The Crawford Hotel in Denver Evokes the Golden Age of Train Travel
To stay in a train station with plenty of with art conjures up images of Musée d'Orsay. And Denver Union Station’s The Crawford Hotel (also Beaux Arts in style), offers romantics a healthy dose of history with a side dish of modernism.
It was built as a station in 1881, encouraging suited and hat-wearing passengers to take journeys far beyond the city corners, and cost $525,000: a small fortune back in the day. To put things in perspective, Henry Ford offered a working wage of $5 per week in 1914 in Detroit.
Union Station started in the Italian Romanesque style, having undergone a $54 million transformation to make it the belle of the city. Pullman-style rooms unveil beautiful touches to the past (e.g. exposed wood timbers thrust into my Loft bedroom and bathroom); high-vaulted ceilings, inspired by the city’s LoDo (Lower Downtown) neighborhood, gaze down on a communal space outfitted with original train benches.
The name of the hotel is a tribute to urban preservationist Dana Crawford, a bit of a legend in the city.
The range of restaurant options in the train station make the Amtrak ticket window look and feel like an afterthought (two trains, one in the morning and one in the evening, stop here along the California Zephyr route). 13 Colorado restaurants and bars, each headed by a chef or mixologist, make this place feel like Chelsea Market with a more relaxed vibe.
You can almost hear the huff and puff of the steam engine-era trains going by. Almost.