance.
Local curators Nine dot Arts worked on the displays for the hotel, and their legendary eye for detail shines through in Le Méridien’s collection of more than 30 original works. These paintings, photos and collages are on view throughout the property, from the hallways to the lobby to the guest rooms.
In the last year, the elevator wells at this downtown property got a holy revamp thanks to Forrest J. Morrison. On five floors, the artist depicts a classic painting with a contemporary twist. In the parking garage, for example, you’ll find Morrison’s interpretation of the hell portion of Hieronymus Bosch’s iconic painting The Garden of Earthly Delights.
But that’s not the only change to this quirky hotel — the elevator chambers going to the guest rooms received a splash of color by local architectural photographer Paul Brokering, who re-created thrilling real-life scenes such as the cockpit of a space shuttle and the front car on a roller coaster.
Another fun factor to staying here is the themed floors. Each level offers guest rooms filled with wallpaper, props and upholsteries that correlate with old-school video games, pop and rock music and science fiction.