Jan012010

Postcard from Denver and the Sheraton Denver Downtown

Howdy. We arrived with the snow on the busiest travel day of the year at DIA, Wednesday, December 23. Denver International Airport is called DIA around here, also known as DEN for flyers booking airline tickets.

Denver - Admitted

Denver - Admitted

Our flight was relatively uneventful. We stood outside at San Jose International at 5:30am, chilling in the 30s for 30 minutes to check our bags at SJC. The California cold seemed designed to prep us for an altitudinal plains adjustment to chilly winter Denver.

I’ve only been up in the air once before with WN back in 2005. Kelley, a Southwest virgin, was blessed on her first flight as a B40 boarder to find three empty seats near the back of the plane. We sat in the same row with a seat between us during the on-time flight cruise eastward.  Lake Tahoe looked gorgeous sitting up high on the Sierras rimmed in white.

 A snow blanket arrived with us in Denver and covered everything half a foot thick. My thoughts of checking out airport hotels, several of which offered room rate specials for $52.80, didn’t seem a simple stopover as swirling snow stirred up to combine with the stuff falling down while drivers sped along on the multi-lane freeway at 60 miles per hour.

First task in Denver – check out airport hotels.

Memory reminder for Denver winter snow travel

High waterproof boots are good. Tennis shoes are not so good in snow. Stay out of cars as much as possible.

Snow man in borrowed boots, Denver postcard

Snow man in borrowed boots, Denver postcard

 

This past week I spent time reading Ralph Waldo Emerson and Friedrich Nietzsche. Emerson probably liked his pen and paper, but I just can’t help but think Nietzsche would be a blogger if writing today.

And thinking of superman, how about Jasper Schuringa? The airline seat map I saw for Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit showed Jasper was seated on the opposite side of the plane from the bomber.   I picture him leaping the middle section of four seats in a single bound. Cheers to Schuringa, the Dutch superman.

 

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Jasper Schuringa is a FlyerTalker. Routing a trip from Amsterdam to Costa Rica via Detroit and Miami? That is some serious mileage add-on.

 

And then there was my fellow Californian Carlos Estevez, the demi-Mensch of the week, making news by stirring up trouble on his wife in Colorado.

 

Memory reminder for Colorado mountain travel –

Leave knife in the backpack until needed outdoors.

 

Sheraton Denver Downtown

Sheraton Denver Downtown

Sheraton Denver Downtown

 

We stayed over in Colorado’s largest convention hotel. The Sheraton Denver Downtown recently remodeled to the tune of a $70 million makeover of the former Adam’s Mark Hotel.

Sheraton Denver Downtown $70 Million Renovation

Sheraton Denver Downtown $70 Million Renovation

I stayed here a year ago and the year has made quite a difference in this property. The view looked good with a Rockies-facing-suite on the 19th of 22 floors in the Tower building. This hotel is seriously huge with 1,231 rooms and 82 suites.

Rocky Mountains view Sheraton Denver Downtown

Rocky Mountains view Sheraton Denver Downtown

My advice to travelers staying in Denver and debating between the Westin Denver and the Sheraton Denver Downtown would be a preference for the Westin Denver. I stayed at the Westin on my last trip to Denver. This time I stayed at the Sheraton Denver Downtown to check out the remodel from the past year.

Nice room layout except for the difficulty in finding a light switch when entering the dark room. I felt lots of wall hangings.

Room light switch is between two hangings, 6 feet from room door

Room light switch is between two hangings, 6 feet from room door

The Bose Radio is a nice feature for alternative sounds. I love the radio station KBCO 97.3. A gift I received from Santa is a KCBO Volume 21 Studio C.  

Sitting room tv, Sheraton Denver Downtown

Sitting room tv, Sheraton Denver Downtown

The TV was large, but why were there 20 channels with rabbit ear snowy reception in the digital cable age?  HDTV channels worked fine.  

Sitting room arrangement suite 1938, Sheraton Denver Downtown

Sitting room arrangement suite 1938, Sheraton Denver Downtown

There was comfortable furniture, the room heater sounded like something alive was scratching to escape.

The miniscule bathroom barely adequate for one person at a time is a major detractor.

Narrow bathroom at Sheraton Denver Downtown

Narrow bathroom at Sheraton Denver Downtown

The bathroom was so small that one person would have to be standing in the tub for two people to use the bathroom at the same time.

Bathroom amenities, Sheraton Denver Downtown

Bathroom amenities, Sheraton Denver Downtown

 

And my wife wants to know what brilliant designer thought to place a beveled edge counter in the bathroom where round objects can roll off into the toilet?

