Park Hyatt Beaver Creek celebrates its 25th | VailDaily.com

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek celebrates its 25th

In November 1987, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek was still under construction on a spot that used to be a potato and lettuce farm.
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Hyatt’s 25 Random Acts of Hospitality

As part of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek’s 25th anniversary, they’re doing 25 Random Acts of Hospitality.

They’ll be posting a clue and hiding a voucher somewhere in Beaver Creek Village for 25 days in a row beginning Dec. 1. The first person to follow the clue and find the voucher should take to the Hyatt. Prizes ranging from ski gear, to spa treatments, to gift cards, to restaurants. Each person can only win once.

These are the remaining clues and the dates on which they’ll be posted:

Dec. 3: He sits and smiles, while reliving the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

Dec. 4: Learn to take a magical ride.

Dec. 5: The flag for the sister resort to Beaver Creek waves here.

Dec. 6: How many days and counting?

Dec. 7: Where Dorothy and her little dog will be on Dec. 12?

Dec. 8: Where the coyotes howl?

Dec. 9: It’s all relative to this wild haired scientist.

Dec. 10: You can get your couture outfit and much more here.

Dec. 11: Saddle up because this will get you to the tubing hill in no time.

Dec. 12: This is where the “water girl” can go to fill her basket.

Dec. 13: This flag waves in the mountain air celebrating a win of the 2014 Winter Olympics in hockey.

Dec. 14: Where you pay to get lifted.

Dec. 15: Where our state flag waves saying hello to all of those who arrive.

Dec. 16: This will light up the night here in Beaver Creek.

Dec. 17: This hall is fit for a president and one of the oldest buildings up here.

Dec. 18: This founding father sits here while reviewing his declaration.

Dec. 19: This is where you’d go to get the gear to be cutting edge.

Dec. 20: Are you ready for some more?

Dec. 21: You’re not exactly roughing it when your boots are kept warm here.

Dec. 22: There are five of these to relax in after a long day of skiing.

Dec. 23: Try it out; will you turn into a prince or a frog after a kiss.

Dec. 24: Watch the water spring and bounce here and there at the...

Dec. 25: Get candy at the combo?

A quarter century ago, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa was a gleam in Harry Frampton’s eye.

There wasn’t much up there 25 years ago. The Post Montagne was there and a few other things. The Beaver Creek tennis bubble was gone. It wasn’t that many years before that the Hyatt site was a lettuce and potato farm.

“You didn’t have to be very smart to figure out that there was a need for a hotel,” Frampton said. “It was a huge void.”

He sat down with Beaver Creek ski company’s new owner, George Gillett, and company president Mike Shannon to talk about a hotel.

“It made financial sense and Mike understood that. If they built a hotel, it would drive skier numbers incrementally by 60,000 to 70,000 a year,” Frampton said.

They made a deal, with the ski company providing the land for the hotel, parking in the structure and making the conference center part of the hotel.

“The genius of George and Mike was that they understood they needed a hotel there,” Frampton said. “They got more skiers and their land became more valuable. It worked for us because we were able to get the hotel built.”

The hotel now employs 300 people and has been in business for 25 years. The first guest stayed there Dec. 1, 1989.

Becki Phelan, Carolyn Knudsen, Patty Eckert and Rhome Bumpas helped the Hyatt open and liked it so much they stayed. Tom Puntel has been around for most of it. That handful of core employees has been at the hotel for decades now, and they love it as much as ever.

The Hyatt has been renovated a few times and some other changes have come and gone, and yes, it’s beautiful. But here’s the thing. They really are happy to see you.

It’s like Dan Jenkins’s descriptions of great golf courses: “At a great golf course, the kid in the beverage cart never gets more than three holes away from you.”

Try to wander through the Park Hyatt without someone smiling at you and asking how you’re doing and if you need anything.

“We really do love it when guests come, and they come from all over the world,” Knudsen said.

In 25 years they’ve been asked all kinds of things. Occasionally people can’t remember what they spent their money on. They’re always happy to gently lead them down their paper trail, and anything else their guests need.

Valley natives

Unlike so many of us, the group consists of a bunch of ski industry professionals, not ski bums.

“We were natives before the slopes were here,” Phelan said.

Phelan is from Gilman, and her father was a miner. He moved the family to the valley in 1960. Vail opened in December 1962.

Knudsen moved from Nashville, Tennessee, in 1988 and started with the Hyatt in November 1989, when the hotel opened. She started in accounts receivable and still works in the accounting department. When it opened, the accounting department had one computer and lots of pencils, Knudsen said.

Phelan started with a red IBM Selectric. Her entire department shared one computer.

Eckert moved here in 1986 and ran a restaurant at the base of the gondola in Vail. The restaurant is gone, but Patty is still here.

Puntel was a front desk clerk at Marriott Mark Resort for the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek. He wandered off, as many of us do, but managed to make his way back, as many of us do not. That was 25 years ago.

Steve Dwyer was the first general manager. He’s in Tokyo now with another Hyatt.

People tend to stick with the Hyatt company, Puntel said.

Park Hyatt General Manager Robert Purdy is working in his 13th city spanning 30 years with Hyatt.

“The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is Hyatt’s premiere property, and when positions open they’re generally highly sought after,” Puntel said.

Shanna Sweeney Konka grew up in the valley. She’s Hyatt’s sales and marketing coordinator.

“It’s fun to work in the valley,” Sweeney Konka said. “Growing up in the valley is special, and the chance to stay here is even more special.”

On Tuesday morning, the group filled a time capsule with memorabilia to be opened in another 25 years. Phelan, Knudsen, Eckert and Bumpas might stick around, but more likely they’ll be back for a visit, Phelan said.

“We’re all proud that the Hyatt remains the crown jewel,” Knudsen said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.




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