Old Hotels: The Oxford in Denver

The Oxford Hotel, located at 1612 17th Street ...

The Oxford Hotel, located at 1612 17th Street in Denver, Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love staying in historic hotels, so on a trip to Denver this week, and dinner plans with friends in LoDo, I chose the Oxford Hotel to stay in. I didn’t know anything about it, except it was near where I needed to be, and had the word ‘historic’ sprinkled around the hotel.com ads.

Oxford on right. Crowd listening to Herbert Hoover in 1932, in front of Union Station. I didn’t take this one.

I was charmed the minute I walked into the door. High ceilings with dark, polished woods, art deco glass, luxurious leather furniture with thick rugs and comfy corners to sit in. The desk manager handed me a real metal. How quaint.

My room key. For real.

I asked, and he shared, about some of the history of the hotel. The Oxford was opened in 1891, and was a premier location that featured water closets (an innovation at the time), electric lights and gas, and a working elevator.  The hotel lasted through the mining booms and the silver busts, and gradually became decrepit with the rest of this area of Denver, until this area was rebuilt and cleaned up in the 1980s. The location is now surrounded by trendy eateries and wine bars, and is walking distances from Coors Field where the Colorado Rockies play.

Checking in

I also suggested that a hotel this old and historic had its share of ghost stories, and while he didn’t have time to give me details, he said that they were extremely popular at Halloween, and that the TV show Ghost Hunter*  had recently filmed there.

Sitting area of my room

My hotel room was beautiful and comfortable, with hardwood floors, rugs, and brightly lit retro style bath. Located in a corner, I had views of the city lights in two directions, although I had to get up at 5 am and close the curtains against the morning sunshine! I had a good breakfast in the hotel that morning, but like many hotels, a bit overpriced for the typical eggs-and-bacon fare.

Plush, in antique sense

I forgot to ask if the claw foot bath was original

A better treat was the Cruise Bar. The desk manager told me that it was the first martini bar in Denver and the first bar to open after the repeal of Prohibition. He also told me that it was designed to match the martini bar on the original Queen Mary, but actually opened first. I loved the low red lights and sophisticated air. After a dinner of tapas and wine elsewhere with friends,  I and my friend EG wandered in for a night cap and snack. It was the perfect finish to the evening.

This place was beautiful and had a nice menu

If you are in the Denver area and enjoy old but lovely hotels, I highly recommend the Oxford.

Back of staircase. Although beautiful, these are no longer used because they do not stop fire or smoke from spreading between floors.

*For the record, I am involved in several skeptic groups, and am scientifically trained. There are no such things as ghosts, poltergeists, spirits, mediums, psychics, channeling, or New Age crystal energies. Comments addressing this issue will probably be either blocked or deleted as spam.

Categories: Art, Friends, Travel

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4 replies

  1. wow that is like something out of a movie! It’s so classy! good choice!

  2. How wonderful Naomi you stayed at the Oxford. My first visit to Denver (2009) Stirling and I stayed there. Can’t remember why but we had two different rooms during our week visit. Amazing rooms, each very different.

    Union station was right across the street, and we ventured over when they were leading a ghost tour. The stories they told were so silly that it was amazing to see people nodding their heads in wonderment, then snap snap they photographed (with flash) the area that someone said they had seen a ghost many years ago.

    I loved that the Oxford was very near the main downtown, and across the street from a Brazilian (Stirling and I can’t remember what it was called) that specialized in meat. The waiters went from table to table with all kinds of meat and gave you a bit on your plate, then along came another waiter with rattlesnake, or bacon beef or turkey or who knows. We went with Reed Esau.

    I disliked that there was no where to park at the Oxford if you rented a car. My friends when they visited had to move their car a couple of times.

    Alas, the last few times I’ve been back to Denver I could not afford the Oxford. Naomi, you have stirred up some great memories of a charming place. Thanks!

  3. Just one more thought. It is really sad that any old building has to rely on the ghost business to stay afloat in this economy. You would think that REAL history would be enough, but I guess not. People expect to hear about ghosts, so the hotel keeps up the stories. So that fuels people thinking that ghosts exist because people keep telling stories that they have seen them, which fuels the stories about the buildings and so on, in a giant circle.

  4. Wow! I’d really like to stay in this hotel! It looks great! Keep up on your stories, I get to travel through them.

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