Right on the river near downtown, Murphy's River Lodge is a fully renovated motel far enough off the road to take in the Rocky Mountain atmosphere. A picnic area along the water's edge has fire pits, grills, and visiting elk. The rooms are large, and many have balconies overlooking the river, though they're close to neighboring rooms with just a small privacy wall. It's a good value as a budget-friendly spot that's within walking distance to downtown but still has surrounding mountain views. Murphy's Resort at Estes Park is a sister property with slightly lower rates, but it's in a more remote location near Lake Estes.
Though it's a motel that dates back to 1983, Murphy's River Lodge was renovated in 2011, and its rustic, partial log construction will never look dated in the Rocky Mountains. A giant rocking chair sits outside on the lawn, where guests are encouraged to get their pictures taken. The sound of the river rushing drowns out most of the traffic noise. The small, pinewood main office is decorated with posters advertising local events. Shelves of free DVDs that guests can rent take up most of the room.
Murphy's River Lodge is in an enviable location on the river, just a five-minute drive to Rocky Mountain National Park. It's close to downtown and many attractions -- the Wapiti Colorado Pub, Danish Cone Factory, Wild Rose, Grubsteak, Bob and Tony’s Pizza, Lonigans Famous Pub -- are all within walking distance. Shopping, organic markets, and the Riverpointe Spa are also within a five-minute walk. Denver International Airport is an hour and 35-minute drive.
Renovated in 2011, the large motel-style rooms have held up well with a contemporary decor of earth tones with some muted pastel accents. In some rooms the natural wood dressers and bedside tables share the space with stylish black sitting chairs, and the incongruity gives the impression that the chairs are in the wrong hotel or that an overhaul of the decor is partly underway. Not all rooms are on the river, and the walls between the balconies are low enough to compromise privacy. Bathroom space has been sacrificed for larger vanities, making them feel cramped, but extra room for personal belongings is a trade-off many would likely make. The shower/tub combos are standard issue, with shampoo and soap dispensers. Mini-fridges, microwaves, coffeemakers, and 32-inch flat-screen TVs are in all rooms, with full kitchens available in larger condo-style rooms.
The Fall River is naturally the best feature here, and trout fishing is a popular activity. The riverfront picnic area has a variety of outdoor lounge furniture, wooden bench swings, and picnic tables with fire pits and barbecue grills, along with visiting elk. There's no restaurant or bar, but a continental breakfast is free and is served in the large breakfast room that also has a full kitchen available for guests' use. A window-lined space that's part atrium houses the heated indoor pool and hot tub for year-round soaking. In addition to the free literature and area information, the main office has a large DVD library and a single computer with a printer.
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