Ryan Diggins, partner at local real-estate development company Gravitas Development Group, has overseen a wide range of projects around town, from a retail/office space housed in reclaimed shipping containers to single-family homes to a contemporary office building. But never a hotel—until now.
The brand-new Ramble Hotel, housed in a new-yet-old-looking brick building at the corner of 25th and Larimer Streets, is Diggins’ small yet significant attempt to right the wrongs so much bad architecture has done to the city of late.
“This project is most in line with my style and what I like,” Diggins says, “but it’s also my attempt to build a building that I’d be proud to take my grandkids to in 75 years. The design of the building—which has a more historical look—is a reaction to a lot of the development we’re seeing in Denver right now, which appears to be built for quick financial returns, and without much concern for contributing to the fabric of the neighborhood.”
The Ramble’s design—a collaboration among Gravitas Development Group, architecture firm Johnson Nathan Strohe, Sprung Construction, and Avenue Interior Design—takes inspiration from RiNo’s well-worn fabric of industrial warehouses and solid, three- and four-story brick buildings. Diggins selected the facade’s hand-cut, orange clay bricks for their imperfections, and specified recessed grout lines “so you can see each individual brick rather than the eye just reading one flat wall,” he says. A steel storefront and tall, factory-pane windows wrap the first floor.
Inside, the vibe is more akin to a 17th-century French salon than a Denver factory. Diggins sourced the antique Oriental rugs, custom-made crystal chandeliers, and reclaimed green marble that adorn the lobby and other public spaces, and worked with Los Angeles-based Avenue Interior Design to incorporate elegant furnishings, fabrics, and accessories. One-of-a-kind touches include a custom, hand-carved hardwood front door from Monarch Custom Doors, reclaimed chicken-wire glass from New York City’s Rockefeller Center, and a grand lobby bar built by RiNo craftsman Brian Trybus.
The hotel’s 50 guest rooms and suites—super-stylish, but with an inviting, residential vibe—feature wide-plank hickory floors, antique rugs, paneled headboard walls, custom furniture built by Denver-based steel fabricators and woodworkers, and, best of all, big—and operable!—factory-pane windows. “Since we’re just a three-story building, you can really interact with the neighborhood a lot more,” Diggins says. “You can hear people laughing, smell what’s cooking at Los Chingones. I think it’s going to entice you to leave your room and go out and explore rather than just ordering room service.”
Not that room service here is a compromise. Breakfast in bed is provided by Death & Co. Denver—the first outpost of the famed East Village speakeasy—which also helms the hotel’s lobby bar; the DC/AM café bar, which serves breakfast and lunch; Suite 6A, a dim and secluded 20-seat upstairs bar (opening in early June); and the Garden, an outdoor courtyard bar (opening in late May).
Death & Co. also manages the in-house catering team for events at Vauxhall, the hotel’s intimate ballroom/music venue/theater. Diggins gave the space its own entrance and marquee on Larimer Street—and a professional-grade projection screen and brass-and-marble bar—and plans to use it for everything from a Mountainfilm on Tour festival screening and launch party for Colorado gear-maker Topo Designs’ spring collection, to a First Fridays RiNo art show and reception.
Diggins envisions this space (and the entire hotel, for that matter) as a place that will foster conversations among guests, neighbors, and the larger community—and he plans to be there to lead them, by overseeing hotel operations, every day: “This little project is really my attempt to say, This is what RiNo means to me.”
The Ramble Hotel, 1280 25th Street, Denver; 720-996-6300
theramblehotel.com; Rates start at $249/night