Lay your head in luxury
For our annual Indulgence Issue, the decision on where to escape to was an easy one: Aspen. The historic former mining town is a quintessential mountain destination among the international jet set, known for its luxury shopping, gourmet dining, happening arts scene, wild nightlife and, of course, world-class skiing.
Surrounded by four ski resorts, Aspen Mountain (Ajax), Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, there are few better locales to experience authentic alpine charm at its finest. And with an airport that turns into a parking lot of private jets come high season and the highest concentration of luxury hotels in the state, Aspen certainly lives up to its famed, glamorous reputation. So where should you stay to get a slice of the good life? These four five-star properties truly define what it means to indulge once you’re “wheels down.”
The Little Nell
As the only five-star, five-diamond property in town, The Little Nell is the epitome of Aspen’s extravagant allure. During the holiday season, a stay at this famed hotel is just about as good as it gets. Its guest rooms received a contemporary mountain makeover from award-winning interior designer Holly Hunt and just in time for this season, she revamped all six signature suites. Offering magnificent views of Aspen Mountain, the spacious rooms are appointed with custom-designed furnishings, wood floors, Fila D’oro linens and cozy, fur throw blankets accented with natural hues and hand-selected artwork by the property’s owner and artist, Paula Crown.
With the Aspen Mountain’s Silver Queen Gondola directly behind the property, you’ll be out of your robe and on your skis within minutes. Take your snow day to the extreme with one of their “Once in a Lifetime On-Mountain Experiences.” On Friday’s during high season, grab a coveted seat in The Little Nell Powder Cat alongside General Manager Simon Chen for a private tour of completely untracked runs on the backside of Ajax, followed by an intimate, late lunch and wine pairing from the hotel’s restaurant element 47 inside a cozy cabin. Celebrate your turns at “The Oasis,” the world’s first ski-in/ski-out Champagne bar, which sets up shop at the base of the mountain daily; there’s no better way to end the day than sharing a bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame and caviar amongst friends. Want to venture into town? The keys are yours to a 2015 Audi A8L or Q7 TDI, complimentary for guests to test drive.
Opened in 1889 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Hotel Jerome is an Aspen institution with legendary stories that live on throughout its halls. Now, 125 years later, it has experienced a rebirth thanks to a stunning, multi-million dollar renovation courtesy of Aspen-based Rowland+Broughton Architecture and Urban Design as well as Todd-Avery Lenahan of TAL-Studio. Reopened as an Auberge Resort in December of 2012, its prime Main St. location is one of the best addresses in town. New this season is a menu of exclusive Auberge Adventures featuring options such as Alpine Skiing with the Legends, where guests have their choice between Olympians Tommy Moe or Jonny Moseley as personal ski guides on Aspen Mountain.
After a day on the slopes, one of the complimentary Mercedes SUVs will chauffeur you back to the cozy Living Room for a chic, après-ski scene with cocktails fireside. Unwind with a soak in the blue-tiled outdoor hot tubs followed by a massage infused with local minerals in the Auberge Spa. While J-Bar is a staple, don’t miss a meal in Prospect, featuring contemporary cuisines from the celebrated Chef Rob Zack. For the ultimate overnight, book the Presidential Suite, a 1,265-square-foot retreat with unobstructed views decked out with authentic Western décor from burnished-leather bed frames and cashmere curtains to hide rugs and archival artwork. And although all of Aspen is just steps from the front door, this “crown jewel” might make it hard to ever leave.
Only a 20-minute drive from the heart of Aspen, the LEED-certified Viceroy resort is a true alpine haven. Ski-in/ski-out accommodations on Snowmass Mountain come in the form of spacious residences, but the penthouse suites are even better. With four bedrooms among 2,600 square feet, renowned interior designer Jean-Michel Gathy blends modern with mountain style seamlessly. With fully equipped kitchens in all Viceroy units, a must try is the new “You Catch, We Cook” experience, which takes farm-to-table dining to a whole new level. Guests are taken on a private hunting adventure and met back in-room by Executive Chef Will Nolan, who will teach how to breaking down the animal and prepare an entire meal.
Nolan’s on-site restaurant, Eight K, creates elevated comfort food inspired by the South, with dishes such as Foie Gras and Rhubarb and Tomahawk Tender Belly Pork Chops. Nolan and the Viceroy Snowmass’s newest culinary offering, Ricard, is minutes away—via the resort’s complimentary____—in Base Village. The Parisian café-inspired interior and rich offerings are well-worth selecting for an indulgent evening. The real gem at the Viceroy is the spa, which offers an unparalleled meditative lounge centered on the soothing sounds of the infinity pool sculpture. Opt for the 120-minute Bear Dance Ritual signature service, rooted by a 15th-century Ute Indian ceremony and featuring full body exfoliation, a warmed Shea butter and Siberian fir wrap and sacred stone massage.
The St. Regis Aspen
At the St. Regis Aspen, you’ll find the familiar opulence and tradition you’ve come to know and love from the luxury chain. A beautiful redesign in 2011 was followed up with a complete overhaul of its three presidential suites last winter at the hands of one of the most-celebrated interior architects today, Lauren Rottet. Soaring ceilings, bespoke furnishings, epic mountain views, the latest technology, marble bathrooms and sumptuous king size beds come standard, but the suite experience is punctuated with the St. Regis Signature Butler Service. Available in all suites, your very own Jeeves is available for any request, no matter how great or small, at any hour of the day or night.
The new heli-skiing package is perfect for powder hounds; it includes a four-night stay at the Aspen property with two days of skiing at any of Aspen/Snowmass’s four mountains. For the last day, Telluride Helitrax will whisk you away for a 40-minute scenic flight from Aspen’s airport to Telluride for endless untouched snow in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Once you land back in Aspen, head straight for the award-winning Remède Spa for a session in the Oxygen Lounge and a service from the special 10th anniversary treatment menu. The 90-minute Diamond Experience by Natura Bissé is the ultimate indulgence, utilizing real diamonds throughout the multi-sensory cosmetic lift for your skin.
The Little Nell
675 E. Durant Ave., Aspen
970.920.4600 | thelittlenell.com
330 E. Main St., Aspen
855.331.7213 | hoteljerome.com
130 Wood Rd., Snowmass Village
970.923.8000 | viceroyhotelsandresorts.com
The St. Regis, Aspen
315 E. Dean St., Aspen
970.920.3300 | stregisaspen.com
Art at Altitude
However much controversy its grand reopening might have caused this summer, the Aspen Art Museum’s new home in the heart of town is here to stay. As Japanese architect’s Shigeru Ban’s first museum in the United States, the striking, 33,000-square-foot structure is encased with a woven wood screen. Be sure to step inside the box during your visit to view contemporary works from the likes of David Hammons and Yves Klein. The roof-deck sculpture garden offers unobstructed views of Aspen Mountain and is the perfect place to grab a glass of wine at sunset. Plus, admission is free, unlike most area activities, courtesy of Amy and John Phelan. For location, hours and more info, visit aspenartmuseum.org
UP NEXT: Sweet Surrender