A staple of Colorado history is The Brown Palace Hotel. The hotel opened on August 12, 1892 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the second-longest operating hotel in Denver.
Henry Cordes Brown was a carpenter-turned-real-estate entrepreneur from Ohio. He came to Denver in 1860 where he purchased several acres of land, including a triangular plot at the corners of Broadway, Tremont and 17th street in Denver. He also purchased and later donated the land for the Colorado State Capitol building which is just down the street from the now Brown Palace.
Work on The Brown Palace began in 1888. The goal was to make it one of the grandest hotels in Colorado. A man named Edbrooke was hired to design the hotel. He designed it in an Italian Renaissance style, using Colorado red granite and Arizona sandstone for the building’s exterior. For a finishing touch, artist James Whitehouse was commissioned to create 26 medallions carved in stone, each depicting Colorado animals. Theycan still be seen between the seventh-floor windows on the hotel’s exterior.
Edbrooke designed an atrium lobby, with balconies rising eight floors above ground, surrounded by cast iron railings with ornate grillwork panels. No one knows for sure whether it was done intentionally, but two of the grillwork panels were installed – and remain – upside down. Imported onyx from Mexico was used for the lobby, the Grand Salon which is now called the Onyx room on the second floor, and the eighth-floor ballroom.
No wood was used for the floors and walls, which were instead made of hollow blocks of porous terracotta fireproofing, making The Brown Palace the second fire-proof building in America.
Tea at the Brown Palace is offered daily from 12 pm to 4 pm. During the holidays there is also a special holiday tea which is an extremely popular affair complete with a champagne fountain.
There are several options available for the team.
The signature package is $36 person and comes with tea, scones, tea sandwiches and dessert.
The Royal tea is $42 per person and includes a kir royale (prosecco and creme de cassis and a chocolate truffle.
Guests can add a half bottle of Vueve Clicquot for $128 for two people.
Our reservation was at 12:00 which is when the tea begins each day.
The Brown Palace only has valet parking. Once validated, valet parking is $14 and is located directly across the street. If you want to park in a lot, there is a pay to park lot a couple of blocks away.
We did the royal tea complete with the kir royale. All of the food items came at once on a tea stand.
The tea list was quite extensive. There were a number of black, green, herbal and other options. I selected a pumpkin brulee black tea and my mom chose a pineapple passion green tea.
On the bottom were four scones, two of each kind. One was a traditional buttermilk scone and the other was an oat raisin. The scones came with fresh devonshire cream and lemon curd.
The lemon curd was delicious and creamy. Tart and sweet, the perfect accompaniment to the buttermilk scone. If you are American and have never had devonshire cream before, you may be surprised to discover that it isn’t sweetened. It is delicious with the scones as well.
For sandwiches we received one each of a curried egg salad sandwich, cucumber and cream cheese and chicken salad. You could get additional plates of sandwiches upon request as well as part of the price which was great. We did a second plate of sandwiches.
On the top tier was the desserts. Our server asked if we had any food allergies and because my mom is severly allergic to tree nuts we received a bit of a different dessert tray.
We received a flourless chocolate torte with dark chocolate ganache, a poached pair and chocolate mousee tart, a chocolate truffle, a cherry jam thumbprint cookie and a pumpkin bar.
There was a piano player playing amazing showtunes and Disney tunes.
It was an amazing experience. The Brown Palace is gorgeous and opulent and historic. There are amazing details all throughout the lobby and the hotel as a whole.
We highly recommend, if you are in Denver, taking a couple of hours to do the tea at The Brown Palace. Especially if you are in town for the Stock Show because that has a rich history with the Brown Palace as well.