The Denver River North Art District has become an attractive day trip destination for tourists in recent years. Stroll around, check out the street art, dine in a diverse and growing number of restaurants, and drink in trendy bars.
Once the day is over, it’s time for RiNo visitors to jump into Lyfts, which lead to hotels in the central business district, or, if it’s the locals’ experience, send them to the neighborhood Airbnb. Right?
RiNo welcomed its first hotel on Monday when The Ramble opened. The 33,000-square-foot, 50-room boutique brings to life a piece of land on the corner of 25th Street and Larimer Street that hotel artist Gravitas Development Group has been holding onto for eight years.
“Every great neighborhood needs a great boutique hotel,” Gravitas partner Ryan Diggins said last week. “For me, this is the neighborhood where I spend all my time. This is where I eat, drink and explore – and the hotel was the logical extension of that.”
Room rates start at $ 249 per night. (A suite can cost up to $ 995.) The Ramble Hotel is not affiliated with an outside chain or management company. Diggins – whose company developed the shipping container building opposite the hotel, which houses the Work & Class restaurant and Port Side café – believes that in a creative place like RiNo, it is important to have a unique experience that is distinguishes boring company hotels from others. Whatever he sells, it works so far. He said The Ramble had booked 1,300 nights of accommodation prior to opening.
“We pursue the experimental consumer and that person doesn’t really have an age,” said Diggins. “For me I am very different because there is nothing more boring in a hotel than a homogenized group of people.”
The hotel’s attractions go beyond the modern rooms and the classic warehouse theme of Lower Downtown, which was provided by the Denver architectural firm Johnson Nathan Strohe.
Death & Co., a tiny New York City cocktail bar that is often among the best in the world, will open its second location in the country on Friday within The Ramble. In addition to its marquee bar and restaurant in the hotel lobby, the Death & Co. team will operate a coffee shop, a 20-seat bar on the second floor of the hotel, and an outdoor bar called The Garden. It will also provide food and beverage service for Vauxhall, a 2,300 square foot music and events space, and room service. Super Mega Bien, a restaurant by Work & Class chef Dana Rodriguez, is expected to open in the building later this month.
“Ryan wanted to build something substantial,” said Alex Day, co-owner of Death & Co., of The Ramble. “He wanted to build a structure that would be here for at least 100 years, and to us, the interest in longevity is really attractive.”
The Ramble may be the first, but it won’t be the only hotel in RiNo for long.
The Source Hotel of the neighborhood pioneer Zeppelin Development is expected to open in early summer. The 100 room skyscraper at 3330 Brighton Blvd. was also designed with an emphasis on modern design and unique experiences. It will come with amenities like an art gallery, rooftop pools, two restaurants, and a New Belgium Brewing Co. outpost.
Perhaps the most exciting hotel for regular RiNo visitors, it will feature a 25,000-square-meter indoor market reflecting the hotel’s predecessor of the same name and its connected neighbor, the Source Food Hall. The space will include 10 to 12 food, beverage and dry goods vendors, said Kyle Zeppelin, co-owner of Zeppelin Development.
Zeppelin, who hired the team behind Boulders St. Julien Hotel & Spa to run his hotel, expects national and international tourists to come through his doors, but he also counts on many executives and business people. Regarding his own office projects – Zeppelin Station and others like the upcoming Catalyst HTI Health-Tech complex – he said RiNo is now the main hub of the city, not just for new and local businesses, but also for national companies that have a local Want to set up a location.
“There is a level of activity that can support functions like a hotel of this caliber, a modern lifestyle hotel,” he said of RiNo. “That didn’t help where the neighborhood was 10 years ago.”
There are probably few people in Denver who are as excited about the two hotels as Jamie Licko, President of the RiNo Art District. The two institutions are far enough apart and have enough different experiences that they don’t compete too much, she said.
Licko got a preview stop at The Ramble last week.
“We have always seen a hotel as an important part of what happens here,” she said. “The nice thing is that the first one is made by locals who are already good friends of this place. It’s a really authentic step in creating a place that people will remember long after they die. “