Biggest Hotel in Town’s History Slate for Post-Christmas Opening
After months of speculation, the nine-story Chamonix Casino Hotel in Cripple Creek, has announced its pending opening day.
Last week, Full House Resorts, owner of Bronco Billy’s, gave an overview of their plans for the opening of the biggest lodging project every constructed in the history of Cripple Creek, along with the resort’s initial big dollar restaurant amenities.
The casino, which has gained much attention since construction began, is calling for an opening day on Dec. 26.
In a press release, Full House Chief Executive Officer Dan Lee expressed much optimism about the progress of the project, with planning that actually began prior to COVID.
“We continue to make substantial progress at our Chamonix project in Cripple Creek, Colorado,” said Lee. “Barry Dakake, a celebrated chef known for leading Barry’s Downtown Prime and N9NE Steakhouse in Las Vegas, Nevada, recently agreed to operate our fine dining restaurant at Chamonix.
“Barry and his team are known for creating restaurants with amazing guest service and equally amazing cuisine. He began his career with Chef Charlie Palmer at the Aureole restaurants in New York and on the Las Vegas Strip, which earned numerous Michelin stars and James Beard Awards. He was also a part of the opening team of N9NE Steakhouse, which was named a ‘Top 100 Restaurant in the World’ by Condé Nast Traveler, ‘Best Steakhouse’ by Vegas Magazine, ‘Hottest New Restaurant’ by Wine Spectator, and one of ‘America’s Best Restaurants’ by Gourmet Magazine. We look forward to vying to be one of the state’s leading restaurants with Barry at our Chamonix Casino Hotel.”
More importantly, Lee gave an opening date, ending much local speculation.
“We also have finalized an opening day for Chamonix: December 26, 2023. On that day, we expect to open with a near-complete experience, with all three of our hotel towers, our new casino, fine dining restaurant, and parking garage. We look forward to welcoming our first guests to what we believe will be the most unique casino destination in Colorado.”
The timing of the Chamonix should work with an extension for their permitting, which continues through the end of this year. If it can’t meet that deadline, then Full House must apply for an extension, which currently permit the casino company many exemptions from the current historic guidelines and allows them to vacate a key roadway and adjacent alley.
Chamonix, though, has not experienced any delays in regulatory action by the city.
The project has received plenty of attention, capped by a formal blessing of the construction effort last year in a ceremony and tour that attracted several hundred people, including many community leaders. The ceremony actually had historic ties back to the Roman empire.
Project Death and Rebirth
The Chamonix is a project that has undergone a variety of lives, and appeared dead shortly after the COVID epidemic struck. In fact, company officials even sought to get relief from their construction bond, citing financial hardships that confronted Full House, as part of the national shutdown of the casino business.
Lee made a personal appeal before the city council and contended that his company never confronted a crisis like the COVID epidemic.
Then, in an about-face move that shocked city officials and locals alike, the project a number of months later, vastly expanded its focus and accelerated its construction schedule. Initially, Full House had planned to construct an indoor parking garage, and then do a four-star hotel, in various phases.
But under the new push, they opted for a much bigger hotel, totaling about 300 rooms, and to do the project simultaneously, with the garage and the hotel.
This move wasn’t without its critics, as many residents, including people who resided near the construction site, accused Full House and the city of not providing much transparency regarding its new design that called more hotel rooms than the original version.
Concerns were raised about the height of the hotel and the thrashing of historic guidelines. Tom Litherland, who was the mayor pro tem at the time, raised a red flag.
A subsequent inquiry by city officials, though, concluded that everything was handled above-board and all permits were followed. The big question mark dealt with Zoom meetings, as for an extended period, no in-person meetings were permitted in Cripple Creek.
Many, though, have viewed the Chamonix as a big step forward for Cripple Creek. Supporters have lauded the Chamonix as a game-changer for the Cripple Creek business community.
For the last six months, the project has snagged much attention among visitors, tourists and regular players.
The big question asked by most: When will the Chamonix open?
City officials are hoping that the Chamonix opening could spearhead a variety of other lodging projects, as Cripple Creek tries to take a bold move to become more of a destination resort area.
As for other developments, much progress has occurred on the non-gaming front, with plans moving ahead for the District Saloon, which is slated to open in mid-June.