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Populus, the Country’s First Carbon Positive Hotel, Now Accepting Reservations for Summer 2024

Be Among the First to Experience Inspired Accommodations, Dynamic Gathering Spaces, and a New Era of Environmental Stewardship

Biophilic Architecture by Studio Gang. Photo credit: Studio Gang

Populus, the country’s first carbon positive hotel, set to open in Denver in summer of 2024, is now accepting reservations for September 2024 onwards. Managed by Aparium Hotel Group, a pioneer in the lifestyle hotel industry, and developed by Urban Villages, a leading real estate developer and environmental steward, Populus will feature 265 guest rooms, a ground floor signature restaurant, lounge and coffee bar, flexible event spaces, a rooftop restaurant and bar offering unobstructed views of the mountains, city skyline, and Civic Center Park. Committed to offsetting both its embodied and operational carbon footprints through Colorado based reforesting efforts, Populus invites guests to experience environmentally forward hospitality.

“Populus is destined to become a must-visit destination for today’s modern traveler, a place that Denver residents are proud to have in their backyard, and a landmark that redefines the future of sustainable travel with a commitment to superior service and an elevated guest experience,” says Mario Tricoci, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Aparium. “With dynamic amenities and a distinct reverence for nature, the hotel will foster connections between guests, the city, and the environment.”

Grand Staircase Leading from the Forest Floor Lobby to the Communal Second Floor. Photo credit: Nephew
Populus Light-Filled Guest Suite. Photo credit: Nephew

General Manager George Prine adds: “This is an exciting milestone for Populus as we open reservations for guest visits in summer 2024 and beyond. The hotel proudly delivers a vibrant, nature-inspired respite in the heart of Denver, providing guests and locals with the best of authentic translocal hospitality, imaginative food and beverage, and dynamic design.”

Carbon Positive: Experience the Ease of Environmentally Forward Hospitality

Populus will serve as a new benchmark for environmentally forward hospitality as the first carbon positive hotel in the United States. To achieve this, the hotel’s embodied and operational carbon footprints are being offset through reforesting efforts and agricultural collaborations that sequester more carbon than the building emits throughout its lifecycle – ultimately having a net positive impact on climate change.

Populus’ “embodied carbon”– the carbon emitted during the creation, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of the materials used to build the hotel – is being reduced through a combination of sustainable design and construction techniques and offset through robust ecological sequestration efforts offsite. Already, Populus has planted over 70,000 trees in Gunnison County, CO. in partnership with One Tree Planted vis-à-vis the United States Forest Service. Populus will also uphold its carbon positive status throughout its lifetime by tracking, reducing, and offsetting the carbon emissions of its operations, including energy use, team member and guest transportation, food sourcing and transport, and more.

Beyond offsetting its carbon footprint, Populus’ approach to plant trees will support biodiversity within the alpine ecosystem, as the trees planted re-introduce the Engelmann Spruce species, a primary tree species that was diminished by beetle kill – an ongoing problem, particularly in Colorado forests. The trees are planted in La Garita Wilderness, a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects and preserves federally managed wilderness areas in their natural condition. This ensures they will remain protected over the hotel’s lifetime, creating a positive, tangible, and lasting impression on Colorado’s natural habitat with each guest stay.

Inspired Guest Rooms and Gathering Spaces

Destined to become a lively new social hub in Denver, the hotel will include 265 guest rooms, two restaurants, a rooftop bar, a ground-floor coffee bar with a walk-up window, and dynamic meeting and event space – all managed by Aparium Hotel Group, a world-class hotel operator committed to creating a translocal hospitality experience across its independent lifestyle hotels, restaurants, and bars.

