Vail Valley: Eagle hotel has big renovation plans
Eagle Lodge drops ties with Best Western, joins LaQuintaBy Scott N. MillerRalph Ciarlanti jokes that he bought a health club with a 100-room hotel attached. Both are due for an extensive renovation.Ciarlanti is the managing partner of the Eagle Lodge & Suites in Eagle, right behind the Wendy’s restaurant. Ciarlanti and his team bought the Vail Valley lodge with some big ideas in mind. After several months of planning, it’s time to bring those ideas to life.First on the to-do list was finding a new hotel group. The sign’s still up, by Ciarlanti and his partners severed ties with the Best Western group in May. After months of research and negotiations, the new owners cut a deal with La Quinta hotels.Ciarlanti said La Quinta is the country’s fastest-growing hotel brand, and assistant general manager David Dillon added that the brand consistently rates at the top of customer-loyalty surveys.And the brand has pretty high standards for mid-priced hotels. Ciarlanti said that plans for the Eagle Lodge’s renovation were almost complete when he and his partners got to the final negotiations with La Quinta.”They wanted a lot of changes, especialy on the outside,” Ciarlanti said.The combination will result in a building that looks quite a bit different than it does now, outside and in, Ciarlanti said.By the time the renovation is done next summer, the hotel will have upgraded the guest rooms, renovated the health club and put a breakfast area into the hotel. Plans also call for a lounge with liquor service.The renovation is part of creating a different image for the hotel. “We’re trying to promote Eagle as a destination,” Dillon said. To push that, Ciarlanti said the lodge is working on packages for golf, rafting and other activities. But the hotel will also continue to work to attract skiers willing to stay a little farther away from the slopes in exchange for better rates. “We want to offer all the amenities without the Vail price,” Dillon said. Turning Eagle into a destination in its own right has been a goal of local businesses for some time now, and Ciarlanti said he hopes plans for the Eagle Lodge fit in. Ciarlanti also plans to boost local business by hiring local construction companies for the renovation work.”Using local construction companies is our way of doing our part to help out local businesses,” Ciarlanti said.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.