Be sure to dust off your boots before stepping foot inside the Hotel Jerome, a landmark Aspen stay that’s looking chic and shiny following an elegant Stetson-to-pointed-toe revamp. There’s a sleek new lobby bar, mod bistro, spiffy spa and the notorious J-Bar (a favourite of Hunter S Thompson) remains to attract an A-list crowd.
Anything with a mountain view; no matter the season, Aspen Mountain is an awe-inspiring sight to wake up to. If we were splashing out, we’d check into Room 136, the Bixby Suite, which has a balcony and private access to the pool area.
The outdoor heated pool is open in both summer and winter. Children are welcome to splash around in the shallow end while you lounge in the loungers on the pool deck. A pool cart stocked with sunscreen, towels and robes, kids’ water toys, books, magazines and goggles to borrow, as well as free cold drinks, has all your poolside needs covered.
Don’t worry about lugging your ski gear with you – the hotel has a ski valet who works with luxury retailer Gorsuch to arrange for rentals or purchases of anything you might need.
Not only does the hotel have a spa with three treatment rooms and natural treatments inspired by the Roaring Fork Valley, but it also has a small fitness centre with yoga and Pilates classes. Guests also have free access to the neighbouring Aspen Club & Spa.
Welcome, especially older ones. Cribs and extra beds are free; the pool is family-friendly; a kids’ game room has a Wii, Nintendo, two TVs, foosball table, colouring materials, books and movies. Babysitting can be arranged in advance for $25 an hour.
As an Auberge hotel, the Hotel Jerome takes its sustainability measures very seriously. All rooms have recycling bins, filtered water is provided in glass bottles, toiletries are hand-blended and provided in large refillable bottles, only LED light bulbs are used, in-room materials are provided electronically on an iPad, taps and toilets are all low-flow and the restaurant sources its ingredients locally. The hotel has also adopted a trail in Aspen that the staff maintains.
In the summer, sit on the terrace for a breezy al fresco dining experience; in the winter, settle into a corner on the overstuffed leather banquettes for maximum privacy.
Designer après-ski. Nearly everyone in Aspen sports the weather-appropriate equivalent of hiking boots and outdoors-wear, but, at the Jerome, they look good doing it.
An elegant modern bistro inspired by Aspen’s mountain locale and the area’s mining history, Prospect turns fresh, local ingredients into hearty favourites for lunch and dinner, like beef tartare, house-smoked pastrami sandwich and English pea agnolotti. Breakfast is a range of classics, like buttermilk pancakes and steel-cut oats, and Western egg dishes, like huevos rancheros and eggs benedict on a biscuit. A kids’ menu is available upon request. Small plates and sandwiches are also available throughout the day in the relaxed lobby Living Room, and J-Bar boasts the best burger in town.
Once frequented by the likes of Hunter S Thompson, J-Bar has been an Aspen landmark for decades, and maintains its vintage, Old West-inspired atmosphere.
Prospect serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, starting at 7am and closing at 11pm. J-Bar serves from 11:30am to 11pm, the Living Room from 7am to 11pm.
A selection of sandwiches, salads and other favourites from the restaurant menus, as well as kids’ classics, are available in your room 24 hours a day.
Right in the heart of the mountain town of Aspen, Hotel Jerome is perfectly located for exploring the streets on foot, skiing and hiking Aspen Mountain (also known as Ajax) and making day trips throughout the Colorado Rockies.
Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is less than a four-mile drive from the hotel, and town. Major airlines – including United, British and Qantas – offer direct flights from cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, and connecting flights from most major international cities.
If you plan to spend most of your time in town or on Aspen Mountain, you don’t need to hire a car; the hotel offers free airport transfers and free shuttles operate around town. Should you be interested in skiing Snowmass or exploring the surrounding area, however, most major car hire companies operate out of the airport, but do be sure to book in advance. Valet parking is available at the hotel for $30 a day.
The town of Aspen offers free shuttle buses around the downtown area and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority provides free skier shuttles in winter to all four local mountains. Hotel Jerome also provides free shuttle services to both Aspen Highlands and Aspen Snowmass, twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon.
Worth getting out of bed for
The views are breathtaking all round in Aspen, but, naturally, the most perfect panoramas can be found at the top of the mountain. Expert skiers can tear up the fresh powder on over 75 trails at Aspen Mountain, while novice skiers will want to head to Snowmass or Aspen Highlands for more beginner-friendly courses. Not inclined to ski? Purchase a ‘foot pass’ and take theSilver Queen gondola up Aspen Mountain and relish in the scenery. Aside from skiing, you can spend the day white-water rafting in the Colorado Rockies or hiking up the Maroon Bells, home to another incredible backdrop.
Of course, all of this requires the proper duds, and Aspen is known for designer shops like Theory or James Perse to help you fit right in with the celeb-studded crowds. Or just embrace your inner cowboy and say howdy to the fine leather boots, hats and belts at Kemo Sabe.
