The Armstrong Hotel in the heart of downtown Fort Collins is the ACT Human Rights Film Festival’s official hotel partner for 2018.
From its beginnings as a home away from home for many, to its rundown days in the 1970s and 80s, to its rebirth in the early 2000s, this historic hotel has long been an iconic part of our city.
The Armstrong was opened in 1923 by Charles and Carolyn Mantz. The couple ran the hotel through World War II, when it was often used as an Army Barracks. After the Mantz family, the hotel had various owners, but started to lose momentum in the 1970s as the city expanded south. Then home to a rougher crowd, The Armstrong was forgotten by the public, and fell into disrepair over the next few decades. The hotel eventually closed in 2000.
After three lonely years, the historic building caught the eye of Steve and Missy Levinger, who bought the hotel in the fall of 2002 and began renovations shortly thereafter. In June of 2004, The Armstrong’s doors reopened, welcoming the community and visitors alike back into the unique, inviting atmosphere of The Armstrong. The Levingers wanted the building to retain its history, while also updating it’s decor for a 21st century crowd. During renovation, much of the features of the original building were kept and restored, like the 1940s neon signs, the original wood windows, and fir flooring. Twelve years after they purchased the hotel, the Levingers sold The Armstrong to Crystal Creek Capital, and its unique history is now being preserved by Aaron and Kelley Black.
The Armstrong is still a family-run hotel and prides itself on having friendly service with modern amenities. The Armstrong is a boutique hotel with 45 unique rooms. According to Kelley Black, each room has its own character, and many returning guests have time and again requested specific rooms. “People fall in love with different styles and different rooms,” she says. “they love certain views, colors, and furniture in their rooms. Many people are passionate about the hotel.”
In addition to the hotel’s rich history and beautiful design, The Armstrong’s basement is home to a local jazz lounge, Ace Gillett’s. Black says an evening at Ace Gillett’s is “an adult sophisticated evening with the spirit of a little bit of the rat pack and a little bit of new orleans.” Walking into Ace Gillett’s feels like you have been transported back in time. It feels like Mad Men as you “melt into the seats,” drinking a classic cocktail, and listen to the live jazz music. Not to mention, the absolutely incredible melt-in-your-mouth beef & pork sliders and the sweet and delicious creme brulee. The lounge is home to a “unique cross-section of people” where anyone is welcome. Whether you are wearing a vintage polka dot dress and red lipstick or jeans and a t-shirt, you will feel comfortable at Ace Gillett’s.
The Armstrong also has some wonderful amenities as well. Not only does the hotel have a “one of a kind Old Town vibe,” you can also explore Fort Collins on complimentary cruiser bikes. In addition, Armstrong guests have complimentary access to a local athletic facility, spa amenities via Amara Wellness , and various packages for special occasions and a hotel cat, Oreo! Oreo is a 13-year-old cat who has only ever lived in The Armstrong. Go visit her in the lobby during your stay!
There is no other place that is as uniquely Fort Collins as the Armstrong Hotel and Ace Gillett’s Lounge.