The cost of closet space |

The cost of closet space

Su Lum

It has been assumed that due to the extreme smallness of Mark Hunt’s Base1 and Base2 hotel rooms, the room rates will automatically have to be affordable. Like, how much can you charge for a closet?

The rate of between $150 and $200 appears to have been settled upon as an acceptable affordable rate, but is it?

I know Aspen is considered a very pricey place, but I had no idea how much an average room went for, so last week I did a search on Trivago, a website that lists room rates for hotels all over the country, and got the surprise of my life.

When I entered “Aspen” on Trivago, 19 listings came up for local hotels.

Of these 19 listings, 11 hotels charged less than $150 per night, and only eight charged more.

Fourteen of the 19 charged less than $200 per night, and only five charged more.

The five hotels charging more than $200 per night were: The Little Nell ($368), the Hotel Jerome ($297), the St. Regis ($594), the Gant ($203) and (ta-da — the hotel that was approved because it promised affordable rates) the Limelight Lodge ($254).

The 14 lodges that were listed for less than $200 per night were: the Tyrolean Lodge ($90), the Inn at Aspen ($148), Aspen Square ($179), the Durant Hotel ($149), the Aspen Mountain Lodge ($129), the Molly Gibson ($135), the St. Moritz ($70), the Annabelle Lodge ($119), the Hotel Aspen ($137), the Mountain Chalet ($89) the Hearthstone House ($64), the Aspen Meadows ($191), the Sky Hotel ($159) and Independence Square ($155).

Suddenly, it appears that Hunt’s hotel rooms are on the high end of the scale and we had just assumed that $150 to $200 was the low end because we’ve all heard how horribly expensive it is to stay here, when in fact it would be cheaper to stay at the Meadows than in a Hunt closet and the closet would cost twice as much to rent as a room at the Hearthstone House or the St. Moritz.

Hell, for $3 more than a Hunt closet, you could get an apartment at the Gant. It would have more than three people running the place and would have parking, as well.

Keep this in mind when voting on Base2 with all its variances given on the grounds that it was affordable. The only way we can get really affordable is to build dorm rooms. There’s still time to change the old art museum into a youth hostel.

While you’re at it, also keep in mind that at a City Council meeting, Hunt, when asked if he could guarantee the $150 to $200 rate year-round, said that of course the rates would go up in the high season.

I probably shouldn’t have been shocked out of my shoes to learn that Aspen’s room rates weren’t nearly as high as I had assumed — what do I know? I live here; I haven’t stayed in a hotel since 1964, when we spent a week at the long-gone Edelweiss cabins, where the doomed Hotel Lenado now stands (last I looked).

But the City Council should have some idea what our room rates are, shouldn’t it? And if not the council, shouldn’t the Community Development Department — whose very title chills my blood — have some idea what is and what is not an affordable hotel?

Shouldn’t it?


Su Lum is a longtime local who thinks we are so easily duped. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at