What was once the summer hunting ground of the Ute Indians and later a Colorado Miners’ retreat is now, in its latest incarnation, The Little Nell, a five-star hotel in downtown Aspen. The doors opened in 1989, and the hotel underwent a recent renovation in 2017, bringing even more refined polish to this cozy enclave at the foot of Aspen Mountain. The Relais & Châteaux property is the only ski-in/ski-out hotel in downtown Aspen and is largely considered to be this sophisticated mountain town’s signature luxury hotel. With fewer than 100 rooms, the focus is on providing exceptional service in a sumptuous yet intimate setting.
Mountain views are everywhere, from the Continental Divide to the Red Mountain Range, and as their guest, you’ll be sung in the embrace of five-star digs surrounded by Aspen culture and nature’s finest. Here’s what we saw when we stayed.
Rooms and suites are spacious and inviting with a minimalist feel; there are no fussy ornamental details here, just rich, plush textures complemented by warm natural tones of cream, brown, and blue. These are rooms you can completely relax in; there’s comfortable seating, wool carpets, gas log fireplaces, and goose down pillows--most have private balconies and all have heated bathroom floors. Guests can indulge in a massage or facial at the hotel’s health center, or opt for a dip in the hot tub under the stars. The hotel’s art collection is noteworthy, featuring a global and local selection of abstract art from acclaimed painters, photographers, and sculptors.
The Little Nell is sophisticated, but in a very relaxed smart way. You’ll be among sporty skiers with big bank accounts, a taste for adventure, and fine wine. Everyone is on vacation, from couples to families, so expect the mood to be convivial and celebratory. Service reflects their five-star status — helpful, aware, and anticipatory. Every need is met, from oxygen rental for altitude sickness to complimentary town shuttle service. Pets are welcome, and children are treated as special guests with everything on offer from board games to babysitters.
Outdoors enthusiasts both young and old (from skiers and stargazers to cyclists and hikers) who love to put in miles on the bike or runs on the mountain and retire at the day’s end to a fine glass of wine, tasteful dining, and plush accommodations.
If you prefer a big, busy hotel with lots of coming and going and loads of drinking and dining options, the Little Nell might not be your first choice.
Most guests would argue the exclusive ski in/ski out mountainside access is the best, as is their dedicated Ski Concierge who’s on hand to store equipment, warm ski boots, issue lift tickets, schedule lessons, and fuel guests with coffee, tea, and pastries. Yet, the wine program here gets the year-round “best” nod as it’s exceptional in every way. It’s worth noting that ten of North America’s 172 Master Sommeliers trained while working at The Little Nell. In fact, they have 50 sommeliers on staff to manage their 20,000-plus bottle wine cellar…oh, and The Wine Spectator Grand Award (12 years running) is another star in their crown. Suffice it to say, your wine experiences here will be remarkable and memorable. Book a private cellar tasting or a private cellar dinner (hosted by one of the top notch sommeliers) for your last night before heading home.
Guests enjoy a a fully stocked refreshment bar with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. There's also free wifi, a Bose Bluetooth Speaker, and all-natural “First Tracks” June Jacobs spa amenities.
There is a resort fee of 6% of your room rate, and valet parking is $38 per night. If you're bringing a pet, expect to pay an initial $125 fee plus $25 per night.
In honor of the hotel’s 30th anniversary, they will offer specials on the 30th of each month throughout ski season. For Dec. 30, Enjoy 30% off select items in the boutique, along with a glass of The Nell’s signature champagne, René Geoffroy Expression Brut. Visit the offers page for more information.
You can fly directly into Aspen/Pitkin County Airport but if you are an anxious flier you might opt to drive — the landing is a tight, windy approach. Denver International Airport is about a three-hour drive from the resort. Airport shuttles, such as Epic Mountain Express, run daily with rates starting at $85 per person.
The property is located in the heart of Aspen with the chair lift at the back door and everything else within walking distance of the front door including: Aspen Art Museum, The Aspen Institute, Wheeler Opera House, Aspen Music Festival, Theatre Aspen, and the Aspen Historical Society. It’s also within a short drive to the Maroon Bells, Aspen Golf Club, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and Aspen Snowmass' other three ski areas: Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass Ski Area. The hotel offers complimentary transportation in and around Aspen.
The Aspen/Pitkin County Airport is located 4 miles from the hotel.
The Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) has a bus station 900 feet from the hotel at the Rubey Park Transit Center.
For an intimately luxurious respite from a long day on the mountain, The Little Nell is your five-star hideaway.