Contemporary Luxury Thrives at Denver’s Halcyon Hotel
Cherry Creek is one of Denver’s tonier neighborhoods. Just a 15-minute drive from the bustle of downtown, this district is defined by leafy streets, multimillion-dollar bungalows and high-end shopping. It’s also home to the Denver Country Club, which claims to be the oldest country club west of the Mississippi. Now the luxurious 154-room Halcyon Hotel has helped make Cherry Creek a destination for well-heeled travelers looking to enjoy the capital of the West.
The neighborhood’s rise mirrors that of Denver. The first settlement in the region took place in 1858 during the gold rush, and claims were soon staked all along Cherry Creek. Denver was built on beef, gold and pioneer spirit. By the late 19th century it had developed into the cultural hub of the central western states. And although it had an opera, the city never lost its old west charm.
In the late 1970s, my grandfather (who would become an avid supporter of the opera) purchased a tract of land in Cherry Creek. He was an architect and developer and one of the individuals who helped transform Denver from a boomtown to a modern metropolis. By 1979, he’d already had success developing apartment complexes and commercial real estate all around Denver, and in Cherry Creek, he saw an opportunity for something more creative, more charming and a bit more upscale. The land he purchased was covered with old greenhouses used for industrial rose cultivation. While there were some residences in Cherry Creek, they were mostly small, low-value post-war ranch houses.
So my grandfather, Roger Reeves, knocked down the greenhouses and built a tidy row of townhouses, a project for which he won an architectural award for the creative use of brick. (My father, finishing high school at the time, was employed to do the vital job of cleaning up the job sites.) The construction of these townhouses kicked off the initial construction boom that transformed Cherry Creek and ultimately drew luxury retailers and now the high-end Halcyon, which opened in mid-2016; it was recently sold to a new operator for $93 million, the highest per-room value ever for a Denver hotel.
Now, with the opening of the Halcyon Hotel, it feels like Cherry Creek has fully become the neighborhood my grandfather envisioned, or at the very least, one that he could feel proud of and perhaps lay a small claim to creating.
The Halcyon, housed in what used to be the Cherry Creek Post Office, is immediately welcoming. A friendly, hipster staff greets you at the door with an offer of coffee (always available), wine or beer. They push the water as well, a necessity when acclimating to the high altitude. Each hallway features a tap for still, sparkling and hot water, and each room is equipped with tasteful glass water bottles for every guest. It’s a small thing, but it makes all the difference in the dry air.
The rooms themselves are well appointed and feel like comfortable living spaces, rather than temporary accommodations. Each comes with a record player, and the hotel offers an extensive library of vinyl to choose from (our room came pre-stocked with Van Morrison and the Grateful Dead). This is typical of the experience at the Halcyon; the amenities are well-designed, ranging from the record library, bikes and outdoor gear, to one of Denver’s best rooftop pools complete with a view of the front range of the Rockies. For people looking for a workout, there is a modest gym in the hotel itself, but the Halcyon also offers guests a range of complimentary classes at neighborhood studios and gyms. The staff is ready with what you need, when you ask, but unobtrusive. On the whole, the Halcyon boasts a youthful vibe and many surprises (be sure to inquire about the hidden B&GC cocktail bar).
My grandfather was an avid traveler—by the time of his death he and my grandmother had visited some 130 nations and every continent—and he had a passion for good hotels and even designed a luxury destination in Nassau, Bahamas. I’m quite certain that he would not only be gratified to see the Halcyon in Cherry Creek, but that it would have also received his seal of approval.
Halcyon Hotel, 245 Columbine St., Denver, 720.772.5000, halcyonhotelcherrycreek.com