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Top of the Town 2018

Top of the Town 2018: Services

Supporting local businesses—and great customer service—is more important than ever.


New Hotel

Editors’ Choice
Le Méridien Denver Downtown
In the past year alone, close to 10 hotels have opened in the city, and at least two more are coming by the end of 2018. If you want to stand out, then, you better add something extra—and 10-month-old Le Méridien, across from the Denver Convention Center, delivers plenty. The rooms are compact but engineered to feel spacious, using sleek furniture and a vanity-shower hybrid that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. And the soft, neutral palette feels clean without being sterile. But the real reasons this swanky hotel gets high marks? It has more than 10 local partnerships, including with the Clyfford Still Museum (guests get complimentary entry), artisan pickle maker the Real Dill (free pickling classes), and Renegade Brewery (gratis tastings). Plus, Le Méridien is topped by rooftop bar 54Thirty, the highest open-air watering hole in the city, which serves inventive cocktails and an epic vista of the Rockies. 1475 California St., 303-893-1888

Readers’ Choice
Kimpton Hotel Born

1600 Wewatta St., 303-323-0024

Bike Shop

Editors’ Choice
Chocolate Spokes
In Colorado, some bike shops suffer from cycling snob syndrome. Not Chocolate Spokes. At the neighborly road, city, and cruiser bike service and repair studio in Five Points, your ratty old Schwinn is every bit as welcome as your $5,000 Cannondale for affordable fixes. To that end, Chocolate Spokes offers $15 brake adjustments, $22 wheel trues, and custom steel frames (around $1,700 and up for frame and fork) built by bow-tied shop owner Gregory Crichlow himself. True to its name, the all-riders-welcome cycling hub also peddles a carefully curated selection of chocolate from around the world—for your vital pre-ride cocoa-load. 2801 Downing St., 303-292-1876

Readers’ Choice
Campus Cycles
2102 S. Washington St., 303-698-2811


Editors’ Choice
Piper’s Parlor
This three-chair spot in Highland is anything but stuffy: A golden retriever named Han Solo and a Chihuahua named Frieda greet you at the door. An alligator head with an Avalanche puck in its mouth hangs on a wall. The likes of country singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker croon through the speakers. Despite the laid-back vibe, Brandon Piper and his team can give you any trim you like, whether you rock a faux hawk or prefer things high and tight. And since you’re not paying for frills, your cut costs only $25 ($26 if you use a card), a value that hasn’t gone unnoticed: These meticulous barbers are so popular you’ll need to book an appointment online at least a week in advance. 2638 W. 32nd Ave., 303-720-8016

Readers’ Choice
Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare

multiple locations


Photo courtesy of Sacred Thistle

Editors’ Choice
Sacred Thistle
You won’t find traditional bouquets of long-stemmed red roses or delicate lilies at Sacred Thistle. Mother-and-daughter duo Sydney and Cornelia Peterson treat patrons to unexpected arrangements with mixes of flowers, foliage, and even knobby branches. Whenever possible, they forage for flora, and the blooms they purchase from wholesalers are grown in the United States or sustainably sourced. The results are stunning bouquets artfully designed for the season and occasion. You can order online or by phone, but we recommend stopping by the two-year-old Golden Triangle shop. With its array of gemstones, cacti, planters of all sizes, unique jewelry, mounted butterflies from South America, incense, and Pendleton blankets, it is a destination itself. 1110 Acoma St., 720-598-6957

Readers’ Choice
The Perfect Petal

3600 W. 32nd Ave., Suite B, 303-480-0966


Editors’ Choice
Phia Alchemy Salon and Spa

Your massage begins with your nose at this seven-year-old Uptown spot. When you check in, you’ll take a brief quiz to determine your energy profile—grounding, adventure, focus, balance, imagination, confidence—each of which has an accompanying scent. (Founder Michelle Roark began experimenting with essential oils during her career as an Olympic ski racer and integrated them into her spa once she hung up her sticks.) Energy profile in hand, you’ll head to a beautifully appointed lounge where, while awaiting your facial, pedicure, blowout, or any of the dozens of other services available at Phia, an herbalist will serve you a custom tea blend (or wine, if you prefer to pre-tox instead of detox). The Art Deco–esque space’s warm woods, comfy seats, and gold accents make it so inviting, you might find yourself lingering here post-service, too, soaking up the scene—and the scents. 2150 Curtis St., 303-292-2728

