In-the-know, travelers come to Aspen for vacation because of it’s reputation of being the IT place (not unlike Manhattan, the Hamptons, Malibu, or Beverly Hills). Even if people don’t ski or mountain bike, Aspen draws jet setters to its chic yet authentic mountain town for the lifestyle, dining, àpres, shopping, and to enjoy the good life. The charming town is understated and inviting, but yes pricey!
Aspen is a sporting enthusiast’s winter and summer dream location due to easy access to its four stunning mountains – the largest being Snowmass, great for all ski levels, and to Highlands and Ajax (Aspen Mountain) for those with a bit of ski experience. Buttermilk is geared towards beginners and is a great spot to learn to ski with an instructor.
Where to Stay?
The Little Nell
Aspen has no more privileged locations than the Little Nell, with their ski concierge steps from the main gondola and an easy ski into Ajax Tavern for lunch in the sun.
Clients of Resort to Laura Madrid love this hotel, and it was fun to be a guest myself finally. What a warm welcome!
Rooms at the Little Nell, from the basic entry-level up to the Multi-bedroom residences, offer a great deal of space and are thoughtfully designed with great storage, closets, hooks, and nooks for storing all the gear!
Service at Little Nell is top notch with every single employee truly engaging!! My favorite team members were manning the wine bar (go figure!) and the concierge, who more than helped my family out of a pickle in getting my daughter back to school in Boulder after a flight cancellation. The drivers provided complimentary transfers from the airport to the Little Nell and to their sister property, the Limelight, where our kids were staying. The all-star driver team also takes Little Nell guests over to Aspen Highlands on days when they prefer not to ski Aspen Moutain, AKA Ajax. Hint, the food is MUCH better on Aspen Mountain than at Highlands, in case that matters, which to me it does.
The Limelight Hotel
The Limelight is just a block from the Little Nell on Aspen Mountain. It is a fantastic 4-star option, also with terrific service, and owned by Aspen Hospitality, the same owners of the Little Nell. If you don’t have the budget for putting the entire family at the five-star Little Nell, consider putting your young adult kids over at the Limelight.
Like all Auberge properties, the Hotel Jerome has a sense of place and tells a story: “Hotel Jerome has been the social hub of Aspen since its opening in 1889 at the height of the town’s silver boom, known as the place where all great stories were born and are told. As the only Aspen hotel to survive the silver crash, the long pre-ski-resort winters, and the Depression, we’ve seen cowboys ride through our doors, 10th Mountain Division soldiers gather around over pints after training on the slopes, and Hunter S. Thompson holding court during his run for sheriff. You can’t experience Aspen without experiencing Jerome.”
Get Suited and Booted in Style
Aspenx is the uber plush ski equipment concierge offering top-the-line ski gear – think heated boots and performance skis! Their hot designer ski wear will certainly tempt you. One of the lovely amenities of renting at ASPENX is the complimentary wine bar, coffees, and pastries for their guests. Did I mention daily fresh baked dark chocolate homemade pop tarts from the Little Nell? Oh my!!
Time to Hit the Slopes
Aspen Mountain “Ajax”
Ski in and out from the Little Nell; there is really no reason to go anywhere else in my opinion.
However, for those on a longer stay that wish to mix it up, the Little Nell and the Limelight provide a complimentary SUV shuttle to and from Aspen Highlands, just 10 minutes away, and of course, lift tickets are valid here; in addition to Aspen Mountain (Ajax), Buttermilk and Snow Mass.
When it comes to the aprés scene, Aspen’s after-ski scene is pretty upscale, so some people do glam up a bit between ski and àpres-ski or make sure your ski outfit is pretty chic, and you will fit right in. Ajax is one of my favorite spots to aprés in Aspen, conveniently located at the base of the Silver Queen Gondola or, if you are staying at the Little Nell, in their backyard.
If you want to party mid-mountain, be sure to reserve early at Cloud Nine, which starts popping bubbly at noon and has a required minimum spend per table. Hotel Jerome’s urban old-west vibe is lively, and it has the best cocktails we had in Aspen! Clarks’ Oyster bar has $9 top-shelf martinis from 3-5 pm plus, of course, fabulous Oysters!