Renovated Doubletree, Hotel Talisa hotels in Vail looking to reopen for the coming season
By the numbers
• 285: Rooms at the renovated Hotel Talisa.
• 116: Rooms at the renovated Doubletree by Hilton.
• 14 percent: Decline in Vail sales tax collections in March 2017.
Sources: Hotel Talisa; Doubletree by Hilton; town of Vail
VAIL — Stuff happens. That’s a common refrain for virtually any construction project. A pair of big projects have had lots of stuff happen over the course of longer-than-expected renovation endeavors.
When the Los Angeles-based Laurus group bought the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa in December 2015, company officials were confident they could completely renovate the hotel, change the name and branding and open by the end of 2016.
That didn’t happen, and the hotel remained closed for the entire 2016-17 ski season, as well as the following summer.
Town of Vail officials recently announced that the hotel — now called the Hotel Talisa — had received a temporary certificate of occupancy, meaning that work is nearly complete on the project.
Hotel Talisa Director of Marketing Ivie Parker said this week that the hotel should be open in the next few weeks, meaning mid- to late November.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be launching the impressively transformed Hotel Talisa within a month’s time,” wrote John Garth, area managing director for Hotel Talisa, in an emailed statement. “As the construction and remodel come to a completion, we are seeing the ambiance, aesthetic and vibe are like nothing seen of late in mountain resort communities.”
Little is untouched
The renovation has touched virtually every portion of the hotel, part of an effort to change the old Cascade’s position in the market.
During an interview in March 2016, Laurus Corp. CEO Phil Cyburt said the intent of the renovation was to move Hotel Talisa into the same market space shared by Vail’s high-end lodges.
That required changes down to in-room bathroom fixtures.
While the work has taken longer than expected, Parker said those initial plans are still in place. The hotel is associated with the Starwood Luxury Collection, which includes high-end hotels around the world.
During that interview, Cyburt said his company plans to take advantage of the hotel’s meeting space to market Hotel Talisa and its 285 rooms to high-end groups, as well as leisure travelers.
On the north side of Interstate 70 in West Vail, the former Holiday Inn is becoming a Doubletree by Hilton hotel. That project, too, has also seen its share of delays.
Hillary Locke, of Locke Media Group, is handling communications for the Doubletree by Hilton. In a phone interview, Locke said that project is moving along, “slowly but surely.” At the moment, that means that project managers will say only that the hotel will be open sometime this coming winter.
“We want everything to be right and put our best foot forward,” Locke said. The hotel isn’t yet taking reservations for the winter — the opening date has to be set first.
A welcome return
When the hotels do open, they’ll be welcomed back into Vail’s lodging scene.
Together, the hotels add up to 401 rooms. That’s a good-sized portion of the town’s total. That loss was felt in Vail’s sales and lodging tax collections over the past year.
Collections in March of this year took a steep drop — 14 percent. Some of that drop was due to a long stretch without snow. Some was due to the Easter holiday landing in April. But some was also due to having 401 fewer rooms available for guests.
In an email, town of Vail Finance Director Kathleen Halloran wrote she isn’t allowed to break individual businesses out of the town’s revenue totals. Still, she wrote, the decline “has been more significant than expected due to project delays.”
When the hotels do open, they’re going to need people.
Members of the Doubletree by Hilton’s management team weren’t available for interviews for this story, but Parker said the Hotel Talisa team is confident it will have the staff it needs this season.
“A lot of team members have been with the property for years,” Parker said. “That culture and sense of family is still there.”
In addition to the invitation to longtime employees, the hotel has also held job fairs in Vail and has other resources available.
“We’re going to launch in November, and we’re ramping up for Christmas,” Parker said. “Our intent is to be fully staffed.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com and @scottnmiller.