The idea of “hotel and Vespa” is not new, but it is largely limited outside of the United States. This is surprising given the popularity of not only Vespas but also other two-wheeler manufacturers in the United States, especially over the past five years.
If you are heading to Bali, for example, RoomAndVespa.com offers its guests a splendid independent suite, a communal swimming pool and the option of a Vespa scooter to accompany it. After spending three months in Bali and seeing every inch of it from the monkey forest to the bat caves, I will say that there is no better way to see this island than on a scooter.
If for some reason you find yourself in Vietnam, JourneyWonders.com will provide you with accommodation, wheels, and point you in the right direction in terms of tourism.
There is only one hotel in the US offering Vespas, however – the Halcyon – A hotel in Cherry Creek, located in the chic Cherry Creek section of Denver.
If you’re a veteran scooter whiz, you don’t need to know how much fun it is to check into property in a city and ride a two-wheeler in such and such a neighborhood. A zip-zip around traffic, you can park (almost) where you want to get in and out of stores, and you can stash anything you can buy under the seat or in your backpack.
A Vespa is almost as easy to use as a bicycle and just as fun. Yes, you will need some basic balance in your DNA, but based on my testing on around 14 of them it’s almost impossible to switch – that’s how well balanced it is. It’s also powerful but without the jackrabbit acceleration that puts people off with two wheels and a motor. Finally, it’s as elegant as a pair of Gucci shoes or an Armani suit; we feel classy on tour.
And why not? Launched in 1946 in Italy, Vespa became a part of pop culture almost immediately, aided in part by its appearance in “Roman Holiday”, the 1953 romantic comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. The vespas were also relatively inexpensive and they looked good; the name means “wasp” in Italian. Although machines never completely disappeared in the United States, a fiery revival in 2001 brought them back to the public eye. That’s when I first encountered the Vespa, pushing them all over Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Inwood and Riverdale from 2001 to 2009 and finding them a great alternative to cars. and motorcycles.
And the Halcyon?
You will be pleasantly surprised by its unique touches, among which:
* An LP player in each room, complete with 33 and 1/3 classic rock canon records.
* Free espresso and coffee drinks in the lobby at all times of the day and night, and continental breakfast.
* A “gear garage” where customers can pick up a bike, backpacks and other matching action-oriented items.
* A beautiful rooftop pool with views of the Rockies.
There are also dozens of restaurants in the upscale Cherry Creek section of Denver, but you’ll want to try dining at Local Jones, just off the lobby. Their brand new eclectic menu features masterpieces such as smoked octopus, beet humuus, leek fritter, crispy alamossa and more.