The Elizabeth

The Elizabeth Hotel / Ft. Collins, CO

Sunflower / Milt Jackson


John Fraim

After our Carnival cruise to the Mexican Riviera on the Panorama, Steph and I flew from Long Beach to Denver to attend Steph’s daughter’s baby shower for the arrival in December of this year. We stayed at the Elizabeth Hotel in downtown Ft. Collins. Our third visit to Ft. Collins and our third time at the Elizabeth Hotel.

Fort Collins, the fourth-most populous city in Colorado, lies along the Cache la Powder River  near the foothills of the northern Front Range. The seat of Larimer County, Fort Collins was founded as an Army camp in 1864 and has since developed into a regional hub for education, business, culture, and recreation. The city currently has a population of 161,000.

Visitors to Ft. Collins who have been to the original Disneyland, might notice a familiarity with College Avenue and Old Towne in Ft. Collins with Main Street in Disneyland. Harper Goff, who created Disneyland’s Main Street USA with Walt Disney, grew up in Fort Collins. Harper came back to Fort Collins in the 1950s to photograph the buildings of his youth to use as the model for the buildings along Main Street USA in Disneyland, California.

An Old Building in Ft. Collins

Fort Collins, nicknamed “Choice City,” is the home of Colorado State University, Colorado’s first land-grant college, as well as a host of popular craft beer breweries and several major technology companies. Cycling, craft beer, and music are all elements of the local culture, and the town lies close to a number of natural attractions, including the Cache la Poudre River and the Poudre Canyon, Horsetooth Mountain, Horsetooth Reservoir, and Estes Park. On a previous trip, we visited the Reservoir and the Stanley Hotel in Estes park. It’s a beautiful drive just an hour from Ft. Collins.

Horsetooth Reservoir is Just Above Ft. Collins

The hills of the Rocky Mountains rising only a few miles west of the town and there is prairie land to the east. It is early September and such a beautiful time of year in Ft. Collins. Trees are full with leaves over College Avenue going to our in-law’s home on the south side of town. The students at Colorado State in Ft. Collins are all arriving back at school. It’s the beginning of college football season and Colorado University has just had a stunning upset over TCU.

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From the start, the hotel had some wonderful uniqueness about it. For example, there are many subtle pieces of artwork and paintings around the hotel. Some of the artwork is wonderfully eclectic. It’s obvious that someone who knew something about art had exercised their hand in creating the hotel. The feeling of being in the presence of art. Such a wonderful feeling by itself.

A Collection of Classic Albums Offered for Guests Use

Another great touch is the bins of classic records near the elevators in the lobby of the hotel. Residents are free to take any of the albums up to their rooms and play them on the Victrola in each room. I have pulled the Polkatoons out of the bin as well as Sounds of the Pioneers. The song I’m playing now from the Sons is Cool Waters. 

Placing the albums in bins for use by guests is such a great idea as the hotel can wrap the hotel experience around some classic albums they might have wanted to hear for a long time. Not just one album. But two or three or more. The records are in a large bin divided by categories like Blues and Jazz and Rock. The sounds in the room have a chance to become off the beaten track of music usually in a hotel room. Many memories of older tunes in the bins of records on the first floor. 

Somewhat of a subtle addition to the hotel but something all that important for those who take advantage of these great albums placed in the record bins. Full of many of the classics in all genres. Even the best polka music and cowboy music!

The Polkatoons from the Hotel’s Record Bin

The Elizabeth Hotel was originally the inspiration of a Colorado woman who was heir to a large fortune. Since this, it has passed into the hands of and is now associated with the tip tier hotel brand from the Marriott Corporation. 

But there is little evidence of any great corporation behind the hotel as it grew up as such an upstart in Ft. Collins. Might. Could the city support a hotel concept like that of the Elizabeth. An upscale, sophisticated hotel in the heart of Old Towne Ft. Collins.

Much of the brilliance of the Elizabeth is in the superb dining room attached to the hotel. Perhaps one of the most beautiful places to have dinner in all of Colorado. Fine tile floors in a particular pattern and a golden light in the evenings hanging throughout the room. Fine wines to be purchased in a mini store in a section of the restaurant. 

Old Victrolas are Fixure of Every Room

A restaurant that simply says “class” but in an informal, unsophisticated manner. It has so much class, was founded on the taste of a woman from a wealthy family. The hotel exudes this understated class about it. No one tries to promote it as much as realize that they are part of this classy hotel for a period. A hotel like the Elizabeth has these types of effects on people. The intersection of a life, a place, and a time. 

Incredible Piece of a Tree with This Inside / Hall Outside Restrooms

Ft. Collins and the Elizabeth Hotel in the heart of Old Towne. A fantastic combination. Stay in this wonderful example of what a hotel can be today. Very reason rates for accommodations and dinner in the glorious dining room.

Among beautiful, subtle pieces of art. 

In a hotel that is a piece of artwork itself. 

The Beautiful Emporium Restaurant in the Elizabeth

Lobby of the Elizabeth / Electric Bikes for Rent


Cattle Rustler Paining (on three panels) In Hallway by Elevators on Third Floor.

Website for The Elizabeth Hotel.

Website for the City of Ft. Collins

One thought on “The Elizabeth

  1. Thanks for sharing this story of the lovely hotel and some of it’s history…Love the article John.
    I love Colorado.

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