Steamboat’s Hotel Bristol to get a face-lift |

Steamboat’s Hotel Bristol to get a face-lift

Hotel Bristol in downtown Steamboat Springs is up for an administrative approval of a city permit later this month that would pave the way for a new look echoing that of The Victoria a couple of doors away.
John F. Russell

— One of Steamboat Springs’ longest-enduring downtown hotels is due for a new brick and stone façade that could earn it a place on the list of contemporary and restored Lincoln Avenue landmarks that honor the past while acknowledging the present.

Andy Van Baak’s Hotel Bristol, built in 1948 and remodeled at least twice since then, is up for an administrative approval of a city permit later this month that would pave the way for a new look echoing that of The Victoria a couple of doors away.

“When Andy Van Baak came to me, he was really looking for some continuity on that block, and he liked what was done with The Victoria,” said architect Jan Kaminski, of Mountain Architecture Design Group.

The Lincoln Avenue elevation drawing reflects a new brick front broken up by vertical bands of sandstone where today a Victorian, blue-clapboard look holds sway. Twin triangular parapets decorated with diamond shapes in contrasting blond brick would replace the existing parapets.

“Andy had seen that diamond pattern on a building in another city, and we haven’t done it exactly the same but similar,” Kaminski said. “It’s a contemporary interpretation of some of the styles that we see in Colorado.”

Matt Wagar, of Moon Hill Design, created the brickwork on The Victoria.

Kaminski said the use of distinct decorative features on historic replicas are a way to acknowledge that it is a 21st century building that honors but doesn’t copy nearby buildings from the first decades of the 20th century.

As an example, he cites the use of a houndstooth pattern of bricks used on the new Bud Werner Memorial Library that is a variation on a similar pattern in the Squire Building at Ninth Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Built by Everett Bristol

The Hotel Bristol, which also houses Mazzola’s Majestic Italian Diner on its lower level, was built by one of Steamboat’s leading citizens, Everett Bristol, who was an engineer at Yampa Valley Electric Association and served on the founding board of directors at Yampa Valley College, now Colorado Mountain College. Some say it was his force of will that helped the college survive.

Today, the Bristol might be the closest thing to a boutique hotel in Steamboat.

“It has cozy, little rooms in a cozy hotel that is very well-kept,” Kaminski said.

The lobby and rooms are decorated in a Western style, he added.

The hotel actually underwent a significant addition designed by noted Front Range architect Eugene Sternberg in 1959, Kaminski said. And although it was inventoried in a listing of older buildings in Steamboat’s downtown core, it was not deemed worthy of local, state or national historic registers, he added.

New owners renamed the lodging property the Clermont Inn, after a famous steamboat, in 1987 when a second story was added and it was given its current architectural treatment at a time when wood siding was favored in Lincoln Avenue buildings.

Van Baak purchased the hotel in the mid-1980s. At the time, the accommodations were European in style in that every two rooms shared a bathroom.

Van Baak promptly split the bathrooms and modernized them to give every room its own bathroom.

Documents on file with the Steamboat Springs Planning Department reflect that the existing building is not in conformance with the provisions for side and rear building setbacks from the lot line. Nor do the 12 parking spaces for guests meet the current requirements of one space for every room.

However, Kaminski said he expects the building to be grandfathered in with regard to those discrepancies and is optimistic that because the exterior modification to the building will make it conform to the latest downtown design standards, the Planning Department will look favorably on the permit application.

Because it’s critical that the new brick-and-mortar façade sets up properly, it’s possible construction will not begin until spring, he said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User