Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel

Historic Brown Palace: the best-known hotel in Denver, Colorado

Denver’s historic Brown Palace Hotel has hosted almost every US President. Almost every US President in history has stayed in the hotel since 1905 when Teddy Roosevelt came to Colorado to go bear-hunting. Who will be the next to stay in the Eisenhower Suite, which was previously the Presidential Suite?

Ordinary visitors can get a glimpse of that Eisenhower Suite on one of the Brown Palace Hotel’s Historic Tours. These take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 2 pm. Only groups of ten or more need to book, otherwise simply turn up in the hotel’s wonderful bar, the Ship Tavern.


The Ship Tavern is a historic Denver landmark in itself. It first opened its doors in 1934 soon after Prohibition was repealed, and its nautical decor has hardly changed since then. Today it’s one of the many excellent bars in Denver, and offers a wide range of beers from the barrel or the bottle, from all over the world. Belgian, English and Czech beers sit next to Denver Pale Ale, Sam Adams, Budweiser, and of course the local Coors. The bartenders know their brews and are happy to talk beer. When the Great American Beer Festival arrives in Denver every fall, the Festival’s Brewmeisters drink in the Ship Tavern.


After President Roosevelt’s visit in 1905, he was back again on the campaign trail in 1912. In 1955 President Eisenhower came to the Brown Palace, and a dent in the fireplace in the Eisenhower Suite was made by a golf ball when Ike was practicing his golf swings in his room. Later visitors included the Beatles, who stayed in what is now the Beatles Suite in 1964.


The Brown Palace Hotel was opened in August 1892, when the city of Denver was only 34 years old, and the hotel has been open 24/7 ever since. The hotel is eight stories high, and the atrium soars that full 8-story height. It is an impressive sight today, so what must it have seemed like in 1892 when Denver was little more than a rough and ready western mining town?

With such a long history behind it, little surprise that the Brown Palace has its own historian and archivist. Julia Kanellos also leads the Historical Tours twice a week and oversees the artifacts in the hotel’s archives and in its lobby displays. So when the Democratic National Convention comes to Denver in August 2008, the Brown Palace Hotel is sure to add a few more tales to its fascinating history.