Times are a changing. In Crested Butte, Colorado, where I live and work, two longtime businesses have recently changed ownership or management (including Cristiana Guesthaus, a European-style inn) or are morphing into something new. I also discovered that our friendly community chiropractic office and has a new location in hip new digs down the street. Just like in communities, things rarely stay the same in the meetings and events industry, but this is especially true here and now in regard to Colorado’s lodging sector.
For many months, we have been sharing news about new hotels on the horizon and significant property renovations underway to spruce up and stay relevant for leisure and business travelers. I’ve made it a point to visit several new and newly renovated properties in March and April, and one of our regular contributors, Denver-based writer Eric Peterson, has penned a timely “Colorado Hotel Boom” feature for our summer issue, which will be available in June.
The three properties I visited are quite different than one another but also have a few things in common: stellar locations, experiences or features that make guests and groups take notice, and friendly staff.
A property-wide refresh is greeting groups and all guests at St Julien Hotel & Spa that accesses downtown Boulder’s bustling Pearl Street through a cool alleyway. Everything from soft goods and furniture in the hotel’s lobby, carpeting in meeting rooms and seating in Jill’s Restaurant and T-Zero Lounge to the lounge in the Spa at St Julien and mattresses, drapery, carpeting and more in guestrooms. In addition to a prime location, St Julien is known for its rotating local artist program and live, local music offered on weekends year-round as well as five nights per week in summer. The lobby was filled with locals and visitors on both the Friday and Saturday nights when we were there, and one feature I love is the indoor swimming pool that makes you feel like you are on vacation instead of relegated to a windowless and too-small room in the hotel. The grand entrance and spacious patio area off the back were stunning with flowers of spring, including an abundance of colorful tulips that matched the equally impressive display on Pearl Street.
Traveling with teenagers always gives me a new perspective, and this time I had three along. While I was heading to meetings, they explored downtown on foot and caught the handy and inexpensive train at nearby Denver Union Station to Denver International Airport for a flight to Texas. First, we had an overnight stay at The Maven that had opened only two weeks prior. What immediately caught our attention and set off a Snapchat flurry were a huge hand sculpture dangling from the lobby ceiling, a silver camper/food truck permanently parked outside the new outpost of Kachina Southwestern Grill, an elevator adorned with artsy walls, and funky circular chairs hanging in front of the elevators on lodging floors. This Sage Hospitality property, located on the corner of 19th & Wazee Streets, is part of downtown Denver’s new Dairy Block. Groups will appreciate The Maven’s 172 guest rooms, Poka Lola Social Club, and 2,300-square-foot ballroom that can be split into two spaces; features hardwood floors, exposed brick and wood walls and a stage; and has garage doors that open onto The Alley, which will house Colorado retailers, artisans, chefs and cocktail crafters when completed.
Denver’s thriving Union Station neighborhood in LoDo added another feather in its cap with the addition of Hotel Indigo Denver in early 2017. The 180-room, LEED-certified boutique hotel has nearly 1,200 square feet of meeting and event space (and possibly more in the future) that accommodates groups of up to 200 and artwork that evokes memories of the Colorado gold rush, which put Denver on the map. Hotel Indigo’s guest rooms feature hardwood floors, polished concrete ceilings, interior sliding barn doors, spa-inspired showers and murals depicting Denver, the Rocky Mountains and Colorado’s Front Range. The hotel is pet-friendly, offering treats, canine cocktail hours and dog-walking services. Guests (including me) were loving the property’s canine ambassador Barkley, a friendly golden retriever hanging out in the beautiful wood-lined lobby rotunda. Like The Maven, this property is out-of-the-box, and I especially like the industrial-style décor, great windows and unique menu at Hearth & Dram restaurant and bar.
I look forward to seeing a whole slew of other new hotels and major property renovations in 2017; it might just take a while make the circuit during this unprecedented Colorado hotel boom.