It’s not often a northern Germany native makes a permanent jaunt to Denver, Colorado, nor is it a seamless transition, but nothing was stopping Four Seasons Denver Concierge Joern Howind. “I simply love the many facets Denver has,” he says, “and it offers everything a world-class city has without any pretense. It’s the best of all worlds, especially if you are like me and can’t make up your mind on whether you want the excitement of big-city life or the serenity of backcountry exploration.”
Approaching his two-year anniversary in Denver, Joern somehow always knew he would move here, particularly after being a high school exchange student for a year in Montana. That’s when he fell in love with the US. Joern went on to study radio, TV, and film at the University of North Texas, then worked in film production in Portland, Oregon. Once his work permit expired in 2009, he moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he was ready for a career change.
“My better half encouraged me to work for the best hotels in the city.” Lucky for him, the Four Seasons was the first hotel he walked into and landed a job as concierge. “At that time, I had no idea what a concierge was or what the work entailed, but the job description sounded like fun. I really learned what the position of concierge was truly about in Vancouver, and my Chef Concierge Bertine Hage was a spectacular mentor and friend who taught me the ins and outs of being a Four Seasons Concierge.”
After Joern gained more experience (with stints in Whistler and Shanghai), he finally received his American green card in July 2015. “Moving to Denver was a ‘no-brainer’ for me,” he says. Working concierge at Four Seasons Denver seemed like fate, as well. “The opportunities to create a special and unique memory for a guest are truly what I love about my job.”
Where are the coolest places to go for cocktails?
Union Lodge No. 1 (1543 Champa Street, Tel: 720-389-0447. www.unionlodge1.com) is a somewhat hidden bar in downtown Denver, focusing on classically crafted cock- tails, such as the gin fizz or the Sazerac. Considered a ‘pre-prohibition’ bar, most of their drinks come from 19th-century recipes, which give the venue a decidedly different vibe than the speakeasies that have become popular in recent years.
Denver is more known for its craft breweries, and I always recommend Euclid Hall (1317 14th Street, Tel: 303-595-4255. www.euclidhall.com), which has a constantly changing “beer cocktail” menu. Located close to Larimer Square in a historic brick building, Euclid Hall also offers a European gastropub-inspired menu. The building has a storied past, as it has been home to the Masons, the Colorado Women’s Relief Corps, The Cootie Club, Maudie’s Flea Market, and “possibly” a brothel catering to government officials.
What are the best restaurants for a romantic dinner in the city?
Just along West 32nd Avenue in the Highlands neighborhood along a stretch of boutique stores and little eateries, you will find Solitaire (3927 West 32nd Avenue, Tel: 303-477-4732. www.solitairerestaurant.com). Located inside a couple of historic Victorian homes, each area of the dining room has a different atmosphere, but everything is comfortable and intimate. For the ultimate date night on a summer evening, ask for the private table on the side porch. Fruition (1313 East 6th Avenue, Tel: 303- 831-1962. www.fruitionrestaurant.com) is one of the top choices for foodies and romantic dinners. Executive Chef Alex Seidel creates farm-to-table menus from his own gardens and the intimate atmosphere is just perfect for a date night.
Who serves the greatest weekend brunch in town?
Beast + Bottle (719 East 17th Avenue, Tel: 303-623-3223. www.beastandbottle.com) is one of my favorite spots located in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood. This restaurant has one of the most dynamic and constantly changing menus in the city, and they pride themselves on seasonal ingredients and use a nose-to-tail concept. Returning to this establishment is always worth it, because the experience is different every time. The dining room is very cozy but modern and bright. The patio also offers great views of downtown Denver. Denver Biscuit Company (141 South Broadway, Tel: 303-377-7900. www.denbisco.com) is sure to satisfy all your carb cravings. Its menu offers a range from the tradition- al biscuits and gravy to more decadent options such as the cordon bleu biscuit sandwich. Although the restaurant has three locations in Denver, my favorite one is along South Broadway, a quirky shopping area. Get there early, as none of them takes reservations.
What are the hottest shows in town, and how do I get tickets?
Denver Center for the Performing Arts (1101 13th Street, Tel: 303-893-4100. www.denvercenter.org) is the second-largest venue of its kind in the nation, hosting a variety of shows in its ten performance spaces. You can check their calendar for events (www.denvercenter.org/shows/calendar). The roster of touring Broadway shows is quite extensive. The hottest anticipated shows are the Tony Award–winning Kinky Boots in the spring of 2017, and Disney’s Frozen – The Broadway Musical in the summer of 2017, which has been chosen to debut in Denver before it starts its regular run on Broadway, so you can see it ahead of every- one else in New York. Tickets are often hard to secure, and the most convenient option to get last-minute seats is through our concierge desk if the shows are sold out.
What museums are a must-see for visitors?
Denver’s art scene is becoming more interesting as the city is making its mark internationally. The Denver Art Museum (100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, Tel: 720-865-5000. www.denverartmuseum.org) has a vast art collection from across history and around the world. Its iconic Frederic C. Hamilton building, designed by world-renowned Architect Daniel Libeskind, houses the museum’s contemporary exhibit. This add-on now makes it the largest art museum between Chicago and the West coast. For a historic approach to Denver, visit the Molly Brown House (1340 Pennsylvania Street, Tel: 303-832-4092. www.mollybrown.org). Margaret Brown was a Denver socialite and a survivor of the Titanic disaster. Her home has been lovingly restored and hourly tours are conducted, which gives guests insight into Colorado’s rich history. The Four Seasons Hotel Denver also offers an “Unsinkable Molly Brown Experience,” which includes a private after-hours VIP tour of the museum and access to areas that are off-lim- its to the general public. In addition, guests staying on this new package receive a special gift from the museum’s director. When they return to their rooms, they find a dessert waiting in the room: the last dessert served in first class that fateful night on the Titanic.
