Whiskey Rocks’ last call
Whiskey Rocks, a popular local watering hole, has poured its last cocktail at the St. Regis Aspen.
With the closing of the luxury hotel this week to begin work on a $37 million renovation project, the bar’s owners decided it was time to go, according to Richard McLennan, St. Regis general manager.
Midnight Oil Co. in New York owns Whiskey Rocks, part of a chain of bars nationwide, and leased space in the Aspen hotel. The company is owned by Rande Gerber, husband of supermodel Cindy Crawford.
The Aspen bar was popular for its apres-ski scene, live music and Monday night open-mike sessions. In a letter to the editor, Gerber expressed hope that the bar can rematerialize at another Aspen locale. (The letter appears on page A12).
“They actually had a very successful winter season,” McLennan said.
But starting today, construction crews will be gutting the east wing of the hotel, right above the bar’s ceiling, to make way for 25 new suites that are being sold in fractional shares.
The St. Regis and Midnight Oil agreed the construction, which will continue until December, would not be conducive to operation of the bar, McLennan said.
The St. Regis will remain closed until June 1 to accommodate the interior demolition work. Construction will continue throughout the summer, while the hotel is open. The former Whiskey Rocks space will be available, as construction permits, for private functions.
Currently, there are no plans to replace the bar with a new establishment when renovation of the St. Regis is complete.
“It won’t be a standard, walk-in bar like it was before, but will be available for functions and private events,” McLennan said.
The hotel’s renovation will convert 98 guest rooms in the east wing into the St. Regis Aspen Residence Club, to be sold in fractional shares, and create a new, 15,000-square-foot spa in the basement. In addition, 20 additional guest rooms and suites will be constructed within existing, unfinished space elsewhere in the hotel. The renovations are scheduled to be complete by Dec. 1.
The last of this winter’s guests checked out of the hotel Thursday morning, and the hotel closed for the spring. Guest-room furnishings from the soon-to-be renovated east wing were stacked in the basement ballroom, where the hotel’s 400-or-so employees have been purchasing the furniture, lamps, televisions, etc. at bargain prices – large armoires for $50, for example.
“There have been more pickup trucks driving out of the hotel in the last two days than you can imagine,” McLennan said.
The hotel donated $25,000 worth of fitness equipment to Basalt High School.
The St. Regis will close again in the fall to wrap up the renovations. Furnishings, carpeting and draperies in all of the remaining guest rooms will be replaced then.
Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that a limited-liability company has proper standing to sue the city of Aspen over its affordable-housing fees.