Melville family of Aspen to buy Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs
Aspen’s Melville family is making another move on another hotel in Colorado, this time involving the 124-year-old Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs.
Family spokesman Craig Melville said Thursday that Mountain Chalet Enterprises and its subsidiary Historic Hotel Colorado LLC plan to close on their acquisition of the famed hotel on May 30.
“Obviously it’s an iconic property for Glenwood and very important to the community,” Melville said. “We like the uniqueness of the property, and we like being in Colorado in a resort community and especially in a ski town. That’s not quite Hotel Colorado’s business, but we like being in a resort town.”
The move comes a year and four months after a previous effort to buy the property by the owners of the neighboring Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge and Pool. That deal fell through a week before the scheduled closing in January 2017.
The current owner of the Hotel Colorado is the Bastian family of Wichita, Kansas, through Glenwood Properties Inc. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If the deal closes as anticipated, the Melville family will have three hotels under its ownership.
In April 2017, it bought the 21-room Cristiana Guesthaus in Crested Butte for $1.7 million. Ralph Melville, Craig Melville’s father who died in February 2016, opened the Mountain Chalet, located near the base of the west side of Aspen Mountain, in 1954 with three guest rooms. By 2003 the modestly priced lodge expanded with a fourth- and fifth-floor addition, and it currently has 55 rooms and four two-bedroom apartments.
Craig Melville said changes will also be coming to the 140,000-square-foot, 134-guest-room Hotel Colorado, from capital improvements to bulking up the existing staff of roughly 80 employees.
“It does need work,” he said. “We are not going to close it, but over the next three to five years we have a number of projects.”
That includes adding a full air-conditioning system to the hotel, which currently has a limited amount of that comfort, he said. More parking is also needed for the hotel, which enjoys its busiest time of the year during the summers, Melville said. Upgrades also will be coming for the hotel’s restaurant and other amenities, he said.
Current General Manager Christian Henny will remain at the helm, Melville said.
“We fully intend to use the current staff,” he said, adding that “the hotel probably has the most extensive conference facilities in Glenwood, but they have not been updated. That really needs some work. And within each room, there’s a lot of work to be done.”
David Storm, president and CEO of Providence Hospitality Partners, which operates the hotel, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Melville said his family pursued Hotel Colorado while it was off-market. The Bastian family, who have owned the property for 28 years, had been in serious negotiations in late 2016 and early 2017 to sell the hotel to the owners of the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. That deal collapsed about a week before it had been scheduled to close Jan. 31, 2017.
At that time, Kjell Mitchell, CEO and president of Glenwood Hot Springs Pool said in a prepared statement, “After extensive investigation and evaluation, the cost to fully renovate Hotel Colorado is simply prohibitive. We were very excited about the prospect to rejoin the two companies, but due to substantial increases in some very late-breaking cost estimates, our conclusion is the acquisition is not possible for us.”
Had the deal gone through, the plan was to close the hotel for the better part of 2017 while major renovations were being done. When it didn’t, Providence had to scramble to re-sign tenants in some of the leased commercial spaces and line up regular conferences and events that take place at the Hotel Colorado each year.
Melville declined to reveal how much the purchase price is but expressed confidence the new ownership can turn around what he said has been an ailing hotel in recent years.
“We’re always looking to see what’s out there,” he said. “We’re sort of value shoppers looking for something that’s a good deal.”
Both the Hot Springs and Hotel Colorado were built by Aspen silver miner Walter Devereux, who opened the spa in 1888 and the lodge, which would go on to house such guests as presidents and one-time political allies Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, in 1893. Other guests included the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, Doc Holliday and Chicago crime boss Diamond Jack Alterie. Architect Edward Lippincott Tilton is said to have designed the Hotel Colorado in the spirit of Rome’s Villa de Medici.