Haute Hotels: How to live the good life — even if you don’t have a room key | AspenTimes.com

Haute Hotels: How to live the good life — even if you don’t have a room key

by JEanne McGovern
hotel lobby interior
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto



1 oz. tomato juice

1 oz. V8 juice

6 lemons, juiced

6 limes, juiced

½ oz. bloody mary seasoning

1 ½ oz. Tabasco sauce

5 dill sprigs

5 basil leaves

2 Tbs. cracked black pepper

1 ½ oz. Woody Creek Vodka

2 olives

1 pickle slice, for garnish

1 lime wedge, for garnish

Combine tomato and V8 juices, lemon and lime juices as well as the bloody mary seasoning to create the custom bloody mary mix. Let the mixture marinate for 24 hours.

Muddle dill and basil in a cocktail shaker and add Tabasco sauce and fresh cracked pepper. Add Woody Creek Vodka. Shake.

Pour over ice into glass and garnish with olives, pickle slice and lime wedge.

There are many things that make Aspen, well, Aspen. Among them is our world-class resort’s first-class hotels.

Of course not every visitor — not to mention locals looking for a taste of the good life — will stay at one of these properties. But fear not, there are other ways to soak in the Aspen ambience of the town’s top hotels than by laying your head on their pillows. Here are our suggestions:


Rightly dubbed Aspen’s crown jewel, the historic Hotel Jerome is a must-visit for a taste of the town’s Victorian glory.

Named Chair 9 because Aspen Mountain has eight charlifts, this popular spot serves as the ninth hole, so to speak. Find your place at the bar, one of several high-top tables or on a chaise-lounge. Or, better yet, upgrade to VIP seating, a.k.a. “private chairs,” offering bottle service for up to eight guests.

For a local flare, hit the J-Bar (Tuesday nights are Trivia Night, and always offer a good glimpse into the regulars’ scene). Or, for a more luxe experience, cozy up by the fire in The Living Room.

“The flights in The Living Room are super popular,” says Hotel Jerome marketing manager Susie Lee. “We choose a different liquor each month — scotch, tequila, etc. They are accompanied by small bites.”

Also not-to-be-missed are the Hotel Jerome history tours. Offered Tuesdays and Thursdays for a small fee, this is the best way to experience Aspen’s most iconic hotel.


A locals’ favorite, and for good reason, the Limelight has figured out how to seamlessly blend all the Aspen angles — its lounge, with full bar, solid menu and cozy seating vignettes spread across an open floor plan welcomes visitors and locals alike.

Seriously, you can’t go wrong with one of the longest and best après-ski happy hour in town (3-7 p.m., with killer prices on wine and beer) that also features specialty cocktails, hand-tossed pizzas, beer flights, Whiskey Wednesday (featuring whiskey flights from local distillers) and live music Thursday through Monday.

But the Limelight isn’t resting on those laurels. Rather, the Aspen Skiing Co.-owned hotel is upping the ante for hotel guests and non-guests over the years with offerings like specialty beer dinners featuring a three-course menu paired with cold ones from breweries such as Aspen Brewing Co., Roaring Fork, New Belgium and Great Divide.

Drink up and drink in this truly Aspen scene.


Situated smack dab at the bottom of the Silver Queen Gondola, the Nell has long been a staple of the Aspen après-ski scene — and some serious people-watching.

Stop by the Chair 9 Lounge for daily drink specials and live music. Named Chair 9 because Aspen Mountain has eight chairlifts, this popular spot serves as the ninth hole, so to speak. The bar opens just as the lifts are closing, featuring DJs daily from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., and football on big game days. Find your place at the bar, one of several high-top tables or on a chaise-lounge. Better yet, upgrade to VIP seating, a.k.a. “private chairs,” offering bottle service and room for up to eight guests.

For a more upscale experience, check out the bar at element 47. With a tasteful wine list assembled by the hotel’s master sommelier, Carlton McCoy, as well as a full Colorado beverage menu, featuring the finest beers and spirits from the Centennial State, it’s the luxe life at its best.

And, new this winter, stretch your après-ski into the evening hours with the Nell’s Brazilian Jazz Sessions. Held in The Living Room on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 7:30 to 10 p.m., you can enjoy the element 47 bar menu complemented by lively Brazilian jazz music from the Josefina Mendez Trio.

In other words, the people-watching at the Nell just got a whole lot better.


The place to go for après-ski, the Sky Hotel and its 39 Degrees Lounge is always hopping. And with plans still in the works to close the hotel for an 18-month redevelopment project, you might want to get there before the party quiets down.

As always, you can count on the Sky for such lively, open-to-the public happenings as après-ski from 2-7 p.m., pool and hot tub open for non-guests (so long as you’re “actively consuming”), DJs spinning tunes on certain weekend days and “pop up” events featuring classic and craft cocktails as well as specialty happenings like Thug Yoga on the poolside deck.


As Aspen’s largest luxury hotel, a stroll through the St. Regis can be an experience in and of itself. But to really experience it like a hotel guest, we suggest sitting by the large lobby fireplace with a signature cocktail in hand.

This winter, the St. Regis will be once again be serving up the Astor Warmer, made with Pisco, lemon, spiced cider and agave. Essentially a cider with kick, this warm libation is sure to get you in the right frame of mind. Or, if you’re more inclined to stick with tradition, order up a Downhill Snapper Bloody Mary; the St. Regis brand is renowned for its customized line of bloody marys, with each property in its portfolio mixing up its own concoction; a recent taste test proves Aspen is once again No. 1.

Of course not everything about Aspen — and its hotels — has to do with cocktailing (though clearly there is a trend at work here). Thus, we would be remiss to not mention the St. Regis Remède Spa. The only true full-service spa in town, every Remède treatment (and the menu is extensive) comes with access to all the spa amenities, including the Relaxation Lounge, Confluence Waterfall Room and Oxygen Lounge.

So, in a nutshell, an afternoon at the St. Regis could be the ideal “non-guest” guest experience, with a few hours spent soaking in the spa followed by a one-of-a-kind cocktail by the fireplace.


While Aspen’s bigger and flashier hotels might draw the glam crowd, there are a few smaller lodges that we think offer an Aspen experience worth checking out. For example, The Gant’s Pepperjack’s Cafe serves up a perfectly affordable selection of food and drink in a location just steps from the heated outdoor hot tubs, or stop by the Aspen Alps Health Spa for private fitness training and a full-service spa menu. Also not to be overlooked are the offerings in neighboring Snowmass Village. As the town’s anchor hotels — the Westin on the Snowmass Mall and the Viceroy below Base Village — locals and visitors can enjoy all the amenities of Aspen’s finest properties. We suggest an apres cocktail at the slopeside Westin terrace bar, followed by dinner at the Viceroy’s famed Eight K restaurant. Or make a day of it with skiing, dining and spa packages, which can be customized for locals and visitors.

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