Sunday, 18 September 2011

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Grand Hyatt Denver

Quick name the only city in the world to be awarded the Olympics and then turn them down.  Yeah, this would be a much trickier question if I hadn't told you which city I was writing about in the title of this post, but I'm going to award one point to everybody who said Denver anyways.  I don't know how things go so haywire for you that you actually turn down hosting the Olympics, but I'm glad there was no public vote on whether or not Denver wanted to be the last stop on the StarMegaDo3, especially since it turned out to be my favorite city on the trip.

My favorite stop on the 16th street mall
Our last sponsor hotel for the MegaDo was the Grand Hyatt Denver.  It's located right downtown and within a reasonable walking distance of most things that you'd probably like to do.  The 16th street pedestrian mall is only a block over from the hotel, and makes for one of the nicest walks I've had within a major city.  I did learn  my lesson though, as I usually tend to walk at a fairly quick pace which isn't a good idea unless you're used to the thin air of the Mile High City.  However if you pace yourself, and walk right to the end of the mall (or take the free shuttle that runs constantly) then you end up right beside Elitch Gardens, an ex-Six Flags amusement park. I didn't have time to go check out the park on this trip, but I'm thinking that a mile long shopping mall (with free wi-fi) leading to a roller coaster heavy amusement park might just be a good summer trip for our family.

Back to the hotel itself, the Grand Hyatt has some very nice rooms, which made it more surprising that they are currently launching a renovation of them.  I suppose a new, hipper look is a good thing, but I liked the feel of the room that I got as it was.  I can keep telling you that the Hyatt beds are very comfortable, but I think you've gotten that point by now.  They do use the dreaded double beds instead of queens (there's a renovation I wish every hotel would make) but I suppose it makes the room feel a little more spacious.  It's a tub/shower combo bathroom, and somebody give housekeeping a raise as it might have been the cleanest bathroom I've been in this year.  I didn't get a bad view (the picture is at the end), but we were in the middle of downtown Denver, so pretty much any direction you faced you were going to see other buildings.  Unless of course, you made your way up to the very top of the hotel, where there was a magnificent panorama view of over 200 mountains surrounding the city.  They have a room that's used for weddings up there, and I can only imagine how perfect a setting it must provide.

While the Bombardier tour in Montreal was our chance to explore the airline business, the Grand Hyatt Denver gave us a bunch of opportunities to learn about the hotel industry.  We were given a behind the scene look at their kitchens, laundry facilities, and staff areas.  Tours were given for the local breweries and wine tasting, and a fantastic crepe making demonstration was put on for us by the head pastry chef for the property (who probably should have been downstairs working on the wedding cake for the next day).  I even got to check off one of the stranger things on my "want to do" list, as we got to ride up and down in the housekeeping elevator, which, much to my chagrin, wasn't really all that different from any other elevator (I guess I had that whole Tower of Terror image in my mind).  It was a lot of fun though, and I appreciate the Grand Hyatt staff letting us intrude on their daily routines.

The StarMegaDo took me to three new cities, and left me with a favorable impression of all of them.  What I feel comfortable doing on my own though, and what I think makes a good destination for a family vacation are two different things.  Denver made me want to get out and explore (not an easy feat with me), and it seemed like there was plenty to do.  The fact that all four major sports are played within a few miles of downtown certainly doesn't hurt either.  I don't know what Denver would have ended up like if they had voted to hold the 1976 Olympics, but I'm very impressed with the end result, and I look forward to getting back to the city and the Grand Hyatt Denver very soon.

View from my room.