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A Long and Winding Road

An eclectic mix of jobs provides a rich foundation for Ed Blair’s hospitality career

By Beth Buehler

Ed Blair, area general manager at Denver’s Sage Hospitality Group, has managed many major hotels and historic landmarks in downtown Denver. He has also taken brief interludes from hospitality to undertake endeavors like overseeing a medical practice, pastoring a church, and serving as chief operating officer of Mile High United Way. The result has been a colorful tapestry of work experiences and human connections.

Ed Blair of Denver’s Sage Hospitality Group || Photo by Sam Gentry

The first 11 years of Blair’s career involved various management positions with Marriott hotels in both Boulder and Denver; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles, California, before taking a four-year break from the hospitality industry to work for an orthopedic and sports medicine practice in Louisville, Colorado, and a church in Broomfield, Colorado.

The hotel industry lured Blair back in 2004 as he embarked on a career with Denver-based Sage Hospitality Group, first as the general manager of The Oxford Hotel and then Embassy Suites by Hilton Downtown Denver Convention Center. Then came Blair’s longtime involvement as a commissioner for The Denver Commission to End Homelessness and involvement in Denver’s Road Home, the city’s plan to address homelessness, and his role as a founding member of Denver’s Road to Work business advisory council.

After the leadership role with Mile High United Way, he returned to Sage Hospitality Group as general manager of The Curtis Denver–A DoubleTree by Hilton before returning to The Oxford in 2022. “When I got back into Sage, the guy who hired me wanted me to write a book about how leading a hotel parallels with being a pastor,” Blair recalls. He stresses how, although his career has taken a few detours, he would not be where he is today without the journey. “I really have a heart for luxury boutique hotels and might not have known that without trying some other hotels out,” he says.

Today, he is Sage Hospitality Group’s Denver Union Station area general manager, overseeing The Oxford as well as the train station and its on-site lodging property, The Crawford Hotel. Having someone with Blair’s expertise is timely, as Denver Union Station is commemorating the 10th anniversary of its rebirth as a gathering space and transportation hub with the launch of an $11 million renovation slated for completion in July. The project includes redesigning The Great Hall and The Cooper Lounge, its 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and The Crawford’s 112 guest rooms.

“You can’t build history—it happens over time—but continuing to create history really excites us,” Blair says. “Denver is a tremendous city, what has happened downtown in the last 25 years has been phenomenal.