Esape Artist: In Residence — the Dancing Bear Aspen
It’s likely you’ve passed by the two buildings that make up Dancing Bear Aspen. The large brick buildings are set on opposite corners of South Monarch Street, with Durant Avenue running between them. The first building, Parkside across from Wagner Park, was built about a decade ago and the second, Mountainside — closer to Aspen mountain — opened just last summer. But I, like many locals, never had a reason nor opportunity to set up residence in one of its units meant for second homeownership. So when the chance to spend a night at the new Mountainside residence arose, I could not resist the invitation.
While I’m familiar with the concept of fractional ownership, what I didn’t realize was the level of comfort and effortless living Dancing Bear creates. It is personal, cozy and turnkey. From the preplanning of our visit with the Dancing Bear concierge team who took care of dinner reservations, stocking the kitchen and making sure the three-bedroom residence was ready for a family of four humans and a dog, every detail was taken care of, down to a roll of fresh puppy-poop bags.
When people come to Dancing Bear — many for multiple weeks at a time — it’s important to integrate seamlessly and quickly, which is what the Dancing Bear team does best. People want to get to Aspen and immediately dive in, whether skiing in the winter or hiking and biking in the summer. Dancing Bear brings owners’ things from storage and has them ready in the residence when they arrive so that they are surrounded by the things that make their time in Aspen fulfilling and each unit feel like home. Staff knows members by name, and are always on hand to help, like an exceptionally friendly, accommodating family.
There is a full kitchen, with all the basic needs stocked so that you can make your own meals. The night I spent at Dancing Bear, I passed on cooking and instead we ordered steaks from The Monarch, where Dancing Bear members have preferred access, delivered to our residence by Dancing Bear staff.
Connecting the two buildings is the much debated “tunnel” beneath Durant Avenue. There was so much talk about this feature when it was built, in my mind I had envisioned it might feel like a RFTA tunnel beneath Highway 82. But instead it looked like a hallway in a luxury hotel. The ability to have the tunnel allows members to enjoy all the amenities of both buildings without having to put on shoes or a jacket and head outside. Instead they can walk between the buildings like we all want to — in slippers. Dancing Bear is, after all, a home.
The highlight for the kids was the game room located next to the private screening room that has 700 movies at the ready, complete with fresh popcorn. The game room is equipped with just about every game a kid could want to play from ping pong to pool, board games and a separate room set up with an Xbox, Wii and headphones.
The highlight for the adults was the new Rejuvenation Spa in the Mountainside building. One of the first of its kind, this private spa is “self service,” meaning that during operating hours, members can come and go as they please. The spa is outfitted with an oxygen lounge, Aqua Massage beds and a beautiful steam room with custom-made marble chaise lounges. But the best part is the IsoPod. If you’re not familiar, this an oversized egg-shaped pad filled with 10 inches of a warm, Epson salt mixture. Closing the pod creates a dark, sensory deprivation experience, where you can float and meditate in peace.
Our time at Dancing Bear Aspen was short, but it was incredibly sweet. We swooped in and swooped out of this quiet life of elevated elegance, one I really had not given much attention to before. Part of the magic of Dancing Bear is that from the outside it is understated but inside it is more than you can anticipate. Every need, every option to enhance your Aspen experience, they have it covered.
Amiee White Beazley writes about travel for the Aspen Times Weekly. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @awbeazley1.
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