Hyatt to open ‘on time, on budget,’ exec says
Almost half of the nearly 1,000 shares available in the new Hyatt Grand Aspen have been sold as the resort’s newest hotel prepares to open its doors a week from today.
The sales mark is one Hyatt executives were shooting for when the first timeshares in the Hyatt Vacation Club property went on the market nearly two years ago.
“We’ll be just under half sold by the time the doors open,” said Larry Shulman, vice president of Hyatt Vacation Ownership.
In fact, the Hyatt Grand Aspen has been the fastest selling property in the history of Hyatt Vacation Ownership, which now includes 12 resort properties, Aspen among them.
But if there has been a surprise in the development of the 50-suite timeshare hotel where the old Grand Aspen Hotel once stood on Dean Street near the base of Aspen Mountain, it hasn’t been on the sales end.
“We’re actually going to finish it on time and on budget,” said Shulman, dispelling rumors to the contrary.
The Hyatt is scheduled to welcome guests who have purchased holiday weeks in the suite of their choice on Saturday, Dec. 17, Shulman said.
“We will make our date, but I’m sure we’re going to burn some midnight oil getting it done,” he said.
A staff of 70 or so employees, to be overseen by general manager Vic Giannelli, has been hired. Meanwhile, a dozen or more Hyatt managers, including some from other Hyatt properties, are on hand to make sure the Aspen hotel is ready to go.
They’ve been working alongside up to 150 construction workers who are pushing the project toward completion.
Next weekend, the Hyatt will unveil what amounts to a five-star hotel in terms of its service, according to Giannelli.
The hotel won’t be quite full for Christmas, though.
Shares were sold in four phases and the fourth and final phase, put on the market in September, promised occupancy in 2006, leaving 13 suites that weren’t sold for Christmas 2005.
It was in response to demand that the fourth phase went on the market this year, Shulman added.
“We had not anticipated putting more than the first two phases up for sale prior to opening,” he said.
Buyers purchase a set week in a specific unit from among 20 peak weeks in the summer and winter. They are also guaranteed 10 floating days that can vary from year to year during the unassigned weeks.
Prices vary based on the size of the unit and the chosen week (Christmas/New Year’s packages sell for more). There are some one-bedroom suites and one four-bedroom residence; the bulk of the suites are two- and three-bedroom units.
Early on, developers touted the hotel as an Aspen vacation property that would be accessible to the middle class, and Shulman said the Hyatt has lived up to that claim.
On the low end, a share in a one-bedroom suite sold for less than $85,000 when sales began; it is now going for slightly less than $100,000, according to Shulman. Larger units are now in the mid-$300,000 range.
The single highest-priced share, in a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath suite that includes two weeks during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday plus 20 other days, went for almost $1 million.
“We sold that product literally 15 minutes after we released it,” Shulman said.
Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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