If you’re looking for a luxury ski vacation that combines the charm and rustic feel of an alpine village with all the modern conveniences and luxuries of a five-star resort, then look no further than The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado.
This ski-in, ski-out hotel, which locals fondly refer to as “The Nell,” is the only five star resort in Aspen, and a friend and I recently had the pleasure of staying here for a long weekend.
The hotel’s amazing service started from the second we landed at the airport in Aspen. The hotel’s drivers were waiting for us at the airport, all too happy to relieve us of our luggage and bring us to the hotel, which is conveniently about a 15-minute drive away. A quick note about their drivers: they are super attentive and around all day and night, meaning you won’t need to rent a car. From driving you to restaurants in town in their Cadillac Escalades, to the four ski mountains, their service was impeccable and made traveling around Aspen a breeze.
When we got to The Nell, we found it all dressed up for Christmas. The fireplaces were roaring, and the tree all lit, with festive touches throughout the hotel. After dropping off our bags, we sat down by the fire in the lounge and had a cup of the hotel’s famed hot chocolate. Pro tip: have the hot chocolate. Even better, ask them to spike it. We were addicted to this drink throughout our stay.
Next we went to our room, and it was the epitome of cozy. The Nell has 92 rooms in total, which overlook Aspen Mountain. The color palette of our room was super calming, with cream and chocolate colors throughout, and a pleasant surprise was the fireplace under the television, which we turned on literally any time we were in the room. There were other touches throughout the room that really stood out to us, as well. As mundane as this sounds, the Nell has the best bath towels. They are enormous and plush and perfect to wrap yourself in after a day on the mountain skiing. We had his and hers sinks and vanities (perfect for two girls getting ready for a night out in Aspen), and in addition to the shower, there is a gorgeous bathtub with a moving rack for you to stock everything from soaps to a glass of champagne while you soak.
Calling the bar a “mini-bar” would be downright insulting. The in-room bar is stocked with full bottles of alcohol in a polished display. The Nell also stocks the bar with complimentary snacks, ranging from chocolates to nuts to candies and free soft drinks, that are restocked on a daily basis. There are Bose bluetooth speakers and flatscreen LED televisions in the room. Also, there is ample space for your clothes and gear.
Next, we sat out to explore the town. Part of what we loved about The Nell is that it is ideally situated, just walking distance from restaurants, bars and great shopping. It’s also a few blocks away from the Aspen Art Museum, which should be a must-visit on your trip, and is free to the public.
During our trip, we were lucky enough to dine at The Nell’s Element 47 restaurant, as well as have apres ski at both Chair 9 and Ajax (Read our separate post on eating and drinking at The Nell, and why it is the ideal place for wine lovers).
One of my favorite things I did while at The Nell was taking advantage of the ski-in, ski-out nature of the hotel. Early on Sunday morning, I was part of The Nell’s “First Tracks” program, which I highly-recommend for any skier. At 8:00 a.m. I went to the First Tracks office just outside my hotel room and was greeted with coffee and fresh-baked muffins and my ski gear ready and waiting for me. After some breakfast, myself and a few other guests rode the Aspen gondola to the very top of the mountain, a full hour before the mountain opens up to the public. This was such an amazing experience and I got to see the mountain in its most pristine form and take some stunning photos before skiing down, with virtually no other skiers near me. Better yet, the hotel offers this as a complimentary perk (one of the many ways they go above and beyond the standard resort experience).
We also loved that the hotel had a work hard, play hard vibe. In the morning, everyone buzzes about to go skiing (There are four mountains nearby, with the Nell situated next to one of them. A ski pass grants you access to all four). By the time apres ski rolls around, everyone hits up the lounges and bars for some champagne and spiked hot cocoa while making new friends.
The lobby of the Nell has fresh, hot cider daily, which was our go-to after a hard day of skiing. The hotel also has a really festive vibe. While we were there, they had their tree-lighting ceremony, complete with sugar cookies, hot cocoa, Christmas carolers and even a visit from Santa. Another night, they had the opening party for Chair 9, which was a blast.
The hotel has a nice spa and gym that we checked out on our last day since there wasn’t enough time to ski. I had the most wonderful deep tissue massage with Francisco (request him!) and then went to the steam room before going to the gym. There’s also an outdoor jacuzzi with views of Aspen mountain that we recommend.
We would be remiss not to mention the hotel staff. We already raved about how great the valet service is, but the concierge is equally wonderful. For instance, we had stalked a reservation at Matsuhisa Aspen (their version of Nobu) for literally a month in advance of our trip, only to be completely shut out. We casually mentioned to the concierge that we would love to go on the Saturday night at 8 p.m., quite a tall order, and within minutes, we had ourselves a reservation at prime time. Same goes for other tough-to-nab reservations we wanted, and they always had the best suggestions for us on nights where we didn’t have a set plan.
The Nell is the perfect place for ski bunnies (or aspiring ski bunnies) as well a couples looking for a luxe trip with top-notch service. We enjoyed our stay from beginning to end, and can’t wait to visit again!
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