Aspen Times Weekly: The City for the Seasons | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Times Weekly: The City for the Seasons

by Amiee White Beazley

Every December, my family continues a holiday tradition by packing up the kids in the car and heading to the "city" for the holidays. When I was young, the destination was Manhattan; now, for my own children, it is Denver. We visit with Santa, shop Larimer Square and Cherry Creek, and take in a holiday show. Sure, Denver might have a long way to go as an international city, but it's a city — and it's our city.

It is also one of the few times of year when we pass on staying with friends and opt for a hotel. Our criteria always include downtown location, room size (when you are with two kids and a dog, this is essential) and service, service, service (because the husband and I want to enjoy the weekend as much as the kids).

While there are many fine hotels in Mile High City, the addition of the Four Seasons three years ago was a huge stepping stone in Denver making its case as a city open for business and tourism.

I've often heard this critique of the Four Seasons hotel brand: exceptional service, but sameness, muted palettes, cookie-cutter. Well, I beg to differ. Whether it's Mexico, Costa Rica, Jackson Hole or elsewhere, every Four Seasons property I have experienced has been a wonderful complement to their locations, and the Four Seasons Denver is a perfect point to my argument. High-altitude facials, gorgeous views of both downtown and the mountains, and a location within walking distance to Larimer Square, the 16th Street Mall and the Pepsi Center make it an integral part of emerging Denver. What these propertied do have in common are spectacular settings, gorgeous rooms and, most of all, incomparable service. What's not to like?

I'd say the Four Season Denver is the city's finest hotel. Located at 14th Street and Blake, every room has a view thanks to oversized windows. Our room looked directly at the historic Water Tower, illuminated with festive holiday lights. A German Christkindl market is held in the area throughout the month, complete with ice skating, a beer garden and vendors selling everything from handcrafted ornaments to European holiday pastries.

The hotel is home to the lively Edge bar, where on this particular night, a throng of Broncos fans enjoyed an affordable and lively happy our while the game played out on large-screen TVs. There are fitness classes and a world-class spa, but most of all the Four Seasons fit the bill as a respite from the invited chaos of being in the city with the family.

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When we walked through the doors, the noise and the cold of downtown Denver in December was temporarily replaced with a quiet, soothing home away from home. (If you were wondering, the 102 private residences at the Four Seasons Denver are sold.) Staying there wasn't a side note to our trip, but a part of the attraction of being in Denver. It rounded out our experience of a full-on family holiday adventure — even if just three hours from home.

Whether it's to celebrate Christmastime in the City, experience the spa or to take advantage of the "Passport to Paris" package (pairing a stay at the Four Seasons Denver with tickets to the Denver Art Museum's latest show), or no reason at all, the Four Seasons Denver is the experience everyone says it is: exceptional.

Kids, Dogs, You’re Welcome

No one feels more welcome at the Four Seasons Denver than the kids. Upon reservation, your children’s ages and names are requested, and even at check-in, they are already referring to the kids by their first names. Depending on the children’s ages, the room is outfitted with a tent, pillow and blanket. (One of my kids chose this as his nighttime sleeping arrangement) and the bathroom mirror had a welcome note to the kids, just above the built-in TV that was a bonus to watch during evening baths. Extras like soft bathrobes, children’s menus and a PlayStation (to use with parent’s permission, of course) solidifies the next generation’s allegiance to the stellar service and quality of this impeccable Four Seasons’ property.

December rates begin at $305/night http://www.fsdenver.com