Hotel Discovery in Aspen
From Indagare member Lawrence Kaplan:
“Greetings from snowy Aspen. I would like to share a few insights. First, when flying to Aspen, as many ski regulars know, it is preferable to fly directly into Aspen than the alternate to land at Vail Eagle and drive for an hour. There are cabs waiting right outside the small Aspen terminal, and it’s only a 10 minute drive to town. However the airport can close at the drop of a hat (during heavy snow and wind which can happen often) so one much take their chances if flying to ASE. It is still the easiest way to travel as long as things go according to plan. Second, when skiing in Aspen or elsewhere, shipping a bag to the hotel is best these days. It was a pleasure to arrive at the hotel and have bags waiting. No sense is lugging heavy ski boots and sweaters, particularly if traveling with children.
I’ve also discovered a wonderful hotel called the Limelight Lodge. While many naturally opt for well-known luxury hotels in Aspen like the Little Nell, Gerome and St. Regis, the Limelight Lodge is an option worth considering. The Limelight, well located a few blocks from the gondola for Ajax, has a long history as it started as the “Ski and Spur Bar” in the early 1950s. It has been owned and operated by the same family since then, and the reception upon check In was warm and accommodating. The new Limelight (building was entirely razed and rebuilt) opened in November 2008, and was upgraded to include radian heat (rather than forced air which is plus for those unaccustomed to altitude), small kitchenettes with fridge and microwaves, high speed wireless Internet in rooms and throughout the hotel, high definition TVs, IPod/MP3 docks and gas fireplaces (in some of the rooms). The hotel is straightforward rather than fussy, and comfortable in an uncomplicated way. The focus is less on service one would find in a fancier hotel, and more on value in the rooms and the experience. There is Apres Ski daily in the large open area as you enter the hotel. Upon entering the hotel from 4-7pm, there is a delightful aroma of freshly baked cookies, and the hotel offers complimentary wine from the bar. The large space can accommodate many, and is family friendly. I should also note the hotel is dog friendly as well, and there were several four legged guests around. There is also the option of two large hot tubs and a heated pool (outdoors) for those who prefer a swim after a long day of skiing.
If you’re going to stay at the Limelight, make sure to stay on the 3rd or 4th floor, and be specific about the room location/view. I think the best views are of Ajax Mountain (during ski season) and the view of Independence Paas is also nice (particularly in the summer and fall). Some rooms face Smuggler Mountain and Red Mountain to the North, and those views are also of the mountains, although not as compelling for me. The Limelight rooms are comfortably appointed, and reasonably spacious for a ski lodge. The furnishings are tasteful and warm, in nice neutrals and chocolate brown finishes. The hotel was completely refurbished in 2008 and the rooms are well maintained. The closets offer ample space and most rooms have a view given how the hotel is situated. An important note given several room categories: the true value is the Grand Deluxe category (at roughly $459 per night in high season), and for about another $100 per night, you can add a fireplace and balcony in the Luxury King or Superior categories, which are nice additions. If one wants a less fancy (with less service) hotel option, these are great choice. On the other end of the spectrum is the Penthouse Suite (name seems counter-intuitive for a ski lodge), with a 2 bedroom suite replete with living space, balcony and wonderful views (at $1600/night in high season).”