By Katie Rapone, editor
Each month, Mile High CRE will highlight a new place to “dine or recline” in the Centennial State. December’s feature is Clayton Hotel and Members Club in Cherry Creek North.
Since its debut in May of 2021, the first-of-its-kind, 63-room boutique hotel property has been honored among Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 25 Hotels in the Southwest/West – the only hotel in Cherry Creek to receive the prestigious ranking. Designed to serve not only as a hotel but also as a hub for Denver’s most creative and forward-thinking citizens, the concept can be experienced as a member of the general public, a hotel guest, or a member of the social club.
“With 50-80 member events and engagements each month, the Clayton is an excellent place for guests to stay and ingrain themselves with the community,” said Jason Reiplinger, general manager of Clayton Hotel and Members Club.
The general public is invited into the building at ground level via the hotel lobby, where they have access to three restaurant public culinary outlets – Kini’s, featuring light, Greek island dishes, approachable wines, and a wide-ranging cocktail list; Cretans, a lively, energetic wine bar with a seasonal list of by-the-glass and bottle options, plus specialty pour-over martinis and bites; and Chez Roc, a midcentury modern Moroccan-inspired cocktail and piano lounge.
Members and hotel guests have exclusive access to additional on-site restaurants and bars, workspaces, a fitness center, and a rooftop pool and lounge — with wide views of Cherry Creek North and Pikes Peak — as well as hundreds of carefully curated events a year. Memberships start at $3,000/year, but fees are reduced for those under 30 or for those who can contribute to the club’s art program or events calendar in some way creatively. Members also receive a 20 percent discount on hotel stays.
Perhaps one of the most appealing benefits of a stay at Clayton Hotel and Members Club is its superior location in the heart of Cherry Creek North. The hotel’s location mid-block on Clayton St. gives leisure and business travelers, members, and their guests, access to some of the city’s finest restaurants and retail, all within walking distance.
Design and Construction
The Clayton was developed by BMC Investments, arguably the most active and successful developer in Cherry Creek. Project partners included Haselden Construction, Denver-based architecture firm 4240 Architecture, and New York-based interior design firm AvroKO. Cary Kopczynski & Company served as the structural engineer and Aparium as property manager.
When project partners set out to renovate Clayton hotel’s predecessor, the Inn at Cherry Creek, there wasn’t a script for the project’s unique vision. “The Clayton was created from two preexisting buildings which had to be seriously retrofitted and redesigned to function as not only a hotel but also a social club. We were inventing a whole new programmatic model in tandem with the physical structure that would house it,” describes Michele Raftery, principal at 4240 Architecture. “From the outset, the difficulties of the existing structure were readily apparent, and many. The building presented poorly with a ‘wedding cake’ form and a front facade that felt uninviting and disconnected from the street and the neighborhood as a whole.”
Clayton’s redesigned front façade makes for a striking first impression. The dark exterior brickwork adds a sophisticated appeal that hints at what awaits you inside. “The design is simple and understated, but not austere. Its goal is to provide for the creative rather than to compete with it,” says Raftery.
Inside, the attractive lobby is both intimate and welcoming at the same time. A double-height stair, located next to the check-in area, acts as an alluring link to the private second level where members both work and socialize in a setting that according to Raftery, intentionally approaches a residential feel.
The design of the Clayton is heavily influenced by Denver-inspired mid-century modernism which has a home-away-from-home appeal. The hotel’s furniture is an eclectic mixture of vintage and modern pieces that create a space that is both nostalgic and current. “We used timber details and materials that characterize the local vernacular and to ground the design to a sense of place,” says Lisa Mendelson, global marketing director for AvroKO, the interior design firm for the project.
Having previously designed a hotel in Cherry Creek and understanding the current design landscape, AvroKO took a more colorful approach to the design. “We leaned on the jewel tones from local mineral striations to add punches of color throughout the property. The colors continue with really fun and playful artwork, curated by members, which add personality and intimacy that you rarely find in art at other hotels.”
While much of the hotel retains its existing, cozy dimensions, by necessity, daylight is very much a feature of the new aesthetic, particularly within the guest rooms and members club areas, which are surprisingly light and airy.
Cherry Creek is experiencing a time of incredible growth and development throughout the neighborhood. With multiple new hotels opening in the neighborhood in the past two years, the pandemic’s impact on the hotel industry is quickly beginning to feel like a distant memory. CBRE forecasts hotel occupancy to continue to rise over the next several years, reaching 72 percent in 2024, just shy of pre-pandemic levels. According to Reiplinger, Clayton Hotel and Members Club is on course to follow that trajectory. Since opening in 2021, bookings at the Clayton have continuously increased, especially as people realize they can enjoy the benefits of membership just by staying for a night or two.
As Raftery summarizes perfectly, “The Clayton seeks to be more than just another building in the landscape of Cherry Creek, but to welcome, unify, and to show that what is old can be new again and that a cold drink and the comfort of home ought to never be more than a few steps away.”