No reservations about need for more hotel rooms

Mary Ann Mahoney
Boulder Voice

Boulder is a top tourism destination, with visitors spending close to $6 million in our city annually.

In addition, six significant tourism events are happening in October: the Dalai Lama is coming, the GOP presidential debate will be held on campus, Homecoming and Parents’ Weekends are coming up on the CU campus, and a national beekeepers and Techstars FounderCon conferences are coming to town.

These events reflect our community’s values, and we are honored to host them.

If you’ve seen the construction going on at the corner of 28th Street and Canyon Boulevard, or read about the land sale in the Village Shopping Center for a new Residence Inn, you might think that Boulder is going through a hotel boom. But that’s really not the case.

In the past few years, three hotels were demolished, which depleted the city’s hotel room inventory by 344 rooms.  The two new hotels going up at 28th and Canyon will bring a net gain of 340 hotel rooms.

These developments have been on the books for a long time, and Boulder is underdeveloped when it comes to hotel rooms. 

Visitors come to Boulder for many reasons. They are coming to do business, to collaborate with our scientists and entrepreneurs, to hold meetings in inspiring settings, and to visit friends and family. Often, Boulder’s hotel rooms aren’t available or accessible, so visitors must stay in surrounding communities. As a result, those surrounding communities reap the benefits of the tourism tax dollars.

In Broomfield, for instance, the Omni Interlocken Hotel opened in 1999 with 390 rooms. It was remodeled in 2008. Four new hotels opened at the U.S. Highway 36 Louisville interchange around the same time: a Courtyard by Marriott, a Residence Inn, a Hampton Inn and a Best Western Plus.

Back to the present in Boulder, the new 150-room Hyatt Place Boulder is doing very well at Depot Place at Boulder Junction after opening in April. Traffic does not appear to be a problem at the site, as visitors drive into the parking garage located directly east of the hotel.

Meanwhile, on the west end of town, a decades-long public discussion continues on the “civic center” pad at the St Julien Hotel & Spa at Ninth and Walnut streets.

Some day in the future, the St Julien may add as much as 8,000 square feet of conference space and some new extended-stay hotel rooms. A rooftop terrace would be used by the hotel and by nonprofit groups, as would the conference space.

To date, committees working on the project have not come up with a model that could pay for itself and be economically viable, but they’re still working on it.

Finally, University of Colorado and city officials have discussed the idea of the university developing a conference center space and hotel. Officials held a study session this spring to discuss the idea. If it gets approved, the conference center may be built on a three-acre parcel of land owned by the university in the Grandview neighborhood just north of the main campus. A 7.5-acre site near Folsom Street and Arapahoe Road also has been discussed. Both sites are owned by the university.

A conference center could host groups of 600 to 800 people and would allow us to compete with other cities for symposiums, gatherings and events. It would feature a large ballroom and meeting spaces, and could offer views of the Flatirons. A hotel with 250 rooms, parking, a restaurant and fitness center also is being discussed.

So, it may seem a boom is happening, however we are replacing rooms and realizing we have capacity to grow hotel rooms in Boulder.

Mary Ann Mahoney is executive director of the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Mary Ann Mahoney
Boulder Voice

Boulder is a top tourism destination, with visitors spending close to $6 million in our city annually.

In addition, six significant tourism events are happening in October: the Dalai Lama is coming, the GOP presidential debate will be held on campus, Homecoming and Parents’ Weekends are coming up on the CU campus, and a national beekeepers and Techstars FounderCon conferences are coming to town.

These events reflect our community’s values, and we are honored to host them.

If you’ve seen the construction going on at the corner of 28th Street and Canyon Boulevard, or read about the land sale in the Village Shopping Center for a new Residence Inn, you might think that Boulder is going through a hotel boom. But that’s really not the case.

In the past few years, three hotels were demolished, which depleted the city’s hotel room inventory by 344 rooms.  The two new hotels going up at 28th and Canyon will bring a net gain of 340 hotel rooms.

These developments have been on the books for a long time, and Boulder is underdeveloped when it comes to hotel rooms. 

Visitors come to Boulder for many reasons. They are coming to do business, to collaborate with our scientists and entrepreneurs, to hold meetings in inspiring settings, and to visit friends and family. Often, Boulder’s hotel rooms aren’t available or accessible, so visitors must stay in surrounding communities. As…