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Holiday Sweets: The Story of the Gingerbread Coffee Shop at Hotel Colorado

Normally, gingerbread is a holiday staple that makes an appearance on Christmas cookie trays. At Hotel Colorado, however, in a version scaled up to life-sized proportions, the molasses-based confection transforms Legend’s Coffee & Gift Shop in the lobby into a sweet spot for coffee, pastries and holiday shopping. 

Locating Legend’s is easy, just follow your nose. The unmistakable scent of gingerbread is captivating, beckoning one and all to find the source of the delicious aroma. The sight of it is equally delightful. During the holidays, the walls surrounding the hotel coffee shop are covered in “bricks” made from real gingerbread and held together with a mortar of thick white icing. 

The large-scale gingerbread tradition started in 2010, inspired by the coffee and gift shop manager at the time, Cathy Jackson. The location of the original gingerbread house was near the suite at the northeast end of the hallway on the ground floor. Visitors were so charmed by the giant gingerbread structure that the following year Cathy suggested making the coffee shop the focal point instead. Gingerbread has adorned the exterior of Legends’ Coffee & Gift Shop at Christmastime ever since.

“Everybody loved it and we started doing it every year. It smelled so good and brought customers into the shop. In the assembly, lots of people were always involved. Our food and beverage team made the dough and baked the bricks. The folks in the maintenance department helped put the bricks on plywood fixed to the wall. People are always amazed to learn that it’s real icing between the gingerbread bricks,” Cathy said. 

While Cathy has since moved away, the tradition that began over a decade ago remains as fresh as a batch of holiday cookies just out of the oven. The enormous display requires big-batch baking. It uses a whopping 311 pounds of gingerbread dough and 8 gallons of frosting! Constructing the giant gingerbread surround is a feat that takes a crew of four approximately one week to bake and build.

Is it worth the effort? “Absolutely,” said Taylor Thulson, marketing manager for Hotel Colorado. “Our ground floor lobby is filled with large-scale holiday décor, but it’s our gingerbread coffee shop that takes the cake. It’s irresistible to people of all ages!”

We bet you won’t be able to resist either. Stop in Legends Coffee & Gift Shop for java made by expertly trained baristas, homemade pastries and small-eats, cuddly teddy bears, Hotel Colorado ornaments, gift cards and other items that make perfect last-minute presents. 

For holiday dreams as sweet as gingerbread 

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