Catching Vail’s vibe |

Catching Vail’s vibe

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado

VAIL ” You could do a couple of things at The Tryst at the top of Bridge Street.

Most people ” albeit people who can afford a bucks-up trip to Vail ” would use the large studio condo for an intimate mountain getaway for two, and only two.

Or you could use the place make a splashy introduction. Tommy Hoffman used The Tryst recently to acquaint local real estate brokers and others to what he claims is a new idea in Vail Valley real estate: A company ” four companies, actually ” that can take a family from renting a condo to buying a place, with concierge and mortgage companies also included in the package.

The company’s Web site,, can guide visitors to rentals or for-sale units, and has links to dining and other local activities.

“Everybody who owns a home in Vail today came here first on vacation,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman is one of those people. After a few ski vacations, Hoffman bought a condo in Crossroads, and, after settling in the valley full-time, used the Vail condo as a rental property.

“After a few years I decided i could do a better job with it than people I had, and that’s how the idea was born,” Hoffman said.

Over several years of building a rental reservation business, Hoffman started looking into the burgeoning world of “fractional” ownership, in which customers buy part of a property to use certain times of the year.

That market in Vail is big and getting bigger. There are now 12 fractional ownership clubs in Vail alone, with three more on the way. Every one of those projects has its own sales staff.

Hoffman’s idea is to position his company as a kind of clearinghouse for people interested in fractional ownership.

“The prices per square foot for property is just getting out of hand,” Vail Beaver Creek Luxury Properties broker Jeff Cerovich said. “Fractional clubs can get people into property here.”

The Tryst

But most buyers rent first. Anyone who rents The Tryst will get a treat.

Hoffman’s rental branch has bunches of homes, condos and hotel rooms available, but the Tryst may be unique. It used to the The Sanctuary annex to The Tap Room at the top of Bridge Street. It’s now a high-end bungalow.

The deck off the sleeping area ” a half-wall separates the bed from the rest of the unit ” opens to views toward Vail Village and the hills north of town. Guests can also get up and wander out to the hot tub.

Another deck on the south side of the unit has views up Vail Mountain.

In between is hardwood, brushed aluminum and modernity.

“It’s gorgeous,” said Kelly McDowell of the Keller Williams office in Vail. “This is really special.”

Steve Katz has lived in Vail since Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home in New Orleans. Sitting in the dining nook with its chairs with black straw backs, Katz said

The Tryst is something different for Vail.

“It almost seems more Aspen than Vail,” Katz said of the condo. “It’s kind of like a place on 5th Avenue (in New York City). “You make the most of your location.”

Touches in the kitchen ” reportedly a $200,000 item ” include the latest in appliances, including an automatic capuccino that requires only that a sleepy guest put a cup under the nozzle.

“If this (The Tryst) is in their repertoire, they’re going to do well,” McDowell said.

Filling a niche

At the broker’s reception at the Tryst, some of the guests said Hoffman’s idea has promise.

“It’s an interesting idea,” McDowell said. “I need to learn more about it.”

Cerovich said part of his company’s plan is to work with other brokers, at both fractional ownership clubs and those selling “whole interest” property.

By positioning the company as an expert source for all kinds of fractional clubs ” and most are different ” Cerovich said Vail Beaver Creek Luxury Properties can deliver potential buyers to clubs who are very nearly ready to buy.

Working with brokers who sell whole ownership property can also be a benefit to sellers, Cerovich said.

“We can go through a broker’s lists of buyers who just couldn’t make it into a whole ownership unit and try to find a fractional for them,” Cerovich said. “That can kind of revive a part of a broker’s customer list.”

So far, the idea of turning renters into buyers seems to be working.

“I’ve shown units at Pikin Creek and at the Arrabelle,” Cerovich said. “So we’ve got the whole range represented there.”

Support Local Journalism