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Bold & Beautiful

Colorado celebrates recently unveiled venues, major renovations, and anticipated openings next year

By Beth Buehler

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Denver’s Populus || Courtesy of Studio Gang

There is a whole lot of new happening in the Centennial State. It’s an exciting time with hotel refreshes in both cities and mountains; new properties opening in Aspen, Colorado Springs, and Denver; major new terrain at Steamboat Ski Resort; and a rooftop expansion at Colorado Convention Center getting ready to launch.

If your team falls into the “groups just want to have fun” category, head to FlyteCo Tower’s Over Flyte in the former Denver Stapleton International Airport’s air traffic control tower, Bounce Empire in Lafayette, and Sips (with a Z) bar at Meow Wolf Denver’s Convergence Station. Read on to get the scoop.

Mile High City on the Move 

Some of the biggest news coming out of Denver is the Colorado Convention Center expansion that will open by the end of this year. The addition is located on the roof of the existing building and includes the Bluebird Ballroom with 80,000 square feet of column-free space, 35,000 square feet of pre-function area, a 20,000-square-foot outdoor terrace, and a banquet kitchen.

The nearby Parlur Denver, located adjacent to the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, held a grand opening in late August. Parlur provides a sophisticated setting and high-end service both indoors and outdoors on the 16th Street Mall. With a modern design aesthetic, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an open floor plan, the 7,000-square-foot venue is managed by the Sheraton team.

Several other hotels in downtown Denver also have big news. The Rally Hotel next to Coors Field has added three new meeting and event spaces. The 10,720-square-foot Legends Hall has big views of McGregor Square and Lower Downtown, while The Theatre can hold up to 150 and features ultrawide projection and an extensive audiovisual system. The Alcove Boardroom is smaller, holding a maximum of 40 for receptions or seated at round tables.

The Westin Denver Downtown completed a multimillion-dollar, property-wide renovation in late August. Groups will notice refreshed guest rooms, a new lobby space with a green living wall and grand staircase, and a new 3,000-square-foot, lobby-level meeting space with wall-to-wall windows.

The Art Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, has completed a $3 million, property-wide upgrade that encompasses all 165 guest rooms and suites, 7,500 square feet of meeting and event space, public areas, the fitness center, and private dining.

The first carbon-positive hotel in the U.S., Populus, also will capture the attention of groups with its artistic flair and sustainability focus. Located at 14th Street and Colfax Avenue, the 13-story, 265-room hotel developed by Denver-based Urban Villages is slated for completion next spring. Highlights include an aspen tree-inspired exterior design, meeting and event space, a ground-floor restaurant, a coffee shop, and a signature rooftop bar and restaurant.

Just 2 miles north of downtown, redevelopment of the longtime grounds of the National Western Stock Show is well underway. While there are many components to the new National Western Center, one of special interest to groups is the Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Livestock Center. Encompassing more than 350,000 square feet of space, it is the largest and most versatile building on campus and will host the annual livestock-related happenings as well as year-round community events, concerts, exhibitions, sporting events, trade shows, banquets, and more. Construction of the livestock center is expected to wrap up in 2025.

Meow Wolf Denver introduced Sips (with a Z) cocktail lounge this fall in tandem with the attraction’s second anniversary. With mirrored walls, vintage furniture, neon signs, classical sculptures, and street-art accents, the 3,300-square-foot lounge is available for private rentals.

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FlyteCo Tower at the former Stapleton International Airport || Courtesy of FlyteCo Tower

FlyteCo Tower, the second location of FlyteCo Brewing, has expanded within the former Stapleton International Airport’s air traffic control tower and three-story building. Over Flyte opened on the third floor of the 164-foot tower in August and features three suite-style golf simulators, six high-tech ax-throwing lanes, pingpong tables, 5,000 square feet of event space, and a full bar.;

Gaylord Rockies Upgrades

Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora opened five years ago and is already planning to update the Grand Lodge, add an event pavilion, launch a dining option, and re-concept three of its existing food and beverage outlets. The improvements are scheduled for completion at various times next year and are phase two of a multiyear investment plan. Of special interest to groups is the Mountain View Pavilion, with more than 12,000 square feet of indoor event space, 14,000 square feet of outdoor terraces and patios, and 15,000 square feet of lawn area planned.

