Thanks to its impressive elevation -- 5,280 square feet above sea level -- Denver is known affectionately as the "Mile High City." Despite its great height, however, the city in the foreground feels perpetually dwarfed by the Rocky Mountains behind it. Convinced that Denver needed a resort that matched in scale those mammoth mountains, Marriott International's Gaylord Hotels decided to build Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, which finally opened its doors this week after years of planning, construction and buzz.
"For the past three years, a dedicated group of more than 1,500 individuals has worked tirelessly to bring this massive project to life," said Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center General Manager Rick Medwedeff. "We couldn't be more excited to officially open our doors and welcome guests to experience all that's offered at this magnificent property: a destination experience in its own that authentically captures Colorado's adventurous spirit."
Located in Aurora, Colo. -- immediately east of Denver and just 10 minutes from Denver International Airport – the property is the fifth resort in the Gaylord Hotels portfolio, joining such landmark properties as Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Gaylord Palms in Orlando and Gaylord Texan in Dallas.
Occupying 85 acres, it boasts 1,501 guest rooms and suites, including a whopping 14 presidential suites; 486,000 square feet of meeting space; eight food-and-beverage outlets; a 17-room spa and salon; a fitness center; a 75-foot viewing screen for game-day celebrations, which is the largest such screen in Colorado; and a 22,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor water park that includes indoor and outdoor pools, a lazy river and three waterslides, not to mention an arcade, miniature golf, bike rentals and pickleball.
And just in case you forget you're in Colorado, there are boulders, cascading waterfalls and native landscaping throughout to remind you, not to mention bespoke local touches like elevators that look like old mine shafts, aspen tree-inspired carpets and lumberjack plaid print pillows.
Marriott has called the resort a "game changer" for meetings in Colorado.
"Adding a western group destination of this magnitude to Marriott International's portfolio allows our organization to leverage existing large conference business demand into the property," said Mike Stengel, senior vice president of Gaylord Hotels. "This spectacular new-build will also create new demand in the market with meetings customers who have never considered Colorado for their events."
Four More Dynamic Denver Venues
Gaylord Rockies may be the newest -- and biggest -- feather in Denver's cap, but it's just one mountain in what amounts to a whole mountain range of meeting properties. Here are four other highlights from the city's growing lineup:
• Hyatt Regency Denver: When it comes to location, the Hyatt Regency Denver is hard to beat. Nestled in the heart of downtown Denver, it's located across the street from the Colorado Convention Center and just steps from Denver's famous 16th Street Mall. As for the hotel itself, it has 1,100 guest rooms and over 60,000 square feet of recently refreshed meeting space, including a 30,000-square-foot ballroom for groups of up to 3,000 and a 14,000-square-foot ballroom for groups of up to 1,200. Hyatt Regency Denver's sister hotel is the Grand Hyatt Denver. Located just a couple blocks away, it debuted a $28 million redesign in 2013 in honor of its 25th anniversary and offers 516 additional guest rooms and over 52,000 square feet of additional meeting space.
• The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa: Groups that prefer "grand and historic" to "clean and contemporary" will appreciate The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in downtown Denver. Part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, the hotel dates back to 1892 and is the second longest-operating hotel in Denver. Along with 241 guest rooms, there are six restaurants and bars, a spa and nearly 20,000 square feet of meeting space, not to mention an onsite historian who gives complimentary tours.
• The Crawford Hotel: Denver is home to some spectacular boutique hotels. The Crawford Hotel is one of them. Located in Denver's historic Union Station train depot, which was redeveloped and restored in 2014, it combines modern luxury with an industrial, transit-oriented vibe that perfectly matches the Lower Downtown (LoDo) neighborhood of which it's a part. The hotel itself has 112 guest rooms and 19,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 12,000-square-foot Great Hall at Union Station. Plus, the hotel offers private tours of Union Station for meeting groups, a "Pullman" class of rectangular guest rooms inspired by luxury train sleeping cars and onsite access to Denver's light rail system, which provides transportation to and from Denver International Airport.
• Hilton Denver Inverness: Instead of meeting downtown, groups that want more of a resort feel should head out to the suburbs. Just south of Denver, for instance, is Hilton Denver Inverness in Englewood, Colo. Formerly the Inverness Hotel & Conference Center, the property became a Hilton hotel in 2017 following a multimillion-dollar renovation. Along with an 18-hole championship golf course, the resort offers 302 guest rooms, three tennis courts, a full-service spa, a 24-hour fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, an executive floor lounge, five onsite restaurants and over 62,000 square feet of IACC-certified meeting space, including a 5,400-square-foot ballroom.