Review: Element Denver Park Meadows

I recently had an overnight in Denver enroute to Colorado Springs, and was originally hoping to stay in downtown Denver. Unfortunately almost everything was sold out due to some medical conference, so I instead stayed at the Element Denver Park Meadows, which is maybe a 20 minute drive from downtown Denver. It worked out well since it was between Denver Airport and Colorado Springs.

Most importantly, at least for the purposes of this review, it was my first stay at an Element property. Element is one of Starwood’s newer brands, and is intended to basically be the extended stay brand of Westin hotels. For whatever reason I had been avoiding them in the past, thinking they wouldn’t be that good. I did the same with Aloft hotels until I actually stayed at the one at San Francisco Airport, which I loved.

Anyway, I booked the Element at a rate of $119 for the night. This is a category two Starwood property, and a free night redemption was available for 4,000 Starpoints, or cash & points was available for 2,000 Starpoints plus $35. I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each, so with that in mind I should have probably either booked a free night award (valued at ~$88) or a cash & points award (valued at ~$79), though I decided to book a paid rate instead. Starwood’s second quarter promotion is offering double base Starpoints plus 500 bonus Starpoints for booking through the app, meaning I’d be earning ~1,100 Starpoints for the stay, which I value at ~$24.

As you can see the math still favors booking cash & points, though I generally try to avoid burning Starpoints when possible. So yeah, I’ve written a paragraph about why I booked a cash rate, only the math doesn’t add up. Joy. šŸ˜€

Anyway, I arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon, and couldn’t help but think that it looked like an office building and storage unit from the outside.


Hotel exterior

The lobby was located immediately inside the door and to the left, and I was promptly helped. The agent was friendly and processed by check-in within minutes.


Lobby

I took the elevator up to the third floor, where my room was located. The hallways are modern, though I found the ceiling leather strap “decorations” to be a bit odd.


Hallway


My room, 325

The room itself was lovely, and featured a king size bed, large couch, desk, and kitchen. The bed was a Westin Heavenly Bed, which is pretty tough to beat.


Bed

The couch faced the swiveling flat screen TV, so you could watch TV from the kitchen, couch, or bed.


Couch


Couch


Desk

The kitchen was massive, and even featured a counter with some bar stools under it at which you can eat.


Kitchen

Waiting on the counter as a welcome gift were a bottle of Perrier and yogurt covered pretzels.


Welcome gift

The room featured views, of, well… I think they speak for themselves.


View (or lack thereof)

Then by the entrance was a bathroom with a sink, toilet, and walk-in shower.


Sink


Shower and toilet

The shower water pressure and temperature control were rather good.


Shower

Much like Aloft properties, the shower has dispensers instead of individually packaged toiletries, which I don’t mind one bit as long as the products are reasonably high quality and the dispensers work well, both of which were the case.


Dispensers

One of the cool features of Element properties is that an evening happy hour and breakfast are included for everyone. Both are offered in the lobby, which boasts plenty of comfortable seating and is actually a nice place to get a bit of work done.


Lobby

The evening reception was quite nice and featured complimentary wine, beer, soda, water, etc. There were also chips with salsa. Actually kind of sad that the evening reception at an Element is nicer than in the club lounge at a US Westin, where they charge for alcohol.


Evening reception


Evening reception

Unfortunately I overslept for breakfast, so didn’t get to see what that spread was like.

The hotel also had a simple though nice gym on the ground floor, with plenty of equipment including free weights.


Gym


Gym


Gym

There was also a small indoor pool.


Pool

And a patio.


Patio


Patio

On the whole I loved my first Element stay. The rooms were modern, spacious, and clean, the service was generally friendly, and the free breakfast and happy hour are more than you’d get at a “full service” hotel. I can’t help but feel like hotels are kind of coming full circle in terms of their offerings. There are lots of budget brands that have offered free breakfast since the beginning of time, but I still find it interesting that Elements offer free drinks in the evening for all guests, when Westins don’t even offer free drinks to club guests.

Have you stayed at an Element? If so, what did you think?

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Comments

  1. Wow. This makes you think twice about paying for a luxury hotel. It seems spacious, modern, clean and has many extra ammenities. (Was there free internet? I am guessing so)

    I guess the only issue with Element is their “location” I assume they are not in city centers, and all have amazing views of the back side of Walmart or Target. c’est la vie

    Thanks for the insightful review.