If you're here in the summer, reserve tickets for the annualFood & Wine Classic. With more than 5,000 people in attendance, the festival stars some of the most renowned talent joining in with the cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and parties. Music aficionados will want to attend the Jazz Aspen Snowmass, a festival featuring prominent artists that's held every Labor Day weekend.
Take a break from hitting the trails for lunch at Sundeck at Aspen Mountain. Here, you’ll feast on gourmet breakfast from 11,212 feet in the air. After a long day of skiing, stroll over to Piñons across the street from the hotel, a local favourite for more than 30 years, to dine on hearty American dishes in a cosy setting. If you’re fortunate enough to score a reservation at Matsuhisa, you're in for a romantic evening. Be sure to select some sake from the menu– brewed exclusively for the restaurant in Japan– along with super-fresh sushi and sashimi. And if you're as interested in the cocktails as you are in the cuisine, head to Jimmy’s, where the masterful muddles can be soaked up with your choice from the tempting surf and turf menu.
Victoria + Co, an Aussie-style café on East Durant Street, has delicious breakfast and lunch options, and, if you’re skipping adventurous activities for the day, it serves wine, beer and cocktails, too. Grab a quick cup of Joe at Ink Coffee, a few blocks from the hotel.
Look no further than Hotel Jerome for the ideal watering hole, J-Bar. Vintage cocktails will have you needing that late-night carb fix – luckily it claims to have the best burger in town. Meander over to the Aspen Brewing Company's Aspen Tap on South Galena Street for local music with your local brew, and three-hour-long happy hours daily (between 4pm and 7pm).
Aspen is one of those magical, glamorous place. It’s splashed all over the newspapers every Christmas, when movie stars and supermodels descend upon its snowy streets pairing fur boots with diamonds. But there’s another side to Aspen – it’s rich with fascinating history and quaint local hangouts.
The cowboy-hat-sporting doormen who greet you Hotel Jerome call to mind the building’s glory days: at the height of Colorado’s silver boom in the late 1800s, the Jerome was a vacation mecca for New York socialites and prosperous businessmen making their fortune out west. I love walking into a place and immediately feeling its history, and the grand lobby here does just that: my eyes darted left and right to a roaring log fire, dark wood-paneled walls, a sweeping staircase, a giant portrait of the venue’s founder – Jerome B Wheeler – and the glint of chinking crystal glasses filled with scotch. Even the turquoise floor tiles are original, made from oxidized gold and dating back to 1890. I snapped straight back to 2016, though, when offered iced chlorophyll water at check in – it’s a superfood supplement said to help your body acclimatize to the altitude. Genius.
Jerome’s painstakingly restored J Bar – a one-time haunt of Hunter S Thompson – was packed for après ski beers when we made a beeline there for happy hour after unpacking (they also serve, according to the locals we asked, the best burgers in town). After a few very hours chatting to the friendly barman, it was time to venture out for dinner. I can’t recommend the new steakhouse Monarch enough; with impeccable service, awesome jazz and an animated crowd, it’s a must for date night.
Post steak, we retired to our spacious room and looked out on the mountains (I requested the view in advance: waking up to the peaks every morning really does make a difference). The vista isn’t the only gorgeous sight, though: the décor indoors is really, really cool, striking a perfect balance between Ralph Lauren-esque chalet chic and modern elegance. I loved the Native American artwork and patterns on the blankets, mixed with festive red plaid and crisp white sheets. The bed was enormous and out-of-this-world comfy, and I slept like a baby (pro tip: humidifiers are available on request – mountain air combined with central heating can be somewhat drying, especially after a few gin and tonics). And from a practical standpoint, the service was truly impressive: the ski concierge, for example, takes charge of all your kit, so you don’t even set eyes on it until you’re ready to head to the slopes. The first round of everything in the minibar is free, and the in-room iPad connects you to every imaginable hotel service. They’ve put plenty of thought into every detail of a genuinely luxurious experience.
Now, I’m a self-confessed obsessive skier, so the next morning we were up early for First Tracks (sign up in advance for this special treat, and you’ll be whisked up the mountain with the staff before any runs officially open). With the freshly groomed pistes awaiting above, we didn’t spend long on breakfast – the htoel’s Living Room buffet was perfect. It’s a cosy, stylish setting (I Instagrammed the crap out of it) serving delicious delights: I plumped for the pancakes with blueberry compote and a side of green-chilli chicken sausage (calories don’t count when you’re skiing all day) and a latte to go. It was a relaxed but speedy start to a long day’s skiing.
That evening, back at the hotel, champagne in the hot tub proved the perfect way to celebrate a surprise mid-blizzard proposal in a gondola, halfway up the mountain (I said yes, of course!) Watching the sun set behind Ajax mountain, with Jerome’s pool all to ourselves, was heaven.