Denver International Airport is really now a regional airport as it connects to just about every point or jumping off point in the travel world. Part of the reason traffic has increased is simply people from Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado use D.I.A. because of the extensive flight schedule.
So what is new in how to get there and depart with a little more elan and a lot more convenience?
Taking the train to D.I.A. requires you to catch it either downtown or at one of the stops along the way. As we discovered, except for a small, rolling carry on this is not a luggage-positive experience. So, if you are going for a day or two, and live close to one of the train points, a great option. Otherwise, the best option is still to drive and park the car.
Now to the tricky part. The Airport has figured out that people want to park there, so they have expanded their parking lots to accommodate those who want to park, and then hike to check-in. Sounds good except you might or might not be parking far away and waiting for a shuttle.
The best close in option is Wally Park, where after you park, your ride to the terminal is about 4.5 minutes. So, get there right on time for check-in without worrying about how long the shuttle will take. And the real plus is it’s a short ride to your car after you arrive back from your trip. Wally Park has a great corporate rate program and of course, a parking rewards program. Yes, a lot of parking centers do oil changes and car washes, but Wally Park does dry cleaning.
If you have a 6 or 7 a.m. flight, the drive to D.I.A. might mean you need to awaken at 2:37 a.m., not a pleasant thought without caffeine. While the new Westin at D.I.A. is thought of a hotel to use during bad weather, it really shines when you need to stay the night to get on your way for that first, early flight.
The fact that you can walk with luggage about 190 feet to the United Airlines check-in tells you how close this is to your airline. In the past, hotels at the airport are less than beautiful, old, noisy and have a spider-fly relationship with stranded travelers. Well, this is different in every respect.
The Westin D.I.A. can stand on its own as an excellent hotel, and as airport beds go, this is one of the best, period. Stylish and modern rooms, with the key thing being stellar soundproofing. You will see the planes, but you will not hear one. A great pool area and exercise room on the 11th floor, which will rev your calorie engines with the view.
You have a couple of restaurant options, with the best being Grill & Vine, which is a classic bar & grill with a Colorado theme. Kick it into taste bud gear with the Jalapeno & Bison sausage flatbread. Chomp down in style with the aged Ribeye with compound butter, or for a lighter, non-meat option, get the Grilled Portobello Sandwich with chimichurri, caramelized onions, and poblano peppers.