Populus’ guest rooms are thoughtfully designed with reverence to nature while offering a comfortable and stylish escape in the heart of Denver. Guests can choose from a variety of accommodations including the cozy Grove or Aspen rooms, which offer a minimalistic yet charming retreat, or enjoy a more spacious and luxurious stay in one of Populus’ suite offerings such as the Pando Suite, which affords guests an expansive haven on the top floor, inclusive of a dining area, kitchenette, 1.5 baths, a soaking tub, and panoramic views. To merge the indoors with the vibrant outdoor environment, each accommodation features large Aspen eye-shaped windows that flood the space with natural light and provide immersive sightlines of the city’s downtown or the surrounding Rocky Mountains, depending on the room. In many guest rooms, the windows themselves extend into a window hammock – a curved, cushioned bench like hammock that provides a space for guests to intimately soak in the city’s energy while being cradled in a serene atmosphere. Bespoke furnishings made from sustainable or recyclable materials underscore Populus’ environmental efforts, while thoughtful design touches like pressed wildflower art and handcrafted ceramic accessories reflect nature and the surrounding urban environment.

Hotel guests and locals have immediate access to Populus’ dynamic public amenities, communal spaces, and beverage and dining offerings, which provide the ideal location to both work and collaborate or wind down after a day of exploring Downtown Denver and beyond. Upon arrival, the “forest floor” lobby features double-height ceilings, Aspen-eye windows up to 30 feet high, a moody reception area, and a vibrant bar and three meal a day restaurant. A curved grand staircase connects the activated ground floor experience to the second floor “understory” — a cluster of enclosed and interconnected meeting spaces that can accommodate everything from business meetings and co-working areas to private celebrations and pop-up events. Along Populus’ East side is a row of flexible rooms entitled Perch, Enclave, Grove, and Overlook, all of which are designed to foster a space for elevated thinking, strategic collaboration, and networking. Several of the rooms can be conjoined, allowing them to easily transition from intimate, closed-door meetings to a larger, living room-style gathering space. Around the corner, the Commons serves as the central hub for team gatherings and a place to engage in open communication and exchange ideas in a communal setting. On the opposite end, The Hollow is a meeting space that mirrors the contours of a natural tree hollow, designed to embrace and cradle its occupants for an atmosphere of comfort and concentration. After serving as a quiet haven or a collaborative corner, a bespoke bar can be seamlessly integrated into The Hollow, making it an ideal location to host small group happy hours or cocktail classes. For fitness enthusiasts, the second floor is also home to a gym, complete with the latest fitness machines, free weights, and beautiful views.

Populus’ rooftop – which includes a signature restaurant, outdoor terrace, and lush garden designed by Superbloom – will serve as a coveted public gathering place for hotel guests and locals to drink, dine, and soak in the dramatic views overlooking the Colorado State Capitol, Denver’s City Hall, and the expansive Civic Center Park. The top floor also features a private dining room and a series of hospitality-style suites, which offer views of Colorado’s picturesque Rocky Mountains and will be available for private social or corporate events.

A Nature-Inspired Urban Escape

While its design and ethos are inspired by nature and the surrounding Colorado landscape, Populus is primely located in the epicenter of Denver’s thriving downtown, providing guests with a unique mix of both nature and urban environments. Populus embraces its location, which offers panoramic views of city and mountains, along with immediate proximity to some of the city’s best arts and cultural offerings, including the Denver Art Museum and the Performing Arts District. It will be the area’s first true leisure and lifestyle hotel, breathing new life into this nexus of history, culture, government, and business enterprise, while attracting visitors for its groundbreaking sustainability, vibrant experiences, and iconic design.

Populus’ architectural design by Studio Gang, the world-renowned architecture and urban design firm founded and led by MacArthur Fellow and WSJ. Magazine’s 2022 Architecture Innovator Jeanne Gang, will forever add to the architectural legacy of Denver and the greater Mountain West. Drawing from nature, Populus’ distinctive design is informed by the growth process of Colorado’s native Aspen tree – Populus Tremuloides – for a design that’s stunning, sustainable, and deeply connected to its surroundings. Populus is Studio Gang’s first project in Colorado; they have since been selected to lead the revitalization of nearby Civic Center Plaza, including an updated amphitheater and promenade, which will further enhance the neighborhood’s vibrancy and architectural design. Populus’ interiors by Wildman Chalmers Design also pay homage to the Mountain West with warm colors, natural materials, and undulating forms, inspired by the feelings evoked by sitting among an Aspen grove.  Interiors are further brought to life with a thought-provoking art collection, curated by artist and environmentalist Katherine Homes, which adds to the hotel’s biophilic ethos and inspired guest experience.