The Curtis hotel's lobby. (The Curtis)

Denver hotel’s pot-themed Valentine’s package doesn’t include smoking area

A Denver hotel is marking Valentine’s Day with a luxurious, marijuana-themed package that includes “private transportation to and from a downtown Denver retail dispensary” and “in-room munchies” — yet the hotel isn’t providing its guests with somewhere to legally enjoy the pot products they’re purchasing.

The Curtis“50 Shades of Green” promotion is something of a metaphor for Colorado’s problematic laws regarding the consumption of cannabis. Tourists 21 and older in Colorado can purchase marijuana with cash and a flash of their ID, but finding a place to lawfully smoke, vape or eat their legally obtained cannabis is another thing entirely. They can’t do that in public. Most hotels don’t allow it. Authorities say it must be done on private property, inside homes and condos, with the owner’s permission.

Meanwhile The Curtis, at 1405 Curtis St. in Denver, is presenting its guests with a similar conundrum. The hotel is benefiting from the state’s liberal marijuana laws — even charging $420 (get it?) for an amenities-laden, one-night stay on Valentine’s Day. But what’s the point of paying all that money for a chauffeured trip to the pot shop and an overnight hotel experience when there’s nowhere to legally partake in the product at the very center of this promotion?

The hotel notes on its “50 Shades” website: “The Curtis is a NON smoking hotel, and smoking is not allowed in any guest rooms.” The same webpage playfully mentions, “It’s the most Enjoy-A-Bowl time of the year!” Seem like mixed messaging? Press materials were careful to mention: “The hotel will charge a $350 fine if any evidence of smoking is found.”

The Curtis’ director of sales, Kate Thompson, offered this explanation:

“We’re a completely non-smoking hotel and do not encourage anybody to smoke inside the hotel,” she said. “We’ll take you (to the pot shop) and back. But we do not have (a location for people to use the marijuana they’re buying) in the plan. We know we have a great local audience when it comes to Valentine’s Day, so even if it’s not something you’re enjoying at the hotel, you take it home afterward. If that’s something you partake in, you can do so in your own home.”

In short: If you’re a local escaping to downtown Denver for a night of marijuana-minded revelry, save the pot for another night. And if you’re an out-of-towner shelling out $420 for a night of pot-themed hotel fun? Should you choose to consume the cannabis you purchase, you’ll likely be breaking the hotel’s rules or the state’s laws.

Everything included in The Curtis’ “50 Shades” package: Overnight accommodation in a newly remodeled room, two movie passes to “50 Shades of Grey,” private transportation to and from a downtown Denver recreational pot shop, in-room munchies (including brownies, Cheetos, Red Vines and lots of water), a vase of Colorado weeds (in place of roses), a six-pack of Colorado microbrews (instead of champagne) and valet parking.


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Thompson said the idea to combine the buzz of legal marijuana and the new “50 Shades” film came up a few weeks ago.

“We typically do Valentine’s Day packages,” Thompson said, “and anywhere else you go you get that traditional Valentine’s Day package with roses and champagne and dinner — and you can get that anywhere.

“We wanted to do something that was different and unique and complemented The Curtis more, and it made sense with the ‘50 Shades of Grey’ movie coming out and poking fun at the legalization of marijuana — it’s a play, a riff on that package. Instead of roses you’re getting weeds, and instead of champagne you’re getting beer.”

We asked a representative from the hotel if it has an official policy on edibles: “Does the hotel ever tell guests that edibles are OK inside the hotel,” we asked, “even though smoking and vaping is not OK? If housekeeping finds a wrapper for an infused edible in the trash after a guest checks out, is there financial repercussion — as there would be with smoking?”

The hotel responded by reiterating its smoke-free policy.

As far as issues with marijuana use inside the hotel, Thompson said The Curtis hasn’t experienced an exorbitant number of problems since recreational pot sales started on Jan. 1, 2014.

“We definitely have seen people come in and smoke when they’re not supposed to,” she said. “But it’s not anything greater than what we’ve seen in the past.”