Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hotel Teatro, Denver, Colorado

Hotel Teatro, located in downtown Denver, had been beckoning me to come for a visit for many years. I was curious what a luxury, boutique hotel would be like. Being a resident of the Denver area, staying at neighboring hotels isn't something I usually do.  However, at long last my dreams for an over-night stay was realized when my five children and their spouses arranged a VIP stay to celebrate my 40th Wedding Anniversary with my beloved husband, Rex. 

Hotel Teatro's Lobby

After the warm welcome by the doorman, I stopped to take this picture of the lobby. I circled around taking in the elegant  Tennessee light pink marble flooring, Vermont green marble base and Arizona white marble wainscoting . It was lovely. When Hotel Teatro was constructed in 1911 it was designed in a Renaissance Revival Style as a maintenance building for the city's trolley system.  When a $1.5 million dollar renovation was undertaken in 1997, all the glory of the original building was preserved. The design was to blend the opulence of past years with modern luxuries. Tucked into the corner to the left of the lobby was this old mail box, probably an original from the 1911 building.  

To the left of the lobby was the concierge desk, check-in desk and the parlor with the tower of green apples. I marveled at how every apple was polished and perfect. Of course, I had to take one from the top. I didn't want to be responsible for scattering them around the room. I chuckled wondering how often that does happen though. 

On the other side of the room was this stately fireplace and mirror. Every detail was warm and welcoming. 

At the Hotel, I was  welcomed by Concierge Gabe Goltz. He was a wealth of knowledge about downtown Denver's restaurants. Once my husband and I decided on where we would like to eat, Gabe handled all reservations and even offered a ticket for a free appetizer or desert at the restaurant. A hotel Escalade courtesy vehicle could have driven us or picked us up from our downtown wanderings but since the 16th Street Mall was only two blocks away we chose to enjoy the evening air and walk.  It was reassuring, though, to know if I had wandered too far away from a comfortable walking distance back, I had only to call for my chauffeured ride to come get me. 
Concierge, Gabe Goltz, at our assistance.
On the wall and throughout Hotel Teatro are theatrical photographs of past Denver Center Theatre Company Productions.

To the right of the lobby is the well known Kevin Taylor Restaurant. It's list of accolades is extensive and even though I didn't take advantage of this highly rated destination, I do have it as a place to partake on another special occasion. 

Entrance to Kevin Taylor Restaurant off the lobby at Hotel Teatro

Upon entering our room, I felt I was being escorted into my own private living quarters. A hallway with a mirrored table and sandstone sculpture led us into our deluxe, king size bed, corner room. The 12 foot ceilings and large windows on adjacent sides of the room framed the soft gold toned decor. The custom fabric headboard and plush damask fabrics spoke of elegance and an invitation to come in and relax.  Our  concierge, Gabe Goltz (did I mention, he's my :-) son-in-law?), warned us about laying down on the bed. He said it's hard to get up once we try it. I did some research and discovered the bed had 600 thread count custom handcrafted sheets, a down duvet and all that sat upon a Simmons mattress with cashmere fabric and modal yarn. As we were settling in, I "tested" what Gabe told us and I later told him "he was right". If I hadn't gotten up for dinner, I probably wouldn't have moved all night. The beds are wonderful I will attest. 

Experiencing the rest of the room was as delightful as testing the bed. The cherry wood finishings and marble tops provided elegance at every turn. On the coffee table was the gift card for dinner from our children and a bottle of Merlot and chocolate truffles from the Hotel. Even though I was on holiday and not a business trip, the custom desk and leather blotter, high speed internet service and two-line telephone with caller-ID caught my attention and registered in my mind as a great amenity for business guests. 

Bathrooms have become a standard for judging excellence in the ratings of hotels.  Hotel Teatro is no exception in the exquisite details offered in the bathroom. The deep soaking over sized bathtub with chrome features and the ceiling rainforest shower head brought a spa feeling into our stay. Terry robes and Plantation bath amenities added to the elegance expected in a room with Indonesian marble floors and sandstone finishes. A television and telephone were  features I've rarely seen in places I've previously stayed. 

Hotel Teatro is 100% non-smoking. To assist in a healthy life-style a fresh and inviting fitness room is available, complete with a bowl of shiny, perfect, green apples.

The Fitness Room

When you visit the fitness room, plan on taking the extra time to admire the period costumes on display from theatrical productions from past Denver Center Theatre Company shows that line the walls of the hallway. Theatrical photographs grace the walls as well throughout the Hotel. In my room, I had three of these black and white photographs to admire. In the picture below was a photograph from My Fair Lady, one of our favorite shows.

