Penny Parker’s On The Town: Hotel Monaco completes its makeover

The Hotel Monaco at 17th and Champa has put on a fresh face in its lobby and meeting spaces with an impressive makeover that was long overdue.

The hotel hadn’t redesigned its lobby since 1998. The lobby renovation completes a three-part plan for the makeover that started with restaurant Panzano then the guest rooms.

“Our evolution has come full circle,” Hotel Monaco general manager Von DeLuna told me during a walk-through Monday. “This is the final stamp on a three-year process.”

Interior designer Susan Caruso, who also designed the renovated guest rooms, was given the task of an overhaul of the hotel’s whimsical lobby and meeting spaces. Her theme was “rugged cowby meets city slicker”.

Caruso worked around the hotel’s iconic colorful ceiling in redesigning the public space. The entry into the lobby boasts bronze, iron and rustic metal fixtures that mix classic styles with modern cut globes, softened with accents of warm silver leaf.

The wall that leads to the meeting rooms and restrooms below is bedazzled with three silver steer skulls, and the walls of the lobby are adorned with Western-themed paintings.

Next up is the goal of expanding Panzano’s bar in late fall. The expansion will add roughly 24 seats to the space that is packed during the restaurant’s wildly popular daily happy hour from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

Wine time

The Palm restaurant inside The Westin Hotel at the Tabor Center is launching its annual Patio Wine Series from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. These events are about as much fun as you can have on a patio. Not only do you get to taste wow wines, but you also get to munch from The Palm’s boffo buffet.

This Thursday features Rockin’ Reds, with subsequent Thursdays pouring various varietals including Think Pink Roses on July 12, Denver’s Infinite Monkey Therorem on Aug. 23 and Taste Alexander Valley on Sept. 13. The series ends with a bang: Silver Oak 40th anniversary on Oct. 3.

Tickets are $25 per person not including tax and tip. Reservations: Wendy Klein, or 303-825-7256.

Parking pickle

Argh! The Palm’s valet and parking garage has been taken over by a new company who (in its infinite wisdom – NOT!) has opted to charge for valet – $5 at lunch and $7 at dinner.

With The Palm’s exit from the complimentary valet service, the population of free valets in downtown Denver is sorely diminishing. It’s a sad state of affairs.

Besh is best

John Besh, the fatally handsome chef and owner of a New Orleans restaurant empire, will be guest chef for a four-course dinner, wine pairings and a copy of his new book, My Family Table, on June 18 at Frasca in Boulder.

Besh has written several cookbooks, runs restaurants, is a James Beard Award-winner and frequent TV personality on cooking shows. For resservations, call 303-442-6966.

The seen

Bison boss and media mogul Ted Turner dining at his namesake restaurant Ted’s Montana Grill on Larimer Square on Friday. And Broadway and TV star Kristin Chenoweth at Edge with her family from Oklahoma. Chenoweth was in town for her one-woman show at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Eavesdropping on a woman at The Four Seasons Denver Level 3 Thursday pool party: “Does everybody have to be size 2 to be here except our corner of the room?”

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