  2. I used to stay at that property all of the time for work. Loved it. Really like the fresh smell.
    I think Elements are great, unless you REALLY need full services, like a restaurant. I’d have no problem staying there for leisure but might want full service for business.

  3. Slumming it in my town. Believe that’s a view of the Lone Tree Athletic club, with C470 highway on the left. Not quite the Conrad Koh Samui view.
    I guess the good news is the location offers just about any shopping you need within walking distance, along with a bowling alley, indoor parachuting, and putt putt golf right nearby. For what that’s worth.

  4. Lucky, i think i know whats happening, your going for staying at all the spg brands in hopes you get the 3 free nights reward that was posted on flyertalk!

    Right!?

    I was just in denver and stayed at the four seasons and 1 night at the aloft on the opposite side of town but in the back of my mind i really wanted to stay at that element cuz its the chepest one that i know of in the us. šŸ™‚

  5. SPG markets the Element Hotels as a green, environmentally conscious chain. We stayed in the Aloft in Lexington, Massachusetts and there was an Element just across the way. I was curious to see how it differed from Aloft, since the price was almost the same. I got spooked, though, when a rat ran out from the snack shop into the lobby. I hope to stay at the Element in Princeton, New Jersey on may way up to New England next fall.

  6. Wow, that’s a hell of a gym for a hotel. Looks like a great, reasonably priced property. I wonder how the Element in NYC would stack up considering the space issues in the city.

  7. Rooms look 100% identical to Element Miami airport…hotel layout, lobby etc. 90% identical. Not necessarily a bad thing but I guess not much local flair with the chains

  8. I stayed at the exact hotel a month ago. It was quite interesting to say the least. Because I burned points (weekend stay = CHEAP at a cat 2), they put me in a TINY room, smaller than yours. It was fine though., The issue was all the kids in the place. The were literally running up and down the halls, in the gym they were playing on all the equipment while I was working out, but the reality is the hotel can’t teach parents how to be parents. The real kicker came when at 2am a chirping noise started in my room, and it took me 30 minutes of checking every electronic in the room to figure it out. I think the phone had became unplugged, but the chirping didn’t stop after I plugged it back in. I brought this to the attention of the staff at check-out, who shrugged.

    Oh, and the breakfast is actually pretty decent. Several cold options like cereal, as well as breakfast croissants.

  9. My first thought when I stayed at an Element for the first time was the hallway reminded me of a hospital wing. I expected to be hit with a gurney at any time…..

    Oh, and I changed my mind about the shower shampoo and gel when a guy I was traveling with joked about putting a little something in his shampoo container. Went back to my room and my lid came right off. I shudder to know the truth….or how often people really do that…..

  10. Recently stayed at the Element Omaha Midtown and it looked similar. It was my first experience as well and I liked it. I thought the rooms were more than enough for the price point.

    My one complaint was that the rooms are centrally heated. They have a thermostat but you have very little ability to alter the temperature. This is an eco-friendly feature, and I can appreciate that. However, I was a little too cold and couldn’t crank up the heat.

  11. @ Troy — Ah, yes, now I remember, that was it. Wasn’t sure whether award nights would qualify, so figured it was worth as I’ve done just about all the other brands so far this year.

  12. This is a nice enough hotel. Breakfast is usually two hot wraps, cold cereals, yogurt, toast/breads, juices, coffee and fruit.

    I’ve been to this prop probably a dozen times as a plat an never had had anything waiting for me in the room.

    ? Do you tell them you are a blogger when you book? Just wondering if you get treatment beyond a ‘normal’person when you stay.

    I’d suggest you not stay on the front side of the hotel here…the lights are very annoying in the room.

  13. Have you stayed at an embassy suites. Same concept, their breakfasts are usually great, eggs cooked to order.

  14. You got a pretty decent upgrade. If you had stayed in one of their normal rooms you’d definitely not describe it as spacious. Decent hotel though, one of my go tos on my corporate rate that knocks it down to super cheap.

  15. I’ve stayed at the same Element, really dig it.

    Unfortuanely, it seems like Starwood’s put the brakes on brand expansion (relative to, say, Aloft) for whatever reason (high energy costs in each room?)…I bet the concept doesn’t last. Too bad.

