Catbird in Rino makes them cool again


Long-stay hotels typically conjure up images of drab multi-story buildings located a few blocks from the freeway in the suburbs. These cookie-cutter chain hotels are clean, comfortable, and get the job done, but they leave something to be desired for digital nomads and project-based professionals like mobile nurses and consultants who need a place to stay. stay for a few weeks or months.

Denver-based Sage Hospitality Group is keen to breathe new life into these types of hotels, starting with its first extended-stay property, Catbird, which opened in RiNo in August.

“If you look around the world today it’s dominated by some very traditional concepts, all of these very generic suburban hotels that have in-room kitchens. It basically ticks the box to be an extended stay hotel, ”said William Balinbin, who is the director of development for Sage Investments and oversaw the Catbird project. “The first (long-term hotels) were built in the 1980s and for over 40 years no one has done anything new. When you look at the hospitality industry as a whole, there’s been a lot of change – and for good – but it hasn’t happened in extended stays.

While breathing new life into the outdated concept of long-term hotels, Sage has also drawn inspiration from short-term vacation rentals offered on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo.

While travelers get more of the conveniences of home when booking a house or condo on these sites, they are also missing out on some of the perks of staying in a hotel – perks like a pool and hot tub, a fitness center. form, housekeeping and on-site restaurants. Short-term vacation rentals can also be quite hit and miss when it comes to service, cleanliness, host responsiveness and other elements of hospitality, Balinbin said.

Catbird fills these gaps while maintaining the immersive vibe and personality of an Airbnb.

“We just wanted to turn things around and be trailblazers and really look at lifestyle hotels, look at the good sides of Airbnb and house sharing and take the best parts of extended stay hotels and really mix it all up and come up with something. that idea of ​​Catbird, ”he said.

The Denver skyline is seen from a private event space atop the Catbird Hotel, a new extended stay hotel between RiNo and Cole, December 10, 2021 (Eli Imadali, Denver Post special)

Catbird’s walkable and transit-friendly location is a major improvement over traditional extended-stay hotels, which are often located in suburban office parks and accessed primarily by car. The new wedge-shaped building, located one block from the 38th and the Blake light rail stop, is surrounded by art galleries, brasseries, restaurants and bars.

Another advantage of the location is that Catbird’s 17,700 square foot rooftop – which includes its bar and restaurant, The Red Barber, pool, hot tub, fire pits, lawn games, stage, and event space – offers a panoramic views of the Denver skyline and the mountains beyond.

“We want to be in neighborhoods where people want to live,” Balinbin said.

Catbird’s 390-square-foot studios also go far beyond the traditional hotel room, providing all the comforts of a vacation rental in the smart, space-saving style of a tiny home or camper. because.

Each studio (rates per night starting around $ 175) has a loft bed with space underneath for a large sliding closet system and convertible desk. The bed faces a huge picture window that doubles as a TV – the roller shutter window shade becomes a screen for the projector mounted above the bed. (The layout of the room and the design of the loft bed are so unique that Sage even applied for a patent.)

A sink, two burners and shelves mark the cooking area of ​​the Catbird Hotel, a new extended stay hotel between RiNo and Cole, on Friday, December 10, 2021. Each room is equipped with two books from the hotel’s partnership with the local bookstore Tattered Cover. (Eli Imadali, Denver Post special)

In the corner there is a kitchenette equipped with a sink, a small hob, a small dishwasher, a fridge and freezer and a microwave which also serves convection oven. The kitchen is stocked with pots and pans, utensils, plates, a coffee maker, a cookbook, and even glass containers for leftovers. There are also miniature spices and seasonings.

“This is all you need functionally to be able to truly cook, especially for a month or more,” Balinbin said.

Rooms also have free weights and a yoga mat, plus a pull-out sofa bed for extra guests. There are laundry facilities and free supplies on every floor (and inside some of the larger rooms), as well as water dispensers with sparkling and chilled water. The hotel also has long-term storage lockers and smart lockers for package deliveries.

The hall is laid out as an open plan kitchen and living room that one would find in someone’s house. To preserve the feeling of home, there is no fixed reception; instead, customers check-in at on-site kiosks or on their phones.

The kitchen offers made-to-order breakfasts, lunch specials, and on-the-go food and drinks, including a handful of ready-made meals that guests can take back to their rooms and cook.

“The central focus is the kitchen counter,” Balinbin said. “When you go to someone’s house, everyone puts their stomachs in front of the kitchen counter and that’s where people feel comfortable. “

The ground floor also houses small private offices and a quiet sitting area with a library curated by Tattered Cover (there are also books in each bedroom). Catbird’s ‘playroom’ offers rental bikes, skateboards, scooters, cameras, GoPro’s, games and musical instruments. Guests can also borrow a houseplant from the lobby through a special “rent a plant” program run by ReRoot of Denver.

With Catbird, Sage hopes to attract short- and long-term business travelers, people who have recently moved to Colorado, vacationers, and even Denver residents. With the increase in remote and hybrid working arrangements, especially during the pandemic, they also expect to welcome travelers who work remotely, freelance, or run their own businesses from the road.

“People love to explore the world,” Balinbin said. “And they can move into a place with their suitcases – for a month or three months or whatever – that’s fully furnished and has WiFi, TV, and cleaning. They literally don’t have to worry about a thing.

In addition to overnight bookings, Catbird offers leases for guests who plan to stay longer than 90 days, with rent ranging from $ 1,500 to $ 3,200 per month. Groups of up to 12 can also rent Klee House, an 1890s house that Sage has kept on the property.

Based on the early success of the Denver location and what company executives see as a huge void in the market, Sage, which owns and operates dozens of hotels and restaurants across the country, is already planning to build similar properties in Atlanta and New York. City.

“People are tired of the same boring hotel brand formula, the boring room, the boring restaurant in the lobby,” Balinbin said. “People don’t want boring experiences anymore, they want something that’s really innovative and fun and where they want to be and be seen.”

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