Courtyard by Marriott, Denver Downtown accessibility review
Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Denver
Location: Denver, Colorado
The Courtyard by Marriott, Denver is located on the iconic 16th street mall in downtown Denver. This hotel is situated in a great location for those looking to sample some of Denver’s attractions and dining offerings. There are a multitude of great places to eat all along the 16th street mall, and other attractions are within a short Uber ride from the hotel. If you are into sports, Coors Field, Mile High Stadium and Ball Arena (formally Pepsi Center) are all a short Uber rides. We had tickets to see the Broncos play on New Years eve, so we thought a room downtown and later dinner on the 16th street mall would be a fun evening and great way to bring in the New Year.
There is so much more to do in downtown Denver than just sports. The Courtyard by Marriott Denver is located a few blocks from the convention center – an easy walk and easy to navigate if you are used to city streets. If art is your thing, The Museum of Nature and Science and Meow Wolf are also close by. If you are looking for something a bit more eclectic, Lanny’s Clocktower Cabaret always has something fun and sexy going on if you like old school burlesque. Side Note: The drinks and snacks at Lanny’s are amazing, it is close to the hotel and easily navigated.
There are two ways to enter the Courtyard by Marriott, Denver, through the parking lot, where rideshares will likely drop you off, or via the entrance on the 16th street mall. There are few spots to park so if you can avoid needing to park a car you will be better off. Entering through the parking area, the front desk is located immediately to the right as you enter the building. If you are entering the hotel through the mall entrance, be aware that a room key is needed to open the door, so you are better off walking down the street to the parking area and entering there if you have not checked in and gotten your room key yet.
The lobby is interesting from a navigation standpoint. Rather than being a large open area, the entire center area of the lobby has large ornate staircases that go toward the lower levels which are surrounded by wooden railings. I saw this as a large obstacle and since I usually trail around things with my hand, I was always worried I would hit the stairs inadvertently. I always used my cane or sighted guide in the lobby for this reason.
Getting to the check-in desk from the 16th street mall entrance will involve coming into the lobby then heading straight to the open area with the railings then heading around the open area to the left. As we will talk about more, there are not a lot of navigation landmarks in the lobby so asking for assistance the first time until you have the layout sorted out would be a good idea.
I found the elevators a bit tough to find, and the training for the front desk staff wasn’t great, so solid navigational directions were tough to come by. If you are entering from the parking area, and standing at the check-in desk the elevators are located in an alcove on the opposite side of the lobby. This means navigating around to the other side of the open stair area. If you are coming in from the mall, the elevators are located to the left around the open stairs area. When entering the lobby I walked forward until I got to the railings around the open area and followed them left around to the alcove. There aren’t a lot of great landmarks for navigating this area so if you aren’t comfortable walking without close landmarks then it might be better to ask for assistance if you don’t have a sighted guide.
The elevators were well marked but did require a room key to activate. This was not posted anywhere that I found, and I was not told by the front desk when I checked in. The hotel staff could certainly benefit from some more training when it comes to getting those who are visually impaired oriented to the property.
The Courtyard by Marriott is located downtown, so if you are bothered by city noise, it is better to be on a higher floor if possible. We were on the fifth floor and the standard “guys yelling outside” noise was still audible and lasted most of the night. This is of course pretty typical for a downtown hotel but it is worth noting. I talked with the staff and they said that during any given sporting season, the hotel can be a bit rowdy for noise if the local team wins. This is generally pretty short lived though.
It should be noted that the outside noise is not the fault of the Courtyard by Marriott. They have no control over what the people on the street do of course. This is something that travelers have to contend with when traveling to any city.
There is a Mexican restaurant called Casa Tequilas on premise. The entrance is located near the door that exits onto the 16th street mall. The food was good, and the tequila choices was very good. On the mall, there is a variety of chain restaurants like Maggiano’s Italian and The Cheesecake Factory as well as lots of other non-chain local fair.
The rooms were comfortable, although of note was the climate control unit. We were there in winter, so we had the heat on, but the unit had a silly habit of getting to the desired temperature we set, then clicking into the AC to cool it down. It was like it fought with itself all night long and was a bit annoying. The beds were comfortable, and I found that there was plenty of room to navigate the area at the foot of the bed. There was not enough room for a person with a mobility aid like wheelchair to navigate comfortably so be aware if you are staying there in a non-accessible room. The shampoo, conditioner and body wash in the shower were poorly marked and I had to have my wife tell me which one was which. Not usually an issue for me because I generally travel with my own but not on this particular trip.
As with most downtown big city hotels, the facilities for service animals were not great at all. Make sure your dog is used to relieving on concrete because that is the only option. The parking lot was also very small, and it was tough for me to find a spot that my guide could relieve comfortably. Yes, this is something those of us that use service animals should always have trained, but many of us do get a bit lax in our training sometimes. There was enough room for my dog to sleep at the area located at the foot of the bed, but nowhere enough room for her to sleep next to the bed so be aware of this if your dog usually sleeps next to you. I always bring a mat for her, so she knows where her space is in new environments.
The staff were very good about not interacting with my guide dog. She does wear an “ignore me” sign but we all know how tempting it can be to interact with a working guide because they are so cute.
The layout of the lobby was a bit tough to contend with initially in terms of navigation, and the hiccups with the elevators were a bit annoying. The sad thing about this is that a few words from the staff could have avoided all the issues I had staying at the hotel. I was glad that I did not have a room on a lower floor because of the city noise, but overall the hotel was comfortable and I would stay there again now that I have figured out the navigation hazards.
“Ted’s journey into the landscape of the human body is a marvelous celebration of all that is physical, sensual and diverse
” – FSTOPPERS
About the author
Ted Tahquechi is a blind photographer, travel influencer, disability advocate and photo educator based in Denver, Colorado. You can see more of Ted’s work at www.tahquechi.com
Ted operates Blind Travels, a travel blog designed specifically to empower blind and visually impaired travelers. https://www.blindtravels.com/
Ted’s body-positive Landscapes of the Body project has been shown all over the world, learn more about this intriguing collection of photographic work at: https://www.bodyscapes.photography/
Questions or comments? Feel free to email Ted at: email@example.com