Aspen St. Regis closure request clears planning and zoning board
The Aspen Times
The Aspen City Council will review the St. Regis Aspen Resort’s proposal to close during portions of the offseason after the Planning and Zoning Commission voted, 5-0, on Tuesday to approve the request.
On Sept. 10, citing low occupancy rates, lost wages for employees and maintenance needs, the 179-room hotel requested to amend its agreement with the city to close for two- to four-week periods during the spring and fall of 2014.
The Little Nell Hotel and Residences and the Hotel Jerome also shut down seasonally. In the memo, city staff states that it “can find no reason to deny the St. Regis the ability to do the same.”
A couple that owns a fractional interest at the St. Regis Residence Club initially voiced disapproval of the closures. In an email to Aspen Community Development, Tiffany Boydell, who has fractional ownership of a unit at the St. Regis with her husband Paul, wrote that offseason shutdowns would result in lost amenities, most importantly the closure of the restaurant.
Boydell has since spoken to St. Regis director Doug Hayes, who alleviated her concerns. To make up for the closed restaurant, the hotel will provide a lounge and in-room dining options. The spa will remain open to the public, while the pool and gym will remain available to fractional owners. The residents’ experience, Hayes said, will in no way be affected.
In the email, Boydell claimed that the offseason closures would result in lowered resale/rental value of their unit. The couple bought the two-bedroom, four-week fractional interest for $295,000. Its value has since decreased by about $100,000, according to the email. But Hayes said that is a result of the current Aspen market, an assessment Boydell was satisfied with.
Tim Pappas, another St. Regis fractional owner, sent an email to Community Development in support of the offseason closures. Pappas, who has been visiting Aspen twice annually since 1988, said the proposal seems reasonable, given the obvious lack of demand during offseasons.
“If the proposal is not approved, I would be concerned that the burden on the hotel from the slow off-season might result in increased fees for owners of the Residence Club, or a decline in the quality of the product,” Pappas wrote.
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Normalcy will be few and far between this ski season, so Aspen’s Simi Hamilton’s traditional slow start brought a sense of calm to a world that’s mostly in chaos at the moment.