Giving guests directions
If the Grand Lodge was rebuilt today, it’s safe to say the front entrance would be located somewhere other than on the transit loop. It’s challenging for drive-in guests to figure out how to pull up front and check-in, and visitors coming to stay at the Grand Lodge for the first time probably had some trouble just finding the front door.
The front entrance to the Grand Lodge is on the base area bus loop, and drive-in guests coming up Gothic Road need to take a right just past the lodge, navigate through the parking lots, and wrap around the building to reach the front entrance where bellmen and guest services staff await. Worst-case scenario: guests arrive at night in a snowstorm, can’t read the signs, park far from the entrance, and end up lugging their bags in through the back door or on a marathon trip around the building.
To help alleviate the problem, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is proposing the addition/redesign of several signs to help facilitate direction to the Grand Lodge lobby. John Sale, CBMR’s director of planning, and Grand Lodge general manager Chuck Donnelly attended the December 7 Mt. Crested Butte Town Council meeting to propose the signage changes. The proposed signs are not compliant with town code due to some size variations, and they require approval by the Town Council to determine if the sizes, location, landscaping, materials and content are appropriate.
Mt. Crested Butte town manager Joe Fitzpatrick explained the need. “It’s a very difficult situation that the town allowed to happen when that building was built. That’s where the property owner wanted the front door.”
For Donnelly, it comes down to making it easier for guests. “What we’re trying to do is enhance our guest service,” he said. “We’re finding people staggering in through the back doors and not getting to the lobby fast enough so our bellmen and guest service [employees] can hold open doors, carry bags, etc. The intent is to make it easier by bringing them all the way around.”
The signs’ proposed placement stirred some council discussion, in particular a proposed directional sign that would be installed on the rock retaining wall that separates the Grand Lodge parking lot and Treasury Road. Town attorney Rod Landwehr confirmed that the proposed sign location is on town property, as is an existing sign on Gothic Road. That raised questions surrounding whether all businesses on the mountain have the right to install directional signage on town property.
“I think it’s going to open up a can of worms,” said councilman David O’Reilly.
Councilman Danny D’Aquila asked, “So can the Avalanche Bar and Grill put a sign on the wall? Are we offering the space to everybody? What’s going to happen when other properties want signs?”
Mayor William Buck said, “I think we could use some signs directing people to the commercial district.”
Sale commented on the town’s sign policy. “Once Mountaineer Square North happens, we’re going to want more signs for parking. Does it make sense for the town to not allow signs in its right of way?
“The goal is to really capture people when they come in the evening and they don’t know where to go,” Sale added. “[It’s about] grabbing their attention and directing them where they need to go.”
After the meeting, CBMR representatives met with town staff, and the decision was made to avoid placing signage on the retaining wall to avoid the issues associated with installing a sign on town property. Instead, a new timber-framed flower box and sign will be installed at the northeast corner of the Grand Lodge, and will provide much clearer direction to the front entrance. The goal is to have the new signage installed before the Christmas rush.