Allow me to indulge you in my memories of The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. Then read on about a special event on November 11.
Long before I was even born, my connection to The Brown Palace started. My great aunt and mother ran the flower shop at the Brown which used to be housed in the original building. All the biggest and best weddings were held there and called on the flower shop for their arrangements as did famous visitors such as presidents when they wanted flowers in their room or corsages for their wives.
When I was newly in the work world, fresh out of college, my new employer took me to breakfast at The Brown Palace. It was the fanciest place I had ever been in. Even though I was a full-fledged and 5’9″ adult, I felt like a little girl, full of wonder, legs swinging under my chair, looking all around at the décor, the beautiful silverware, plates and glasses and the delicious food (my first croissant.) The waiter came by with an old-fashioned but brilliant tool that discretely whisked crumbs away off the table and captured them in the device. It was just so cool. It was all I could do not to whisper “wow!”
Then when I was a parent with young children, I took them to see the atrium lobby decorated to the nines for the holidays. It was magical. My children said out loud, “wow!” And when my English mother-in-law took my daughter to the full, formal tea one day, my daughter came home giddy at having sugar cubes for her tea, tiny crustless sandwiches and petit fours in such a lovely setting. Although now fresh out of college herself, she hasn’t forgotten that experience.
That’s what The Brown Palace is to me, and many others. It’s special and wonderfully, deliciously fancy. The fact that it has been around since 1892 with a rich history makes it all the more special. Although Denver has many beautiful modern hotels, I’m grateful that history still stands in The Brown Palace. Some of the highlights of that history include:
- The hotel’s artesian well is located 720 feet deep beneath the lobby floor and still provides water to every faucet in the hotel.
- Famous guests have included almost every U.S. president since Teddy Roosevelt in 1905 and the Beatles in 1964.
- Except for crackers and sandwich bread, the hotel prepares all of its own baked goods in a unique, carousel oven said to be more than 50 years old. It is only one of three in the world and is used every day.
- Because of its long-standing association with the National Western Stock Show (which seems like an odd connection to me but oh well), The Brown Palace displays a grand champion steer in the atrium lobby during the Afternoon Tea each January. This was first done in 1945.
- Rooftop honey bee hives supply natural sweetener that is baked into the treats served in the six onsite restaurants.
- The atrium lobby is eight floors high.
Special event: On November 11 at noon, one of the most famous Brown Palace Hotel events occurs – the 25th Annual Champagne Cascade. The 4th through 7th floors will be open to the public for free to watch a master swordsman sever champagne bottles with a Napoleonic sabre. The champagne cascades down a two-story pyramid of glasses. Wow!