Prima Restaurante, located off the lobby to the left, through the parlor, is another creation of famed Denver Chef Kevin Taylor. It's open at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast and offers modern Italian cuisine until 10:00 pm. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while admiring the black granite bar and Italian opera prints on the walls. I had a plate of scrambled eggs with tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella. Rex chose Tuaca-Dipped Brioche French Toast with fresh berries and whipped cream. Sounds good, doesn't it? The menu had many tempting offerings. 

 Prima Restaurante

This upscale, luxury, boutique hotel stands stately at the corner of 14th and Arapahoe St. It is directly across the street from the Denver Center for Performing Arts. The name Teatro, which means theatre in Italian, was inspired by the neighboring Performing Arts Center. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Denver. It's an easy two block walk to the Colorado Convention Center and the 16th Street Mall. Coors Field, to take in a Rockies game, the Pepsi Center, for a concert, and the Denver Pavilions for shopping and dining are also within walking distance. Hotel Teatro is a divine destination after exploring the nightlife of "LoDo", Lower Downtown. No driving needed.

Hotel Teatro Map

Travel + Leisure Magazine has honored Hotel Teatro as one of the "World's Best Hotels" for 2014 (also in 2013 and 2012). It has constantly been named on lists such as The Best Chic Hotel, 2011 and again, Expedia rating of Exceptional and trending as a Romantic Hotel in Denver. It's known as  Denver's only 4-star and 4 diamond premier boutique hotel.  Conde Naste has also had it ranked in its Top 10 Best Hotels in the West in the Traveler Reader's Choice Awards, 2013, 2012. Hotel Teatro has also been named to Conde Nast Traveler's 2014 Gold List of the "511 Best Places on Earth".

Whether you are on a business trip to Denver or looking for a romantic night out, I suggest you consider Hotel Teatro. I plan on another visit so I can try out that lovely fitness room, The Kevin Taylor Restaurant and take some good pictures of the gorgeous gowns and costumes displayed. One visit and it's my new favorite place to stay. Maybe I'll see you there. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Roaming through 2013

My life is never dull as a look at 2013 reminds me. Roaming Rita got some mighty fine roaming in along with other splashes of local delights and a few travails. 

Not to go in any chronological order, as that would take forever for you to read but here are some of my most endearing events of 2013.

With great excitement I can proudly announce that I am the proud Grandma of not one, but TWO new grandchildren born this year! Lindsey Marie was born in January and Andy Jr. was born in November. Additionally, we found out that our oldest daughter, Beth, has a baby girl on the way in May, 2014. With the arrival of this little girl, I'll have 8 grandchildren, and I suspect still counting. I so love these marvelous grandchildren in my life! They are my greatest joy.

Kelly Pilger holding Lindsey on the left and Sarah Pilger holding Andy on the right

In September, my hunny bunch, Rex, and I celebrated 40 years of married life together. Our children arranged a special night for us at Hotel Teatro in downtown Denver. (I'm working on a post about this amazing boutique hotel). The children also surprised us with a generous gift card for dinner. It was a marvelous time and I was so proud of our children for pulling it all together for us. 

Our gift card from the children, wine and truffles from Hotel Teatro

Another huge milestone this year was celebrating my husband's 25 year Anniversary as a Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church. Our parish, St. Joan of Arc, honored him with a lovely reception after the celebratory Mass. 

 Deacon Rex on the left, Pastor Fr. Joseph Cao in the middle and Fr. James Cuneo (celebrating 50 yr on the right)

Rex and I at the parish celebration

My travels this year took me from a week of pure lounging joy aboard my friends' sailboat in Marina Del Rey, California, to my son's Masters Degree Graduation in Pennsylvania with side-trips to Delaware and Washington D.C. Dallas was also a destination earlier in the year. 

On my sailing trip, I crewed on David and Chris' 45 foot sailboat.  We crossed the 32 nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean from Marina Del Rey to Two Harbors which is about a nice 6 hour day of sailing. Living on the water for 10 days is one of my favorite things to do. I'm always ready for another sail. The beauty of Catalina Island beckons me over and over again. 

