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Nestled in Capitol Hill, the Victorian-era style of the Patterson Inn is quite charming. Upon first glance, you wouldn’t know the boutique hotel has a reputation as one of the most haunted stays in the city.
Built in 1891 by Thomas B. Croke, a local businessman, the nine-room house features French architecture and a beautiful red sandstone exterior. Thomas E. Patterson, a Denver politician turned U.S. Senator, soon bought the home for his family, many of whom experienced untimely deaths and are said to be the majority of 12 spirits haunting the Inn today.
I stayed in the Da Vinci suite, originally the house’s library and allegedly the most haunted room. Outside the room is a spacious patio surrounded by colorful leaves during fall and a street view of Capitol Hill.
With most of the original architecture preserved and some interior features replicated to match Victorian-era design, the Patterson Inn is breathtaking at every turn. The hotel strikes a great balance of prioritizing a Victorian atmosphere while embracing the type of features essential to modern hospitality: Television, climate-controlled rooms and internet are all included. Beyond the essentials, guests are encouraged to explore the hotel and enjoy what the building itself has to offer.
Chris Chiari, the owner of the hotel, took on his role in 2018 after a long strand of homeowners unsure of what to do with the property. He transformed the house into a boutique hotel with a four-star experience. “As the caretaker of the hotel, I also feel a responsibility to be the caretaker of its history,” Chiari said.
Dining & Hospitality
Located in Capitol Hill, the hotel is within walking distance of a number of local restaurants for any palette. The Patterson Inn offers a complimentary homemade breakfast during your stay. Guests can choose between sweet or savory. Meals fall within the range of tasteful comfort food, such as berry pancakes, breakfast quesadillas and strawberry french toast. A thoughtful touch: Hotel staff call in advance of your stay to inquire about food allergies.
In the afternoons, the Inn offers a complimentary wine happy hour in the downstairs pub. Chiari often hosts happy hour himself, ready to share a wealth of stories. I learned more about the hotel’s haunted history, his former career in state politics and even his side hustle creating an award-winning film with Ice-T. Happy hour provides what guests deprived of social travel during the pandemic crave: Storytelling and conversation.
Guests at the Patterson Inn stand to experience visits from any number of the building’s 12 spirits. In essence, different people “belong” to certain parts of the house. Thomas Patterson is thought to spend his time in the downstairs pub, which originally served as his smoking lounge. Katherine, Senator Patterson’s wife, is most felt in the Biltmore room. Supposedly a traditionalist, she often turns the lights on and off in the middle of the night exclusive to unmarried couples staying in the room.
Chiari mentioned a steady trend of guests who have strong opinions about the paranormal, as either fans or skeptics. “For a while, I kept the hotel’s history under the radar. After being featured in an episode of Portals to Hell, the majority of guests came knowing about the Inn’s history, and everything changed. I think there’s a business in boutique hotels where you just lean into the stories of what’s haunted,” Chiari said.
In general, I came into the experience from a more neutral standpoint, without any strong feelings about ghosts or expectations of my stay. While I wouldn’t say I had a haunted encounter, the hotel’s environment felt saturated with energy. I wasn’t unafraid of the dark.
With absolute certainty, I can say the hotel has a presence — whether caused by the paranormal or ambiance is up to you.
Future of The Patterson Inn and The Verdict
Chiari has even more envisioned for the Patterson Inn. An advocate for the normalization of social cannabis consumption, he spent a decade working to break into cannabis hospitality. This fall, he’s on track to own the first hotel in the U.S. licensed for cannabis consumption.
“I’m excited about the chance [for The Patterson Inn] to have one of the most unique amenities in America. Here, professionals and couples will have a safe and comfortable space to relax and enjoy cannabis consumption,” he said.
Overall, the Patterson Inn’s hospitality brought the stay full circle. Only the best bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels offer The Patterson Inn’s level of warmth. As someone attuned to design, the Inn’s detailed interior and vibrant red sandstone outer walls also made a strong imprint on me. I appreciate a beautiful space. I certainly enjoyed the unique element of haunted spaces — it kept my heart rate up in a good way.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys old buildings and likes to spend a lot of time at their hotel, this is the place for you. The Patterson Inn is a must-stay for travelers or staycation folks who prefer their accommodations come with history and a vibrant experience.
The Patterson Inn is located at 420 East 11th Ave., Denver. Ready to book your stay? You can make reservations here.