Blue Mountain Inn enjoys successful first six months

RANGELY — Blue Mountain Inn and Suites opened for business July 20, and business has been good.
“We’re ahead of where we thought we would be,” said Bob Jappe, a partner in the Grand Junction-based management company hired to operate the hotel. “We’re real pleased. It’s going good.”
To be expected, business has dropped off during the winter months.
“That’s no surprise,” Jappe said. “January slowed down a little bit. It’s not a big tourism month.”
But overall, the hotel’s first six months have been good. Really good.
“We had a heck of a 2008; better than expectations,” said Jappe, who manages the hotel with his business partner, Don Bramer.
Many of the hotel’s guests are workers in the energy industry.
“That’s no surprise,” Jappe said. “With Rangely being in the energy belt, certainly that was one of the things we were aware of when we got involved in the project.”
Lendy Lancaster, who serves as the on-site manager, agreed.
“We have lots of energy people (who stay at the hotel),” Lancaster said. “They are our bread and butter.”
Lancaster, who grew up in Rangely, recently returned after having been gone for 14 years. She still has “lots of family” in the area, she said.
“I’ve never been in the hotel business,” Lancaster said. “But I’m excited. I like working with people. I started working here as soon as they opened. Rangely needed this.”
Blue Mountain Inn is one of two “Blue” hotels to open in the county during the past six months. Blue Spruce Inn opened on the other end of the county, in Meeker, earlier this month. Harry Watt and Melinda Parker, owners of the new Blue Spruce Inn, toured the Blue Mountain Inn.
“Rangely is lucky to have it,” Parker said.
Named for the mountain just across the line in Moffat County, but visible from Rangely, the two-story Blue Mountain Inn has 50 guest rooms, including three suites.
One of the suites, called the Rangely Suite, includes a small meeting room.
“It’s pretty high tech,” Jappe said. “The participants can sit there and plug (a computer) right in at the table and project onto a 52-inch flat screen. Plug and play.”
Other amenities include an indoor, heated pool, hot tub, continental breakfast and wireless Internet service.
Besides the business from the energy companies, the hotel was busy during the fall hunting season.
“It was the referral system,” Jappe said. “You know, a hunter talks to a hunter, that’s how it works.”
Even with the financial downturn, Jappe remains confident the local economy will fare better than other parts of the state.
“None of us knows what will happen to the national economy, and none of us can predict the state’s position on energy, in general, and what sort of toll that will take,” Jappe said. “But the bottom line is the world needs energy, and the Rangely area has it. A lot of folks will be in the area (for work in the oil and gas industry) and they have housing needs, they have hotel needs. Those same people are helping virtually every aspect of the economy. It’s these kinds of things that help local economies stay healthy.”
The hotel is owned by Mark and Kathy Calvin of Whitewater, near Grand Junction.
In a retail space just north of the Blue Mountain Inn, which is under the same ownership, the hotel will soon have a restaurant next door when Betty’s Cafe from Vernal, Utah, opens at the end of February or first of March. The Nail Shop is located in the other retail space.
Ryan Nay will manage the new cafe, which is named for his grandmother. His mother operates Betty’s Cafe in Vernal, which has been in business for 30 some years, Nay said.
“We believe we will be open by the first of March,” Nay said of the cafe, adding the restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“They will have a full-service restaurant there,” Jappe said. “We’re excited about that. A lot of our energy guests, who frequent our place, will be excited about that, too.”