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Where Old Meets New: Remodels Refresh Telluride


Part of Telluride’s charm is that this community has managed to balance historic character with contemporary style. A short walk down the streets of downtown offers a glimpse back to the Victorian architecture and mining days of the late 1800s. This is no accident: Telluride is a registered national historic district, and local government and citizens have gone to great lengths to preserve the past. Three recent remodels are fine examples of how Telluride’s business community has freshened its appearance to meld modern with vintage.

In the Roma Bar Building, one of Telluride’s oldest saloons, resides Honga’s Lotus Petal. Although the main-street structure was remodeled extensively in 2006 to accommodate the current Pan-Asian restaurant, the business reworked its interior significantly this fall.

Downstairs still contains the original 1860 Brunswick-Balke-Collener Company bar, which is carved from walnut and on which 12-foot French mirrors are displayed. This period piece was the sushi bar for the last three years, but the bar is being returning to its original intent. The restaurant has added lounge furniture to the downstairs in the hopes that the space will provide an area in which guests can wait for tables, hangout to imbibe and order from a special menu, and enjoy occasional music or DJs. This area has been dubbed “The Lotus Lounge.”

Meanwhile, a new upstairs sushi bar will enhance the Asian dining experience, and cocktails for the dining room will now come from a small service bar in the northwest corner.

Another business that is reaping the rewards of its remodeling labors is The New Sheridan Hotel. The ambitious remodel captured honors from the Town of Telluride’s Historic and Architectural Review Commission (HARC). The $7 million project won the Rehabilitation and Restoration Award in which a remodel must adhere to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation administered by the National Park Service. The award lauds a property that restores an old structure while maintaining its historic use.

Originally constructed as the Sheridan Hotel in 1891, and rebuilt as the New Sheridan after being destroyed by fire in 1893, the Victorian style architecture and building’s historical significance were key considerations in last year’s renovation. The project included a complete revamp of the 26 guest rooms, a facelift of the lobby and an expansion of the dining capacity in the Chop House restaurant.

Hotel Columbia provides yet another example of a structure that enhances Telluride’s business core. Although the hotel is a newer, built in 1995, it underwent significant design regulations by HARC when constructed. Its brick façade and windows match Telluride’s historic characteristics, and in December of 2008, new owners stripped the interior to its studs to revitalize the look. Earthy tones and clean lines now bring the outside in to join with stone finishes and a water feature near the lobby. This renovation also changed the layouts of the 21 rooms and suites to more efficiently use existing spaces.

Each in their own way, these buildings have been carefully crafted to create a flashback to another time. Simultaneously, these businesses enhance Telluride's offerings of state-of-the-art accommodations and dining in a historic setting like no other. 

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