Bathroom Counter, Sheraton Denver Downtown

Bathroom Counter, Sheraton Denver Downtown

The bedroom TV was oddly placed on the countertop on one side of the room when there was a perfectly large space on the wall in front of the bed to mount the TV. I love the red chair, but it was cluttered with our stuff all the time so I could keep the desk table top available for my computer.

Bedroom amenities Suite 1938, Sheraton Denver Downtown

Bedroom amenities Suite 1938, Sheraton Denver Downtown

 

The fitness center at the hotel is the largest workout facility I’ve ever seen in a hotel. There must have been 50 exercise machines well spaced around the room. The 5th floor pool is outdoors and the glass door to the pool area was closed off. I could see about a foot of snow covering the patio tables.

Fitness Center, Sheraton Denver Downtown

Fitness Center, Sheraton Denver Downtown

 

 

The advantages of the Sheraton Denver are the large fitness center, although the Sheraton was sending guests to the Westin for the swimming pool. That is quite a long walk in a bathing suit with wet hair.

Hyatt Regency Convention Center and Crowne Plaza seen from Sheraton Denver Downtown

Hyatt Regency Convention Center and Crowne Plaza seen from Sheraton Denver Downtown

 

 

Sheraton Denver has Katie Mullen’s, a large Irish pub at the street level of the Sheraton Tower 22 story building.

Katie Mullen's Irish Pub, Sheraton Denver Downtown

Katie Mullen's Irish Pub, Sheraton Denver Downtown

 

The main lobby and entrance is across the street from the tower building. There is a large Link@Sheraton computer center with free wifi for guests in the lobby building. The least desirable rooms at the hotel offer limited interior views.

Lobby building interior facing rooms, Sheraton Denver Downtown

Lobby building interior facing rooms, Sheraton Denver Downtown

 

 

 

 

The primary complaint I had about the hotel was the breakfast situation. It has been several years since I stayed at a Sheraton hotel and did not receive complimentary breakfast. This is not actually a published benefit, but past experience has made this benefit an assumption I use when calculating hotel rates and the Sheraton Hotel option.

15/Fifty and Link@Sheraton lobby, Sheraton Denver Downtown

15/Fifty and Link@Sheraton lobby, Sheraton Denver Downtown

 

As I understand the set-up for SPG Platinum members, the Sheraton Denver Downtown hotel offers Club Lounge access from Sunday evening through Friday morning. The Sheraton Denver Downtown Club Lounge was closed for the holiday period. SPG Platinum members normally receive breakfast certificates for the hotel’s 15/Fifty restaurant when the Club Lounge is closed. 1550 is the street address of the hotel, therefore a rationale exists for the restaurant name.

 

Apparently Sheraton Denver Downtown provides complimentary breakfast only Monday through Friday, and SPG Platinum members fend for ourselves on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The $34 breakfast added to my $81 nightly room rate made the Sheraton Downtown more expensive than the Westin Denver where I could have booked a room rate including breakfast for two for $105.60.

 

Memory reminder for Sheraton Hotel travel – Call the hotel in advance to check specific details on undefined breakfast benefit.

Tower building, Sheraton Denver Downtown

Tower building, Sheraton Denver Downtown

 

Supposedly the world of airport travel in the U.S. changed during the interim days since our arrival in Denver. No difference detected by this frequent traveler on the return to California.

Chess table, Sheraton Denver Downtown
Chess table, Sheraton Denver Downtown

 

 

I’m celebrating a vacation hangover with these lazy days to settle into the familiar and comfortable environment of home and reflect on the sights and sounds of Denver.

Playing with cats and playing the 25th anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert at Madison Square Garden on HBO TV loudly through the night, I celebrated my 50th birthday a week early since next week will be back to a daily grind.

 

 

Back home in Monterey I might get wet in winter. Sometimes I get cold, and occasionally I even get hot. But people do not die from weather in Monterey. New Year’s Eve was sunny and in the mid 60s.

Glad to be home.

denver-sheraton-1451

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. I am usually not all that interested in or focussed on suite upgrades (just more space to clutter up with stuff, and on most trips I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the room anyway). It seems your suite in Denver wasn’t all that great anyway (what with the layout of the room etc.). So my favorite benefit of Hilton Honors Gold is the choice of free breakfast or internet. I wonder why SPG doesn’t feel the need to make this a standard benefit at least for their Platinum members.

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