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Aspen's Hotel Jerome Receiving $20 million "Top to Bottom"
 Renovation from New Owner Oklahoma Publishing Co.
By Julie Dunn, The Denver Post
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Jun. 30, 2005 - The new owner of Aspen's Hotel Jerome plans to invest roughly $20 million in a "top to bottom" renovation of the historic hotel, closing it for six months as early as April.

"That would include all of the guest rooms, the furniture, all public spaces -- you name it," said Stephen Bartolin, president and chief executive of Colorado Springs' Broadmoor Hotel and Resort, which oversees Hotel Jerome under its new ownership.

Oklahoma Publishing Co., which owns the Broadmoor, purchased Hotel Jerome in April for a reported $33.5 million.

The character of the hotel, which opened in 1889 and underwent a major renovation in 1985, will remain the same, Bartolin said.

"It would be a terrible mistake to do something contemporary," he said. "We plan to be respectable of the era and the style of the facility. But you can have a traditional look and feel and still offer updated conveniences."

Planned renovations include remodeling the hotel's restaurant and pool areas and updating the hotel's technology with items such as plasma-screen televisions, Bartolin said.

Other amenities include adding spa facilities and upgrading the fitness center.

"Having a spa is such a hot thing right now," said Jennifer Barnhart, the hotel's senior sales and public relations manager. "One of the first questions we hear from guests is 'Do you have a spa on property?'"

"In order to be up to the standard that the Broadmoor has set, it needs to be upgraded," said Ilene Kamsler, president of the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association. "And it certainly seems like they're willing to spend a lot of money to do it, which is great for the state and for Aspen." But Bartolin promised to keep construction crews away from the hotel's famous J-Bar.

"I don't think that would fly too well," he said. "It's an Aspen institution."

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Copyright (c) 2005, The Denver Post

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