An Aspen escape in your fall plans? The pristine mountain town – with its rich history and vibrant local culture – is a leisurely, luxury oasis, even when it’s not ski season.
We recently visited for a weekend stay at the very historic Hotel Jerome. Opened in 1889 by Jerome Wheeler, co-owner of Macy’s at the time and a major investor in the city, the immaculate structure has a colorful past, from its conception during Aspen’s early years on to Prohibition and the city’s boom as a skiing destination. The storied establishment has hosted the likes of John Wayne, Jack Nicholson and Bill Murray.
As soon as you enter the hotel, its lavish interior feels like a visit to an untouched piece of history – although it was largely renovated after being bought by Auberge Resorts in 2011. The unique design features elements of local native and miner culture, crossed with a sort of Ralph Lauren sense of western chic.
No trip through the lobby is complete without greeting Rocky, the hotel’s pet dog. He’s the most charming member of the incredibly friendly staff, whose black stetsons are an evocative signature accessory. Don’t forget to down a shot of chloroxygen water, available at the front desk, to help acclimate to the elevation.
Get settled in your room (you might not want to leave), and take in its modern, yet warm decor. The immaculate bathroom comes stocked with Hermes products for guests who are used to pampering themselves.
No day at Hotel Jerome can start properly without brunch at Prospect. The opulent dining room in the lobby is decorated with a collection of rooster paintings by Mary Sprague, each one inspired by a different ex-lover of the artist. Take in some natural morning light, and enjoy their unique take on Avocado Toast or the Huevos Rancheros.
Follow it up with a walk around downtown or a tour from the Aspen Historical Society. Guides in period clothing will fill you in on all the city’s most interesting stories. Part of the tour takes you right back to Hotel Jerome itself.
Return to your room to get ready for the evening, which should begin with a stop in the Living Room – with its inviting decor – for a cocktail or two.
Head across the lobby for dinner at J-Bar, a local favorite as old as the hotel itself. There’s a drawer behind the bar covered with signatures from every bartender who’s come and gone since its opening. Hunter S Thompson was known to write some of his most memorable works there.
Start off with a shared plate of the Confit Lollipop Chicken Drumsticks. For the main course, make it the locally-renowned J-Bar Burger. Dessert keeps things interesting with the Aspen Crud, a bourbon-spiked vanilla milkshake created for patrons in the know during Prohibition.
Wake up with a serene visit to the downstairs Aspen Spa, perfect for rejuvenating after a long flight, or a tiring hike through the beautiful Maroon Bells. Natural treatments are enriched with local mineral and botanicals.
Now under construction, the pool and courtyard will surely be Aspen’s most popular summer oasis in 2018. Also set to open next summer is a speakeasy below the Aspen Times building, exclusive to guests of the hotel.
With over a century of devoted guests, Hotel Jerome remains a cultural hub for both locals and visitors – the perfect place to enjoy an Aspen stay, come snow or shine.