I'm a transplant to Denver, and one of the first things I heard when I asked natives what to do here was to indulge in the century-long tradition of "taking tea" at the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa . Recently, I did just that, and it was everything I imagined: House-made scones, savory finger sandwiches, and a sinful selection of chocolate pastries were served on specially commissioned bone china, and tea flowed from elegant, engraved silver pots. Sunlight bathed the atrium as a harpist played soothing music and I sipped a peach Bellini. It was, for a couple of hours, as if I'd been transported back in time. I almost expected Molly Bown or President Roosevelt to sweep through the lobby. (Fun fact: Brown stayed at the hotel just a week after the Titanic sunk.)
I'll be back at the Brown this weekend for another of the hotel's longstanding traditions, the annual champagne cascade . Each year, a team of hotel employees builds an elaborate pyramid using 6,000 crystal glasses. Father-and-son Master Swordsman team Dennis and Mat Dinsmore will use an antique saber to sever the necks of Moet & Chandon bottles, which will be poured into the topmost glass of the pyramid. Pony up: Spring for $75 tickets and you'll enjoy unlimited champagne, hors d'oeuvres, and the best views of the cascading bubbly. Proceeds benefit the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter.
Can't make it on Sunday? The cascade is the kickoff to the hotel's holiday season festivites. Check out one of these events instead:
Thanksgiving Brunch: If you're not up for cooking a big dinner (or doing the dishes after), get your traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings at Ellyngton's , one of the hotel's four restaurants, on November 23, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Martini Cart Service: The hotel recently refurbished its vintage bar cart, which you can find daily (4–8 p.m.) in the atrium. Your cocktails are mixed tableside while a pianist tickles the ivories.
Breakfast with Santa: On Saturdays starting November 24, the little ones can have breakfast with Kris Kringle. Don't forget to bring their wish lists.
—Image courtesy of Chad Chisholm