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Business Monday: Mountain Chalet Aspen will remain open this summer, fall

Melville family will continue to operate 60-room hotel as new owners contemplate renovation

Mountain Chalet night manager and head of maintenance Kathy Cipriano hangs a new flag of El Salvador on the rooftop of the lodge alongside flags of the other sister cities in Aspen on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The Mountain Chalet Aspen will continue to be operated by the Melville family through at least October, leaving its 60 guest rooms in the local lodging inventory for the foreseeable future.

The Melville family, which sold the 68-year-old building a year ago, had an operating agreement with the new owners to run the property until May 18.

Lodge manager Craig Melville said last week that he is negotiations to extend the operating agreement and lease until at least Oct. 31.



The family sold the hotel for $68 million to a partnership group, led by Zach Kupperman and Larry McGuire. The Melvilles will continue to have some ownership stake in the new partnership.

“There was some possibility that we would continue to operate it,” Melville said. “When they do take over it will be when they are ready to remodel.”




He added that he has been informing guests about the continued management and operation by his family and has been taking reservations for the summer.

The Mountain Chalet is one of the last affordable places to stay in Aspen, with room rates in the summer ranging from $134 to $450 a night depending on size, and in the offseason around $150.

McGuire is co-founder and managing partner of Austin, Texas-based McGuire Moorman Hospitality.

McGuire’s firm, which specializes in the development and management of restaurants and hotels, made its mark on Aspen in 2017 when he opened Clark’s Oyster Bar on Hyman Avenue.

Kupperman is the founder of New Orleans-based Kupperman Companies, which develops and invests in boutique hotels and other real estate assets.

The chalet will continue to be independently owned and will be operated by McGuire Moorman Hospitality.

Kupperman declined to say when the group will be ready to renovate the 47,000-square-foot building but said in the meantime, the hotel is in good hands.

Mountain Chalet owner Marian Melville and son, general manager, Craig Melville sit in a room in the lodge in Aspen on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

“We love Craig and the Melville family and they have done a great job operating it and will continue to for the foreseeable future,” Kupperman said.

Amy Simon, the city’s planning director, said last week via email that there is an application filed from the new owners to make minor amendments to the remaining development rights that the Melvilles were approved for, but didn’t build.

City officials are working on determining if the application is ready to proceed.

The redevelopment team includes Kupperman, McGuire, the Melvilles and partners Elle Florescu, Tom Moorman and Liz Lambert.

The patriarch of the family, Ralph Melville who passed away in 2016, built the original lodge in 1954 and opened with three rooms.

What won’t be open for the foreseeable future on the property is the fifth-floor bar because the city of Aspen last month red-tagged the property for an inoperable lift giving access to the space.

The city gave a deadline of March 18 to repair it but Melville said getting a contractor and the necessary parts will take at least a month so he closed the bar on March 19.

“It’s not going to be open for the rest of the season,” Melville said. “It’s a pretty major fix.”

csackariason@aspentimes.com


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