Has Kimpton Kept Its Charm: Review of Hotel Monaco Denver

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My family spent the last few days in Denver learning about some new things that Frontier Airlines and Barclays have up their sleeves in regards to the Frontier frequent flyer program and the associated co-branded credit card. I will share those details as soon as they let me (in about two weeks), but something I can share now is my experience at the Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton property in downtown Denver. The folks putting on the event picked the hotel and paid for this stay as part of the business trip. This was our first Kimpton stay in years, so even though I didn’t pick the property myself, I was interested to see if Kimpton still felt unique and special since it was purchased by IHG and fully integrated into the IHG Rewards program.

The Hotel Monaco Denver is located at 17th and Champa Street in downtown Denver in a former railway exchange building. When we pulled up and walked through the doors, the hotel immediately it felt like the Kimpton properties I have stayed at in the past that simultaneously have character, history, and updated luxury. In fact, this property is fresh off a $6 million renovation completed earlier this year. All 189 guest rooms were updated, and touches all around the property were added to make the hotel feel linked to the history of Colorado with earth tones and mining-related aesthetics.

Kimpton freebies are alive and well

At check-in, my oldest daughter couldn’t wait to say the Kimpton ‘secret password’ which resulted in her getting a chance to spin the wheel for a prize! On the list of possible prizes were a bottle of rose’, a drink at the bar, a succulent, beer glass, flask, movie package, and a summer package.

We landed on a movie night package, which turned out to be the perfect match for when the girls woke up at 6AM one morning and needed something to do for a couple of hours. The movie package included an in-room movie rental and snacks. The in-room movies we looked at were $19.99, so we wouldn’t have paid that price normally, but it was an easy decision to see a new release for free thanks to the Kimpton secret password.

Of note when talking about Kimpton goodies, is that those who have any level of IHG elite status are eligible for a $10 ‘Raid the Bar’ credit at Kimpton properties ($15 in NYC). You can use this credit towards the in-room minibar or at the actual bar. You can get IHG Platinum elite status simply by having the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card that currently has a welcome bonus of 80,000 points. Learn more.

During check-in, we were also reminded of the evening Kimpton Social Hour between 5 – 6 PM when there are complimentary drinks, light snacks, and even five-minute mini-massages available in the lobby for all guests. Our schedule was too packed to take them up on this offering, but it is a generous and enjoyable inclusion on Kimpton stays. You can also find complimentary coffee and tea, as well as infused sparkling water, in the lobby at various times throughout the day. The Hotel Monaco has loaner bikes available at no charge if you want to explore downtown Denver.

Charming renovated rooms at the Hotel Monaco Denver

Once we completed the lengthy rundown of freebies, it was time to head up one of the two elevators to the sixth floor and check out our room. There were four of us on this trip, so we were booked into a well-sized room with two queen beds. 

The Colorado earth-tones were easy to spot in the decor. The cloud white beds were my favorite feature, as everyone slept well in these comfortable beds with sufficient pillows.

The view was not the highlight as it was comprised completely of a parking garage, but the blackout curtains worked wonders to hide some of the early morning light. In the far corner of the room is a small writing desk that my eight-year-old claimed as her own.

The hotel’s website indicates that some of the rooms with two beds have two double beds and some rooms with one bed have just a queen bed, so be careful when booking if you would like to enjoy two queen beds or one king bed, as I assume most would prefer. Most of the Hotel Monaco bathrooms have transitioned to just a walk-in shower, but our particular room had a solid bathroom set-up for families with a tub/shower combo that was very fresh and updated.

The vanity had just one sink, but there was ample counter space available. Of note is that the bathroom door was a sliding door that didn’t seem to lock, just in case you were hoping for some guaranteed privacy.

The hotel has rollaway beds available for $25 per night with cribs and playpens are available at no charge. The air conditioner was easy to use and seemed to actually respond to the temperature selected so you can make the room nice and chilly at night. Thankfully, the lighting was also simple to work, which is much appreciated since it can get overly complicated in some updated hotels.

On the first morning, we ordered room service comprised of muffins, eggs, bacon, yogurt, and lots of beverages, which was delivered on time and was enjoyed by all of us via a picnic on the floor.

Don’t hope for breakfast first thing in the morning

We were hoping to repeat that plan on our final morning before departing for the airport, but when we called at 7AM to place a room service order, we were told that breakfast doesn’t start until 8AM on the weekends. We could only order from their ‘overnight’ room service offerings of salads and paninis. I pointed out it was 7AM and what we really wanted was just juice, coffee, and muffins, but I was told that wasn’t possible for another hour. I have never encountered such a bizarre scenario at a full-service hotel, so if I were to make a specific suggestion, it would be to have some basic breakfast offerings like muffins available in the ‘overnight’ room service since it is very reasonable to want breakfast instead of a panini at 7AM on a Saturday morning

I will also mention that the room next to ours had their discarded room service tray sitting out in the hallway for over 24 hours, which seemed strange since the rooms had all been serviced during that time frame. It was still sitting in the hall when we departed for the airport, so I don’t know how long the old food and drinks ultimately sat there.

