When a friend started working in Aspen many moons ago, I begged my Getaway boss to film a story there and I officially fell in love… The vastness of the slopes, the celeb spotting, the apres ski life, what’s not to love?!
I think sharing it with a local has helped me see another side too. I’d no idea there were recycled designer label stores there that are above and beyond! Accom doesn’t have to cost a fortune, there are loads of options and the restaurants are absolute first class. And even if you don’t ski, I recommend this location.
Aspen, located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, has a big reputation for a small town. It covers just four blocks but has fantastic skiing. There are four mountains: Ajax, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, each with something unique to offer and all are accessible with just one pass.
Aspen is at the mountain base, but at 2422 metres, it’s still very high! The mountain peak is 3481 metres, so altitude sickness can strike. Take it easy, particularly with coffee and alcohol and drink plenty of water. There is an Oxygen Bar at Aspen Lodge Resort & Spa that dispenses 90 percent purified oxygen infused with essential oils, like orange and lavender, which can really help.
It’s true that Aspen does attract the glitterati who have (or pretend to have) loads of money, but the rest of us can also have a mid-range holiday too. There are condos you can share with a group of friends, plenty of places to enjoy delicious inexpensive meals, free shuttle buses to get you from ‘a’ to ‘b’, happy hours for cocktails and great second-hand designer boutiques.
There’s shopping aplenty, and, of course, all the local and international upmarket labels are featured. But don’t despair, there are some fabulous vintage, consignment and thrift stores where you can pick up some amazing bargains.
After more than 30 years, the popular Gracey’s of Aspen closed it’s doors in 2007, but there are still plenty of other options: The Thrift Shop of Aspen is the town’s oldest and largest thrift store where you’ll find a great selection of men’s, women’s and kid’s clothing (and bargain ski gear). While The Little Bird offers luxury consignment and original designs at fantastic prices – think bags, shoes, accessories and clothing by brands such as Gucci, Prada and Valentino!
In between shopping, eating and the odd cocktail, there is time for skiing and I decided to brush up on my skills before hitting the slopes alone… My instructor was Sam von Trapp, grandson of the family made famous in The Sound of Music. And lucky for me, there are slopes for all levels of skiers!
Aspen has so much to offer – 300 days of sunshine each year, more than one hundred bars and restaurants to choose from, plenty of entertainment, amazing skiing and more!
Located on five acres at the base of Aspen Mountain, The Gant is more like a fine private home than a hotel. Each one, two, three or four bedroom condo has a wood-burning fireplace, private balcony, fully equipped kitchen, daily housekeeping and loads of little touches.
There are two heated pools, three jetted hot tubs, a fitness centre, five tennis courts, onsite dining and more.
Find out more at The Gant online.
The Hotel Jerome
This luxurious, landmark hotel is located at the foot of the Aspen Mountain and the heart of downtown Aspen. Opened in 1889, this much-loved hotel features 93 spacious guest rooms that are individually decorated and offer stunning mountain views, complete with all the thoughtful luxuries.
The Hotel Jerome has an outdoor heated pool (one of the first in the town) and two Jacuzzis.
Make sure you take some time out to visit the hotel’s Auberge Spa, which offers a range of massages and skincare services tailored for those who enthusiastically engage in the wide array of Aspen’s outdoor activities.
And be sure to dine at Prospect, the hotel’s modern American bistro. It showcases fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farmers and is headed by renowned Aspen chef, Rob Zack. The hotel also has two popular bars; The Living Room and J-Bar.
Find out more at The Hotel Jerome online.
Colorado in the United States’ Rocky Mountains.
* Aspen is just as popular in the summer as the winter. From the inspirational speakers who convene for the Aspen Ideas Festival, to breathtaking hiking. Think outside the winter circle.
* Sample the fly fishing in the many streams.
* Book in for a hill top meal at Pine Creek Cookhouse and have a sleigh take you there. So magical!
* Aspen, like any Rocky Mountain town in the winter, gets very cold and the top of the mountains will be several degrees cooler than the base. It’s important to wear the right ski gear and at these high elevations, it’s also important to protect yourself from the UV rays – so slip, slop and slap – even in winter!