* Hotel construction has been booming in Denver over the past year: Almost 9,000 rooms have either opened, or are under construction with plans to open by the end of the year. But with the exception of a major project at the Adam's Mark Denver (which will take it from 744 to 1,225 rooms), most of the facilities are limited-service hotels. Three new hotels have opened at Denver International Airport (DIA)--a 107-room Fairfield, a 95-room Comfort Inn, and a 123-room Hampton Inn--and more are under construction.

There are several full-service projects that have been proposed, though, at press time, none was definite. Westin Hotels & Resorts is now in exclusive negotiations with the City of Denver to finalize an agreement to build a 500-room hotel to be attached to DIA. Preliminary plans call for about 20,000 square feet of meeting space. A 500-room Crowne Plaza in downtown; and a 305-room Omni, with a 27-hole golf course at the Interlocken business park are also proposed.

One major proposal, a 400-room Scanticon deluxe property with an 18-hole golf course near DIA, came to a halt earlier this year when the landowner and German investment group, Polydyne International, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. According to Jorgen Roed, president and CEO of Scanticon International, Inc., based in Princeton, NJ, Scanticon is waiting to review the reorganization plan that will be filed by the landowners no later than August 25 to determine whether to go forward with its plans at that location. Says Roed, "We are committed to be in the DIA location, but our home disappeared when the landowners filed Chapter 11." The company, which already has made a major investment in architectural and engineering studies, is investigating alternative sites near DIA.

And just outside of Denver in the city of Westminster, the Westin Westminster will be breaking ground this fall for a planned opening in fall 1998. The 367-room hotel will be part of a major development, the Westminster Promenade, a business, entertainment, and cultural complex. Adjoining the hotel will be a 50,000-square-foot conference center, owned by the city and leased to Westin for operation, which should be completed in October 1999.

Construction has been so headlong, in fact, that many hotel analysts say Denver's hot market needs to slow down and take stock of itself to avoid a crash, according to the Denver Post. The analysts see the problem as having too much development in the limited-service market and not enough in the full-service arena.

Eugene Dilbeck, president of the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, would like to see Denver expand the Colorado Convention Center and build another major headquarters hotel, making it a real contender for large convention business, and, in fact, a recent Coopers & Lybrand study recommended doubling the size of the convention center. Before that can happen, though, the issue must go before Denver voters for approval. According to Dilbeck, " It does not look like it'll get on the ballot this November. It will probably be the spring or fall of 1998."

Meanwhile, up in ski country, Ralston Resorts and Vail Resorts have merged, bringing together four of the top ski areas in the country: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone. Beginning with the 1997 to 1998 ski season, access to all four resorts will be included on one lift ticket. Keystone is in the second phase of a $700 million base area improvement project to include a ski-in, ski-out pedestrian village of condominiums, shops, and restaurants.

The Beaver Creek Performing Arts Center, seating 518 persons, will be completed in December and available for groups. And in the Roaring Fork Valley 40 minutes from Aspen, a third golf course is under construction. It will enable resorts in Aspen to offer golf until around the first of December. Designed by Jay Morrish, the 18-hole public course will open July 15.

Hotel News Aspen * The Little Nell, at the base of Aspen Mountain, last winter opened a new, top-floor suite, the 2,500-square-foot Paepcke Suite, the largest and most deluxe of the hotel's 15 suites. And this spring, the Wine Room. seating up to 36 persons, replaced the former Library private dining room.

* The conference center at the Gant will soon undergo a complete renovation and remodeling, including improvements to bring the facility into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Gant offers 120 one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom condominiums.

* The Ritz-Carlton, Aspen, with 257 guest rooms and 26 suites, has opened a new restaurant featuring western steak house fare, the Aspen Grill.

Colorado Springs * The 700-room Broadmoor recently completed a million-dollar renovation of its International Center (with 18,000 square feet of meeting space), including new interior design and some construction in the prefunction area. Additionally, 150 South Tower rooms were completely updated. This past winter the East and West golf courses were improved, creating a new water hazard, part of a new irrigation system that will be completed in 1998. This year, a new driving range is on-line, as are five target greens, a 10,000-square-foot practice putting green, and a pitching green with two bunkers.

* The 500-room Sheraton Colorado Springs recently completed a major softgoods renovation. Also, 62 rooms were converted to club-level rooms. There is now a club-level lounge and a business center.