While we did not have time for a visit to the gym on this quick stay, there is an 800 square foot gym on the property, or you can get a discounted pass to a larger local gym. If your dog wants to make the trip to Denver with you, the Hotel Monaco is very pet-friendly as they allow dogs at no additional charge, and even have special amenities designed just for them.

Booking a stay at the Hotel Monaco Denver

Paid rates at the Hotel Monaco Denver seem to often hover in the $200 – $300 per night range, or you can use 50,000 IHG points to book a standard room. There is a pesky $10 per night ‘daily guest amenity fee’ that provides you a BOGO drink at the Family Jones Distillery, a bottle of water at the front desk, Chicchetti bites at the bar Panzano, printing and copying of up to 50 pages, and upgraded WiFi. In other words, it is pretty much just an extra money grab that is the new ‘resort fee’ of downtown hotels.

My mom and girls happy in the Hotel Monaco lobby

The Hotel Monaco Denver has a fun vibe, a luxurious feel, and great inclusions and freebies, especially for IHG elites and those with the Kimpton secret password. I loved that it was just an eight-block pedicab ride home after a night seeing the Rockies play at Coors Field and I would absolutely stay here again with my family if the price was right on a trip to Denver.

I think that Kimpton has so far retained much of what makes them special even after the IHG integration, but the stay wasn’t totally perfect. I wasn’t paying this time, but the $10 daily guest amenity fee that is increasingly common at metropolitan Kimpton properties is ridiculous, parking charges are $46 per night for those bringing a car are painful, and not being able to order even a basic breakfast until after 8AM on the weekend is truly bizarre.

If you are looking for a slightly different Denver Kimpton experience, there is also the Hotel Born that is located in Union Station part of downtown. This means you could take the $9 and 37-minute A Line train from Denver International to Union Station to be just steps from the Hotel Born Denver. The Hotel Born has a Tesla house car shuttle service available for trips within a couple miles of the hotel and provides access to the Colorado Athletic Club. These amenities come at a price with an even higher guest amenity charge of $20 per night.

For those into the Kimpton boutique experience, either downtown Denver hotel sounds like a winner, and I can personally vouch for an overall solid stay with my family at the Hotel Monaco Denver. In your recent Kimpton experiences, has the brand kept what made them unique in light of the full IHG integration?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. We stayed at the Hotel Born in Denver for 1 night over Memorial Day weekend. We traveled with our 5 yr old and at check-in there was no amenity for her, which I thought was odd since I was under the impression that kids get some sort of recognition at all Kimptons. I didn’t mention anything so maybe I should have spoken up, but she was right next to me at check-in so it was obvious I was traveling with a child. We stayed on an award night and a few days after checkout our credit card was charged a $23 “facility fee”. At no point during check-in were we told about this fee, so I contested it and they quickly refunded it. However, I think they need to be more transparent with guests during the check-in process.The fee was also nowhere to be found on our reservation so it came as a total surprise. And, interestingly, we were never informed about the “facilities” at the hotel, so naturally when I read what you wrote about the Tesla car shuttle service, that too came as a surprise. The hotel was great, but they still need to work out some kinks. Oh, and Hotel Born charges a whopping $50/per night for Valet parking, which is insane. We parked a couple of blocks away in a parking lot and it costs us less than half. All in all, I would return to Hotel Born, but for future Kimpton stays I’ll be asking upfront about any facility fees.

    • Thanks for that first-hand information. The facility fee is a horrific trend that Kimpton seems to be fully onboard with.

  2. I stayed a few weeks ago at the Hotel Monaco in DC. Ovweall a very nice stay with excellent service and we really enjoyed it. Free with IHG free night cert too so I was glad to get good value out of one more cert! Nice property seemed very well kept, staff was excellent. Upgraded my room and I had wine and snacks waiting when I got to my room.

    Only thing I found missing was used to you could supposedly request a fish, like a goldfish, for your room for the night. I asked for one a few days before to surprise my wife who would have loved that. Got to the room and no fishy friend. Called down to ask and was told they had discontinued that option. Whoever I spoke to just a few days before never mentioned that, so not sure the disconnect there. Probably for the best, my wife would have worried about it and tried to adopt it I’m sure. ( though we have no fish ourselves… )

  3. On the list of possible prizes were a bottle of rose’, a drink at the bar, a succulent, beer glass, flask, movie package, and a summer package. And i want a bottle of rose!! Good luck

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