1st guests check in Saturday at One Steamboat Place | SteamboatToday.com

1st guests check in Saturday at One Steamboat Place

— When One Steamboat Place opened its doors to guests Saturday, a boutique Steamboat property management company had reason to celebrate.

Robin and Heather Craigen, of Moving Mountains Chalets, have landed contracts to manage two of the whole ownership condominiums at One Steamboat Place including the Black Diamond Penthouse, which is being offered for rent for $2,690 a night for a seven-night stay. Moving Mountains made its first booking last week and will offer as much as 30 percent off the book rate for the rest of the winter.

"We expect that we will manage five to seven One Steamboat Place units within the next couple of months," Robin Craigen said.

Moving Mountains, which has been hosting guests in single-family luxury homes since 1997, has a track record of providing high-end services that will be extended to guests in the OSP condominiums they represent.

The services include the availability of a chef to cook daily breakfasts and as many dinners as the guests desire. They also can opt to have meals prepared in advance and stocked in their refrigerators, awaiting their arrival.

One Steamboat Place Gene­ral Manager Lance Thompson said Thursday that a number of condo owners have been in residence since closings began last month. However, the first guests — as many as 14 or 15 couples — were scheduled to begin checking into residence club condos Saturday.

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"Our first packed weekend will be that first weekend in February," Thompson said.

He said 34 of 50 Summit Club memberships priced at $65,000 have sold, including eight last week. The club memberships entitle members who don't own real estate at One Steamboat Place to use amenities including the spa and ski lockers. Thompson said One Steamboat Place's Summit Club is attracting owners of condominiums at nearby developments that lack similar amenities.

Developers Timbers Resorts have long promised that the gathering areas would feel homey and that effect has been achieved with a mixture of new and antique furnishings.

Couches are piled with throw pillows. Coffee and sofa tables are stacked with collectible books about the American West, and the fact that most appear to be lightly used enhances the impression that the property already has been well lived in.

Mixed in with the antiques and new furniture pieces are many original art works, including a large chandelier fashioned of customized glass salmon.

Craigen thinks Timbers Resorts' new luxury property at the base of the ski area taps into a previously unfulfilled market here.

One Steamboat Place, which plans a formal grand opening during the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival in early February, initially offered 80 condominiums, including 38 whole-ownership vacation homes priced from $2.5 million to $4.7 million, and 42 residence club condos being marketed as one-eighth shares.

Luxury rentals on rise

"The clientele at One Steamboat Place is one we've been drawing to Steamboat in increasing numbers to Steamboat Springs," Craigen said. "It's like nothing Steamboat has ever had before. We've looked at Aspen, Deer Valley and Vail, and we feel it will be perceived as a value for luxury."

An unanticipated result of the recession has been that the number of properties in Moving Mountains' stable has grown dramatically since the end of the 2008-09 ski season.

The company now manages 23 private homes in addition to the two condominiums at One Steamboat Place.

"We've doubled since the end of last winter when we had 10 properties," Craigen said. "A lot of new homes came on the market (for sale), and vacation rental is a better holding strategy for some people."

Among the new properties are three that were completed in 2009.

Occupancy rates are better than last winter, and his company has had more success holding onto its advertised rates, Craigen said.

"People's confidence is coming back," he said. "Last year, it didn't feel good to take an extravagant vacation when your neighborhood had just been laid off or you were laying off your own employees."

Hang around the owners' gathering areas at One Steam­boat Place for 30 minutes or so, and the nation's economic woes seem to temporarily fade into the background.

Thompson's favorite conversation piece at One Steamboat Place is a framed letter with its original envelope that was written by Ernest Hemingway and postmarked from Cuba. It hangs in a frame next to one of the elevators.

In the letter, Hemingway responds to an inquiry from a stranger who wants to use the text of the novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls" for purposes of guerilla training and also poses questions about the great author's drinking habits.

Although One Steamboat Place is a private lodge, members of the public who would like to take a tour to satisfy their curiosity are welcome to inquire at the sales office just off the entrance near the outdoor fire pit at Gondola Square.

Renting the penthouse

■ Slopeside at One Steamboat Place

■ Four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

■ Sleeps 8

■ Nightly rental rate: approximately $2,690 for a seven-night stay

■ Exclusive property manager: Moving Mountains Chalets

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