Aspen Meadows Resort changes management companies
Aspen’s go-to summer spot for illustrious intellectuals, political power brokers and high-profile media figures just got a new property management company.
Salamander Hotels and Resorts took over operations of the Aspen Meadows Resort this month. The Aspen Institute still owns the property and will continue to host the annual Aspen Ideas Festival and other events on the nonprofit’s historic campus.
The resort, which features 98 luxury suites and Plato’s Restaurant, is located on the northwest portion of the institute’s 40-acre plot in Aspen's West End. The property was reshaped in the mid-20th century by Herbert Beyer — a prominent architect of the distinctive Bauhaus style — and has since hosted many of the biggest names in domestic politics and international relations.
“Salamander was selected for several reasons,” said Richard Stettner, vice president of Aspen campus facilities and operations for the institute. “It's a small, boutique luxury management company. The hands-on approach, their culture, their mission, their values are very much aligned with what the Aspen Institute is.”
Salamander replaced Dolce Hotels and Resorts, which was bought out by hospitality industry behemoth Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in 2015. After a two-decade relationship with Dolce, Aspen Meadows’ management contract went up for renewal in 2021.
Stettner said the institute wanted to “elevate” the campus as a whole. Routine renovations are ongoing, but one major addition is already complete: construction of the soon-to-open Resnick Center for Herbert Beyer Studies.
“In addition, the hotel side needed a significant amount of work,” Stettner said. “In October, we’re going to undergo renovating all of our guest rooms. … We'll also be doing work on the landscaping, as well as the renovation of the arrival center in the hotel.”
As part of the “elevation” process, Salamander plans to expand community-based programming at the resort.
The Meadows will close out the annual Food & Wine Classic with a celebration of Juneteenth — the date when the last-known enslaved people in Texas were informed of the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years after it went into effect.
Executives with Salamander believe the property is well positioned in an industry disrupted by COVID-19.
“It's the perfect place for people to gather,” said John Speers, Salamander’s vice president of operations. “All the outdoor gatherings — that outdoor meeting space, the beautiful dining decks that we have, and so forth — really create this open area of fresh air that people are looking for today.”
The Meadows account marks Salamander’s first management deal in Colorado. It’s part of a westward-expansion push for the company, which operates primarily on the East Coast and in the Caribbean.
“It has been for a long time a goal of ours to establish a national presence, stretching out to the West Coast,” said Prem Devadas, president of Salamander. “So this is very exciting for us as well, from a development standpoint, to be in Colorado.”
Salamander will welcome its first major rush of visitors to the Meadows in late June, when the Ideas Festival kicks off.