Opening its doors for the first time over Thanksgiving weekend in 1989, The Little Nell debuted with the biggest rooms in Aspen featuring oversize closets made for skiers and their gear, an elevated food and wine program lauded from the start, and Aspen’s best location, location, location, at the base of Aspen Mountain’s Little Nell run.
This year will be an extra-special one for Aspen’s only five-star luxury boutique hotel as it celebrates its 30th year. In June, the hotel will unveil a renovation to its common spaces and Chair 9 by Champalimaud Design of New York (designers of the 2017 Little Nell room refresh) and an Ajax Tavern upgrade by Rowland + Broughton. Aspenites can look forward to a series of ski season celebrations, special hotel rates and collaborations with artists and select brands.
“The Little Nell is a name recognized all over the ski world,” says Eric Calderon, the property’s first general manager, who went on to become CEO of Auberge Resorts. “It is synonymous with understated luxury in a comfortable setting with a level of hospitality delivered by an engaged and caring staff.”
While many hotels in Europe had begun to cater to the affluent skier seeking luxury accommodations, the concept for a more personalized lodging experience at American ski resorts took off with The Little Nell. And, now, the Aspen Skiing Company has plans to expand the brand to other locations—from the desert to the sea.
“Until the Nell, the only other luxury ski hotel in North America was the Stein Eriksen Lodge, which you entered through the garage,” says Calderon. “What the Nell did was expose that European level of comfort, luxury and service to the North American market. It changed skiing in North America.”
Photo courtesy of the Aspen Historical Society, Aspen Skiing Co. Collection