A Colorado pop-culture hotel supports women and the LGBTQ community through CSR

Innovative ideas and progressive inclusivity are gaining more awareness than ever in the hospitality industry, and sometimes original ideas need the support of an established brand. General Manager of the Curtis Denver—a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Lizzie Raudenbush sat down with Smart Meetings to talk about the downtown Denver pop-culture themed boutique hotel, the unique events it offers, its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partnership with a local LGBTQ community center and the importance of inclusivity in the hospitality industry.

Lizzie Raudenbush, General Manager of the Curtis Denver
Lizzie Raudenbush, General Manager of the Curtis Denver

With drag nights, gender-neutral policies and a partnership with The Center on Colfax LGBTQ community center, the Curtis Denver represents progress in downtown Colorado’s hospitality industry.

Q: What inspires you about the hospitality industry?

A: Hospitality is something that I love. We have the opportunity to impact people’s lives every day, whether it’s our guests, our team members or the community. We have the opportunity to play a key role in the fulfilment of other people’s lives.

Q: What attracted you to the Curtis Denver-a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel?

A: The Curtis is a really great sweet spot. It has the feel of an independent hotel with the strength of the Hilton brands behind it. I love that we have the opportunity to play in both the independent space and the branded space. We were one of the first independent hotels in Denver, and then pretty quickly recognized that we could benefit from having the backing of a brand.

Q: What does being a “pop-culture hotel” mean?

A: We can really be creative in the pop-culture brands. You can go so many different directions with that and really cater to a lot of different guests. We have so many unique and fascinating people who come through our doors and they’re looking for experiences and memories. Because we have a different theme on every floor, our guest services team checks in on our guests and their preferences. If our team asks a guest who is checking in if they like horror movies, and they say I hate them, we say okay, we will put you on our fun and games floor.

80's inspired guest room at the Curtis Denver
Pop-culture guest room at the Curtis Denver

Q: The Curtis has a partnership with The Center on Colfax, the largest LGBTQ community center in the Rocky Mountain region. How did the Curtis get involved with the organization and why is it important?

A: We have partnered with the Center for several years. We have a lot of members on our team who are a part of the community. We wanted to give back to a nonprofit and partner with a group that was a kind of reflection of our team dynamic and our team makeup. We’ve had several team members who have transitioned during their time while working with us. It is really important that we demonstrate to them that we have their back. In some of their cases, they did not have a safe place to go at home. So their safe place becomes work at the Curtis Denver-a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

Q: What are some attractions groups should check out when visiting the Curtis Denver?

A: We are immediately across the street from the Denver Center for Performing Arts. They not only have the ballet symphony but Broadway shows—upcoming is “Hairspray” which we’re partnering with them on (for obvious reasons.) We will be having their influencer event here at the Curtis with some of the local drag influencers.

Denver Center for Performing Arts
Denver Center for Performing Arts

Q: Why is the Curtis Denver a great venue to include in Women’s History Month?

A: Our sales service team is an entirely female team. Having the opportunity to be in a general manager role as a female for a larger property is pretty rare. We also have a gender-neutral dress code. So it’s the same whether you’re male, female or non-binary. It is really important to us that our team members feel seen, valued, appreciated and that they can be their true selves.