The idea of “hotel and Vespa” isn’t new, but it’s largely limited to outside the United States. That’s surprising given the popularity of not only Vespas but other makers of two-wheelers in the U.S., particularly in the last five years.
If you’re Bali-bound, for instance, RoomAndVespa.com offers guests a splendid self-contained suite, a shared swimming pool and the option of a Vespa scooter to go with it. Having spent three months in Bali and seeing every inch of it from the monkey forest to the bat caves, I’ll say there is no better way to see this island than by scooter.
If for some reason you find yourself in Vietnam, JourneyWonders.com will set you up with accomodations, the wheels, and steer you in the right direction tourist-wise.
There is only one hotel in the U.S.A. offering Vespas, though – 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 be told how much fun it is to check into a property in a city and get rolling on a two-wheeler to this or that neighborhood. One zips-zips around traffic, you can park (almost) wherever you wish to dash in and out of stores, and you can store whatever you may buy under the seat, or in your backpack.
A Vespa is practically as simple to operate as a bicycle, and as much fun. Yes, you’ll need some basic equilibrium in your DNA, but based on my tests of about 14 of ‘em, it’s almost impossible to tip over – that’s how well-balanced it is. It’s also powerful but without the jackrabbit acceleration that puts people off anything with two wheels and an engine. Finally, it’s as stylish as a pair of Gucci shoes or Armani Suit; one feels classy whilst touring.
And why not? Launched in 1946 in Italy, Vespa became a part of pop culture almost immediately, helped in part by its appearance in “Roman Holiday,” the 1953 rom-com starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Vespas were also relatively inexpensive and they looked great; the name means “wasp” in Italian. Though the machines never completely disappeared in the United States, a spirited 2001 relaunch brought them back into the public eye. That’s when I first met the Vespa, pushing them all over Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Inwood and Riverdale from 2001-2009 and finding them a great alternative to both cars and motorcycles.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at its singular touches, which include:
*An LP player in each room, complete with 33 and 1/3 discs from the classic rock canon.
*Free espresso and coffee drinks in the lobby at all hours of the day and night, and a continental breakfast.
*A “Gear garage” where guests can procure a bicycle, backpacks and other assorted action-oriented items.
*A lovely rooftop pool overlooking the Rockies.
There are dozens of eateries in the swank section of Denver’s Cherry Creek, too, but you’ll want to try dinner at Local Jones, right off the lobby. Their all-new and eclectic menu features such masterpieces as smoked octopus, beet humuus, leek fritter, crispy alamossa bass and so much more.