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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Colorado > Denver

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Denver History

Denver was built on the fortunes of gold and the railroads. In the summer of 1858, a small group of prospectors made a significant gold discovery at the base of the Rocky Mountains.

The mere whisper of the word was enough to attract thousands to the banks of the South Platte River in search of the precious metal.

While the ‘Pikes Peak or Bust’ gold rush was in full force, General William Larimer laid out a city and, in hopes of gaining political favour, named the city after Kansas territorial governor James Denver.

It became the capital of Colorado in 1867.

When a gold strike was discovered in nearby Central City, Denver became a near ghost town. It soon bounced back, however, and began to grow as a trade centre. In following years, Denver fought off a Texan Confederate army, experienced a great fire, endured a flash flood, and saw an Indian war cut off their food supply lines.


While these hardships were challenging, the citizens were determined for their city to survive. When the Union Pacific Railroad evaded Denver, the citizens raised enough money to build a railroad that would meet the Union Pacific in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The city’s display of perseverance was rewarded when the Kansas Pacific Railroad was built crossing the plains to Denver. Not much later, a silver strike made Denver a boomtown once again.

It was not until 1953, with the construction of the first skyscrapers, that Denver began to transform from cow town to vibrant modern city.

Did you know?
• Denver's most famous beer, Coors, was originally brewed with Rocky Mountain water - a recipe that exists to this day.
• Titanic survivor, Margaret Molly Brown, made her fortune on Denver's gold rush and became known as 'Unsinkable Molly".
• In 1902, police at Denver Union Station banned kissing on the platforms because it was delaying the trains.

 

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Denver Magnolia Hotel

The Denver Magnolia Hotel has 246 rooms and suites designed with an air of old-world charm and modern sensibility. Guests are within walking distance of all the major sites in downtown Denver. The hotel also boasts cosy club lounges and a bar, Harry’s Bar, serving an incredible array of martinis.

Grand Hyatt Denver

Stay in one of the Grand Hyatt Denver’s 516 rooms and enjoy splendid city views from the comfort of your bed. You only have to travel as far as downstairs to enjoy some fine Western cuisine at one of Denver’s newest brewpubs, Pub 17. If you’d rather snack on appetizers and enjoy a nice cocktail, the hotel’s Fireside The Bar features a 4m (14ft) sandstone fireplace.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco

The luxurious Hotel Monaco is a boutique hotel with great service. It's perfectly located for trips to 16th Street Mall and the sights of downtown Denver, while still maintaining a quiet and friendly space to relax in. The hotel keeps its unique identity by throwing in plenty of quirky ideas, from goldfish in your room to a friendly lobby dog to free daily wine-tastings in the lobby.

Hotel Teatro

This luxury boutique hotel is conveniently located across from the Denver Centre for Performing Arts, in the heart of downtown Denver. There are 110 luxury guest rooms, which are decorated with an elegant palette of rich, soft gold, and sage tones. Rooms are pet-friendly as well. The bathrooms aren’t short on extravagance either with Indonesian marble- and sandstone-finished baths.

The Oxford Hotel

European antiques and exquisite linens in each of The Oxford Hotel’s 80 rooms make for a relaxing stay in Denver. This luxury boutique hotel has uniquely decorated rooms, though they’re all dressed in French, English, Victorian, or classically 20th-century American décor. There’s much to see and do in the hotel’s immediate vicinity, as it’s located in the heart of LoDo. If you want to take a day to really relax, look into the services offered at The Oxford Club Spa & Salon, located next door.

NATIV Hotel

Staying at this glitz and trendy hotel and hotspot in the heart of the bohemian Lower Downtown (LoDo) area means staying in the centre of the scene. You won’t have to leave the hotel for entertainment, as the NATIV Coffee and Champagne Bar offers locally sourced, organic coffee by day and specialty champagne and tea cocktails by night. In the evening, the lobby turns into one of Denver’s hottest nightlife venues, where you can enjoy a cocktail at the Champagne Bar, catch up with friends in the Biergarten, or take to the dance floor in the Stereo Lounge.