Holiday Inn Express coming to Snowmass | AspenTimes.com

Holiday Inn Express coming to Snowmass

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times

The Wildwood Snowmass hotel, remodeled in 2012, will reopen this winter as the Holiday Inn Express Snowmass Village.

The Wildwood Snowmass hotel will reopen this winter as the Holiday Inn Express Snowmass Village, its general manager said Monday.

Jim Morrissey, the Westin/Wildwood complex's new general manager, said last week that the 45-year-old lodge would adopt a major, affordable hotel brand. As of Monday, a license agreement had been signed with Holiday Inn Express, and the new hotel is tentatively scheduled to have a soft opening Dec. 11, with all rooms open by Dec. 15.

Holiday Inn Express is one of several brands under the umbrella of the InterContinental Hotels Group, an organization that HEI Hotels and Resorts partners with in one other location. HEI replaced Starwood Hotels and Resorts as the manager of the Westin and Wildwood in September.

Some village residents and business owners responded with a laugh to the news of a Holiday Inn Express coming to the upper mall. But most had positive things to say, thinking that the new hotel will draw more guests because of the brand's familiarity and affordability.

"It's certainly a more recognizable name than Wildwood," said P.J. Smith, manager of Gene Taylor's Sporting Goods on the mall. "I hope it's a positive thing for the village and I hope it's a positive thing for the owners."

Reed Lewis, owner of three businesses on the mall, said the new hotel might draw guests who haven't been able to stay in Snowmass Village in recent years because of higher rates.

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"I think that the addition of Holiday Inn, while not exactly the level of branding that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Snowmass, may put us on the radar of a clientele who's perhaps been alienated since the late '90s," Lewis said.

Fred Brodsky, group sales director for Snowmass Tourism, said it will be easier for him to book groups into the complex now because there will be two distinct price points available.

"I think it's terrific," Brodsky said. "You know what you're getting. There's a certain brand standard and there are no surprises. … Plus, it brings another major hotel brand into the market, which expands our reach."

Starwood's rewards program has been successful at drawing guests to the Westin, and he expects that InterContinental Hotel Group's points system will do the same at the Holiday Inn, he said. The InterContinental Hotel Group also includes the more luxury brand Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts as well as Crowne Plaza and Candlewood Suites in its portfolio.

"It's opened up a new market," Brodsky said. "I think this is huge."

Snowmass Village is not the only high-end ski town to offer a Holiday Inn option. Vail has a Holiday Inn, and there is a Holiday Inn Express in Park City, Utah.

As of Sept. 30, there were more than 2,300 Holiday Inn Express locations worldwide, according to the InterContinental Hotels Group website.

jill@snowmasssun.com

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