Now that cannabis consumption is legal, 420-friendly accommodations are cropping up across the state — even in Colorado Springs.
The concept is simple enough: Provide space, facilities and other considerations for guests to smoke, vape or otherwise consume their weed safely.
But what really goes on inside hotels that not only condone but welcome traveling dope fiends?
As it turns out, nothing shocking — just a lot of mellow chatter and the wafting of a little smoke.
The historic Hotel San Ayre, a 63-year-old establishment on the corner of West Colorado Avenue and 34th Street, was recently purchased by Denver-based Bud & Breakfast, which also operates weed-friendly accommodations in Denver and Silverthorne.
The property includes a combination of rooms, suites and cottages. The façade of the main building, much like its neighbors', doesn't make the best first impression, belying the quaint, clean, comfortable interior. My room featured wood flooring, with a very 1950s-feeling captain's bed and vanity. Smoking isn't allowed in the rooms, and my space smelled fresh.
The patio area behind the rooms and cottages is pleasant, sporting a few tables with well-maintained lawn furniture, sans plastic chairs. Blame the trees and tall buildings, but the patio is better for sunrise than sunset. Lacking a view of Pikes Peak, retiring to the hot tub at sunset is merely gorgeous. The deck for the suite, however, has a direct view of the mountains.
Every afternoon at 4:20 (when else?), the lounge hosts a happy hour, featuring free beer — a notch above Bud, but nothing locally brewed — wine and hors d'oeuvres. The bruschetta pairs well with a few tokes from the provided glassware, which includes a bong, several pipes, a dab rig and a nectar collector (with a brulée torch for both). Rolling papers are also provided.
Staff will start rolling a joint for you or show you how to use the dab gear, though the gentleman on staff the night of my stay was forthcoming with his limited joint-rolling skills.
The lounge features two televisions, a pool table and a small side room (with couch and TV) for more intimate smoking, and the lack of smoke lingering in the area speaks to how well the space is ventilated.
Upstairs is a yet-unfinished loft with cushioned seating and a stand with an acoustic guitar that will sing if you know how to ask, though it may never have seen proper humidity.
I spent my evening with a guest who stocked up on pot in Trinidad on his way into town. We passed a joint in the side room of the lounge and talked about nothing of consequence. Between my own supply and his generosity, I decided it prudent to end my evening early, though the smell of cookies in the oven sorely tempted me to remain.
Breakfast, served at 8:30 a.m., is continental, with fresh pastries and fruit, good coffee — all of it tasty. Of course, a few guests arrived before breakfast was served. I passed a pipe in the side room with a couple from Texas, who'd been smoking together for 30 years. They were thrilled to be staying in a cozy place where they could smoke openly and in peace.
That wake-and-bake conversation with them was a revelation. It would be easy to shake a stingy fist at the $149-per-night price for my hotel room. It would be easy to wish for an industrial waffle-maker or a cigarette roller for joints.
But for a curious tourist, how do you put a price on a comfortable first-toke experience?