With hip new hotels popping up throughout downtown Denver these days, it’s easy to forget about the city’s original boutique hotels. But not so fast: Classic properties from the Oxford Hotel to the Hotel Teatro have been investing in multimillion-dollar renovations, each designed to keep pace with a new generation of travelers who expect fashion-forward design and cutting-edge technology, in addition to a chocolate on their pillow.
The latest property to debut a new look is downtown’s Magnolia Denver, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, which just completed a four-year overhaul of its guest rooms and suites, meeting spaces, ballroom, and public spaces including the lobby, fitness room, and bar.
The hook here isn’t a celebrity designer or hipster food hall, but the building’s role in Denver’s history. Located in the Central Business District on 17th Street—once known as the “Wall Street of the West”—the building first opened in 1911 as a First National Bank (Colorado’s oldest continuously operating bank); a now-sealed underground tunnel connecting it to Union Station ensured the safe transport of currency from train car to bank vault.
After operating as a bank until 1981, the building sat vacant until 1995, when it was purchased by the Holtze family—which still operates Stout Street Hospitality, the Denver-based management company for the seven Magnolia locations in five states—and transformed into an extended-stay, all-suite hotel. (Soon after, it became home base for the FBI during the Oklahoma City bombing trial in 1996 and 1997.)
Denver-based Oz Architecture played up the building’s past by restoring many of its original design details—elevators and phone booths, terracotta facade, brass light fixtures—and adding new nods to early-20th-century design, including custom carpeting inspired by an antique Art Deco floor grate, and an eye-catching installation of vintage safety-deposit boxes on a lobby wall. Now that the dust has settled, we took a top-to-bottom tour; here, a few of our favorite reimagined spaces: