First there was Denver Restaurant Week--a brilliant idea that boosted both the profile and the bank balances of many fine Denver restaurants. Restaurant Week was such a good idea, in fact, that this year, when everyone is broke and every day is starting to look worse than the day before, the sponsors decided to extend Restaurant Week into a kind of ver. 2.0: a two-week extravaganza of cheap food and booze and overflowing dining rooms that kicked off with pictures of the mayor drinking from a giant wine glass and will likely go down in history as a saving grace for many owners who might otherwise have had to close up shop in the face of those bleak weeks between New Year's Day and the real arrival of spring.
This Restaurant Week extension is going so well that, just yesterday, I got a letter from Visit Denver, the new name for the convention and visitors' bureau (which Joel Warner put in caps in his blog about hyping Denver Restaurant Week with the big blue bear, but I refuse to do), letting me know that now some of Denver's hoteliers want to get in on the act. Day late and a dollar short? Maybe.
You'd think it would've been smarter to kick off the hotel promotion to coincide with the start of Denver Restaurant Week. But I got Jen Elving from Visit Denver on the phone a few minutes ago, and she said no, the timing of this deal was very deliberate.
"We wanted to tie this to Restaurant Week," she told me. "But we didn't want to overshadow the restaurants, you know?"
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And that's the reason for this (in her words) "rolling thunder" approach to the promotion timing. What's more, the hotel deals will be going through the end of March (with other, not yet specified deals to follow), and dig the details:
"Thirty hotels, including properties such as the Oxford and the Curtis, are also offering hotel rooms for the same price of $52.80 as available. The hotel special will run through March 31, 2009, with additional value rates available starting April 1. 'In this economy, everyone is looking for bargains, and Visit Denver has worked with hotel and restaurant partners to expand our offerings,' said Richard Scharf [president and CEO, Visit Denver]. 'We're not only offering some of the top restaurants in the city at incredibly affordable prices right now, but you can also stay overnight in some of the city's finest hotels for the same price.'"
Not bad, huh? And a quick perusal of the website where the deals are being offered -- www.denverhotdeals.com -- showed me that yes, I can get a room at the Burnsley, Thursday through Sunday, for $52.80 a night, same deal at the Curtis (with a couple of blackout dates) and at the Oxford. For a few bucks more, I could stay at the Hotel Monaco. And for just $109, I could get a room at the Grand Hyatt.
One thing to keep in mind, though: That website? It's www.denverHOTdeals.com, not denverHOTELdeals.com, which is where I mistakenly went first, and couldn't find any mention of said deal -- prompting my call to Elving in the first place. Apparently, though, even people inside her office were getting confused and ending up on that same site, and she told me that they're actually considering just buying that address to cut down on confusion.