It’s a member’s club. It’s a hotel. Chic, contemporary Clayton Members Club & Hotel sits within the walkable 16-block area of Denver’s Cherry Creek North, an enclave of upscale shopping and dining. Reminiscent of Soho House, a private club/hotel combo, the 63-room Clayton raises Denver’s hospitality bar.
To start, the staff is a cut above — professional and efficient, but also warm and genuine. No corporate cookie-cutter types here. Asked how Clayton achieves that, Ben Powers, director of sales, said, “We tell our hires to be professional first of all, but also to be authentically themselves. When you allow employees to be who they are, they’re happier employees.”
Among the most noticeable Clayton design elements is an abundance of contemporary local artwork — quirky, edgy and everything in between. The lobby reflects current hotel design trends with its emphasis on gathering/sitting spaces, including a pool table, and a de-emphasized front desk. A compact check-in area sits in the back of the lobby next to a dramatic staircase up to the second floor, where much of the members-only space is found, along with 4,500 square feet of meetings space.
Clayton is ideal for small corporate groups and leisure travelers who can’t leave work entirely behind. The second floor offers substantial co-working space, from a sunny terrace overlooking Cherry Creek and a daylight-infused adjacent sitting area to a private library, a cozy bar area and a room with multiple seating options including an expansive board table.
Although much of the second floor is for members only (as is the sixth-floor rooftop terrace, a pool, a bar and a restaurant) these spaces are open to hotel guests, who are treated as de facto members during their stay. Clayton offers a robust calendar of events and classes — fitness, yoga, business seminars, Tarot readings, whiskey and tequila tastings, fashion shows and more — which hotel guests can join. Events often fill early, so future guests should check the online calendar to see what’s happening during their stay.
The bulk of guestrooms are compact, 240 to 450 square feet, but cleverly designed. For those needing in-room workspace, the Clayton King, at about 300 square feet, features an L-shaped couch and a table with enough room to lay out work materials while leaving the rest of the room free of clutter.
A personal pet peeve is the annoying lack of full-length mirrors in hotel rooms these days — yes, we need to see that our shoes work with the whole outfit — so I appreciate the Clayton King’s freestanding full-length mirror, as well as the bedside wireless charging pad and complimentary Wi-Fi access.
Clayton calls its design aesthetic Denver modernism. In case you’re never heard of it, it brings “mid-century clean lines with layered colors, materials and textures that speak to Colorado's topography in all of our hotel rooms and suites.” The city even has its own Denver Modernism Week, so look for 2022 dates to learn more. Meanwhile, guests can experience an artful, vibrant version of Rocky Mountain modernism at Clayton Members Club & Hotel whenever they visit.
Something else you may never have heard of: California-Mediterranean as a culinary trend. But that’s what Chef Brandon Duley brings to the table at Clayton’s lobby-level, open-to-the-public restaurant, Of A Kind, an added gem in Cherry Creek’s dining scene. Warm woods and a bright airiness define the space, yet it still feels intimate.
Duley melds his California sensibilities — a substantial number of raw items, fresh or charred salads and veggies sustainably produced and locally procured — with his obvious passion for Mediterranean cuisine. The current menu features a deeply satisfying appetizer of labneh with blackberry currant gastrique on wood-fired pita. Small plates include ricotta gnocchi and braised meatballs, while mains run from grilled branzino and turmeric confit organic half chicken to dry-aged bone-in ribeye or berbere-crusted lamb steak. Social hour, Tuesday through Friday from 4-6 p.m., offers a menu of small plates accompanied by curated cocktails, wine or local beer.
Less impressive is OAK Market across the lobby, a daytime coffee shop/deli combo with breakfast and lunch items. Alas, my Americano was watery and my everything bagel lacked flavor. The croissants looked good; maybe I simply made the wrong choice.
Where Clayton stands utterly apart is in its founding principles of inclusion, respect and kindness. A Culture Guide in guestrooms states: “We have a zero-tolerance policy for racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, bullying and any other behavior that fails to honor and respect each and every person.”
Hotel guests are expected to honor these principles just as members do. Maybe that’s a lofty reach for a hotel. Or maybe it’s the blueprint for a community made better by its residents and visitors.
Clayton Members Club & Hotel