Upper County visitors now have a new place to rest their weary heads at night.

A plan that has taken years to develop has finally come to fruition with the opening of the Hotel Roslyn. The hotel located on West Washington Avenue had a soft opening on May 4 and came fully online approximately four weeks ago. Co-owners Danielle Bricker and Jon Aguirre bring backgrounds of real estate sales and development, property management, construction and project management to the business.

“Neither one of us have dabbled in hospitality until now,” she said. “We figured between the two of us and the experience we both bring to the table we could manage 10 units.”

Bricker said there wasn’t a formal announcement for the soft opening, and the hotel opened just a few rooms to initial reservations. She said it was designed as a trial run in the hopes that they would receive feedback on the guests’ experience, and that the feedback they received was fantastic.

“So far so good,” she said. “We had a few little things to iron out, but nothing major. I think people really enjoy what they’re experiencing.”

Aguirre said one of the benefits to the soft opening was that it gave them the ability to test out technology being used in the hotel to ensure that it was properly working. The hotel utilizes a wireless system that controls televisions and internet throughout the property.

“It hadn’t come online yet for us to check everything,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to do that.”

The 10-unit hotel contains four different floor styles, ranging from a studio with a king bed to units structured like a condominium with full kitchens, patios and private entrances. Prices at the hotel range from $190 for a studio in the low season to $390 for the condominium-style unit during the high season.

Originally from the West Side, Bricker has been visiting Upper County for over a decade as her fiancée grew up in the area. They maintain a home north of Roslyn.

“Now I’m pretty much here full-time,” she said. “We’ll retire over here in the future.”

Also from the West Side, Aguirre maintains a second home near Bricker’s and has been an Upper County regular for about five years.

“With this project here, I’m here 95 percent of the time,” he said.

Bricker oversees the hotels marketing and business operations and management on a day-to-day basis, while Aguirre heads up the building operations and maintenance needs of the property. Both take a hands-on approach to ownership staffing the front desk on a regular basis, giving them the opportunity to interact with guests.

REALIZING A DREAM

Bricker said her and Aguirre’s paths had crossed many times over the years in their respective career fields, and as they purchased homes in the area, they began to see that there was a niche that hadn’t been filled in the form of a hotel in Roslyn.

“We just saw a need,” she said. “We saw people every weekend coming into any of the restaurants downtown and always asking if there was any place to stay. We just saw a huge need for even our own families when we were having guests into town that there was just no place to stay.”

The two began to attend city council meetings to get a finger on the pulse of the town’s needs and began to learn that Roslyn was having an issue regulating vacation rentals within city limits. The city enacted a moratorium on new vacation rentals that held in place for approximately a year, with new rules coming into effect in April 2018. Bricker said they felt like the hotel could help alleviate some of the pressure from the concerns related to the rental issue.

“Really we were looking at the opportunity to solve some problems that were already happening in the city, but also to provide that service for the locals,” she said.

Bricker estimates that approximately 80 percent of their current reservations are for local families that have events planned such as weddings that require the need for accommodation to host visiting family members and friends.

“It was sort of neat to fill a need that was in the community,” she said.

The two purchased the property on Washington Avenue in 2016. The lot was vacant at the time, and Bricker said when doing research, they discovered that the property was a part of the history of Black pioneers in Roslyn, with a church serving the population once standing on the lot.

“There’s a pretty rich history for this area right in this neighborhood,” she said. “There were two hotels back in the day that were on adjacent pieces of property that had burned. Since the 1930s, I think there hasn’t been a hotel in Roslyn.”

Construction on the hotel technically began in summer 2017, but most of the summer was occupied by the permitting process. Aguirre said physical construction was held off due to the upcoming winter season, with the official groundbreaking happening in spring 2018. Roslyn-based Andrews and Andrews Architects designed the property, and Bricker said they were instrumental in guiding the project through the stringent planning process required by the city.

“The planning commission, the historical design was not an issue at all,” she said. “We had a few little adjustments to make, but that was the easy part as far as the design because our architect knew what we needed to do. We wanted to blend with the community, so that wasn’t an issue.”

One challenge related to city code the hotel needed to address was providing an adequate number of parking spaces. After trying to purchase adjacent lots but not finding a willing seller, Bricker said they purchased a property near the Roslyn Historical Museum shortly after the Washington Avenue purchase.

“We kind of weighed it out, which lot we wanted to build on,” she said. “We went back and forth with trying to also accommodate the infrastructure for the city. The stormwater systems and the water to hook up. We finally landed on this one to build on this lot and decided that lot would be the backup or overflow parking if we needed it.”

Aguirre said the permitting process took some time, mainly because Roslyn had not experienced commercial development within city limits for some time. He said the city needed to revisit codes and building regulations to ensure they were being upheld correctly.

“There hasn’t been any new building on the commercial side since the 1980s,” he said. “Other than that, permitting went fairly smooth. If we had been over on the other side of the mountains, I think we’d still be in permitting. Every municipality has their own challenges.”

UP AND RUNNING

Now that the hotel is fully operational, Bricker said reservations are filling up fast, with the last two weekends being fully booked or very close to it. Bricker said some of their goals for the summer are to continue to develop the website and internet search optimization tools, expanding knowledge of the hotel’s presence.

“A lot of what we’ve been doing is a lot of word of mouth and social media advertising until we can get all of that figured out,” she said. “For the word of mouth and social media marketing that we’ve been doing, it’s going crazy. This week is booking up as we speak.”

Bricker said the hotel also plans on building packages to amplify the Upper County experience, working with local businesses to provide options such as fly-fishing expeditions and horseback riding. She said the goal is to create working relationships with those businesses to have a positive impact on the local economy. One example was not incorporating food service within the hotel. The hotel does have a liquor license, and Bricker said they plan to have social events that are centered around wine tastings organized in conjunction with a local wine shop.

“That was part of our community commitment was to compliment and not compete with local businesses,” she said. “We don’t do the continental breakfast because there’s so many fabulous restaurants nearby.”

Now that hotel guests are enjoying the fruits of their labor, Aguirre said seeing the finished product is very satisfying. Bricker agreed, noting that she felt like they have captured the “Roslyn vibe.” She said for her, being rooted in the community and be able to work with local business owners to help enrich the community is her personal reward, along with the ability to put a smile on guest’s faces.

“On Friday and Saturday afternoons, people get here,” she said. “It’s beautiful out and they want to stay. Now they have a place to stay.”

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