What’s not to love about Aspen? From the exquisite skiing (and apres-ski scene) in the winter, to the perfect weather and picturesque landscapes in the summer – both seasons are enough to make you swoon. But what’s so great about Aspen is not just how beautiful it is, but also everything that the town itself offers. From world-class-style dining, to internationally recognized art galleries, amazing luxury hotels, and plenty of summer activities to round it off, Aspen should definitely be on your summer travel bucket list. Now here is my guide to where to stay, eat, and play in Aspen…


THE LOGISTICS


Getting There:
  • From Aspen Airport: 10 minutes / 4 miles.
  • From Eagle Airport: 1 Hour 45 minutes / 75 miles.
  • From Denver Airport: 4 Hours / 215 miles.

We drove from Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch (coming in a future blog post) which is nearby Eagle Airport, and on a summer Thursday it was less than 2 hours drive. We then drove from Aspen to Denver International Airport on a Monday morning, and it took just around 4 hours. Allow for additional driving time depending on the season and traffic, and I personally would not recommend the drive to/from Denver in the winter if you are not experienced driving in winter conditions.

Summer Weather:

Summer’s warm weather (highs average in the mid to high 70s) leads to a surge in tourism, with travelers hoping to take advantage of the prime conditions for outdoor activities like hiking and golf.


WHERE TO STAY


St. Regis Aspen

179 rooms, suites & residences / includes five different types of suites and larger residences 

Perfect For: Families & couples seeking the ultimate luxury, and those traveling with pets

Highlights: Located steps to the slopes and walking distance to the historic town center / award-winning Remède Spa / resident Bernese Mountain dog named Kitty (follow him on Instagram here) / a heated outdoor pool and hot tubs overlooking the mountains / St. Regis “rituals” including daily Bloody Mary tastings, daily champagne sabering, and smores on the weekends

Insider Tips: Book a Grand Deluxe Room with Balcony for the ultimate large terrace perfect for sunbathing and dining al fresco (pictured above!)

Book your next stay at St. Regis Aspen with Chelsea and receive:
  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily $60 breakfast credit
  • $100 food & beverage credit (excludes Chef’s Club)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Stay 4 nights or more and receive 20% off the Best Available Rate (must book by July 31, 2020 for stays through April 4, 2021)
The Little Nell

52 rooms, 26 premium rooms, and 8 suites / nearby The Residences at The Little Nell offers 26 units ranging from guestrooms to 4 bedroom residences

Perfect For: Those looking to stay at “the spot” in the heart of the action, and food and wine enthusiasts

Highlights: one of the few Five-Star, Five-Diamond hotels in Colorado / the only ski-in, ski-out hotel on Aspen Mountain / year-round wine and culinary programming (incl. a 20,000 bottle wine cellar) / The Little Nell Residences offers residence-style living with their own private rooftop yet still gains access to The Little Nell amenities / fine dining at Element 47 & slopeside apres ski (or apres hike!) at Ajax Tavern / the six top Luxury Suites feature private art collections

Insider Tips: Book a private dinner in the wine cellar

Book your next stay at The Little Nell with Chelsea and receive:
  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast for two guests per bedroom, served in restaurant ($85 credit daily)
  • $100 food & beverage credit (valid only for lunch or dinner in element 47 or Ajax Tavern)
  • Early check-in/Late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
W Aspen

88 guest rooms & suites plus 11 Sky Residences

Perfect For: Travelers looking for a lively boutique hotel scene

Highlights: The first new luxury hotel to open in Aspen in 25 years / located right near the base of Aspen Mountain / the only public rooftop heated pool in Aspen / ski-in/ski-out access to Aspen Mountain / outdoor fire pit at the Living Room

Insider Tips: For group friends trips, book the Wonderful 4 Queen Bunk room.

