Aspen Travel Guide
Even though the ski regions are still getting last-minute storms as we approach mid-April, we are, for the most part, done with winter. Bittersweet for us skiers, for sure, but we do believe that summer in the mountains is just as good, if not better, thanks to the wide range of activities that come along with it: Hiking, biking, climbing, camping (or glamping), and rafting, among others.
Another good thing: Aspen tends to chill out a bit. Since the masses view winter as the season in Aspen, rates become more affordable in the summer, the crowds are gone, and the service is friendlier as the so-called "pretentious level" drops exponentially (french fries are probably still $17, though).
Last week while in Aspen we stayed at the Limelight Hotel, which unfortunately often gets forgotten amongst well-known names like the luxurious Little Nell, the newly-renovated Jerome (it's beautiful, by the way), and the Snoop Lion endorsed Sky Hotel (Aspen has a great hotel scene for such a small town, don't you think?). We dug the vibe at the Limelight, as well as the included breakfast and free bikes, but it's a unique summer offering that's really got us intrigued.
The way the rooms used to look at Hotel Jerome.
Come next ski season, the luxe Hotel Jerome on Aspen's Main Street will be sporting a totally new look thanks to an extensive remodel which should begin at the end of this summer.
The Aspen Daily News reports:
All 94 rooms will be refurbished with new carpet, wallpaper and amenities, along with overhauls of the lobby, dining room and ballroom. New offices and a new spa with three treatment rooms will be added to the basement.
If the extent of your ski experience has been nursing a glass of brandy by the fire in the lodge, it may be time for some schoolin'. But that doesn't have to mean paying through the nose for ski lessons. The Limelight Lodge in Aspen prides itself on providing affordable luxury, and this winter it's introducing a ski/ride service that falls somewhere between private lessons and throwing yourself at the mercy of the mountain.
The Inside Tracks program--which kicks off on January 3 and runs until April 1--gives guests complimentary guided tours around Aspen/Snowmass's four mountains. While there is no instruction element of the tour, three pros will be on hand to offer tips and assistance as necessary. (We hope that includes picking us up when we tumble head over skis.)
Hmm. As if we didn’t make fun of it enough the first time around, the “cougar den” has struck again. First Hotel Diva in San Francisco set a cougar trap — a “Cougar Contest” asking potential guests to explain why they belong in the hotel’s cougar den. Now Aspen’s Sky Hotel has released a “Cougar Den Women’s Getaway Package.”
Of course, Sky Hotel is an animal-print-loving Kimpton property, so we suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. The package includes a minimum of two rooms plus a “Girl’s Night Out” welcome basket (we shudder to think of its contents) plus a reserved Cougar Den table in loungey 39 Degrees, including two appetizers and one bottle for bottle service.
The offer is available Nov. 25 through April 11, with rates starting from $329 a night.
This Thanksgiving eve, Aspen ski bunnies have a little extra to be thankful about—the 120th birthday of Hotel Jerome, A RockResort. Aspen’s first ski weekend of the season will host a big birthday bash for the local landmark, which includes a “120th Anniversary Celebration” package.
Available Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 25–29), the package includes a four-night stay in a junior suite, two full-day ski lift tickets for two, two tickets to Hotel Jerome’s 120th Anniversary gala on Wednesday evening, Thanksgiving dinner for two, and a 50-minute massage per person at the Aspen Club and Spa.
What the remodeled rooms at The Little Nell will look like.
Fancy a fall getaway to the posh Little Nell Hotel in Apsen with your lover? We hate to break it to you but you'll have to wait until December. The hotel has closed down for an $18 million renovations of its guestrooms. But it should be well worth the wait.
Renowned residential designer Holly Hunt will be in charge of freshening up The Little Nell's look. When all is said and done on December 1, the hotel should have a plethora of high-tech toys for guests, as well as the "lap of luxury" comfort and style that you expect from TLN.
2009 James Beard Best Chef Southwest Award finalist Executive Chef Ryan Hardy oversees Montagna inside the pride and joy of Aspen’s WASP-y jet set, The Little Nell. Two years ago, Hardy and his business partner Michael Waters purchased a 15-acre sustainable farm in Crawford, a small town in Western Colorado about half way between Aspen and Telluride. They named the 1870 homestead Rendezvous Organic Farm and now Hardy supplies Montagna's vegetables, eggs, heritage pigs, and cage-free chickens. He also makes his own cheese.
