Though the near future of travel remains a maddening riddle, it’s safe to say we’ve got a good six months to begin to tell exactly how the ski season will be shaping in a world still haunted by the coronavirus crisis. Colorado was not hit terribly hard (though nearly 1500 deaths have been reported), so expect an urgency for the major resort towns to get back some measure of normalcy—Aspen especially, which officially resumed business on May 29,
Last August, of course, we reported on the notable opening of the new W Aspen & Sky Residences, which quickly became one of the region’s hottest destinations, with its Wet Deck, Living Room, and 39° nightlife hotspots. As its first summer season approaches, the hotel has undertaken its post-pandemic re-opening, with restaurants and bars, of course, operating at 50% capacity.
To better understand how this was accomplished, we caught up with General Manager Greg Durrer for the lowdown.
What are the safety measures you’ve put into place for re-opening?
W Aspen & the Sky Residences at W Aspen have closely coordinated with the Pitkin County Board of Health, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and Marriott International to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 cleanliness and safety plan for all of our overnight guests, residence owners, local customers and employees. We have extensively modified and elevated our cleaning processes and procedures prior to our guests’ arrival, during their visit and post departure. Upon arrival, we have installed protective plexiglass barriers at high contact spaces, including our registration desks. In accordance with Pitkin County Board of Health Guidelines, all guests wear masks when traveling through hotel common areas.
And employee / guest interaction?
Employees wear masks and, in some cases, gloves, as positions require. Currently, our pools, hot tubs and fitness center remain closed in accordance with published guidelines*. Overall, there is a heightened focus on employee training, cleaning, and following all social distancing protocols and providing our guests with peace of mind so they can truly enjoy their visit to our beautiful mountain destination.
What is different about the sort of bookings you’re getting for this summer?
As business returns, we have noticed that our drive leisure markets are returning first. We are also seeing a wide diversity in travelers from individuals and couples to extended families reconnecting as quarantines are lifted around the country and globe.
How do you feel the social experience at the hotel will play out in the coming months? Including bars and restaurants.
Guests are looking to escape and enjoy all that Aspen has to offer in the way of outdoor activities, fresh mountain air, a vibrant culinary scene and world class galleries and shopping. There is a high desire from travelers to see that restaurants are following all published safety guidelines and protocols and outdoor dining is in high demand. We have made significant adjustments to our dining spaces to ensure that we are able to accommodate every guest in a clean, comfortable and safe environment. W Aspen is very fortunate to have an 8,000 sq. ft. roof top WET Deck that offers stunning 360-degree views of the Aspen skyline and the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Our WET Deck is unparalleled in Aspen and offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Our acclaimed Executive Chef, Jackie Siao, prepares globally inspired and locally sourced cuisine. This fare, combined with our views, creates an unmatched mountain lux experience.
What do you think the Aspen experience will be like this summer? What will be different?
The Aspen experience this summer will be focused on the outdoor adventure and access to the magnificent spaces that surround Aspen. Breathtaking views, the abundance of outdoor activities and an opportunity to reconnect and recharge with loved ones, extended family and friends. Hiking Maroon Bells, Hunter Creek Trail, Sunnyside Trail or Ute Trail offer our guests the chance to clear their minds, while taking in natural landscape that has made Aspen one of the most desirable summer destinations in the world. People travel from all over the globe to take on some of the most challenging mountain bike terrain and these trails are all just steps away from the resort that sits in town directly at the base of Aspen Mountain. W Aspen & the Sky Residence at W Aspen is perfectly positioned to host guests looking to enjoy the clean, fresh mountain air and wide-open spaces that the Rocky Mountains offer to all of our guests this upcoming summer.
(*Update: Beginning on June 8th, the Pitkin County Board of Health has allowed pools to reopen with limited capacity and social distancing guidelines. We are glad to be able to make one of our most distinguishing features available again to our resort guests. Enjoying a crafted cocktail or glass of rosé while soaking in the sunshine on our rooftop WET Deck, poolside with 360-degree views & fresh mountain air, this is one of the defining moments of an Aspen Alpine experience.)