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Kim Peiffer, Forbes Staff
From its globally-recognized après ski scene to its luxurious clientele, Aspen is one of the buzziest spots to ski in North America. Running into celebrities is a common occurrence, and dressing to the nines—even on the slopes—is almost an expectation. For die-hard skiers, it’s a dream-come-true of a ski town: four local mountains offer endless trails to keep you occupied all day. Aspen also boasts incredible dining options, boutiques and activities to round out the large variety of ski terrain within minutes of downtown.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the hotel scene in this world-renowned village falls nothing short of fabulous. From dimly-lit boutique hotels with bustling bars and underground nightclubs, to more refined properties with award-winning culinary offerings, there are plenty of ways to overindulge (and overspend) in Colorado’s chicest ski hole. Below, we’ve rounded out the best hotels in Aspen in 2023.
Best Ski In/Ski Out Hotel In Aspen: Little Nell
The Little Nell
Who Will Love It: Socialites; celebrities; die-hard ski bunnies
All-Star Amenities: Impeccable service; ski concierges
What Not To Miss: Local wagyu beef and house-made pastas at Element 47; a drink (and lots of people watching) in the hotel lobby; a dip in the mountainside heated pool; après-ski bites at Ajax tavern
Location: The base of Ajax Mountain, Aspen
Step one well-heeled boot inside this lavish hotel and you’ll instantly feel like you’ve inherited millions. The swanky Little Nell—winner of a never-ending accolade of awards over the years for Aspen’s most prized property—doesn’t disappoint, from its stellar service to its coveted spot at the base of Ajax Mountain—literal steps from the slopes.
As Aspen’s only 5-Star, 5-Diamond, ski-in/ski-out hotel, location is key, but so are the other all-star amenities the resort has to offer, including an outdoor heated pool, an underground wine cellar stocked with over 20,000 bottles and an award-winning culinary experience at Element 47 (go ahead and order up the house-made pastas, you’ll burn them off on the slopes).
When you’re not lounging in the lobby doing some serious people watching or indulging in culinary delights, you’ll be hankering for some downtime upstairs in your luxurious suite, which comes equipped with a gas burning fireplace and a private balcony, many of which overlook the mountainside.
Best Hotel Scene In Aspen: Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection
Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection
Who Will Love It: Design buffs; scenesters; influencers
All-Star Amenities: Cashmere curtains; Hermes bath products; rooftop hot tub
What Not To Miss: Cocktails at Bad Harriet; a rejuvenating massage at boutique spa Yarrow; people watching in the hotel lobby
Location: Downtown Aspen
A luxury landmark smack dab in the middle of downtown Aspen, Hotel Jerome has become the place to see and be seen in Aspen, and its rise in popularity over the years makes it near impossible to snag a room in peak season. What’s the appeal? For starters, the three story brick beauty has been a mainstay in town since 1889, when it first opened its doors. After undergoing several remodels throughout the decades, it has transformed into the stunning and luxurious hideaway that it is today.
The decor here marries traditional Western vibes with smatterings of contemporary luxury, resulting in a truly stunning interior that mesmerizes its guests. The hotel’s rooms and suites are nothing short of fabulous either, featuring cashmere curtains, beautiful arched windows, cowhide chairs, swanky leather bed frames and mini fridges designed to look like old-fashioned steamer trunks. We’d be amiss not to mention the high-end Hermes bath products lining the marble bathroom vanity, too.
The luxury experience continues downstairs at the hotel’s restaurant and bar scene, where imbibing and indulging is encouraged. Elevated American bistro dishes churn out of the kitchen at Prospect—splurge on the American wagyu and Thai Chili Prawns. Afterwards, slink into a leather chair at Bad Harriet (if you’re lucky enough to snag a reservation, that is). The subterranean cocktail lounge, serves up creative bespoke cocktails to Aspen’s most fashionable crowd—some still in their designer ski gear from the afternoon.
Best Hotel Spa: St. Regis Aspen Resort
St. Regis Aspen Resort
Who Will Love It: Those who drool over rustic elegance
All-Star Amenities: 400-thread-count Frette linens; stunning marble bathrooms; custom furnishings by Ralph Lauren
What Not To Miss: An afternoon spent at The Spa at St. Regis Aspen Resort
Location: Downtown Aspen
Upscale, cozy and chic, the St. Regis Aspen Resort boasts relaxation and inviting mountain luxury at every turn. From its highly coveted spa—where you can spend hours unwinding in steam caves, cold plunges, hot tubs, an oxygen lounge and a waterfall pool before your treatment—to its well-appointed rooms and suites, a world-class experience awaits.
