Estes Park is named after Joel Estes who founded the town in 1859. Soon after, work began on Highway 36. Back then, it was a packhorse trail. Before Europeans discovered the breathtaking valley, it was inhabited during the summer by the Arapaho. The Arapaho would set up their tipis, rock fires, and dance circles around Marys Lake, trap Buffalo, and battle with Apache and Ute tribes who came to hunt Bighorn Sheep. By 1900, Estes Park had grown to a population of 218. Over the next 110 years, that number would grow to only 5,858, with over 3 million tourists using Estes Park as their base to explore Rocky Mountain National Park.
Where does Discovery Lodge and Coyote Mountain Lodge fit into this pioneering story? Well, in 1965, John and Lygia Peng came to America in their 20s in search of the American Dream. After years of hard work and sound business decisions, they found that they were the proud owners of several motel properties in Pasadena and Las Vegas. This is how their daughter, Leslie, learned the ropes of the hospitality industry.
“I used to do the evening shift at the local motel where I would study for class and check in the occasional customer while earning spending money.”
Mr. and Mrs. Peng eventually found their way to the lovely mountain town of Estes. They purchased a hotel called the Hobby Horse in 1986 that offered guided horseback trips. A solid work ethic would turn the lodge into a successful business. In the summer, Leslie handled housekeeping, cleaning rooms in the mornings and hiking in the beautiful mountains in the afternoons. The rest of the year Leslie studied History at the University of California Irving where she also assumed the role of the UCI Team Mascot (go Anteaters!). After graduating, she worked for a large hotel chain but soon grew weary of the 90-minute commute to Los Angeles. So in 1996, when Leslie’s dad was ready to retire, she moved to Colorado to run the property full-time as the General Manager, purchasing the family business a few years later.
“I still remember the first time I drove into Estes Park on Hwy 36—I don’t think that I had ever seen a sky that blue in my life!”
This is where Eric, Leslie’s husband, enters the picture. Growing up in Detroit, Eric would visit Colorado to ski in high school. He fell in love with the state and decided to attend college in Boulder, earning an economics degree when he wasn’t hiking and spending his time outside.
“I actually sent in my acceptance to CU having never set foot on the campus—based solely on the consistency of feedback from the alums... ‘Boulder was AMAZING! I wish I had never graduated.’ Thirty+ years later, I’m still here and in love with Boulder and the surrounding mountains.”
Starting out as a backpacking guide, real estate agent, and owner of an aviation startup that sold and delivered Cessnas to their new owners, Eric has seen Colorado from every view, calling it “a delightful journey.”
You can probably guess how he ended up in the hospitality business! In 2001 he met Leslie who was running the Hobby Horse. His career track to become a commercial airline pilot took a turn!
“That fateful day in September forever changed that track and I ended up working for Leslie in maintenance. Fate has a wonderful way of working out.”
In 2003, Leslie and Eric renamed the hotel “Discovery Lodge” to capture their life’s journey and to invite guests to discover their beautiful mountain town. In 2012, they made the decision to purchase the Coyote Mountain Lodge just down the road from the Discovery Lodge. Applying their hospitality experience and love of the area to its management, Coyote Mountain Lodge has become a favorite for guests in the front range. Fun and friendly, 48 rooms and a beautiful two bedroom second story condo make this a go-to spot for quick getaways to the gorgeous Rockies. Travelers from Germany, Australia, Denmark and other parts of the world come for the clean mountain air and to make new friends in nature’s big, beautiful backyard.
In their spare time, you’ll find Leslie, Eric, and son Rider practising Ki Aikido, hiking, skiing, travelling to swim meets and water polo games, and playing in the mountains near magical Estes Park Colorado.
“In my spare time, you can find me with my beautiful family—with my husband Eric and son Rider. You might also catch me knitting (and tearing out) feverishly yet another complicated scarf pattern.”
We both want to say “thank you” for taking a look at our beloved properties and wish you a delightful stay in Estes Park!
Who Are We?
We are IMPRINT Hospitality, a Denver based hotel and restaurant management company focused on the lifestyle segment of the industry. We love creating a unique story for each of our properties and then weaving it into every aspect of the operation. We believe that culture is everything and that a good guest experience has to start with a good employee experience. To find out more about us go to www.imprinthospitality.com