Listen up. Guests traveling to scenic secondary destinations want more than a pretty picture. They crave experiences that appeal to all five senses.
Staci Patton, hospitality leader and principal with DLR Group, didn’t just envision a local look for The Elizabeth Hotel in Fort Collins, Colorado; she channeled its community’s love of music into a concept guests could hear.
DLR Group’s interiors team fine-tuned its acoustic solutions for the 116,643-sq.-ft. Autograph Collection hotel, creating highly detailed spaces where guests can experience music in a way that feels like wearing headphones—without harsh reverberation. “It was like being a conductor of an orchestra—literally—as we harmonized acoustics, brand identity, budget and interior design,” says Patton.
The Elizabeth Hotel. All photos: Andrew Bordwin Studio Inc.
High-end acoustic products throughout the property, including ceiling elements, wall materials and window drapery, reduce excess noise and enhance the audio. This is especially apparent in the hotel’s F&B venues, such as Magic Rat. Created in collaboration with New York-based hospitality studio dash design, the indoor-outdoor lounge space takes notes from the exuberance of an old neighborhood theater, as well as open-air music venues, with finishes reminiscent of movie palaces, velvet upholstery, chandelier lighting and a rich color palette.
That aesthetic is juxtaposed with raw elements that bring the outdoors inside—hand-fired tiles, wood beams and ceiling lights that suggest the look of a constellation in the night sky. “Furniture was chosen to evoke class and comfort,” says Patton. “Some pieces are tufted like that of an old theater seat, while others are more pragmatic or have a handcrafted quality, such as the outdoor wooden and metal pieces.”
Patton says that Colorado-based hotel operator Sage Hospitality’s philanthropic DNA and commitment to driving context in a way that supports regional artisans heavily influenced the hotel’s art program. Curator NINE dot ARTS chose oil-on-canvas expressionist painting “Picnic” by Denver artist Kevin Sloan as a focal point behind the front desk. That piece depicts a grizzly bear, a raccoon and a ram (an homage to Colorado State University) having an alfresco tea party and features a subtle overlay of sheet music to the state song, “Where the Columbines Grow.”
“Much like the hotel’s authentic and raw materiality juxtaposed by soft white colors and filigree, this art piece is raw. It’s in a natural forest setting, but includes hints of elegance and whimsy introduced by vibrant color and content,” says Patton. “[It also] reinforces music and sound harmonies as playing a major role in the guest experience.”
Each of the five-story hotel’s 164 guestrooms—including three signature suites designed to embody Fort Collins’ culture, The Beer & Bike Suite, The Music Suite and The Ram Suite—is home to a record player accompanied by LPs on vinyl.
But nothing amplifies the hotel’s music-centric melody like the lending library, where travelers can check out musical instruments, amps and equipment, as well as records. “Guests can jam in the lobby, at the beer garden or on the roof terrace, wherever they truly feel at home,” says Patton. So when it comes to Rocky Mountain hospitality, ditch the ear plugs and riff on.