Readers’ Choice
Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa

multiple locations


Editors’ Choice
Releaf Massage and Wellness

With a growing number of massage studios in and around the Mile High City touting the health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive compound found in marijuana, we decided to determine for ourselves whether it’s a miracle elixir or snake oil. Our conclusion: inconclusive. (We’re journalists, after all, not scientists.) What we know for sure is this almost two-year-old mobile outfit—which specializes in CBD-oil rubdowns—gave us the best massage we’ve ever had. That might’ve been because, having grown up in the era of big-box massage franchises, we’d never experienced the convenience of an in-home therapist. Or maybe because our muscle manipulator was just that talented. Then again, it could’ve been the CBD oils, which, our masseuse explained, help with circulation, inflammation, and anxiety. To confirm our results, we scheduled an appointment for the following weekend and, even with a different therapist, the outcome was exactly the same: Our muscles were wrung free of every last ache. Which is why we plan to run this experiment again and again. 720-257-1792

Readers’ Choice
Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa

Interior Designer

Photograph by Coryn Nelson Photography

Editors’ Choice
Duet Design Group

You don’t have to take Devon Tobin and Miranda Cullen’s word for how great those emerald green vintage tufted chairs look in person (although they are most likely right). The co-owners of Duet Design Group opened a new studio in Littleton this past November where clients can see and touch finishes, fixtures, and fabrics in person before bringing them into their homes. Meanwhile, Tobin and Cullen’s secondary business, Inside Stories, has, since mid-2016, offered à la carte design services (think: help choosing a new color scheme for your bathroom or a backsplash for your kitchen). Of course, Tobin and Cullen also serve as traditional designers—so if you hate everything inside your house save the kids, they can completely overhaul your Denver Square too. 5650 S. Windermere St., Littleton, 303-783-9327

Readers’ Choice
Studio Thomas

7355 E. Orchard Road, Suite 375, Greenwood Village, 720-467-0131

Pet Services

Editors’ Choice
Lily’s Baths & Biscuits

Some people have calm, well-behaved dogs. Those owners can confidently hand their golden retrievers over to Lily’s Baths & Biscuits owner Lynn Christensen and her team and come back hours later to collect Westminster-ready pooches. For the rest of us, Lily’s DIY spa setup is a godsend, and not just because it means we don’t have to destroy our own bathrooms. For $17, the nearly two-year-old Sunnyside shop provides: aprons; an elevated tub with a no-slip mat; tearless face wash; a combo shampoo and conditioner; ear cleaner and instruction on how to use it; as many plush towels as you require; and a canister of treats for bribery and distraction. Christensen will also give you a lesson in operating the professional dryer (as long as it’s available)—while kindly insisting that your howling, fur-flinging husky is, contrary to fact, adorable. 4051 Tejon St., 303-975-6664

Readers’ Choice
U Lucky Dog Daycare

4040 Fox St., 720-328-8179

Ski/Snowboard Tune

Photograph by Rachel Cook

Editors’ Choice
Denver Sports Lab

As we waited in line at the warehouselike Denver Sports Lab in Golden, we overheard the next Lindsey Vonn in front of us discussing DIN settings and reverse camber. We immediately began to worry that our secondhand skis would get us laughed out of the building. But when we told the tech we just cruise groomers, he kindly eschewed the $50 to $140 base flattening he would’ve suggested for the more aggressive skiers who make up much of the shop’s clientele. A $35 basic edge and wax service, he insisted, would do us just fine. He wasn’t lying. The sharpened edges of our decade-old skis had us feeling like Olympians ourselves. Or, at least, confident enough to carve up a bump-filled blue-black run. 15744 W. Sixth Avenue Frontage Road, Golden, 720-383-8999