Air Force & Amphitheater Happenings

A new 375-room property, Hotel Polaris, is set to open next year as part of TrueNorth Commons just outside the North Gate of the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs. The 57-acre, mixed-use development also includes retail, office space, and the new USAFA Hosmer Visitor Center that is designed to look like an aircraft taking flight. The hotel will have 26,000 square feet of indoor meeting space on one floor, an outdoor pool and sundeck, and a full-service spa and fitness center. Food and beverage outlets include a restaurant, grab-and-go cafe, ninth-floor rooftop bar, and lobby bar. In the spirit of its location, Hotel Polaris will feature the only in-hotel flight simulators in the U.S.;

Another big option for groups starting next year is Sunset Amphitheater, located on the same campus as the midsize music venue Boot Barn Hall and 5 Star Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse that are also owned by Colorado Springs-based Notes Live. The 8,000-seat, $40 million venue will host large touring acts and groups. Highlights include almost 4,000 stadium-style seats, suites with fire pits, and a lawn that can hold nearly 3,600 people. Chef-driven food and beverage concessions are planned, along with four restaurants with clear sight lines to the stage, with rooftop seating located on the eastern border of the venue.

New & Improved With Peaks

Copper Mountain is heightening its on-mountain dining experiences with the addition of The Aerie. The American Eagle gondola unloads on the second-floor deck of the 25,000-square-foot, two-story lodge, providing a seamless transition for skiers and nonskiers alike. Forage and Feast restaurant—along with a bar and lounge, cafeteria, and private dining area for events—will have views of the Gore and Ten Mile ranges from The Aerie, which will offer group lunches in winter season and on-mountain meetings with breakfast and lunch offerings in

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The Aerie at Copper Mountain || Courtesy of Copper Mountain

To the west, The Charter at Beaver Creek completed a $22 million renovation in July that transformed public spaces throughout the property, including the lobby, restaurant, rooftop event space, spa, indoor and outdoor pool, and terrace. The new Charter Steakhouse has panoramic mountain views and a menu featuring foods from purveyors in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region such as certified Angus beef, dry-aged pork, and organic produce. There also is a new outdoor event space that hosts up to 125 guests. For the ultimate relaxation, treat attendees to time in the reconceptualized Spa at The Charter.

Also managed by East West Hospitality, The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa Avon, Vail Valley, has launched a major renovation that is slated for completion next summer. Upgrades include creating an entrance lounge in the lobby, updating all 230 guest rooms, and redesigning the Adventure Center. Of special note for groups is the new Talon Suite, a hospitality room with a private patio located just off the main lobby. Next door in East West’s condominium property, One Riverfront, the Vail Valley’s first rooftop lounge, One Rooftop Bar, is set to open in spring and will be available for private events.

Nearby in Aspen, Aspen Meadows Resort continues to elevate group experiences. An extensive guest-room renovation was completed last spring, and the latest enhancements will be done in time for ski season and feature a redesign of the resort’s arrival area, front desk, bar, and Plato’s restaurant.

Mollie Aspen, a new 68-room boutique hotel located alongside Paepcke Park, is set to open in December. The hotel’s food and beverage programs are spearheaded by Gin & Luck, the group behind the Death & Co. brand that has a Colorado presence at The Ramble Hotel in Denver. In addition to a lobby bar and restaurant with outdoor seating and an all-day cafe, there is a rooftop pool and terrace that transform into an intimate lounge by night and gathering place for groups. A conference room that holds up to 60 is also available.

Two attractions also located in the Roaring Fork Valley but farther north in Glenwood Springs are expanding their footprints. For pure relaxation after a day of meetings is wrapped up, check out Iron Mountain Hot Springs’ new adults-only area, WorldSprings, with two freshwater pools, a cold plunge pool, and 10 World Experience pools inspired by famous hot springs around the globe. A new restaurant, the Sandbar Cafe, offers WorldSprings guests more elevated food and drink options, and a new bathhouse will be completed next year.

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is working on the third phase of a multiyear plan that introduces  amenities at the historic property that opened in 1888. The east end expansion project features five additional pools of varying water temperatures and a shade pergola. The area around the mother spring, Yampah Spring, is also being landscaped and the mineral water drinking spring reopened. The new pools will open sometime next year.

In the northern part of the state, Mythology officially opened its full Steamboat Springs campus in early August. The location sits on 1.5 acres and includes a 5,000-square-foot distilling facility, 5,000-square-foot rack house to store and age spirits, tasting room, and restaurant. Within the outdoor Whiskey Garden is a large community fire pit, space for live musical performances, outdoor games, mountainside slides, and a cocktail bar serving Mythology spirits, local craft beer, and boutique wines.

Meanwhile, Steamboat Ski Resort’s three-year, $220 million Full Steam Ahead project will be wrapped up in time for this ski season with the new Wild Blue Gondola (the longest in North America) and the addition of 655 acres of expert terrain, making it the second-largest ski resort in Colorado. The ski area also has transformed Steamboat Square and introduced Greenhorn Ranch, a dedicated on-mountain area for beginning skiers and