The History Of The Brown Palace Hotel

Calling all history buffs! 

With its rich history and incredible architecture, The Brown Palace Hotel has been on my list of places to see in Denver for years. The hotel has been visited by The Beatles, Thomas Edison, Taylor Swift, and Ben and Lauren from the Bachelor franchise, to name a few. (Yeah, I’m a Bachelor fan.)

Earlier last month, my husband and I stopped in the hotel for a quiet place to read. My book, Writing Without Bullshit by Josh Bernoff, generated a lot of attention from nearby hotel guests. Oops.

Regardless, it was a beautiful afternoon and I would recommend stopping by if you find yourself at Broadway, Tremont and 17th street in Denver.

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In the late 1800s, many settlers were moving west in search for gold and silver. Some were just passing through, others were there to stay. Among the travelers was Henry Cordes Brown, a carpenter from Ohio. Brown had purchased many plots of land, including the triangular spot at Broadway, Tremont and 17th street, where the Brown Palace Hotel now stands. Brown had a vision of creating a grand palace hotel, he hired architect Frank E. Edbrooke to see his plan through. The Brown Palace Hotel opened on August 12, 1892. It cost $1.6 million to build and $400,000 to furnish. The building consisted of 400 guest rooms which went for $3-$5 a night.



DSC_0140Famous architect Frank E. Edbrooke was hired to build the Brown Palace Hotel. He is known for building several iconic Denver buildings including Central Presbyterian Church and the Masonic Temple Building. Edbrooke’s design featured Italian Renaissance style, Colorado red granite, Arizona sandstone, and medallions carved in stone, each depicting a Colorado animal (these can still be seen between the seventh floor windows on the hotel exterior). The interior has an atrium lobby, cast iron railings and grillwork panels (two of which were either intentionally or accidentally installed upside down).


Booking a Room

DSC_0174Stay where the presidents stay. Every president since 1905 except Calvin Coolidge and Barack Obama has visited the Brown Palace Hotel. Rumor has it that Eisenhower dented the fireplace in room 825 while practicing his putting skills. The fireplace has since been replaced. Rooms vary between $150 and $1000 a night. Room details and amenities vary. See their website for details.

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Afternoon Tea

Guests have been enjoying afternoon tea at the Brown Palace Hotel for over a century. Enjoy tea, scones and finger sandwiches while listening to the harpist or pianist play in the background. Reservations are encouraged, especially during the holiday season.

Tip: Be sure to ask for some honey in your tea. The honey is made onsite – on the hotel rooftop. The honey produced by the rooftop bees is also used in the spa, the hotel restaurants and the bourbon.


Public tours are offered every Wednesday and Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and cost $15 per person. Groups may not exceed four people per tour. Reservations can be made online or over the phone at 303.297.3111. Tours given in October will be “Ghost Tours.” Other themed tours include Architectural, Romance, Presidential, Ladies of the Brown, or a Custom Tour. First-time guests are encouraged to take a General Hotel history tour.


Do you enjoy visiting historic landmarks? Look out for my upcoming blog, A day in Denver for the history buff. Be sure to share this post with your friends using the social media icons below!

Thanks for reading,