Aspen Skiing Co. plans for hospitality growth
With an eye toward expanding its hotel operations, Aspen Skiing Co. announced Wednesday the formation of a new hospitality division — The Little Nell Hotel Group.
Named after its flagship luxury hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain, Skico said its new division “will focus on the expansion of its Little Nell and Limelight Hotel brands, including and beyond mountain destinations.”
The announcement comes after Skico opened its third Limelight Hotel in December, arguably its most chic one to date, at Base Village in Snowmass.
The announcement from Skico, which also owns the Aspen Mountain Club and the Snowmass Mountain Club, said, “The Little Nell Hotel Group is actively seeking acquisition and development opportunities for its Little Nell and Limelight hospitality brand.”
In an email to The Aspen Times, Alinio Azevedo, who is the managing director and chief operating officer of The Little Nell Hotel Group, said there is potential to expand the company’s footprint into non-resort markets as well as ski towns.
“We are focused on expanding to leisure destinations that are of unique character and that attract the adventurous, nature-oriented and socially active clientele that come to our properties currently,” he said. “And this includes mountain and non-mountain destinations.”
Asked if that could include metropolitan areas, Azevedo replied, “Yes, to the extent these areas have a significant component of leisure demand and we can create experiences to our guests that are differentiated within the destination.”
Skico also has brought on Andy Reed to lead its development efforts and has partnered with The Plasencia Group as its lead financial adviser.
“This is an exciting time for Aspen Skiing Co. and our hospitality division, who have spent years establishing two leading brands in The Little Nell and Limelight Hotels,” Skico CEO Mike Kaplan said in a statement. “Alinio and team have developed a business strategy and the infrastructure to support the expansion of these brands into new markets, while staying focused on our existing properties.”
As for now, Azevedo said Skico isn’t ready to announce its next hospitality project.
“We are working on several potential opportunities, but at this point we are not in a position to disclose further details,” he said. “These steps take time and we are focused on generating purposeful growth: They have to be the right projects, in the right markets and the right locations.”
Skico obtained its first Limelight Hotel, in Aspen, by acquiring it in 2012. The sellers, the Paas family, had originally named it Limelight Lodge, previously having owned the longtime Limelite Lodge in Aspen.
Skico’s second Limelight debuted in Ketchum, Idaho, near the Sun Valley ski resort, at the end of 2016.
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This summer in Aspen is likely to include indoor and outdoor concerts, maskless gatherings and no state or county-mandated restrictions on social distancing at restaurants or anywhere else.