Readers’ Choice
Powder7 Ski Shop

880 Brickyard Circle, Golden, 303-237-7547


Editors’ Choice
The City Nail Bar

Ten-month-old City Nail Bar in the Golden Triangle was practically invented for #squad Instas: The waiting area boasts swanky seating, furry throw pillows, and a wall covered in faux pink flowers (plus a basket of props for your photos), and there’s even an actual bar with reasonably priced wine and beer. Make a weekend appointment with your girlfriends to sip bubbly while your toes soak in a petal-filled tub in preparation for the Rosé Wine Pedi ($40), which includes a milk mask, sugar scrub, and hot stone massage. Or treat your favorite young woman (12 and under) to the $25 Princess mani-pedi combo—minus the bubbly, of course. 420 W. 12th Ave., Unit A, 720-643-5626

Readers’ Choice
Fingers & Toes, A Nail Retreat

743 S. University Blvd., 303-955-1920

Hair Salon

Editors’ Choice
Bang Salon Wash Park

When it comes to luxury hair care, the Mile High City is every bit as sophisticated as highfalutin cities like Los Angeles—as long as you go to Bang Salon Wash Park. The Denver staple (open since 1999) has a large body of well-trained stylists who specialize in cuts, color, and updos. What’s more, Bang’s three locations are the only spots in the state that offer “calligraphy cuts.” The precise technique uses a patented blade to cut hair on an angle, giving it more shape, volume, and movement. All that plus gratis wine, a scalp massage, and reclining chairs at the sinks? Bangin’. multiple locations

Readers’ Choice
Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare

Beautiful Day

An important event looms tonight. Perhaps it’s a black-tie gala or the opening of the city’s hottest new art exhibition. Whatever the occasion, you need to look like an airbrushed angel in about 10 hours. Why rush the primping? Spend the day with these top-notch beauty specialists, who will not only fairy-godmother you into supermodel status by nightfall, but will also ensure you enjoy the transformation.

10 a.m. Begin at one of Denver’s oldest hotels with one of its newest skin cures. The Oxford Club Spa & Salon recently began offering Bee My Honey ($185), an 80-minute full-body treatment that starts with an olive oil, lavender extract, sugar, and honey scrub. The sticky stuff—harvested from the Oxford Hotel’s roof, where the chef of the on-site Urban Farmer steak house tends an apiary—serves as a potent exfoliant. After the scrub, hydrating milk and honey body butter from Louisville’s Sanitas Skincare will leave your skin feeling smooth and nourished.

Noon Travel southeast on the 16th Street Mall to Pure Elegance Spa, whose facial services run the gamut from a touch-up to a “full renovation.” On a typical Tuesday, when you need a quick refresh, order the 30-minute express facial ($60) for instant skin hydration and an exfoliating mask. For tonight’s big event, though, we recommend the 90-minute Indulgent facial ($190) for its pore cleansing, hydration, and dual masks: The first is a customized exfoliating treatment, while the second tightens your visage in all the right spots.
3 p.m. Plenty of salons around the Mile High City provide fine blowouts, but styling your coiffure isn’t their primary focus. At Drybar Cherry Creek, making your locks look smooth and shiny is the only service available. Just point to your desired hairdo—options include the Manhattan (sleek), the Cosmo (loose curls), and the new Old Fashioned (think: Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential)—and hand over $45. Then throw in an extra $10 for the so-so-worth-it 10-minute scalp massage.

Photo courtesy of Mooi Studio

5 p.m. Five-month-old Mooi Studio has already made the Knot’s Best of Weddings 2018 list, so surely it can handle your fancy-schmancy night on the town. In fact, Mooi offers a date-night package that starts at $75 and aims to enhance, not conceal, your natural look. But if you’re in the market for a guise that’s a little less you and a little more Hollywood, the West Highland spot’s $90 Snap Ready application will have you strutting like a starlet when the sun goes down.

Editors' Picks


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