Rocky Mountain Renaissance

The tab is nearly $1 billion for a massive five-year facelift under way in Vail, CO, the series of public and private construction and renovation projects termed a renaissance because of its impact on the venerable Colorado mountain resort. A variety of infrastructure improvements will occur even as the overall lodging, dining, and retail experience is upgraded with even more variety. Several elements are already complete, including substantial projects at Vail's two largest properties: a top-to-bottom renovation at the 300-room Vail Marriott and a $20-million project at Vail Cascade Resort & Spa that included renovation of meeting space, the spa, and the property's 292 guest rooms.

Over the next few years, the town of Vail will invest close to $7 million in upgrades to the streets and pedestrian areas of Vail Village; and this spring Lionshead Village begins the "New Dawn" project, a major upgrade that will reinvent the pedestrian village with a new 75-room Rock Resort hotel, additional retail space, restaurants, and an ice-skating rink. Two other luxury properties are slated to open next year: the 160-room Four Seasons and the 150-room Vail Plaza Hotel. Headlining the meetings portion of the renaissance is a new $42.5-million, 100,000-sf conference center (pictured) being built between Vail Village and Lionshead, which is scheduled to open spring 2007.