More than 20 years after planners conceived of a modern, globally connected airport with an on-site hotel and rail service to downtown Denver, the Nov. 19 opening of the Westin Denver International Airport has completed that vision.
The hotel sits above the airport’s new transit center, set to open next April. Together, these projects make up the Denver Hotel and Transit Center. The commanding glass-and-steel structure comprises more than 433,000 sq ft. The hotel offers 519 guest rooms, 35 suites and a 37,500-sq-ft conference center.
The conference center includes two ballrooms and 15 additional meeting rooms and boardrooms of varying sizes. The largest ballroom encompasses 7,500 sq ft, accommodating up to 750 people. The meeting space’s most dramatic feature is a 10,000-sq-ft prefunction area showcasing a panoramic, three-story, floor-to-ceiling glass wall that is 100 ft wide. The hotel has wall-to-wall views from every room.
Beginning next spring, guests will be connected to Denver’s downtown via the Regional Transportation District’s University of Colorado A Line—scheduled to begin service on April 22—which will take passengers from DIA to Denver Union Station in about 37 minutes.
“Today, we open an entirely new chapter in our international airport’s history,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock at the grand opening ceremony. “With this stunning new hotel, conference center and open-air plaza, we are elevating Denver and the Rocky Mountain region to new heights. The hotel and commuter line set to open in April are the first steps toward leveraging DIA as an economic powerhouse that will create tens of thousands of new jobs and bring more business opportunity to metro Denver.”
Designed by architectural firm Gensler and built by MHS, a tri-venture comprised of contractors Mortenson, Hunt and Saunders—with site infrastructure work done by Kiewit—the towering, LEED-certified building celebrates flight and aviation, symbolizing the wings of a bird in flight hovering above the plaza and adjacent to the iconic tents of the Jeppesen Terminal.
Gensler also designed the 82,000-sq-ft, open-air plaza framed by two 150-ft canopies that connect the terminal to the hotel and the transit center. The plaza is set to become Denver’s newest venue for arts, entertainment and relaxation, better connecting the community to DIA.
“The opening of the Westin Denver International Airport marks the achievement of a major milestone towards our goal of solidifying DIA’s place on the world map, expanding economic growth in our region and elevating the overall travel experience in and through the Mile High City,” said airport CEO Kim Day. “This state-of-the-art addition will further the transformation of Denver’s airport into a destination in itself, with easy connectivity to all that Denver and the Rocky Mountain region have to offer.”
Guests at the Westin can also dine at the Grill & Vine Restaurant, complete with a menu that supports wellness with simple, light, fresh foods while also focusing on locally sourced items, handcrafted cocktails and wines.
The new hotel includes an expansive public art program. The large-scale public art is focused on the three main public areas, starting at the train arrival area, at the escalator that ascends from the train hall to the plaza, and in the plaza itself. All of the public art, including that within the hotel done by Colorado artists, embraces aspects that reflect the region and enhances a sense of place at the airport.