As far as professional service, luxury and quality food go, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado, is one of the finest properties in America. Of course, having an idyllic locale at the base of Aspen Mountain where you can hike, ski, raft, fish, bike and breathe unbelievably fresh air has its perks, too. And after a stylish room refresh just this past spring, there are even more reasons to visit this boutique hotel and take in the glory of the mountains.
Though you wouldn’t have thought the Colorado hotel needed a refresher, it still got a little face-lift this past summer from Champalimaud Design. The New York-based luxury design firm brought the “authentic Aspen” theme to the public spaces, 86 accommodations and all of the corridors.
The look is subtle, more of a brightening than an in-your-face change. Colors shifted to blue, tan and gray motifs. Overall, the look is more airy and balanced — not that it ever felt stuffy.
In the hallway, a simple blue-and-black carpet pays homage to the area’s silver mining history by creating “tracks” with “stops” at each room.
In tandem with the sustainability efforts by the hotel’s parent organization, Aspen Skiing Company, all existing wooden furniture got refurbished in lieu of being replaced by something new. And, of course, paints are of the low-VOC (volatile organic compound) variety. The result is a light, clean space that adds to the elegance The Little Nell already exuded.
When it comes to brunch, Five-Star Element 47, the hotel’s main restaurant, has things down pat. Executive chef Matt Zubrod serves a complete spread of every comforting morning decadence you can imagine, including toasted bagels slathered with cream cheese and lox, freshly made pastries and fluffy lemon soufflé pancakes with raspberry syrup.
Eat inside the luxurious dining room or take a seat alfresco. You can enjoy the meal outdoors any time of year thanks to large heat lamps and cozy blankets to keep you warm as you wake up with a Lavazza macchiato, sip a blend of fresh juices or toast with a glass of bubbly, something the restaurant is known for.
But the best part is that guests of the hotel (and those who just stop by to eat) can indulge in this spread every single day (save for mid-September to November 22, when it’s just served on the weekends). Or order your meal à la carte; just make sure to try the housemade peach jam, a delicacy made with local fruit.
There’s plenty of skiing to do in Aspen, but have you ever taken a ride on a snowcat? At The Little Nell, you can see alpine views from the front seat of this truck-sized, fully tracked vehicle as it glides expertly over the snow.
The boutique hotel offers a few ways to see the area this way, including a ride on the mechanical beast as the driver grooms the mountain after the skiers have retired.
The property also gives powder tours that allow you to ski on completely untracked snow and, if you want to get to know the machine even better, consider signing up for Snowcat Academy. This three-plus-hour course teaches you how to operate one of the state-of-the-art vehicles on Buttermilk Mountain.
In the summer, The Little Nell also embarks on fly-fishing excursions on its own handcrafted wooden boat. The hotel provides a number of other adventures, and each season more are added to the roster.