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AURORA, Colo. — It’s hard to look around the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Aurora without picturing yourself relaxing near one of the many fireplaces, or floating down the lazy river.
But for the city of Aurora, landing the Gaylord was never about a stay-cation.
"There’s definitely a prestige factor in having a Gaylord in Aurora, Colorado," said Aurora Mayor Bob LeGare.
He's the third Aurora mayor to be involved in the project. The city is hopeful that the opening of the Gaylord will usher in more growth and development in the area south of the Denver International Airport.
"If you look nationally at Gaylord properties, it’s the development that happens around them in addition to the actual conferences that’s such an important factor for the city of Aurora," LeGare said.
The site of the Gaylord Rockies, near E-470 and Pena Boulevard, was chosen for the amount of space it offered and proximity to the airport. That area encompasses about 200 acres of land and much of it is not yet developed. The hotel itself is half a million square feet. It has 1,501 guest rooms spread out over 15 stories, including 114 suites and 14 presidential suites starting at $4,500 a night.
For the average Colorado family looking for a more affordable getaway, a state resident discount rate of $119 per night is being offered for a limited time.
But 80 percent of guests will be business and convention related. The Gaylord Rockies already has bookings through 2028, most of which have never held an event in Colorado before.
"Medical associations, pharmaceutical companies, quilting conventions — there really is a meeting for everything," said Michael Kofsky, sales and marketing director for the Gaylord Rockies.
Aurora's mayor said more hotels and businesses will have to be built to accommodate convention attendees. The city already built a fire station near the Gaylord as it prepares for additional growth.
"We have enough land area and water rights right now to grow potentially larger than the city of Denver," LeGare said. "At some point, this may be known as the Aurora-Denver region, instead of the Denver-Aurora region."