Lobby’s billy barr and Matchstick Lounge opening soon
By Kendra Walker
Since being taken under new ownership, the Elevation Hotel and Spa team has been hard at work over the last six months to reestablish the hotel as a local community gathering place. With renovations underway for both a lobby bar and a new restaurant lounge area, and more plans in the works, the Elevation team is hoping to bring some vibrancy back to the Crested Butte Mountain Resort base area.
The 262-room Elevation Hotel was acquired by Dallas-based hospitality company WoodHouse from Boxer Property last August, and Elevation’s managing director Nick Klaus recently shared with the News some of the new hotel improvements in development.
Klaus said that the process so far has been heavily driven by local collaborations and partners in order to make the updated property reflect the vibe of the local community and truly feel like Crested Butte. He stressed that the goal is for the Elevation to be a gathering place and community anchor for locals and visitors alike.
“It’s important to us that we’re bringing the community back here, but also that the guests experience Crested Butte history and what makes Crested Butte unique. Visitors want that local energy and vibe and want to feel like they are part of the community as well. We can create that ecosystem and give people a reason to stay up here.”
The hotel lobby has been renovated into a full-service bar, named the “billy barr” after the world-famous local Gothic resident and environmental researcher. “We want it to be the living room hub of activity,” said Klaus, noting the lobby bar offers a fresh take on the gathering area vibe of the old space now with food and beverage options. “We want to bring the community back in to have a comfortable place to hang.” The space is for guests, locals and anyone who wants to grab a coffee, bite to eat or cocktail. Coffee and breakfast service will be from 7 to 11 a.m., and food and cocktail service will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Klaus recounted the Elevation team’s recent Nordic ski adventure out to Gothic to meet with barr, get his blessing to use his namesake and gather inspiration for the hotel’s new concept. Elements of Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) history will be sprinkled throughout the space, and RMBL and the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum have donated old photos and memorabilia for the décor.
“billy barr is part of what makes Crested Butte so special!” said RMBL executive director Ian Billick. “For 50 years he has been his own unique individual, doing ground-breaking science around snow. He has generated more international exposure for Crested Butte than any other person or institution, including RMBL. It is great to see the Elevation ensure local awareness around just how special he is.”
The new billy barr is slated to open this month.
A new lounge is also in the works within the José restaurant, an award-winning Mexican cuisine and tequila pop-up concept that was introduced last fall as part of the Elevation’s 9380 Tavern food and beverage offering. The overflow space located near the restaurant’s restrooms is being revamped into a new lounge concept called the “Matchstick Lounge.” The space will be able to seat 60, host 100+ people for events and will be open to guests, locals, skiers, riders and athletes. Klaus said the goal is to have a place for brands, athletes and influencers to show their movies, visit and hold events. The Matchstick Lounge will include a pool table, dart board, games and state-of-the-art AV for sporting events, film screenings and world premieres.
The name and design are inspired by local film production company Matchstick Productions, and the new lounge will include movie posters, Matchstick memorabilia, old cameras, skis and behind the scenes production photos.
“For over 30 years the crew at Matchstick Productions has been proud to call Crested Butte home,” said Murray Wais, executive producer and director of Matchstick Productions. “We are excited to partner with the Elevation Hotel to open a space where we can celebrate the sports we love, while sharing in the passion of film. We hope everyone can come to have a drink, play some pool and watch some shred flicks or other events. It’s going to be a really cool place and I know our team will be hanging out there. It’s the perfect place to hang after skiing or biking.”
The Matchstick Lounge is slated to open to the public in early March. Matchstick Productions and the Elevation plan to host events throughout the year for film screenings, athlete signings, industry parties, resort holidays and more.
Bringing vibrancy to the base area and providing places for workers
Klaus said the Elevation’s new Matchstick Lounge and billy barr are among many projects aiming to create inspiring spaces at the base area to bring people together and celebrate the Crested Butte community and culture. Since WoodHouse took ownership of the Elevation, Klaus said the team has been engaged with the community’s goals and desires to bring vibrancy back to the base area. The town of Mt. Crested Butte recently adopted their new Master Plan, which has stressed the collaborative need to revitalize the base area and sparked stakeholder meetings with property owners at the base area. “People are looking for that vibrancy and to bring some life back to the base area,” said Klaus. “We want to help bring that energy here and contribute some spaces that people want to hang out in up here.”
The Elevation is also making an effort to house locals, providing housing for hotel staff and CBMR employees. Currently, the hotel has 43 rooms being used for hotel staff housing, said Klaus. “We also have a master lease with Vail to house 40 of their employees here. That’s important for us. As a hotel we want our guests to have a great experience on the mountain, which means employees should be happy and are having a great living experience here.”
Klaus said the team is still working on the Elevation’s long-term plan for rooms and other parts of the hotel, but he has received positive feedback on the changes since WoodHouse took over ownership. “Sales are up, people appreciate the quality of the food at Jose’s and the service, and everybody so far has been very positive,” he said. “And when it warms up, you can’t beat that patio location.”