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A Bubbly Tradition :: The Brown Palace, Denver

Special occasions call for champagne, but at Denver’s venerable Brown Palace Hotel, champagne calls for a special occasion.

On Nov. 18, the hotel marks the 20th celebration of its annual Champagne Cascade that kicks off the holiday season. The tradition calls for a master swordsman to whack off the neck of a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne using an antique saber. The bubbly bubbles out of the severed bottle and is poured into the top glass of a 6,000-glass pyramid, sending a sparkling cascade flowing down into each crystal glass.

The swordsman gets all the applause, but the most remarkable job to me is the person or people who precisely stack 6,000 champagne glasses into a pyramid that rises two floors tall in the hotel’s open lobby. The hotel’s classic champagne brunch is offered before and after the cascade event.

The Brown, as it is known locally, is finishing an $8 million renovation that’s updating the soft goods in the 241 rooms and re-doing the bathrooms in 199 rooms. The downtown Denver fixture – one of those fascinating triangular buildings shaped like an old iron – has been in continuous operation since 1892.

The bathroom renovations (updated plumbing is always a good thing) are expected to be complete by the end of next year.

For details about the Champagne Cascade or other events, go to www.brownpalace.com.

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