Melville family of Aspen to buy Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs
Aspen’s Melville family is making another move on another hotel in Colorado, this one in Glenwood Springs.
Family spokesman Craig Melville said Thursday that Mountain Chalet Enterprises and its subsidiary, Historic Hotel Colorado LLC, plan to close on their acquisition of the famed Hotel Colorado on May 30.
“Obviously it’s an iconic property for Glenwood and very important to the community,” Melville said. “We like the uniqueness of the property, and we like being in Colorado in a resort community and especially in a ski town. That’s not quite Hotel Colorado’s business, but we like being in a resort town.”
The current owner of the Hotel Colorado is the Bastian family of Wichita, Kansas, through Glenwood Properties Inc.
If the deal closes as anticipated, the Melville family will have three hotels under its ownership.
In April 2017 it bought the 21-room Cristiana Guesthaus in Crested Butte for $1.7 million. Ralph Melville, Craig Melville’s father who died in February 2016, opened the Mountain Chalet, located near the base of the west side of Aspen Mountain, in 1954 with three guest rooms. By 2003 the modestly priced lodge expanded with a fourth- and fifth-floor addition, and it currently has 55 rooms and four two-bedroom apartments.
Craig Melville said changes will also be coming to the 140,000-square-foot, 134-guest-room Hotel Colorado, from capital improvements to bulking up the existing staff of roughly 80 employees.
“It does need work,” he said. “We are not going to close it, but over the next three to five years we have a number of projects.”
That includes adding a full air-conditioning system to the hotel, which currently has a limited amount of that comfort, he said. More parking also is needed for the hotel, which enjoys its busiest time of the year during the summers, Melville said. Upgrades also will be coming for the hotel’s restaurant and other amenities, he said.
General manager Christian Henny will remain at the helm, Melville said.
“We fully intend to use the current staff,” he said, adding that “the hotel probably has the most extensive conference facilities in Glenwood, but they have not been updated. That really needs some work. And within each room, there’s a lot of work to be done.”
David Storm, president and CEO of Providence Hospitality Partners, which operates the hotel, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Melville said his family pursued the Hotel Colorado while it was off-market. The Bastian family, who have owned the property for 28 years, had been in serious negotiations to sell the hotel to the owners of the neighboring Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. That deal collapsed about a week before it had been scheduled to close Jan. 31, 2017, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported.
At that time, Kjell Mitchell, CEO and president of Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, said in a prepared statement, “After extensive investigation and evaluation, the cost to fully renovate Hotel Colorado is simply prohibitive. We were very excited about the prospect to rejoin the two companies, but due to substantial increases in some very late-breaking cost estimates, our conclusion is the acquisition is not possible for us.”
Melville declined to reveal how much the purchase price is but expressed confidence the new ownership can turn around what has been an ailing hotel in recent years.
“We’re always looking to see what’s out there,” he said. “We’re sort of value shoppers looking for something that’s a good deal.”
Both the Hot Springs and Hotel Colorado were built by Aspen silver miner Walter Devereux, who opened the spa in 1888 and the lodge, which would go on to house such guests as presidents and one-time political allies Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, in 1893. Other guests included the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, Doc Holliday and Chicago crime boss Diamond Jack Alterie. Architect Edward Lippincott Tilton is said to have designed the Hotel Colorado in the spirit of Rome’s Villa de Medici.
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Onsite parking won out over a Turkish bath at a new lodge planned to be built across from City Market. Aspen’s elected officials didn’t want to burden the neighborhood with offsite parking for the new hotel.