Book your next stay at W Aspen with Chelsea and receive:
  • Room upgrade upon arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily $50 breakfast credit
  • $100 dining credit
  • Early check-in and late check-out based upon availability upon arrival/departure
  • Stay 4 nights or more and receive 20% off the Best Available Rate (must book by July 31, 2020 for stays through April 4, 2021)
Hotel Jerome, an Auberge Resort

93 guest rooms & suites

Perfect For: Travelers looking for a more casual-luxury atmosphere, and a hotel with character

Highlights: Location in the heart of downtown Aspen / is Aspen’s first hotel (opened over 120 years ago!) / gorgeous warm / two incredible bars / guest rooms with Aspen Mountain views / The Presidential Suite makes for the perfect entertaining space with a large living room & bar

Insider Tips: Get an espresso martini at J-Bar, they are delicious!

Book your next stay at Hotel Jerome with Chelsea and receive:
  • 4th night free (valid through October 18, 2020)
  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Continental breakfast for two guests per bedroom (except J Bar)
  • $100 food & beverage credit
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

WHERE TO WINE & DINE


  • Ajax Tavern: Enjoy the mountainside terrace located at the base of the gondola for incredible food (the truffle fries & crab cakes are a must), drinks & people-watching. They’re also doing Veuve Clicquot picnics this summer!
  • Betula: The Aspen outpost of St. Barth’s Bonito (best ceviche – check out my St. Barth’s guide here), Betula has a fun & gorgeous scene & delicious French Pan-American cuisine.
  • Cache Cache: Upscale & chic French bistro
  • Campo de Fiori: Italian trattoria serving up traditional fare in a trendy, energetic scene
  • Casa Tua Aspen: Northern Italian cuisine in a space resembling a cozy yet contemporary ski lodge
  • Clark’s Aspen: One of my favorite restaurants in Austin opened a second location in Aspen, and I ain’t mad about it. Not only is the restaurant adorable, but it also has my favorite daily happy hour with $8 martinis and their famous burger.
  • J Bar at Hotel Jerome: Historic hangout with that luxurious Auberge touch – get the espresso martini!
  • Meat & Cheese: It was unfortunately closed on the day we planned to go here, but great option for picking up artisanal style deli food to-go, or dining on their patio (with wine, cocktails, & beer!)
  • Paradise Bakery: We did not go here but everyone recommended it! Classic Aspen establishment for pastries, baked goods & coffee.
  • Prospect at Hotel Jerome: Loved sitting outside in the courtyard at Prospect with locally sourced cuisine & great cocktails.
  • Spring Cafe: Our go-to for a healthy breakfast (think paleo breakfast burritos, GF/DF pumpkin bread, acai bowls, fresh squeezed juices, etc!) Extremely vegetarian friendly.
  • White House Tavern: This American-themed restaurant set in a former 19th-century miner’s cottage was  the perfect place to dine al fresco with an incredible Macho Salad & Aperol Spritz!

WHERE TO ADVENTURE & PLAY


Hikes:

See some great information about hiking here.

  • Cathedral Lake
  • Hunter Creek Trail
  • Maroon Bells
  • The Rio Grande Trail
Adventure & Play:
  • Art Galleries: There are numerous art galleries in town – check out this list, and also check out the Aspen Art Museum.
  • Aspen Saturday Farmer’s Market: Open Saturdays until September 20th from 8:30am – 3pm.
  • Biking: Rent a bike from Aspen Sports to explore town and beyond!
  • Fly Fishing: Take a guided fly-fishing trip or head out on your own.
  • Jeep Tour: Embark on an off-roading adventure with a Jeep tour of the White River National Forest.
  • John Denver Sanctuary: Gorgeous scenic open space & park with perennial flowers and engraved rocks honoring John Denver.
  • River Rafting: There are a variety of different excursions available near Aspen, including half and full
    day trips on the Colorado, Roaring Fork and Arkansas Rivers.
  • Silver Queen Gondola: Travel up to the summit of Aspen Mountain and enjoy a lovely lunch or drink at the Sundeck.
  • The Aspen Historical Society: Take a stroll through Aspen on a Downtown Walking Tour or West End Walking Tour.

 

Safe travels y’all!

Chelsea Rose Martin