Next up on The List: Visit the historic Hotel Colorado, take one of their tours, and eat lunch at the Courtyard Cafe.
The reason this made the list is because the Hotel Colorado is one of the most historic landmarks we have in this area, and yet, I actually knew very little about it. Tourists come from all over the world to stay here, and though I’ve walked in many times over the years, I realized each time that I’d been standing in the very midst of a rich history I knew practically nothing about. I wanted to know some of the stories those walls could tell.
And the second part about wanting to eat lunch at the Courtyard Cafe? That’s just because I love eating and figured a big hotel like that probably had one heck of a selection. 🙂 Why not get a little bit of history and a gourmet meal to go with it?
So my dear friend Tessa (love that girl!) met up with me one sunny day this summer to discover more about this fascinating place.
Our first stop was of course lunch at the Courtyard Cafe. And oooh, people, let me tell you… that menu would make a cat’s mouth water! Tessa and I dressed our best for the occasion (well, I did. Tessa always dresses her best), in the mindset of having a very luxurious, rather ladylike afternoon at tea. (Iced tea, but you know.) So here I am, trying to be delicate and lady-like, and what do I order?
A half-pound burger called “The Colorado.” Hey, when in Rome…
Look at the description of this monstrosity of mouth-watering goodness:
Okay, first, two things to remember about me: 1) I don’t often get the chance to eat out, so this was a huge treat for me. 2) I live in a small town. Gourmet food like the kind of stuff I hear on Food Network is a major rarity. I have never in all my life read of more expensive or trendy types of food! I mean, a Lobster BLT?!
And it was… drum roll, please… sooo good. The meat was juicy, the challah bun toasty and buttery, and the truffle fries on the side… the stuff of dreams, I tell you.
Annnd since I’m the type to take pictures of my food like it’s art (’cause it kind of is):
Annnnd of course with a menu like that, we had to get dessert:
Rich, yes, but one only gets to eat at the Hotel Colorado every so often! I figured I should go all out. After seeing the pictures, I’m pretty sure you would have made the same choice. And all with great company, too!
All-in-all, lunch was fantastic. Service was poor (we had to wait for silverware, napkins, and probably a half hour for the cheesecake), but luckily we weren’t in too big of a rush.
Once lunch was over, it was time to meet our tour guide, who was hilarious and decked out from head to toe in Victorian garb. Not only did she believe in ghosts (one of the things The Hotel Colorado is famous for), but she also liked to have lively conversations with Walter Devereux, the founder of the hotel. This was made all the more hilarious because probably only 10% of it was put on for show. The other 90% was her own personal entertainment in talking to his ghost.
“Oooh, Walter, is that you?” She’d say. “My heavens, what a tease!”
“Maybe we should leave the two of them alone,” I whispered to Tessa.
While Tessa and I definitely snuck a few grins at her antics and had to rein in our laughter at first, she really was a very knowledgeable and entertaining guide. I learned a ton of things I hadn’t known before, and since history is one of my favorite things, I was pretty much zoned in from the get-go.
And of course, since everyone knows that beyond a person’s favorite things their next favorite thing to do is to talk about their favorite things, here’s some things you may or may not have known about The Hotel Colorado. 😀
Things You May Have Already Known:
- The Hotel Colorado is rumored to be haunted. Many have claimed to have seen a little girl bouncing a red ball in the hallways.
- The Hotel Colorado once served as a Naval convalescent hospital in WWII.
- The Hotel Colorado was one of Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite places to stay.
- “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” of the infamous Titanic also visited.
Things You May Not Have Known:
- Most of the ghosts at the Hotel Colorado are rumored to be friendly. The little girl bouncing her ball just wants to play. There’s also a “cleanliness” ghost. If things are out of order, she’ll come to tidy them up. The only violent ghost story involves a guest seeing a woman in an old elevator shaft wearing a flapper dress, covered in blood.
- Almost none of the furniture within the hotel is original to the building. Most had to be moved out when it served as a hospital in the war.
- The word “prohibition” did not exist for the Hotel Colorado in the 1920’s, and libations flowed aplenty.
- The drive-by shooting was invented here in Colorado, in the very city where The Hotel Colorado is located by a gangster named Jack Diamond (who also stayed at The Hotel Colorado). A local actually owns the door he shot.
- The Hotel Colorado was fashioned after an Italian castle called the Villa De Medici.
- Before Walter Devereux could even get the hotel built, he first had to create a way for people to access it through the mountains. Others said it was impossible, but he forged ahead anyways and constructed a railroad. The hotel alone cost $350,000 to build.
- Due to frequent visits by presidents Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, the Hotel Colorado became known as “The little White House of the West.”
- Situated in the existing lounge, a sheet of water twelve-feet broad dropped in a waterfall a distance of twenty-five feet from the rear-wall rim to a pool beneath. Guests could sit beside the pool in the early morning catching enough trout for their breakfast.
- The Teddy Bear was said to have been invented at The Hotel Colorado. You can find the story here.
So there you have it! A brief history of The Hotel Colorado. As brief as my life has been so far, it’s made up a lot of my history, too. From promenade to my graduation pictures to celebrating Christmas with their annual Lighting Ceremony (a must-see, if you ever get the chance!), to this last time with Tessa, you can be sure I’ll treasure the times spent there forever.