400-thread-count Frette linens will envelope you in a cocoon of relaxation while you unwind after a rewarding day on the slopes. Rooms also feature antiqued oak flooring, slouchy leather chairs and bespoke furnishings by Ralph Lauren. Many of the rooms are equipped with roaring fireplaces, the perfect place to thaw out after a crisp bluebird ski day.
When dinnertime hits, head through the back of the lobby to Velvet Buck, an upscale in-house restaurant whipping up modern mountain cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails. And don’t forget to belly up to the bar at Mountain Social for one last nightcap—you’ve earned it.
Best Hotel For Families In Aspen: Limelight Hotel, Aspen
Limelight Hotel, Aspen
Who Will Love It: Families and friend groups; those who want to bring their dog along
All-Star Amenities: Complimentary breakfast buffet; ski/snowboard valet and lockers; free shuttle around town (and from the airport)
What Not To Miss: An après-ski dip in the heated outdoor pool; summer cocktails on the scenic rooftop terrace
Location: Downtown Aspen
Limelight Hotel’s flagship property in the heart of downtown Aspen is a chic mountainside retreat with no shortage of bespoke design elements at every turn, including an on-site boutique that even sells some of the merchandise from their suites. Here, convenience is key, making this a great spot for families, friend groups and those who cringe at the thought of not bringing man’s best friend along on vacation. Rooms here are well designed with ample storage, making it easy to pack a lot of ski gear in for the whole crew without feeling cramped.
Suites are great for entertaining and in-room dining, featuring full kitchens, dining nooks and wet bars. But you may want to leave the cooking to the culinary team downstairs—breakfast around here is complimentary each morning for hotel guests, and it’s truly taken to the next level: you’ll find a mouth-watering spread of fresh pastries, pancakes, steel cut oats, frittatas, biscuits and gravy and more. In the evenings, the space transforms into a swanky après-ski scene, or, during summer, an après-hike scene, often with live music piping in the background.
Most Lively Hotel Scene In Aspen: W Hotel
W Hotel Aspen
Who Will Love It: Those looking to be in the middle of the action; bachelor parties groups
All-Star Amenities: Year-round rooftop pool and bar; stacked Queen bunkbeds; state-of-the-art fitness center
What Not To Miss: Drinks at Wet Deck; the lobster mac and cheese at 39 Degrees
Location: Downtown Aspen
Featuring 88 guest rooms, four oversized suites and one very VIP “extreme wow suite,” W Hotel Aspen is always a bustling scene, perfect for girls’ getaways, friend celebrations or couples looking to immerse themselves in a scene reminiscent to the alpine glamour of ’70s Aspen. Rooms here are group friendly, featuring in-room pit and platform lounge seating and an array of sleeping options, including some rooms with quad-queen bunk beds, which can sleep up to eight.
Whether its prime ski season or the middle of summer, the scene will be sizzling hot atop the rooftop Wet Deck, featuring a heated pool, hot tub, several fire pits and sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains and downtown Aspen. Fuel up with a hearty bowl of lobster mac and cheese or short rib ragu at 39 Degrees, then stick around into the wee hours to watch the scene unfold—the people watching is worth its weight in gold.
About Kim Peiffer, Your Aspen Guide
I have been covering travel for nearly two decades, from reviewing luxury hotels to visiting off-the-beaten path locations throughout the world. I’m always in search of a new ski town, a remote beach and a stellar cocktail (and the perfect spot to sip said cocktail, of course). I’m also always down for adventure on a vacation, whether its doing aerial acrobatics in a fighter jet over the desert or heli-skiing down a glacier in Italy.
I grew up skiing with my family and it continues to be one of my favorite activities. Aspen has been one of my favorite places to visit since I was a kid—one that I find myself returning to again and again, and I’ve personally visited every hotel on this list. As Forbes Vetted’s Executive Editor, I oversee our travel and hotel coverage. I’ve also written for Vogue, Robb Report, Travel + Leisure, InStyle, GQ, DuJour, Glamour, Oprah and many others. Follow my adventures on Instagram: @peifferk1