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DENVER-April was not a cruel month for Denver-area hotel owners. Theaverage occupancy rate for the 849,529 available room nights in the metro area hit 62.5%, the highest of the year, according to the latest Rocky Mountain Lodging Report, by Robert S. Benton & Associates.

In April 2004, the hotel occupancy rate as 57.3%. In March, it was 58.8%. The average room rate also rose. Hotels ended April at an average room rate of $88.30, compared with $81.75 in April 2004. The average room rate is the second best so far this year, bested only by $90.56 average in February, according to the report.

Downtown Denver, with 157,261 available room nights, was the best performing submarket as far as the average room rate. The average room rate was $125.30, the only market to break the $100 mark.

The average occupancy rate also was high at 67.6% for Downtown, second only to the Denver International Airport market at 67.8%. The average room rate in hotels near DIA was $83.15. The DIA market is less than half the size of the Downtown market, with 62,926 available room nights.

The largest market is the South and Southeast market, which includes what Benton calls Level I and Level II rooms, with a total of 260,039 available room nights. The overall South and Southeast market showed a 61.9% occupancy rate and an average room rate of $80.32. The Boulder market showed an average room rate of $93.27, second to Downtown Denver, and an average occupancy rate of 61.8%. There are 53,460 available room nights in Boulder.

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