West Vail area’s new DoubleTree by Hilton hotel more than a renovation | VailDaily.com

West Vail area’s new DoubleTree by Hilton hotel more than a renovation

VAIL — There was plenty of excitement — and more than a bit of relief — at a ribbon-cutting celebration on Thursday, March 1, at Vail's newest hotel.

The hotel — the new DoubleTree by Hilton in West Vail — isn't actually new, of course. The original structure was built in 1978.

But General Manager Jason Polland said the construction project left virtually nothing in the building untouched.

Polland added that there were several surprises during construction — which began in the summer of 2016. But, he added, the hotel's new owners — the property is managed by Widewaters, a Syracuse, New York-based investment and construction company — were willing to do what was necessary to get the work done.

And that work is obvious from the moment a visitor walks through the doors.

The lobby is now far more open than it was in the old hotel, so the floor-to-ceiling windows on the south wall let in a lot of natural light.

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The lobby area also includes a bar and restaurant, as well as a lounge area and co-working space.

The co-working space was done in conjunction with Proximity.Space, a national network of co-working facilities.

The lounge area is called Pivot62, a name with a number of meanings. The "62" commemorates the year the Vail ski area opens. Polland said the "Pivot" part of the name refers to the ways can combine family, work, play and relaxation.

A bit of a work in progress

The DoubleTree is still a bit of a work in progress. At the moment, only the hotel's 97 individual rooms are open for guests. Another 20 or so suites aren't quite finished yet.

The kitchen, along with the "grab and go" market are still nearly-finished works in progress, too.

Still, the opening was welcomed by everyone at the casual ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Evergreen Lodge General Manager Brian Butts said the first time he came to Vail he stayed in the old hotel on the site. On a brief tour of a couple of guest rooms, Butts said he's impressed.

"What a transformation this is," Butts said. Adding that having the West Vail hotel open again is a big deal. The town's conference business usually needs rooms in other hotels around town, Butts said. The DoubleTree adds to that room base.

Rooms were missed

The DoubleTree, and the new Hotel Talisa were closed for the entire 2016/2017 ski season, a loss of a bit more than 400 rooms. That's about 10 percent of Vail's total lodging inventory.

Vail Town Manager Greg Clifton said those rooms were missed.

"It's huge," Clifton said of the DoubleTree's opening. "We've been so anxious for this day."

Beyond the simple fact of the hotel opening, Vail Valley Partnership CEO Chris Romer said it's important to consider the kind of hotels that have opened in town this season.

In the case of the Hotel Talisa — the former Vail Cascade — that ownership group is branding with The Luxury Collection, an international group of high-end hotels.

At the DoubleTree by Hilton, that facility is now available to the 80 million international members of the Hilton Honors program.

Romer said travelers who accumulate points in that program while on business often use those points for family trips. Vail now is a destination for people in that program.

"Those can be new guests, people who might not have experienced our resort," Romer said.

Thursday's ribbon-cutting was a casual, invitation-only event, Cindy Krieg, the hotel's sales and marketing director, said a bigger, community grand opening will be held, probably sometime in the spring.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com or @scottnmiller.