With eight new restaurants, two bars, a hotel and a half acre of splashing water fountains, The Mile High City’s glittering newly refurbished Union Station has already become the center of downtown Denver. In the golden age of railroading, Denver’s lavish Beau Arts 1914 Union Station was a beehive of activity, handling up to 200 trains per day.
One hundred years later, Denver Union Station is back, serving as a transportation center for light rail; AMTRAK; a massive bus network; two electric bus shuttles and coming in 2016, a 24 mile-long rail line to and from Denver International Airport.
The old waiting room has been re-christened “The Great Hall.” With its soaring arched windows, this grand room is open to the public 24-7. The old ticket windows have been turned into The Terminal Bar, which features more than 30 Colorado craft beers and a huge outdoor patio. In front of the station is a new water park with dozens of dancing fountains shooting water into the air; it is particularly pretty at night when the fountains are lighted.
Looking down on the Great Hall from a terrace above, is The Cooper Lounge which re-creates the glamorous old-Hollywood days of railroading with high-end cocktails and an extensive wine list.
In the wings of the Great Hall is the elegant 112-room Crawford Hotel. Named after local developer and preservationist Dana Crawford (who was also responsible for preserving nearby Larimer Square), The Crawford is affiliated with the Oxford Hotel across the street and shares their spa and meeting facilities.
The Crawford has three styles of rooms. The “Pullman” rooms on the second floor are modeled after the luxury private sleeping cars of old. The “Classic” rooms on the third floor come with tall ceilings and large windows. The former attic area hosts “Loft” rooms, featuring exposed wood timbers, vaulted ceilings and a more contemporary design. To take advantage of the station’s architectural features, most of the rooms in the hotel are one-of-a-kind designs and shapes.
Visit www.denver.org/about-denver/denver-history/ for more information.