Changes Underway and on Schedule at the Antlers

When people learn how long we’ve lived in the Vail Valley (whether that’s 5 years or 45 years) they often say, “You must have seen a lot of changes during that time.”  One of our favorite responses is, “Hey, we’ve seen a lot of changes since Tuesday!”
 
That’s never been more true than right now, right here.  The changes that we envisioned a year ago are happening, and happening fast!  During our last big renovation in 2001, we built a new lobby which seemed like such an enormous improvement over the previous pillbox. Well, that reception area has now been completely demo’d.  And the replacement is going to be AWESOME.

Much less visible, but equally important, is the extensive foundation work that has taken place in preparation for the new elevator. That, after all, was the impetus for this whole project.  The renovated front desk area, offices and one brand new condominium were all afterthoughts (and good ones) to the main motivation of improving the weakest link in our guests’ experience … the 1972 elevator.
 
The past two months have seen an awful lot of noise and dust, but most of the worst of that is behind us now.  Sure, there will be some more noisy days, but the concrete saw cutting is almost done, as is the jack-hammering of the stone pillars.  Throughout it all, our staff and our guests have survived and even often said, “It wasn’t as bad as I expected.”  
 
There have been a lot of parallels between this $5 million project and the Antlers 2000 project twenty years ago.  One of them has been the number of owners in residence, and guests as well, who are actually entertained by watching the construction!  Although the courtyard is off-limits, and packed with equipment and materials staging, most of the walkways have a birdseye view of the whole operation and it tends to bring out the wide-eyed little kid in all of us.
 
Another similarity between the two projects has been the participation of an “owner’s rep”.  In the construction world, that’s they guy you hire to keep an objective eye on the contractor as well as the architect.  Someone who has a lot more construction expertise than the person actually writing the checks.  Never has that been more relevant and necessary than here at the Antlers.  In 2000 we hired Jack Berga to fill that role.  He was beyond wonderful and absolutely instrumental in making the whole project successful.  As great as Jack was, Dave Collins is even better.  And the best part is that Dave has been on the Antlers staff for five years now, acting as our construction coordinator for the dozens of condominium remodels we’ve completed during that time.  He has an extensive background in large-scale construction projects, but also the pleasant demeanor that is often missing from those in the world of hardhats.

Despite Dave’s generally easy-going attitude, don’t let that fool you.  He can quickly “get in your face” when he sees something that isn’t right, or that could be done better.  And that’s EXACTLY what we need.  Our general contractor, Hyder Construction, has been a delight to work with.  Nevertheless, not a day goes by that the Antlers board and management don’t thank their lucky stars for the presence of Dave Collins.
 
Although the construction impacts have been, and will continue to be manageable, we don’t want to risk any of our guests having a bad experience.  So as we approach the halfway mark in the construction schedule we’ll continue to limit our occupancy to about 50% – 60% of our normal capacity, and we’ll continue to bend over backwards to inform those guests (and owners) what to expect.  In a twist on the old customer service adage, we are trying to over-promise and under-deliver on the negative impacts from the construction.  So far, so good.
 
And we sure look forward to showing off the finished product this coming ski season!

3 Reasons to Ski Vail 2019 – 2020 Ski Season

We may be biased but we think that Vail’s 2019-2020 ski season is going to be the best yet. There are three reasons for this. One has to do with the Antlers, and the other with a snowmaking upgrades and a new product offering from Vail Resorts, “Epic for Everyone”.

Antlers Breaks Ground April 2019 on $5M Elevator & Lobby Project

In 2013 the Antlers implemented a Unit Quality Improvement plan, a property-wide project with the objective of bringing our Lodging Quality Assurance ranking up to Vail’s highest possible status. In July of 2015, thanks to the commitment of Antlers condominium owners, this goal of platinum status was achieved. But improvements to individual condominiums continue. There are now only a handful of units left that are not platinum rated.

Exterior rendering of Antlers new lobby and elevator.

Now, with the goal of bringing common areas to the same standard as individual condos, Antlers at Vail has broken ground on a $5 million renovation. This project will transform the hotel’s lobby, front desk, reception area and associated office spaces. Perhaps most importantly, it will provide a new relocated elevator to speed guests to upper levels. The project will be completed by December 12, 2019, just in time to greet winter guests with a new warm welcome.

Antlers at Vail new lobby

Rendering of Antlers new light-filled spacious lobby.

As Always, the earlier guests book, the better the pricing will be. Booking early also gives us the most opportunity to accommodate specific requests. While we do not guarantee condo numbers, we do typically honor requests for specific bedding, location and more. These can only be honored as long as we have availability. So the early bird gets the worm. And, did you know that you can book now with no deposit due until August?!

