Wildwood Snowmass to become branded hotel | AspenTimes.com

Wildwood Snowmass to become branded hotel

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

For the first time in its 45-year history, the Wildwood Snowmass will soon fly under the flag of a major hotel brand, according to its new general manager.

HEI Hotels and Resorts took over the management of the Westin/Wildwood complex on the Snowmass Village Mall about one month ago. Jim Morrissey, now the general manager of the properties, said Oct. 24 that the owners were close to signing a contract with an affordable hotel brand that HEI works with in other locations.

On HEI's website, the Wildwood is listed under the Intercontinental Hotels Group, a collection of brands that includes Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts, Hualuxe, Hotel Indigo, Even Hotels, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.

"It will not be a Starwood branded property," Morrissey said. "It will be an affordable option to the Westin."

The exit of Starwood means that Starwood Preferred Guests, members of a popular rewards program, won't be able to redeem points at the Wildwood. They will still be able to do so at the Westin, however, because even though Starwood Hotels and Resorts is no longer managing the property, it still owns the Westin brand.

Wildwood will remain part of the hotel's name, Morrissey said, and the its two restaurants, The Bar at Wildwood and the Double Black Noodle Bar, will also stay.

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Bill Tomcich, president of reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass, said it's difficult to describe the Wildwood to potential guests and that a recognizable brand will be easier for his staff to sell.

"We're very excited about the likelihood of that happening," he said. "Right now Snowmass really doesn't have anything in terms of a well-recognized, affordable brand."

Staying open

The new management has decided to keep the Westin open throughout the fall offseason. It wants to continue to do that and is already trying to book group business for spring 2016. Staying open year-round depends on the hotel's "ability to book group or off-peak" business, Morrissey said.

Most of the businesses in the complex, including North Face, Patagonia, 81615 and Starbucks, are also open this fall.

Morrissey wants to see the Westin become the "anchor" hotel in Snowmass and the primary host lodge for groups and events, as when it was the Silvertree Hotel. He also wants to participate in community events and added that the Thanksgiving Community Potluck will once again be held in the Snowmass Conference Center.

"We are going to be outstanding community stewards," he said.

Most of the Westin/Wildwood executive team was replaced during the transition, except John Walters, who was director of group sales and has been promoted to director of sales. Some other staff members are staying on, and the hotels are in the process of recruiting its entry-level employees, Morrissey said.

jill@snowmasssun.com

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