Reviewed by Michelle Margherita @girltraveller
The Little Nell, Aspen
Tucked away on a leafy corner you'd miss if you weren't looking for it, is The Little Nell, Aspen's hippest five-star hotel. With a celebrity clientele that includes everyone from Hollywood A-listers to billionaires, its discreet location in the heart of Aspen at the base of Ajax Mountain is part of its appeal for both pap-hungry starlets and the cool crowd looking for a chilled stay. With fresh, contemporary interiors, The Nell does modern simplicity beautifully. Combine that with outstanding service, delicious food, an incredible wine cellar and a 'nothing's too much trouble' attitude and you've ticked every box for the perfect hotel stay.
Price: Doubles from $525, room only, including airport transfers and free car service around town
Hotel address: The Little Nell, 675 E Durant Avenue, Aspen, CO, 81611
Type of hotel: Five Star / Boutique / Luxury
Type of break: Summer mountain break / ski escape / activity holiday / culture holiday / shopping/ nightlife
Hotel style: Ultra-cool modern chalet
Best room: The newly renovated Luxury Suites are where the rich and famous stay, although the mountainside rooms are cool, cosy and spacious with marble bathrooms, two massive king-sized beds, a fireplace, walk-in wardrobe and views of Ajax Mountain.
Best dish: The Early Harvest Vegetable Salad ($18) is divine, and the Dry-Aged Duck Breast ($44) is a favourite.
Fashion/design credentials: The Little Nell exterior is modern and understated (and the only ski-in ski-out accommodation in Aspen), while the chocolate and cream interiors are currently undergoing a refurb to create lighter, brighter spaces that retain a cosy feel.
Who stays here: The rich and famous who don't have an actual mansion/chalet in Aspen – think Paris Hilton, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Anniston and Heidi Klum for starters, and we heard that Kim Kardashian and Brad Pitt have also overnighted here …
What's hot: Hands down the coolest place to sleep in Aspen, it's right on the mountain in the heart of the town with exceptional views of Ajax, the Red Mountains and The Continental Divide. The service is exceptional and you really feel like you're getting the royal treatment. Complimentary mini-bar snacks are replaced daily but the oxygen canister ( in case of altitude sickness) will go on your bill.
What's not: The dark wood and fawn room interiors don't quite suit the summer sun, but the new refurb is about to change all that.
Number of rooms: 78 rooms and 14 suites.
Check in/check out times: 4pm / noon.
Room service: A full menu is available 24 hours.
Free wifi: Yes.
Swimming pool: Yes, with Ajax Mountain behind you.
Spa: No, but possibly in the future.
Eating & drinking: Element 47 is The Little Nell's chilled-out Forbes Five Star fine-dining restaurant (there are only two five-star restaurants in Colorado and this is one of them) – grab a cosy booth for farm-to-table, seasonal produce and innovative modern American cuisine (pea soup with buttermilk, mint and pumpernickel; rack of Colorado lamb; dry aged duck breast…). It would be criminal to overlook the outstanding wine cellar, which houses more than 22,000 bottles, including many rare international vintages.
If you're feeling (very) flush, splash out on a bottle of a lifetime (the oldest is from 1834, with the most expensive a snip at $55,000). Champagne lovers should try a glass of The Robert Moncuit Grand Cru Brut Cuvée French Champagne ($29), made exclusively for Element 47.
Near to: Everything! You're literally a five-minute walk from the best shopping, bars and restaurants in Aspen. The Nell also provides a free car service around town anytime you like for when you're feeling lazy après-hike.
Getting there: All guests can use the complimentary pick-up shuttle from Aspen airport, a 10-minute drive away. You can fly 9.5hrs direct to Denver from London on British Airways, then pick up a 40-minute United Airlines flight to Aspen on a small plane.
Package: Scott Dunn; 020 8682 5030, offers four nights at The Little Nell Aspen and three nights Viceroy Snowmass including SUV (4x4) hire car and international flights with British Airways, from £2895pp.