Glenwood Springs historic Hotel Colorado under new ownership

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Craig Melville stands near the Hotel Colorado courtyard on Friday afternoon. The Melville family officially became the owners the historic hotel on Wednesday, May 30.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

As of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Aspen’s Melville family officially became the owners of Glenwood Springs’ historic icon Hotel Colorado.

The Melvilles aren’t strangers to the business; they have owned and operated popular getaways in the Roaring Fork Valley for generations, beginning with Aspen’s Mountain Chalet in 1954.

“Our family has continually owned and run that property. It’s always been managed by one of us,” family spokesman Craig Melville said.

The family also recently acquired the Cristiana Guesthaus bed and breakfast lodge in Crested Butte. Craig Melville’s niece and her husband run that property.

The Mountain Chalet has 60 rooms and the Cristiana Guesthaus 21. Hotel Colorado’s size and scope are completely different.

The Melvilles purchased the Hotel Colorado, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, from the Bastian family of Wichita, Kansas.

The change of hands comes 16 months after a previous effort by the owners of the neighboring Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge and Pool to buy the hotel. That deal fell through a week before the scheduled closing in January 2017.

“This was a big jump. We’ve gone from a 60-unit place that has minimal food and beverage to a 130-room property that’s been around for 125 years and has a lot of conference and food and beverage,” Melville said.

The family hired an expert, Scott Anderson, to aid in the transition. He started off in the industry as a bellman and lifeguard. He worked his way up the ladder to being in charge of transportation, security, housing and more for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

The Melvilles intend to make steady enhancements to the hotel over a three- to five-year period. He said they intend to add air conditioning and parking, improve guest rooms and conference space and utilize unused space, such as exercise facilities or restaurants.

Though many improvements are on the wishlist, the new owners will not gut the historic property. Had the Hot Springs deal proceeded, the plan was to close the hotel for the better part of a year in order to do an extensive remodel. That meant employees were given notice and offered severance pay, and commercial tenants were informed that they would need to vacate.

“Let’s essentially keep it the same but start staggering some improvements,” Melville said of the new owners’ plans.

The Melvilles will create a model room as a test, so they can establish what they want the guest experience to look like. They will then implement the changes in the guest rooms.

Operational jobs will be preserved, he said.

“At this point, we are keeping 100 percent of the operational people. Everybody from the GM down is staying,” Melville said. “They need to ramp up in the summertime always just because of the nature of that business.”

The family also hopes to build the existing conference business and attract more such events in the fall, winter and spring.

“It’s an amazing hotel. It’s a true iconic hotel,” Melville said. “The privilege to be able to take over a hotel like that is amazing.”