Neil Perry’s off-menu tip is to ask for the yellowtail and jalapeno sashimi as a sushi roll with ponzu). But for memorable mid-mountain dining, it’s hard to beat the cosy ambience of Snowmass’s Lynn Britt Cabin where winter lunch options include a bison prime rib sandwich, elk stroganoff and cassoulet. More: matsuhisaaspen.com; aspensnowmass.com.
PLACE WITH A PAST They keep the lights down low at the Hotel Jerome, an 1889 three-storey hotel made of red brick and sandstone from valley kilns and quarries. A 2012 renovation ditched old-fashioned chintz and velvet in favour of a masculine Wild West vibe: think cowhideand-plaid chairs, cashmere curtains, silver-log lamps, portraits of Native Americans above the bedheads and an elevator lined with leather belts. The hotel is said to be haunted by “water boy”, the ghost of a lad who drowned in the hotel pool. Legend has it that actor Bill Murray almost drowned here too when Hunter S. Thompson, a regular at the hotel’s J-Bar, taped him to a deckchair and threw him in the water. More: hoteljerome.aubergeresorts.com.
HIT THE SHOPS Want the luxe Aspen look without the heart-attack-inducing pricetags? Browse the shelves at high-end consignment store The Little Bird. Score a pair of Christian Louboutin stilettos that would usually cost $US845 for $US325, Chanel metallic pumps for $US525, a Louis Vuitton carry-all for $US1895 or a Hermes Birkin bag for $US17,500. At the other end of the scale, there’s the fun of hunting through the goodies at the Thrift Shop of Aspen (although the eagle-eyed volunteers know their labels and so price accordingly). If you’ve always wanted to bring home a chunk of meteorite, try The Columbine near Victoria’s Espresso. Daniels Antiques specialises in binoculars, slot machines, aviation art, Louis Vuitton luggage and other curiosities. More: thelittlebirdinc.com; aspenthriftshop.org; danielsantiques.com. MISSIONS POSSIBLE Enter the lobby of the five-star The Little Nell and prepare to be dazzled by golden keys. Five of the hotel’s six concierges wear the lapel badges signifying membership of the elite Les Clefs D’Or organisation. The team has fielded all sorts of requests over the years. Could they find two saxophonists to perform at a birthday lunch that day at the mid-mountain eatery Cloud Nine? (They could but the restaurant needed more notice.) On another occasion, some Russians wanted to rustle up a goose for a traditional Christmas meal. (The guests declined, though, when told it would cost $US22,000 to fly one in by private jet.) The meticulous service extends to the tiniest things. In-room comforts include fireplace controls right next to the bed. The Little Nell’s sister property, the Limelight Hotel, is four blocks away. Both hotels offer free access to a car. Guests can take one of the resident Audis for a few hours to visit local landmarks such as Independence Pass (the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the US, open only in warmer months) and local attractions such as the riverside Penny Hot Springs between Carbondale and Redstone. More: thelittlenell.com; limelighthotel.com.
Katrina Lobley was a guest of Aspen Snowmass, Qantas, The Little Nell and the Limelight Hotel.