Where can you go to get the best views of the city?
Departure Restaurant + Lounge (249 Columbine Street, Tel: 720-772-5020. www.departuredenver.com) is a new addition to Denver’s vibrant dining scene with a spectacular rooftop patio. Due to its location in Cherry Creek, about three miles southeast of the downtown core, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Denver’s skyline with the mountains in the background. If you want to go even higher up, make sure to get a drink at Peaks Lounge on the 27th floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel (1201 16th Street, Suite 300. Tel: 303-436-1234. www.denver.regency.hyatt.com), which provides a downtown-centric view of the surround- ing area. If you don’t want to have to pay for food or drink, head to City Park, Denver’s 330 acre-oasis with unobstructed and free-of-charge views of downtown.
Where are the best places to workout?
Our hotel offers a newly remodeled fitness center with the state-of-the-art Queenax fitness system. Outside of our hotel, the Colorado Athletic Club (650 15th Street, Tel: 720-214-2400. www.coloradoathleticclubs.com) located along the 16th Street Mall, offers a large cardio area, weight room, indoor saline lap pool, and several studios for group fitness classes. They do offer day passes for non-members. Their brand-new location at Union Station has a strong focus on yoga classes and heart-rate-focused exercise equipment.
If someone is looking for a full-service spa, where do you send them?
Go no further than ours at Four Seasons Hotel Denver (1111 14th Street, Tel: 303-389-3000. www.fourseasons.com). The Spa, award-winning and an oasis in the center of downtown, features the most experienced therapists in the region who provide innovative treatments, from the very local Evergreen Massage to the Luster Facial. In addition, The Spa show-cases a six-chair Nail Salon, the four-chair Level 3 Salon, eucalyptus steam rooms for males and females, relaxation lounges, and couple’s suites.
Designer labels for less—do you have any suggestions for the smart shopper?
Denver’s shopping areas are rather spread out, and if you are looking for a deal, you can either head to the outlet malls (Colorado Mills or Outlets at Castle Rock) or explore the boutiques along the shopping areas in the different neighborhoods. Personally, I prefer the quirky stores on South Broadway, which are more unique to Denver and much more fun to browse than a mall. There are a couple of consignment stores, but the boutiques mixed in between often offer sales and discounts. My favorites are Steadbrook (46 South Broadway, Tel: 720-441-1891. www.steadbrook.com) and Fancy Tiger Clothing (55 Broadway, Tel: 303-282-6590. www.fancytiger.com).
What are the best gay and lesbian bars in the city?
X Bar (629 East Colfax Avenue, Tel: 303-832-2687. www.xbardenver.com) is one of the most popular bars in Denver, especially with the younger crowd. The modern design gives the bar a more lounge-y vibe, and it also boasts a large outdoor patio. As you truly are in a city of the Wild West, you have to visit Charlie’s (900 East Colfax, Tel: 303-839-8890. www.charliesdenver.com), Denver’s very own Country-Western gay bar. It’s just a stone’s throw from X Bar and even offers linedance and two-step lessons almost every night of the week, so visitors can attempt to be a cowboy for a night.
What are the most popular gay dance clubs in the city?
River North (RiNo) is the up-and-coming neighborhood, and Tracks (3500 Walnut Street, Tel: 303-863-7326. www.tracksdenver.com) is right in the middle of it. This huge nightclub has different dance floors and offers several bars throughout the venue. Saturday is the busiest night. The crowd tends to be very mixed, which ensures fun for everyone. Make sure to check their events calendar for special happenings.
Where can someone go at 3 A.M. for a good meal?
Denverites love a late-night bite. My personal late-night haunt would be Leela European Café (820 15th Street, Tel: 303-534-2255. www.leelacafe.com). This artsy haunt is right downtown and a favorite for party goers and night owls. Denver Diner (740 West Colfax Avenue, Tel: 303-825-5443. No website), having just completed a $1.4 million renovation, is packed after the bars close (at 2 A.M.) and located near downtown.
What is the iconic tourist souvenir, and where will we find it?
My favorite store in Denver to get an iconic souvenir is the I Heart Denver Store at Denver Pavilions (500 16th Street, Tel: 720-317-2328. www.iheartdenverstore.com) along 16th Street Mall. They sell Colorado- themed souvenirs from local artists only. Whenever I buy a gift, it’s anything with the Colorado flag on it. For the sports fan, you can’t leave without a Denver Broncos jersey, which you can find at Sportsfan on the 16th Street Mall (1720 Federal Boulevard, Tel: 303-455-6303. www.sportsfanstore.com).
Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave the city without…
Seeing a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre (18300 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison, Colorado. No phone. www.redrocksonline.com). It is one of the most unique outdoor concert venues in the world. The two, 300-foot sandstone monoliths provide for perfect acoustics in any live performance. Drinking your way through Denver craft breweries. The highest concentration can be found in the River North district (RiNo). Exploring the Union Station area for great restaurants, bars, and shopping. The newly renovated train station is quickly becoming the heart of the city, doubling as a social hot spot and transportation hub.