Little Nell earns big accolades as Mobile Travel Guide gives it 5 stars |

Little Nell earns big accolades as Mobile Travel Guide gives it 5 stars

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Little Nell hotel was awarded five stars from the Mobile Travel Guide, its highest ranking, Thursday.

“It was not in doubt, ” said John Eglehoff, director of sales and marketing at the Nell. “But we are happy to have it again.”

The luxury hotel first earned its five-star rating in 1995. The Nell is the only hotel in Aspen, and only one of three in Colorado, to be awarded a five-star rating from Mobile.

The Nell is also rated as a five-diamond hotel by the American Automobile Association. And Conde Nast Traveler magazine recently named it the 11th best hotel in the world on a list of the top 100 properties.

Only 30 lodging properties in the United States earned a five-star rating. The other properties in Colorado are the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and Tall Timbers, which is located in the mountains between Durango and Silverton, and is only accessible via helicopter or the Silverton railroad.

The St. Regis hotel and the Hotel Jerome were both awarded four-star ratings for 2003 by Mobile.

Other Colorado four-star hotels and resorts include the Brown Palace in Denver, the C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, the Home Ranch in Steamboat Springs, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort, the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera (near Vail), the Lodge at Vail, the Omni Interlocken Resort in Denver and the Vista Verde Guest and Ski Ranch in Steamboat.

Four Aspen restaurants also earned four-star ratings, including Montagna, which is in The Little Nell, Pinon’s, Renaissance, and Restaurant Conundrum. No Colorado restaurants were given a five-star rating.

The Mobile ratings are awarded after stealth visits by inspectors to hotels and restaurants.

“Incognito professional evaluations, along with announced facility inspections, consumer reviews and independent media reports, are carefully reviewed to determine a property’s rating,” said Kenneth P. Cohen of the Exxon-Mobile Corp. “The five-star recipients are considered today’s leaders in the hospitality industry. The lodgings and restaurants at this level are proactively responding to consumers’ needs, and they have done so with grace and perseverance despite a challenging economic environment.”

The difference between four stars and five stars for a hotel can come down to a variety of subtle differences, say hotel managers, including the weight of linens on table cloths, whether lamps are free-standing or wall-mounted, and a host of other nuances.

But perhaps the biggest difference is the ratio of staff to guests.

The Little Nell is a 92-room hotel and at peak season has 340 employees. The Hotel Jerome is a 91-room hotel with 180 employees at peak season.

The Little Nell’s peak room rate at peak season is $2,800 a night for a two-bedroom luxury suite. The Jerome’s peak room rate is $1,805 for a two-bedroom suite.

Locals can stay at the Nell until Thanksgiving for $95 a night, and the off-season rate at the Jerome is $125 a night. The St. Regis is closed until Nov. 24.

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