The Vegetarian Who Ate Denver

Denver_11th St Hotel 1 (1 of 1)

Part of the point of traveling is staying able to adapt to different conditions. Sometimes that means posh hotels and glamorous ecolodges in the jungle. Other times it means standing in the lobby of a sketchy downtown men’s hotel and having the clerk ask, “Will you need a towel?” Well, I’m staying three nights. A towel might come in handy. So I paid my three dollar towel deposit. Alas, I failed to pay my bathmat/washcloth/cup/soap deposit. It’s the rare hotel that doesn’t even give you soap.

But it’s also a rare hotel that charges you $48 – including tax and wifi – two blocks from the Denver Art Museum, with many wonders of the city a short walk away. And the Eleventh Avenue Hotel & Hostel isn’t really an old man’s hotel. It just kind of looks like one. Or is it? It’s been a long time since I’ve stayed at a place with a big sign over the counter listing the rules, including no alcohol and no visitors in your room.

You can sleep in a dorm for $21. Or, if you’re uppity like me you can spring for a private room with private bath for $48. Women traveling alone should consider this option.

Here are the pros of my chosen lodging, besides cost and convenient location:

Friendly and helpful staff

Separate hot and cold, just like my old sink!

  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Fabulous old clawfoot tub
  • Wall-hung sink with separate hot and cold, just like I used to have
  • Hilariously matched carpet and bedspread, both maroon with ornate golden swirls
  • Tons of space for yoga
  • Closet
  • Common room with kitchen and couches down the hall
  • View from my window of colorful neon display at “Wine & Spirits,” the store across the street

 

Cons:

  • Aforementioned lack of amenities (I’d at least like soap and a cup. So dirty! So thirsty!)
  • Kind of noisy between busy street and some party going on nearby
  • Flimsy lock (but if you put your chair in front, at least you’ll wake up if somebody tries to get in)
  • Spongy-feeling floor

 

Of course saving money on lodging frees up the budget for plenty of vegetarian meals out. I found downtown Denver super easy to navigate from my hotel, both as a pedestrian and a vegetarian.

City, O City is a vegetarian bar that serves food till past midnight! And it's only two or three blocks from the 11th Avenue Hotel.

City, O City is a vegetarian bar that serves food till past midnight! And it’s only two or three blocks from the 11th Avenue Hotel.

Watercourse is owned by the same folks as City, O City but is a bit more upscale. I got the Three Sisters Salad.

Watercourse is owned by the same folks as City, O City but is a bit more upscale. I got the Three Sisters Salad.

Sitting at the bar is a good way for a solo traveler to squeeze in on a busy Friday night at Watercourse.

Sitting at the bar is a good way for a solo traveler to squeeze in on a busy Friday night at Watercourse.

The fellow next to me was eating this mesquite tofu with sweet potato mash, creamed corn, shitake mushrooms and greens. Note the red drink behind. It's beer made from beets.

The fellow next to me at Watercourse was eating this mesquite tofu with sweet potato mash, creamed corn, shitake mushrooms and greens. Note the red drink behind. It’s beer made from beets.

Vietnamese tofu sandwich with jalapenos and sweet and sour dipping sauce from Udi's Cafe. This popular lunch spot has lots of veg and gluten-free items. Udi's, of course, is a famous maker of gluten-free bread.

Vietnamese tofu sandwich with jalapenos and sweet and sour dipping sauce from Udi’s Cafe. This popular lunch spot has lots of veg and gluten-free items. Udi’s, of course, is a famous maker of gluten-free bread.

Right off the tourist-packed 16th Street Pedestrian Mall, Little India offers a delicious refuge.

Right off the tourist-packed 16th Street Pedestrian Mall, Little India offers a delicious refuge.

I asked for my chana masala spicy, and Little India delivered.

I asked for my chana masala spicy, and Little India delivered.

 

After all that veg food, stop at Denver's massive REI for some outdoor activity gear.

After all that veg food, stop at Denver’s massive REI for some outdoor activity gear.

I was surprised to learn that Denver has a beach.

I was surprised to learn that Denver has a beach.

You can walk or bike along the Cherry Creek Trail.

You can walk or bike along the Cherry Creek Trail.

 

 

I wanted to check out Sunday mass at Denver's grand basilica. But I managed to set the alarm wrong.

I wanted to check out Sunday mass at Denver’s grand basilica. But I managed to set the alarm wrong.

 

Luckily, I got to a candlelight vinyasa class at Samadhi Yoga. I love their over-the-top ceiling treatment and giant Buddha head. They have a ton of daily classes.

Luckily, I got to a candlelight vinyasa class at Samadhi Yoga. I love their over-the-top ceiling treatment and giant Buddha head. They have a ton of daily classes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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