The menu at Montagna places emphasis on the seasonality of ingredients, but it’s Hardy’s homemade charcuterie that sends carnivores into a cured meat frenzy.
The words “Aspen” and “affordable” typically don’t have any business sharing the same sentence, but Kimpton's Sky Hotel is doing its part to make this swank resort town slightly more affordable for its Facebook fans with last-minute hotel deals.
Dubbed "the sexiest ski lodge in North America" by Playboy magazine, this chic Kimpton property has racked up nearly 200 “friends” within days of its initial Facebook post. Although tech-savvy staffers are still in the beginning stages of getting their fan page off the ground, rumor has it there will be frequent deals to be had for those who sign on as a friend or fan.
Stay tuned when ski season rolls around (November 26th is the official opening date for the mountain) – spoiled Aspenites will be able to stay in the snow loop with real-time Facebook posts regarding snowfall amounts.
With all the money you save, maybe you can snag a pair of Muk Luks or a few pricey signature cocktails at the hotel’s hip 39 Degrees lounge.
Rooms start at $249; extra credit for being Fido-friendly.
Ah, Little Nell: our most favorite-est WASP ski hotel. An ultra-luxe Aspen classic that has been a fave of the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List time and time again (as well as where we assume Lauren Holly's character in Dumb and Dumber would have probably stayed), the place is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. And, as a birthday gift, it's getting an $18 million makeover.
Designer Holly Hunt will be overseeing the redesign of the hotel's guest rooms, junior suites, and corridors, infusing the decor "with a contemporary aesthetic that is indicative of the Holly Hunt brand." In addition to the decor, the hotel will implement some high-tech green practices as well:
LED lighting will ensure a soft, pleasant glow, and with one button, a cutting edge Control4 wireless system developed initially for residential homes, will shut down all energy use in the room. Sensors in each room will shut off all of the lights, fireplace, and reduce the temperature two to three degrees upon exiting.
The hotel will be closed for renovations from September 7th to December 1st, so these had better be done quickly (uh, we hope they can finish in under three months) Aspen mountain opens on Novemeber 26th, so the spruce-up won't really cut into ski season if it's completed on time.
Since first hearing about plans for the Viceroy Snowmass a couple of years ago, we’ll admit the hotel has been somewhat off our radar. But our apathy is over now that we have an update on when the hotel will open. So mark your calendars! Come December 2009, Viceroy is scheduled to glide into Snowmass (you know, that Colorado ski bunny town that's sort of like Aspen’s little sister who’s, like, suddenly hot).
And really, December’s not that far off, so we’ll commence hotel hype...now. Here’s what we know: The 268-room* ski-in/ski-out condo/hotel hybrid will anchor the new $1-billion Snowmass Base Village. It will be the first mountain resort for Kor Hotels, but it will still be designed “in the inimitable Viceroy style.”
New Year's Eve celebrations were majorly derailed in Aspen, CO this week when bomb threats forced the resort town to virtually shut down. According to the NY Times, two homemade gasoline bombs with threatening notes were found at two banks and two more were found in an alley, left by "a longtime Aspen resident who an acquaintance said was bitter because he had not profited from the community’s transformation from a rural mining town into a luxury resort town."
The bomb threat forced downtown restaurants and bars to close and a NYE fireworks display was canceled, sending would-be partiers back to their hotels to party with a bottle of champagne and televised celebrations except for the Hotel Jerome guests, who were evacuated from their hotel.
Joltin' Joe Sharkey, the NY Times Business Travel columnist, is not excused from hotel cancellation fees. In his recent column, he gripes about having to cancel a business trip to Aspen where he was going to attend an aviation conference.
He had booked two nights at the St. Regis Aspen which had negotiated good rates for the conference of $414.29 for two nights.
Yet when Sharkey had to cancel the day before, the hotel told him that they would have to charge him the "whole enchilada" because he had missed the cancellation deadline which was two weeks prior.
Had I known that the St. Regis in Aspen confiscated the full two-day rate, I would simply have made a reservation elsewhere.
Not even speaking with a Starwood rep got his money back. Sharkey then went on to interview our old friend Scott Booker of Hotels.com who shed light on some of the fees that hotels are charging these days.
Still, none of this helped good ole Joe who was out $714.29 from a business trip (that's including his airfare) that he didn't take.