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The Boulderado Hotel, which closed for the first time in its 111-year history on April 12, will reopen with limited staff on June 1. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
The Boulderado Hotel, which closed for the first time in its 111-year history on April 12, will reopen with limited staff on June 1. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

After suspending operations more than a month ago, the Hotel Boulderado will reopen its doors on June 1.

The historic hotel, and the Concept Restaurant Inc. restaurants attached, closed on April 12 for the first time since its opening in 1909 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. March revenues compared to the year prior declined by 97%, according to Creighton A. Smith, general manager of Hotel Boulderado. Fewer than a dozen guests were booked into the 160 rooms.

There weren’t enough people, guests or staff, underneath its famous stained glass ceiling to justify staying open, he said.

The Boulderado’s restaurant, Spruce Farm and Fish, reopened for a special Mother’s Day feast pop up where a limited number of orders were prepared for pickup. The restaurant hosted a “Lobster Clambake” pop up over the weekend too with a meal of  clam chowder, corn on the cob, steamed potatoes and strawberry cheesecake.

Smith said that the restaurant sold out shortly after announcing the pop up on Monday. Spruce Farm and Fish will host another pop up on May 28 and 29.

License No. 1 and The Corner Bar are the other food and beverage fixtures in the hotel. However, Spruce Farm and Fish will be the first to test out reopening.

“Before we can walk, we’re gonna crawl here,” Smith said.

Reopening will involve about 35 or 40 employees, Smith said. When fully open, the hotel and its restaurants employ 220 people.

During closures, the Boulderado took advantage of its vacancies by conducting maintenance including on elevators. But its main focus was helping its out-of-work employees, Smith said

An employee resource center was open daily with groceries and other essential supplies. Employee benefits were sustained to date. Management also helped connect employees with resources and nominated a few to the 2020 Downtown Boulder Employee Assistance Fund, a small grant program administered by the Downtown Boulder Foundation and Downtown Boulder Partnership.

This year marks 111 years of Boulderado operations. To celebrate reopening, a special luxury room rate of $111 a night is available for June 1 through 11. Smith said that during this time of year, room rates are usually around $180 to $199 a night.

Smith described the reopening as “our first steps to see what the hotel business is going to look like.”

Other hotels

The Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder announced its intention to suspend business to the Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau on March 27. It reopened on May 11. On May 18, the hotel reported to the state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act system that it was reinstating 95 furloughed workers but intended to furlough about 61 of them again on or after June 13. The reason given for the reinstatements was receipt of a Paycheck Protection Program loan, which requires that 75 percent of the loan be spent on payroll over eight weeks in order to have the loan forgiven. Sage Hospitality, which operates theThe Embassy, also reinstated employees at the Maven Hotel at the Dairy Block in Denver, and intends to furlough a number of them again June 16.

The Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield suspended operations on March 29. It plans to reopen on Thursday.

Hosting meetings and conferences is a large part of the Interlocken’s revenue stream, said Gerry McFarland, director of sales and marketing.

“So we started to see a steady decline in the meetings business, which kind of tapered our occupancy a little bit,” McFarland said.

He added that March was down approximately 50% compared to previous years, although the hotel completed renovating its meeting rooms at the end of January, which factored into attendance.

In the warmer months, the hotel can hire up to 500 employees. Prior to closing, around 300 people were employed before going on furlough. Interlocken will request it’s staff to return based on hotel occupancy.

McFarland said that a challenge will be easing guests’ concerns about disinfectant practices.

“Although we’ve always worked on cleanliness being a priority, now it’s just even more magnified, because not only do you need to be clean but people want to know and see that you’re taking the precautions to be clean,” he said.

Its restaurant, Morsel’s Cafe, will be open for takeout and delivery. The Tap Room will open on select days, depending on hotel occupancy. The three other dining options and room service will remain closed for the time being.

The Omni Interlocken Golf Club is open but its pool deck is blocked off until it’s permitted under the state’s safer-at-home order.

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