Westin, Wildwood to open a month early

by Curtis Wackerle, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

Construction is wrapping up ahead of schedule on the hotel remodels in Snowmass Village, with both the new Westin and Wildwood Lodge set to open by Thanksgiving, about a month early.
Project owners announced this week that the Westin Snowmass will open on Nov. 15 in the former Silvertree Hotel on the Snowmass Village mall. The first week will be a “soft opening,” and reservations can now be made for dates starting Nov. 21, which is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, said John Curnow, general manager for both properties. The Wildwood also will be ready for business by Thanksgiving, he said.
The 300 construction workers who have been on the site at any given time since both hotels shut down this past spring for the remodel have gotten the job done smoothly, said Tim Johnson, director of sales and marketing.
“We’ll have possession of both properties by the end of the month,” he said.
Both properties were originally scheduled to open in mid-December, in advance of the Christmas-New Year’s holidays.
The Westin will have 254 rooms. The Wildwood will have 153, as well as a New Belgium slopeside brew pub, which will open early with the rest of the properties and restaurants.
The project finishing early means the rooms will be available for the scheduled opening day of ski season for Snowmass Ski Area, which is Thanksgiving.

 Chris Council/Aspen Daily News
Contractors work on the stone facade inside the lobby of the Westin in Snowmass Village on Wednesday afternoon. The newly renovated hotel is scheduled to open a month early.

“An early snow message would certainly help us,” Curnow said, since strong early-season snowfall tends to goose the winter’s advance bookings, and fill up the downtime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (This works even better if the snow falls during a Monday Night Football broadcast of Denver Broncos home game.)
Curnow added he believes the $55 million remodel of two of the main hotel properties in Snowmass is a “game changer” for the village.
The conference center, which also is part of the remodel, has been open since the spring.
Starwood Capital Group and Wasserman Real Estate Capital bought the two hotels in June 2011 from longtime owners, the Burwell family, paying $42 million. They announced in September 2011 that Westin, which operates 190 properties in 40 countries, according to a press release, would operate the former Silvertree. 
Curnow said the Westin already is “at capacity” for the Christmas-New Year’s week, and that “there’s a lot of demand for the brand in this destination.”
During the one-week “soft opening” before Nov. 21, community members will be invited for complimentary stays in the hotels, so staff can get a feel for the new operations, Johnson said.
“The level of service needs to be up to the standards of the Westin,” Curnow said.