When my son announced he was walking his graduation for his Master's Degree from Duquesne University in Pennsylvania, it opened up an opportunity for me to explore an area I hadn't been to before.  In one week's time I quickly explored places I had only heard about. I saw the Delaware River (go George Washington!) and Padre Pio's National Shrine in Barto, Pennyslvania.  I spent a great day shopping in Amish Country (Lancaster and Intercourse). I had a historical look at Gettysburg and in Washington D.C. I glimpsed all the National Monuments and the White House. My favorite place in Washington D.C. was the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. I could have spent days exploring it. In the middle of all this, was Matt's graduation in Pittsburgh. I'm so proud of him. I had to laugh at a picture I took of him. His baby daughter's burp cloth pulled ranked on his Master's hood.

Congratulations, Matt, on a Master of Science Degree in Sports Leadership from Duquesne University

Did you happen to pick up a copy of Shape magazine in 2013? I became an avid collector of each monthly publication because my daughter, Beth Blair, was the Shape Weight Loss Diarist for the year. She had a full page write up with professional pictures each month and twice a month she had articles on their web page. Of course I had a subscription to the magazine but I also bought extra copies. At every checkout I proudly showed the cashier my daughter. One lady teased me that I was only buying one magazine instead of 18 like she would do. I fessed up that it was actually my 5th copy of the same issue.

Beth in the September, 2013, issue of Shape Magazine

Have you ever seen a 515.5 pound pumpkin? Feast your eyes on my son, Andrew's, giant pumpkin that he grew in his backyard this year. It took 6 men to load it on his trailer to take it to the weigh-in. Each year his pumpkins grow bigger and bigger. It's a party-worthy event when Andrew cuts the pumpkin from its vine. Family and friends gather to watch, help and celebrate. 

Giant pumpkins are a sight to see

In April I spent two nights and three days at the five star Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. I accompanied my daughter, Beth, for was an amazing experience at the Woman's Weekend of Wellness led by doctors and specialists from the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado. We had wonderful seminars, activities (I chose the water aerobics) and the healthiest meals I've ever had in my life (I'm talking tofu, egg whites, smoothies, etc.) The gorgeous setting of The Broadmoor added to the all-over wellness we were being offered during the weekend. I would love to go again.

My room was a lovely South Superior room on the 7th floor
A view of Cheyenne Lake and the conference center from my room

I had never been to a Kentucky Derby party before so when I was invited by cousins I was ready. I had the hat. Mint Juleps were authentic as was the fun and seeing the actual race on TV.

Music also played a memorable time in my year. The annual Ukulele Fest was held on a beautiful October weekend at the Temple Events Center in Denver. The musicians were delightful and I have a few more favorites to follow now. My friends and I always get the VIP pass for the Uke Fest and we get to enjoy meals from the food trucks and the complimentary drinks, poster and ID badge on a lanyard. It's the way to go.

Ten days after the Uke Fest, Jimmy Buffett came to town for his "Songs From St. Somewhere" 2013 concert. Being a member of the Colorado Parrot Head Club gives us (my husband and friends David and Chris) entry to the fabulous tail gate party and group seating. The concert is at the Pepsi Center in Denver and it fills  to the rafters with Buffett fans. A great time is had by all. It's a party not to miss. Look closely at the picture below, Jimmy is playing a ukulele. How awesome is that for us that celebrate both venues.

These were just a few of the special events of 2013. In between I still kept busy, even if not road tripping. I spent days babysitting my granddaughters, and continuing to work at the Racquetball and Fitness Center. I took in a Rockies baseball game. Renewed my CPR and First Aid certifications. I took my precious 28 year old daughter, Mary, (now 29 yr.) to have her tonsils out. Every grandchild had a birthday party and of course, this grandma went to the baby showers. I watched one of my wee ones Trick or Treat and another one sing her heart out in a Christmas program. Oh, and I can't forget the Gingerbread House.  In August Rex and I drove to Loveland, Colorado, to meet up with my friend from 4th grade, Don Joy. He's written a really fun book to read "Murder in Whitechapel, The Adventures of the Post-Mortem Knife". It's a Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper thriller. Look it up, even better, buy a copy.

Mackayla in pre-kindergarten

Morgan and Abbi eating candy off the Gingerbread House

My trip to Dallas was during the first week of January, 2013. You can read about my trip from my January archive. I thought my new year was starting out quite sweet. Before January, 2013, was over though, I was facing the reality of life's travails. I was in the hospital twice, and endured two surgeries for a very large kidney stone. Did I say "ouch"? I'm sitting very quietly and still as the clock ticks towards the midnight chime. In August I fell down...and broke my thumb! I just want to end this year healthy and happy! Here's crossing over into a new, and I hope healthy and happy year.

Happy New Year!