The Western Hotel, originally built in 1891, is considered Colorado’s oldest continually operating hotel. Located at the foot of the San Juan Mountains, this historic property is surrounded by stunning landscapes, world-class outdoor recreation, and small-town life. A remnant of Ouray’s mining past, this re-imagined historic property draws on its authentic Old West spirit to become a gem of the Western Slope’s hospitality scene.
The redesigned Western elevates the guest experience with a mix of contemporary and historic architectural elements. Original features like stained glass windows, tin ceilings, and a 132-year-old hand carved wooden saloon bar preserves the building’s character, while the former 40 cramped boarding units have been transformed into 16 updated, light-filled suites - each with its own kitchenette, ensuite bath and gas fireplace.
The ground floor lobby and dining room was reconfigured into a general store, drinking lounge, and signature restaurant. Key to the Western experience, the “Saloon at the Western” provides an award-winning dining experience. With dark natural wood, custom leather-trimmed furnishings and original woodwork, the restaurant and bar blends a contemporary design aesthetic with historic character. Through preservation and restoration efforts, layers of history were peeled back to reveal unique details like the original wallpaper and plaster lath walls.
With decades of deferred maintenance, the Western required significant structural and building-performance interventions. The design team was able to address these shortcomings and extend the life of the building, all while preserving its original character. New beams and columns were hidden within existing walls, insulation was sprayed behind the existing exterior siding, and water proofing layers were tucked underneath historic woodwork. Thanks to the hard work and sensitivity of the design team, the project has been approved for both state historic recognition and a federal grant through the National Park Service.
15,000 square feet