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Posted: November 02, 2012

Top Company winner: Sage Hospitality

David Lewis

TOURISM/HOSPITALITY

Sage Hospitality Resources

Sage Hospitality Resources co-founder, President and CEO Walter Isenberg started with the company back in 1984 as COO. This is apropos for a hospitality company, which succeeds when it makes operations as complex as a nuclear submarine’s seem as simple as picking a mint off a pillow.

Denver-based Sage Hospitality, with 6,000 employees, manages hotels, invests in them, and owns and manages restaurants. In September the company signed an agreement to manage hotels in Minneapolis and San Diego, bringing its total of hotel properties owned or managed to 59, including 17 in the metro Denver area; in all, the company has owned or managed more than 400 hotels in 40 states.

The heart of company assets arguably are Sage’s downtown Denver hotels, which include the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek, the Oxford Hotel, Courtyard Denver Downtown, the Embassy Suites Denver-Downtown/Convention Center, the SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown, the Curtis and others.

"Our headquarters is here; one-third of our (hotel) properties are here – we have 17 and counting on the Front Range of Colorado; and we have three restaurants here, so one-third of our restaurants are here," Isenberg says, namely Westminster’s Kachina Southwestern Grill, downtown Denver’s the Corner Office, and the Second Home Kitchen and Bar in Cherry Creek.

"What’s interesting for us is, once people move here to the headquarters, it’s hard to get them to go back into the field. They don’t want to leave," he says with a laugh.

"We did our first acquisition in 1990," Isenberg says, "and that’s when we started to really get into more of the real estate ownership and capital side of the business."

David Lewis is a freelance writer based in Denver.

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