  16. @Peetyrd ā€” Element is more akin to Hilton’s Home2 Suites or Homewood Suites extended stay brands than to the full service Embassy Suites brand. While ES properties offer complimentary breakfast and evening receptions, their rooms typically lack full kitchens.

  17. Sam – Element near Times Square is reasonable for NYC, except that the elevators can be very slow at peak times.

  18. @ Andrew — Interesting. The website indicates the most basic room is over 400 square feet. Is that not the case?

  19. @ Peetyrd — I have, the difference is that this hotel didn’t feel straight out of 1992. I guess that’ll happen with time, though, and is simply because the hotel is still fairly new.

  20. @ mdtravel — Nope, never tell the hotel I’m a blogger. The “gift” came with a very standardized looking letter, so could it be that they only recently added it?

  21. Which room category did you stay in? You didn’t mention that or have a picture of the floor plan in your review.

  22. @ Travelista — I’m not actually sure. Best I can tell it was a standard studio king.

  23. Stayed at the Element New York Times Square, Miami International Airport and Lexington (MA). I believe Lexington was among the first (if not the very first) Element property. Overall I really like the concept but don’t feel people should judge the entire brand on the NYC prop. The other properties are much better in my experience.

  24. Stayed at the Omaha NE property last Jan and was pleasantly surprised but was upgraded as a Plat to a small 1br suite. Ish there were more of them around though.

  25. I really like your style of writing and little bits of added humor here and there. That IMHO is a core competency that doesnā€™t come easy. Keep up the good work.

    “So yeah, Iā€™ve written a paragraph about why I booked a cash rate, only the math doesnā€™t add up”

  26. love the Element in NYC, close to the theaters,linens great and mini kitchen is great, only drawback, 2 small elevators

  27. Lucky, actually yes, the most basic room is over 400 square feet but it does not feel large at all because of the space the kitchenette takes up and the lack of an adequate seating option. Additionally because of the way the siding of the hotel is designed not too much sun gets in to the smaller rooms. The smaller rooms definitely aren’t tiny but they are not spacious at all.

  28. @ stargoldua — Thanks, I appreciate it!

    @ Andrew — From the looks of it the next room up at the hotel is the “one bedroom space,” which includes a table for four people, which I didn’t have. So that leads me to believe I had the entry level studio, no?

  29. I’ve stayed at the Element DFW for a couple of nights earlier this month because I had heard so many good things about the brand. It was awesome, and a great deal for the money considering everything you get. I stayed in a Westin in Chicago for double the price (closer to triple the price when you factor parking) a few days later and I think definitely Element is the winner, even though I’m typically a Westin kind of guy. Overall, Element is a great product where available. A Starwood Exec told me Element has the highest satisfaction ratings of any Starwood brand, including St. Regis, and I believe it.

  30. The wife and I spent two nights at the Element DFW on either side of last Thanksgiving and really enjoyed it. It was our first time staying at the brand and we enjoyed it.

    The kitchen came in handy on night two when we wanted real Mexican food before heading back to Canada; we picked up some and brought it back to the room to eat. I was amazed at how well outfitted the kitchen was.

  31. This looks nearly identical to the Element in Lexington MA that I stayed at recently, right down to the very small indoor pool. The hallway decor is rather strange, made me think of an outdoor lounge chair hung upside down.

    It’s too bad that you missed breakfast, because I was pretty impressed by it. The food seemed very fresh, and included wraps, smoothies, and pastries. Much better than most free breakfasts that budget chains offer.

  32. I’ve stayed at 2 Elements now – one near MIA and one in Vegas (out near Red Rocks). In both cases I fully echo your points – very nice, clean, spacious, and basically tremendous value. I’d definitely stay at more of them if there were more to stay at šŸ˜‰

  33. Element is my favorite business hotel now. Some locations have really generous evening treats; I had BBQ chicken and beans one night at either Park Meadows for DFW North.

    You’ll definitely want to checkout a 1-bedroom unit sometime (offered as a Platinum upgrade when available). The table for four that is referenced is collapsed and stored under a pantry unit. The chairs are modular stools/ cubes.

    One other great treat is that the Element Midtown Crossing in Omaha has a prize wheel for SPG members to spin (extra points, free night, etc) at check-in and they also offer points for checking in on Foursquare.

  34. No Lucky, you definitely did not have the entry level room, there are significantly smaller rooms that I’ve been in, rooms without a couch, I’ve been in them.

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