Colorado Springs, which sits approximately one hour south of Denver, has plenty to offer visitors seeking out natural wonders, cultural activities, and mouthwatering cuisine. But, up until this year, the city lacked a boutique hotel destination designed to capture the essence and excitement of the downtown.
When Perry Sanders, owner of the newly minted The Mining Exchange, bought up three historic buildings six years ago, he immediately saw the potential to transform the location into something special.
“Colorado Springs didn’t have a single boutique hotel, and it’s a city with over half a million people,” he says. “The best use for the buildings became clear to me. It was a really easy call to make.”
The buildings were built by Winfield Scot Stratton between 1898 and 1900. The Mining Exchange building, which now houses the main lobby of the hotel and several guestrooms, functioned as one of the most bustling stock exchanges in the nation at the turn of the 20th century.
It is the storied history of the property that attracted Sanders to the project in the first place. But when renovations began on the building, Sanders and his team weren’t sure what they would find underneath the layers of plaster, drop ceilings, and asbestos that had worked its way into the property over the years. But once work got underway, the beauty of the building revealed itself with massive, solid granite columns and hand-carved detail work.
“This building was built like something out of old Europe,” says Sanders. “When we gutted it back down to the walls, it was breathtaking.”
Plans for the renovation took into account the many historic aspects of the property. Not only are the original columns and arches now on full display, but the 17 vaults in the building have been kept in tact and are now being utilized as storage closets and even spa-treatment rooms.
But historic renovations often come with setbacks, and Sanders explains that the project hit several snags along the way. Completion of the hotel was bumped back a few years due to the nature of the project.
“It turns out, when you do strip something down like this, the modern-day codes don’t take into account a lot of the things we found,” he says. “We had to redesign elevator shafts and put fire rating between walls. It was a very, very complicated renovation process.”
But the extra time and money paid off, and The Mining Exchange opened its doors to guests earlier this month with 57 out of 117 rooms functioning. The rooms feature amenities such as handcrafted furnishings, granite desks, stone showers with two showerheads, and an original piece of artwork. Rooms also feature privacy doors in the bedrooms and bathrooms, sound attenuation between rooms, and complimentary high-speed Internet. The other 60 guestrooms, a grand ballroom, and a spa with several two-person treatment rooms are expected to be up-and-running by the end of June.
Not only does the newly opened property have the distinction of being the only boutique hotel in Colorado Springs, and the first new hotel to open in the city in 27 years, but it also holds the honor of being part of the exclusive Wyndham Grand Collection. There are only 29 Wyndham Grand hotels worldwide.
Even though Sanders had initial reservations about partnering with a brand, he understood the benefits that an upper-tier flag could bestow on the property.
“Pretty much every brand wanted to flag us when we started doing this,” he says. “We ultimately decided to go with Wyndham because they seemed to be the people that caught on to the product the best. They love the project and they really believe in the project.”
Sanders has no doubt that The Mining Exchange will become a destination for both business and leisure travelers visiting the Colorado Springs area. The hotel restaurant, Spring Orleans, which has been open for a year, has already won several awards and distinctions. Sanders also has plans to turn a building adjacent to the hotel into an entertainment venue that will eventually feature live musical acts and can also function as another high-tech meeting or broadcast space for hotel guests. The building, although not affiliated directly with the hotel through the Wyndham agreement, will be connected to property with a skybridge, and should be completed by the end of the summer.
“We have not cut any corners and have really tried to put together a first-class product for the world,” says Sanders. “In your mind’s eye, you can have a vision of something, and until it’s built, you never know if it’s going to be comparable or not. But in this particular situation, the final product exceeded my highest expectations on every front.”