Vail Resorts Offers Epic for Everyone

Another exciting development that guests can take advantage of this winter is advance day lift ticket purchases for a more reasonable price. There will be no more of $200 plus lift ticket prices for guests who plan ahead. 

“Epic for Everyone,” from Vail Resorts is a customizable pass for those skiers and riders who may not need the unlimited skiing offered by traditional season passes. Guests can create their own pass by selecting the number of days they plan to ski or ride – from one day to seven days – and whether or not to add holiday access. Guests can use their customized Epic Day Pass anytime throughout the season at any of the Company’s North American owned resorts, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Whistler Blackcomb, Keystone, Crested Butte, Park City, and more. Those purchasing four or more days will also get access to Telluride, Sun Valley, Snowbasin, and Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.

Don't miss out on another epic ski season at Vail. You can purchase yuor lift tickets now for incredible savings!

Don’t miss out on another epic ski season at Vail. You can purchase your lift tickets now for incredible savings!

With the Epic Day Pass, guests can ski world-class resorts for an unmatched price. Offering a discount of up to 50 percent off of lift ticket window prices, the Epic Day Pass starts as low as $106 for one day of skiing at any of the Company’s North American resorts. Guests can also lower their cost per day by adding more days and can lock in the lowest prices by purchasing this spring. The catch is that these passes must be purchased by the fall at whichever date Vail Resorts cuts off season pass sales.

Because Epic is for everyone, guests who purchase a day lift ticket this season also have the opportunity to apply the value of their ticket toward the price of an eligible 2019-20 pass, including an Epic Day Pass with four or more days. Guests can visit www.epicpass.com for more details on this offer and other incentives.

Vail Resorts Snowmaking Upgrades Ensure Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Opening

Vail’s extensive snowmaking upgrades and expansion taking place this summer will ensure a pre-Thanksgiving opening day each year. Nearly 200 acres of new and enhanced snowmaking terrain will provide guests with earlier access to higher elevation terrain, top-to-bottom skiing and snowboarding, access from two base areas, and improved early season ski school terrain. Vail will be open November 15, 2019 to April 19, 2020.

Summer 2019 Lobby

 

The ski season ended with a flurry of a different kind than we usually see. The Antlers staff worked tirelessly to move out of their offices and from the main lobby. The lobby has now been temporarily relocated to the ski locker area on the west side of the building. Guests will now pull directly into the garage and follow signs to the new front desk.

New lobby on the east side of the Antlers building.

The ski lockers have been converted into a smaller but comfortable lobby and reception desk. The area can be accessed from the garage or from the exterior of the building. We look forward to welcoming you on the east side of the building this summer!

New reception area in the Antlers new temporary front desk space.

We are looking forward to welcoming back many return guests this summer. Our team appreciates everyone’s patience as we work diligently to make the Antlers guest experience even better than ever.

We look forward to welcoming back members of our Antlers family this summer!

BIG Improvements in 2019

With all of the many improvements that the Antlers has made over the years, we know that our real Achilles’ Heel is the south (original) elevator. Clearly it does not begin to match the Platinum quality that we have worked so hard to achieve in the condominiums, and all around the property. Although we have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to make that elevator acceptable, the handwriting is on the wall that it just needs to be completely replaced.

While it would seem logical to replace the elevator in its current location (and as much as we’d like to), due to current code issues and a myriad of physical constraints, it’s just not feasible.  Fortunately, local architect Henry Pratt has helped us to identify a new, alternative location in the southeast corner of the courtyard.  It’s next to the area that we currently use as bicycle storage in the summer. We’ll still have to cut through the post tension slabs that comprise the garage and parking deck.  That isn’t cheap or easy, but at least it’s viable. With that new location comes the opportunity to make some much needed improvements to the lobby, front desk, reception area and associated office spaces. If we’re going to be considered a Platinum rated property, those spaces also need to be upgraded to that level of quality, just as the condominiums have been. 

A much more welcoming entrance will give our guests and owners a far better first impression.  For anyone who has visited grand hotels or five-star resorts and observed how much gets invested in the arrival experience, it’s easy to understand the importance of that concept … particularly in the hospitality business.  A two story structure with vaulted ceilings will replace the Antlers current one-level front desk “shoe box”, offering much more efficiency in addition to the radically improved aesthetics.

Fortunately, at a recent special meeting of the Antlers owners, there was overwhelming consensus to do what needs to be done, even if it is quite expensive. The total cost of the project is around four million dollars! We’re lucky that our ownership understands and appreciates the need to provide a great product for our guests … throughout the building.  Those that have been around for awhile also remember that similar investments they’ve made in the past, have been more than offset by the increased value of their property.

The plan now is to break ground in April 2019, at the end of ski season. Look for some good lodging deals during the summer! Then we should be 100% complete and ship shape in time for the 2019-2020 ski season.  Stay tuned for more information!