Staycation at the Slate Denver

Downtown’s new Slate Hotel immerses you in Denver’s rich educational legacy.

A new upscale hotel in the heart of downtown is more than just a crash pad for convention-goers; it offers a window through which we can immerse in a little bit of Denver’s history while educating ourselves about the modern delights found in the city’s ever-evolving urban core. The Slate Denver, a Hilton Tapestry Collection property, opened this spring in the historic former Emily Griffith Opportunity School campus, which spans the 1200 blocks of Glenarm Place and Welton streets.

A (very) quick local history lesson for those not familiar with the Griffith name: the late educator is one of the most notable women in Denver’s past, advocating that everyone, regardless of age or race, should have an opportunity to learn and better themselves. “The Slate continues the legacy of one of Denver’s most influential women, Emily Griffith,” says Kirby B. Kriner, the hotel’s general manager. “We have taken a historic landmark, respected its history and turned it into an elegant boutique hotel that at times may make you feel like you’re walking through the corridors and stairwells of your high school.” The revitalization project, spearheaded by Denver’s hospitality management and development firm Stonebridge Companies, preserved the recognizable brick exterior of the former school’s landmark buildings, replacing the classrooms, offices and facilities with 251 guest rooms and meeting space—all of which is accented by scholastic-themed design touches. Think: typewriter artwork, school-themed meeting rooms and Teachers’ Lounge Food + Drink.

As for the accommodations, we recommend the Schoolhouse 1 king option—preferably one of the corner rooms, which boast two walls full of sweeping windows offering stunning mountain views. Not to mention upgraded linens, plush down pillows and a walk-in rainforest shower.

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Food from The Slate Denver hotel's Teachers' Lounge restaurant.
Photo courtesy of The Slate Denver.

What to Eat

“Our food and drink menu is centered on celebrating Colorado and all of the great ingredients from the state,” says Michael Poompan, Teachers’ Lounge executive chef. “The inspiration is always the ingredient that drives the creation of a new dish.” Chef’s choice: Quesabirria Tacos, made entirely with Colorado ingredients—tortillas from Denver-based Raquelitas, cheeses from Aurora’s Queso Campesino and chile-braised bison from Rock River Ranch. Wash it down with The Emily, a concoction made with Leopold Rocky Mountain peach whiskey, Rhine Hall oak aged apple brandy, Benedictine, local bubbles from Attimo, and apple and cherry bitters.

Denver's 16th Street Mall.
Photo by Rebecca Todo.

What to Explore

Daniels & Fisher Tower

One of 16th Street’s most distinctive buildings, the 1910 Renaissance Revival style Daniels & Fisher tower, modeled after the Campanile of St. Mark’s in Venice, was once the highest building west of the Mississippi. Today, it’s basement is home to the legendary Clocktower Cabaret, where you can catch musical performances, burlesque, comedy, drag, circus, dance and more, all performed in an intimate, vintage setting.

Paramount Theatre

The last remaining “movie palace” in the metropolitan area, this 1930s theater was designed by well-known Denver architect Temple H. Buell. This month, the Art Deco hotspot hosts a variety of shows from standup comedy to musical acts, but perhaps none so celebrated by Denver’s adrenaline junkies than the annual first-run screenings of a new outdoor adventure film by the legendary Warren Miller Entertainment.