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Travel 4 months ago

aspen travel guide + the little nell review

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Last week Michael and I road tripped to Aspen for 3 days while his mom kept Shiloh in Boulder and we had the most amazing time. We moved to Colorado 3 years ago, and since then Aspen has become one of our favorite places in the world! We’ve been in the summer, fall, and winter now and love it every time of year. Christmas / wintertime is especially magical though! We love Aspen because the town is small, but has SO many amazing restaurants and really great shopping. It’s also incredibly beautiful – the foliage in the fall is to die for, and the skiing in the winter is so good! Even if you’re not into hiking or skiing, the beauty of Aspen is astounding even if you’re just walking around the town.

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Today I wanted to recap our trip for you guys and share some of our favorite things to do when in Aspen!

How to get to Aspen

Aspen is a little trickier to get t compared to the other mountain towns, but I think this is what makes it really special! It’s not as crowded as other mountain towns and doesn’t feel ‘touristy’ IMO. Since we live in Boulder, we drove to Aspen and it took around 4 hours (a little less time coming back). But if you are flying, you can either fly into DIA (denver) and drive to Aspen (probably 3-4hr drive), or you can actually fly directly into Aspen! It’s a small airport and I’m sure pretty pricy but that would be SO convenient for sure!

Where to stay in Aspen

Like I mentioned, we’ve been to Aspen probably 4 times now and we stay at The Little Nell EVERY time. Honestly the Little Nell is one of the reasons why we love Aspen so much. The hotel is so incredibly stunning & luxurious but also really quaint and cozy at the same time. We’ve legit told everyone we know about it because it’s one of our favorite hotels we’ve ever stayed at, anywhere! They are also dog friendly and we’ve brought Beau a few times – he is always treated like royalty haha.

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room service breakfast at The Little Nell!

Why we love The Little Nell

  • The rooms are extremely spacious, luxurious and cozy. They also come STOCKED full of amazing snacks (think KIND bars, dark chocolate etc!) that are all complimentary! And they replace them everyday. Turn down service every night they bring you a large pitcher of fresh water with two stemless wine glasses and two chocolate truffles. This hotel just has so many amazing touches like that, that make your experience really special
  • The service here is amazing. The staff is always SO helpful with whatever we need – ski tips, restaurant recs, etc! Room service was really fast and again, delivered with amazing service.
  • The restaurants in the Little Nell are all SO GOOD! I’ll share more details on those when I get to the food section of this post. But it’s so nice being able to walk downstairs for a really nice dinner if it’s freezing outside or if you’re tired from a long day of skiing! Ajax restaurant is part of the little nell and one of our favorite lunch spots, especially during ski season!
  • The location of The Little Nell is amazing! It’s ski in / ski out so you can literally step onto the slopes from you room (they also have a ski concierge), but it’s also right in town so you can walk to all of the shops and restaurants!

Skiing in Aspen

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jacket | pants | goggles

I shared on stories that I wanted to try skiing while we were in Aspen (as opposed to snowboarding)! I grew up skiing (started when I was 7), then switched to snowboarding when I was 14, and have been boarding ever since. So I was terrified to try skiing again but it was actually SO fun! Like I don’t know if I’ll go back to boarding because I enjoyed it so much. [BTW I’ll be doing a blog post in the next week about how to pack for a ski trip / what I wear etc. So stay tuned for that].

Aspen has a lot of options for skiing! We just skiied on Aspen mountain because like I said, it was right outside our door at The Little Nell. It was a great mountain and not crowded at all. BUT…it’s definitely not for beginners lol. There is not a single green slope on this mountain. But! You can take a shuttle over to Buttermilk if you’re wanting a more beginner-based mountain…or you can also go over to Snowmass which is really close by and they have a wider variety of slopes & difficulty levels. I was nervous to learn on Aspen Mountain since it’s a bit more advanced but it ended up being fine and we really liked the mountain (and loved the convenience of the slopes to our hotel).

Where to eat in Aspen

There are SO many great restaurants in Aspen! Like I mentioned above, we actually love ALL of the restaurants at the Little Nell as well! The photo of the grilled cheese sandwich above was taken at Ajax Tavern after a day of skiing (also the truffle fries here are to die for), the sea bass photo was taken at our dinner at Element 47 (which also has THE most incredible breakfast buffet), and the wine glass was taken at Chair 9 where we had apres ski one day! All of these restaurants are at The Little Nell and 100% worth going to, even if you’re not staying at the restaurant! Other favorite restaurants in Aspen:

  • White House Tavern – amazing for lunch or dinner. It’s a Hillstone-owned restaurant and we LOVE all Hillstone restaurants. The food is amazing and the restaurant itself is so cute
  • Steakhouse 316 – some of you guys might remember when I posted about this restaurant in Boulder. It actually started in Aspen and then they opened a Boulder location. This steakhouse is SO delicious and I like the “upscale yet casual” atmosphere (similar to alot of restaurants in Aspen!). Even if you don’t go for dinner, definitely go for dessert and get the bread pudding!
  • The Monarch – This was a new restaurant for us on this previous trip to Aspen and we LOVED it! It has a similar menu / vibe to Steakhouse 316 and equally as amazing food. We started with scallops and then split the porterhouse steak…paired with an incredible cab that the sommelier recommended! This restaurant feels really intimate & romantic and we would definitely go back for dinner next time we’re in Aspen!
  • Meat and Cheese – this is possibly our #1 favorite restaurant in Aspen. You can go for lunch or dinner (or both lol) and be blown away by how good the food is here and how cute the atmosphere is. This is a pretty casual restaurant so you could definitely come with kids! We love getting the chicken board and picking different sides, and of course starting with a cheeseboard! Their dessert here is also phenomenal!
  • J-bar at Hotel Jerome – one of our favorite spots to go and grab a drink or get dessert! This hotel is so cool and the bar has a really cool vibe
  • Matsuhisa Aspen – we still haven’t eaten here because I always forget to make reservations ahead of time and they are always booked haha but I heard the sushi here is AMAZING and that it’s a really special dining experience!

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Wow, now that I’m done writing this post I already want to go back to Aspen haha. If you’ve never been before, definitely add it to your bucket list! We were only there for 2 nights because we left Shiloh with Michael’s mom…but I would definitely recommend going for 3 nights if you can! Such a magical city and really special to go with your significant other, or your kids!

Thanks for reading!

xo Lauren

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