* The 207-room Ramada Inn-Colorado Springs North completed a $3 million renovation in May in which all guest rooms were remodeled.

* An $8 million expansion and renovation program was completed last month at 316-room Cheyenne Mountain Conference Resort.

Denver * The Adam's Mark Denver, three blocks from the convention center, plans to open a major expansion on August 21, upping its guest-room count to 1,225 from 744. Convention facilities will include 125,000 square feet of meeting, exhibit, and banquet space. The hotel will have three ballrooms, including one measuring 30,000 square feet, the largest in the state.

* Last year the Inverness Hotel & Golf Club spent $3.2 million in upgrades. The hotel, 30 minutes from Denver International Airport (DIA), has 292 rooms and suites. The conference center, certified by the International Association of Conference Centers, features 33 meeting rooms.

* A $4 million renovation of the Hyatt Regency Denver Downtown's 511 guest rooms was completed in March.

* The proposed Westin, planned as an in-terminal hotel at DIA but still in the negotiation stage, would have 12 stories, 500 rooms, 20,000 square feet of meeting space, a business center, and a health club. Construction is expected to begin in 1998, with completion in late 1999.

Keystone * The Keystone Conference Center at the Keystone Resort offers several group learning opportunities in partnership with Phoenix-based Strategic Solutions. For 8 to 150 persons, the golf-based educational seminars, held at the Keystone Ranch Golf Course, enhance teambuilding, problem-solving, and group management skills. The conference center will begin a two-year renovation this summer.

Vail/Beaver Creek * The Hyatt Regency Beaver Creek will cater and arrange pre- and post-convention trips, teambuilding exercises, and spouse getaways, available in the summer and fall, to include cattle rustling, llama trekking, rock climbing, hot-air ballooning, hay rides, and rafting trips.

* The 318-room, 32-suite Marriott's Mountain Resort at Vail has an exclusive agreement with the valley's newest golf course, the 7,000-yard Pete Dye championship course at Cotton Ranch Golf & Country Club in Eagle, CO.

* The Vail Cascade Hotel & Club last fall completed a $2 million renovation of the guest entry areas, including a newly created registration lobby seating area. The Centennial Ballroom and Rocky Mountain Meeting Rooms were refurbished. All hotel areas will be upgraded to be in compliance with the ADA. The hotel has 46,000 square feet of meeting space in 23 meeting rooms.

* The Lodge at Vail has refurbished 25 of the property's 63 guest rooms, and done a $2 million renovation of the Cucina Rustica Restaurant. Next up is construction of the $12 million International Wing, with a new 6,000-square-foot ballroom and 19 additional custom rooms and suites. The ballroom will be completed in December.

Getting There Aspen/Sardy Field is three miles from Aspen and eight miles from Snowmass, providing up to 280 flights per week via United, Northwest and Northwest Airlink, TriSar, American, and Delta. Aspen Mountain Air provides daily nonstop service from Dallas/Fort Worth and Denver .

Colorado Springs' $84 million new airport, ten minutes from downtown, opened two years ago, offering nonstop flights from 30 cities.

The $4.2 billion Denver International Airport, 23 miles northeast of Denver, serves 110 U.S. cities with nonstop service from 11 major U.S. carriers, with United accounting for 70 percent of the traffic.

During the ski season several airlines serve Vail via the Eagle County Airport, 35 miles west of Vail. They include American, Delta, Northwest, and United.

Aspen Central Reservations Tricia Mayo, group sales manager * (970) 925-9000, ext. 7123 Fax: (970) 925-9008 acrone@rof.net

Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau Pam Sherfesee, dir. of convention sales * (719) 635-7506, ext. 134, (800) 888-4748, ext. 134 Fax: (719) 635-4968 http://www.coloradosprings-travel.com/cscvb/

Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau Kristin Richardson, vp convention marketing * (800) 888-1990, (303) 892-1112 Fax: (303) 892-1636 http://www.denver.org

Summit County Chamber of Commerce (Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain) Lynn Skall, executive director * (970) 668-2051 Fax: (970) 668-1515

Vail Valley Tourism and Convention Bureau Jim Feldhaus, vp of mktg. and group sales * (800) 775-8245, (970) 479-2360 Fax: (970) 479-2364 http://vail.net