The entrance at Hotel Born.

Image: Cris Molina

If you call the Vail Valley home like me, a trip to Denver probably means a non-stop drive on I-70 to and from DIA. Deciding I needed a shoulder-season break from the valley, and a big-city fix, I booked a stay at one of Denver's newest luxury hotels—Hotel Born (hotelborndenver.com, room rates starting at $239), which opened just last year, and straddles the tracks at Union Station in LoDo (that's Lower Downtown, for all you Denver noobs) within walking distance of attractions like the Museum of Contemporary Art (mcadenver.org) and Coors Field so close that you might even catch a homer flying out of left field (okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but you get the point).

The hotel boasts 200 sun-filled rooms accented with knotted pine panels, plaid alcoves that make for an oh-so-Colorado-cool interior (by Denver design firm Semple Brown, which worked on the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and Vail's own Mountain Standard restaurant), plus, a sleek lobby that's the scene of a (free) nightly happy hour for hotel guests, which also happens to be a stumble away from Citizen Rail (citizenrail.com), the hotel's speakeasy-style bar and restaurant that's packed nightly with hip urban professionals, and revolves around dry-aged filets and perfect Manhattans, and healthier staples like potato pancakes, caviar, and alder-smoked sturgeon and an impeccable wine list.

A sleek, Hotel Born king suite.

Image: Cris Molina

Although you can get your art fix without ever leaving the hotel—which maintains a collection of 700 pieces by local artists covering nearly every wall of the property—with exhibitions like Tara Donovan's sculptures, drawings, and installations featured until January 27, you really should head over to Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art; after all, it's located just across the street, and the price of admission for Hotel Born guests is a mere penny. Also free for Hotel Born guests, and just across the street, is the 38,000 square-foot Colorado Athletic Club, which opened just two years ago and features a stocked daily class calendar ranging from group yoga to cycling classes to pilates. After a workout, I didn't feel a bit guilt about ducking into Union Station (unionstationdenver.com) for a nightcap of salted oreo ice cream from Milkbox Ice Creamery (milkboxicecream.com) before wandering back upstairs and falling asleep to the soft glow from the buzz below.

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