Doubles start at $249.
When Zeppelin Development turned an 1880’s-vintage iron foundry into a food hall in 2013, it helped establish Denver’s River North Art District, or RiNo, as the city’s trendiest neighborhood, today a hub for street art, microbreweries and more food halls. Now, five years later, the group has followed up with a companion hotel, the 100-room Source Hotel, to house all those art fans and foodies. The angular, glass-and-steel, eight-story structure clashes with the relatively squat red brick foundry next door, but indoors it works similarly to nurture Colorado entrepreneurs, including hosting a market hall for small retailers, many of them local, and housing a barrel-aging branch of the Fort Collins, Colo.-based New Belgium Brewing, visible behind the glass walls of the lobby. Guests checking in get a four-ounce sample of whatever is on tap, available in larger quantities at the top-floor Woods restaurant, where glass garage doors roll up on warm days to provide open-air panoramas of the snow-capped peaks in Colorado’s Front Range.
The hotel backs up to the University of Colorado A Line train, linking the airport to Union Station in the Lower Downtown neighborhood, and is about 10 to 15 minutes by foot from the closest stop. Union Station, near many downtown attractions, is one stop farther. An abundance of bike lanes makes commuting by B-Cycle shared bikes and Lime electric scooters an easy option.
High ceilings, walls of windows and concrete pillars and floors set an industrial tone in the guest rooms, accented in Scandinavian-style birch headboards and desks and softened by downy bed linens. My room, a suite, included a free-standing oval tub next to the bed and novel glass garage-style doors that rolled up at the flick of a switch to dissolve the wall and allow fresh air in the room. Automated shades provided privacy. Undoubtedly, mountain-view rooms are more popular, but the grittier east-facing views over the train tracks frame RiNo’s urban streetscape.
The light-flooded, loft-like bathroom required ample use of shades for privacy or games of peek-a-boo with the neighborhood. A glass door opened onto the two-fixture walk-in shower, stocked with Malin + Goetz bath products.
Food and drink are core attractions of the Source. The New Orleans chef Alon Shaya, who developed his affection for Colorado on repeated trips, has opened his first restaurant outside of the Big Easy in the hotel and Safta is worth the trip for fluffy wood-oven-baked pita bread, lamb-topped hummus and shakshouka, washed down by unusual wines from Lebanon and Morocco. It neighbors the casual Smōk from the local chef William Espiricueta, serving smoky barbecued meats. On the top floor, the Woods serves New Belgium’s small-batch beers, Niman Ranch burgers and Rocky Mountain trout salads and calls its outdoor terrace a “beer garden.”
In addition to the restaurant and bar on the top floor, there’s a small swimming pool on an outdoor deck facing the mountains. Nearby, the gym features garage doors that can be rolled up. On the second level, the market hall holds retail kiosks and stalls from local brands such as Winter Session, a maker of handbags, and Vinyl Me, Please, dealing records, as well as boutiques and a local outpost of a Montreal art gallery.
The Bottom line
Though the industrial design can feel a little chilly at the Source, it is warmed by the many locals drawn to this social magnet for food, drink and shopping.
The Source Hotel + Market Hall, 3330 Brighton Boulevard, Denver; thesourcehotel.com.
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