The Roost closes
Sad news from Vail. The popular low budget dive motel “The Roost” is gone, swallowed up by development. I love places like this: small, cozy, perhaps a bit dumpy and rough around the edges, but after a day of hiking or skiing it’s nice to be able to drive right up to your door rather than navigating enormous Vegas size lobbies and hallways.
In Vail I recommend the nearby Park Meadows Lodge. Not as cheap as the Roost, but still affordable. It’s on the west side of town, and walking distance to the chairlift next door the Vail Cascade hotel. I’ve stayed here two times in the past and found it clean, spacious, with friendly owners and fellow travelers.
Vail – The red neon “vacancy” sign is no longer lit at the iconic Roost Lodge, famed as the cheapest accommodations in this high-dollar ski town.
When the last guest made the 11 a.m. checkout Sunday, the Roost became a piece of Vail’s history, a casualty of ever-increasing property values and a need for a facelift.
“It’s going to be sad to see this baby go,” said Juan Fregoso, the live-in manager of the 72-unit budget motel just a few yards from Interstate 70. “We have a lot of people who stay here because it’s the most economical place in Vail. You’d have to drive an hour in either direction to get a lower rate.”
In a town where the average price of a hotel room was $267 in March, a no-frills room with two double beds at the Roost could be had for $99 and as low as $69 last week, at the tail end of the ski season.
“It’s not a five-star place, but it’s not five-star rates, either,” Fregoso said, showing off the clean-but-dated rooms.
Timberline Commercial Real Estate purchased the lodge and has spent the past two years planning a $50 million project to demolish and replace it with a 102-unit Marriott Residence Inn and 31 market-priced condominiums, according to developer Greg Gastineau.
“No question it has met a need in this valley, but the building is at the end of its useful life,” Gastineau said. “What we’ve tried to do is replace it with a product that’s still going to be one of the most reasonably priced accommodations in town. You just can’t create something that’s as inexpensive as the Roost.”
The town is undergoing an estimated $1 billion in renovations and new construction to update its decidedly 1970s look, including development of a new Four Seasons hotel and Ritz-Carlton residences.
The Roost won’t be demolished immediately: Gastineau is in discussions with construction contractors to use it for worker housing during summer’s busy season.
While popular with budget-minded skiers from the Front Range, the Roost also was typically the first stop for newcomers and seasonal workers, who have been known to pack four or more people into a room
Casey Wiatroska pushes towels to be laundered at the Roost Lodge in Vail earlier this month. The iconic motel, which closed Sunday, offered no-frills rooms at no-frills prices, especially appreciated by budget-minded skiers and seasonal workers. (Post / Glenn Asakawa)popular with budget-minded skiers from the Front Range, the Roost also was typically the first stop for newcomers and seasonal workers, who have been known to pack four or more people into a room.
That fact is not lost on Gastineau, who contends that the new lodge will still be far less expensive than other lodgings, and they will have kitchens – rare in Vail – allowing families to stay economically.
Not everyone is sentimental about the Roost, though. Reviews by guests posted on Trip Advisor.com are mixed, lauding its affordability but not its accommodations.
A couple from Park City, Utah, found it beneath even low-brow standards.
“When we arrived at the Roost, it was at night, so the hotel looked OK, since it was snowing and all we cared about was getting some sleep,” they wrote. “When we woke up, I thought we were at the wrong place. … The Roost should be knocked down and never remembered.”