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The 2023 Guide to Aspen

Rohan Vasa, Writer

Aspen Guide - Little Nell

Whether you’re a first-timer or a regular, a trip to Aspen is a rite of passage. Aspen, one of the most charming towns in the USA, is the place to ski. And by ski we mean both on the slopes, and the après scene too. It doesn’t even matter whether you partake in the sport (although Colorado does have some of the best powder). There’s something in Aspen for everyone. This is the 2023 guide to Aspen for where to stay, new places to eat, and of course, where to après. And you may come now for the winter, but you’ll stay for the summers.

Hotel Reviews Little Nell
Top Three Hotels

There’s not much movement in this season’s guide to Aspen hotels. Of course there are rumors that the Four Seasons and Aman have done recon on land in the area. Just that bit of hope gives us #goals of owning an Aman residence in town. Also on the horizon is a new RH Guesthouse, which is so perfect for Aspen, it hurts. But for now, the top hotels remain The Nell, the St. Regis and Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection.

 

Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection

Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection is one of the more authentic spots to stay, and it got even better when it joined the Auberge portfolio of hotels. An Aspen landmark, the hotel has been open since 1889. The Hotel Jerome is filled with stories and cultural history that make Aspen special. It’s seen its share of characters, including notables like Hunter S. Thompson who even held court.

The hotel still has a strong country western saloon vibe in their decor and the original elements of the building. Today, it generally attracts a younger crowd, which makes it a social hub for apres ski drinks and dinner. Whether or not you stay at the Hotel Jerome, the brunch is one of the best in town. At minimum you’ll come by for a drink when you pass through Aspen.


The St. Regis, Aspen

The St. Regis Aspen is the most grand scale and full-service of the luxury hotels, located at the base of Aspen Mountain. It’s not ski in ski out though, but you are two blocks away from the gondola. Normally filled with families, this mountain manor has all the amenities. They have a hair salon, full service spa with oxygen room and two restaurants, a lounge and bar. The St. Regis re-invented themselves with the creation of The Snow Lodge on property, which is one of the sceniest places in town. But more on Snow Lodge later. In addition, the St. Regis is walking distance to some of the best boutiques and restaurants in town. 


The Little Nell 

The Little Nell or “The Nell” as locals call it, is the only ski in – ski out hotel in the center of Aspen. Ajax Tavern is one of the best places to apres ski, as well as the lobby lounge of the hotel. In addition, there’s a wine bar and for fancier dinners, Element 47, which has a top wine list in town. Surprisingly the scene is relatively quiet past 10pm though, as clearly people take their fresh tracks seriously. The team at The Nell has the best concierge services as well as access to ski instructors. Their valet team will also cart you around anywhere for ski lessons during the day, and drop offs at local restaurants at night. The people watching is so Aspen it hurts; expect lots of fur, Chanel ski gear and packs of guys on their annual trip. The rooms comparatively speaking are a personal favorite of the top hotels in the 2023 guide to Aspen. 

Four New Restaurants

There are tried and true favorites, that will always make the guide to Aspen list each year. However, in recent years, there’s been an influx of new restaurants. This year there is an uber-trendy Japanese transplant from Miami, and a new local favorite that may just be here to stay.

PARC Aspen

PARC Aspen is the newly opened farm to table restaurant and bar that aims to revitalize the culinary scene in Aspen. Set in a modern farmhouse, PARC Aspen has three components. There’s an elegant fine dining room that seats six-eight, a modern take on a locals bar with bites, and a private dining room. Each of the dishes on its menus focus on sustainability and are seasonal and locally sourced. There’s also live music some evenings, where it’s the exact opposite scene of Snow Lodge. This spot is quickly becoming a locals’ favorite.  

Madame Ushi

Madame Ushi is a Japanese steakhouse, bar, and nightclub. Occupying the former 7908 space, it is run by DJ Cedric Gervais in partnership with Wei Chen. Chen was the former chef de cuisine at Nakazawa down the street, so you know the sushi is going to be good. After the restaurant closes at night, the space turns into a nightclub, dubbed Gala Aspen. 

CHICA

CHICA is run by celebrity chef Lorena Garcia. She brings together Peruvian, Mexican, and Argentine cuisines together in a new and bold way. Chica will be open from 8-10am for takeaway breakfasts, 11am-5pm for Après, and from 5-10pm for dinner. Additionally, CHICA is launching an Après Base Camp that will host a live DJ seven days a week, making it the ultimate daytime after party. 

Las Montañas

This opened up over the summer, but this is its first winter season. Las Montanas is in the beloved old Jimmy’s space, in the heart of downtown Aspen. On the Las Montañas menu are classic Mexican food and Tex-Mex favorites. They’re the sister restaurant to Clark’s down the street and part of a larger Texas-based restaurant group, so the food is solid. In addition, like the old Jimmy’s, they serve cocktails, agave spirits, and have their own Mezcal and Tequila menu. 

Special Events this Winter

Before, it used to be just events like Snow Polo and the X Games. But now, the 2023 guide to Aspen is not complete without the music performances that come to town.


Snow Lodge

As part of the St. Regis, Snow Lodge took the town by storm last year with a curated list of events ranging from music, food, art, fashion, and wellness. The Blue Room is a lounge that hosts cabaret shows, DJ sets, and unplugged acoustic shows in an intimate setting. It features both well established musicians and up and comers. The Après Skis Courtyard is a larger space that showcases the festival’s headliners. Some past names who have performed previously are Diplo, Orville Peck, and The Chainsmokers, to give you an idea of the caliber of shows.

Upcoming Shows:

2/19 – Night Tales
3/4 – Hayden James
3/18 – Bedouin

Palm Tree Music Festival

The Palm Tree Crew was launched in 2016 by Kygo and Myles Shear. The group presents live entertainment through a roster of festivals throughout the globe in places like Australia and Bali. The Palm Tree Festival in Aspen will take place in Rio Grande Park for a two day outdoor event. VIP tables can also be purchased and come with tons of exclusive amenities and comforts. The two day general admission price is $325 while the two day VIP tickets are $1,500.

The Line Up:

2/24 – Jack White, Gryffin, Cannons
2/25 – Diplo, King Princess, Forester

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This may be the 2023 guide to Aspen, but like hotels, it’s nice when some things stay the same. That includes the restaurant list, where we look forward to these top eats whenever we’re in town.

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