I had the good fortune to visit Aspen this summer. The views are impressive this time of year; the colors vivid and the light sharp. Weather’s nice, too; chilly on the mountain if there’s wind, but warm to hot with low humidity in general. All conducive to being active and kicking back, whatever your pleasure.
Here are some of my favorites in lodging and dining around town:
Limelight Lodge: A luxury hotel with a comfortable atmosphere, thanks to the friendly staff and open architecture in the lobby. The rooms are spacious, the beds superb, and the decor modern with a home-y feel. There’s a full continental breakfast every morning, so you can stock up on fuel for outdoor pursuits. And when you return from a long day, you can relax in one of the two hot tubs.
The Little Nell: I didn’t stay here, but I did avail myself of their adventure concierge service. This tony hotel offers guides for activities year-round. You’re undoubtedly in good hands with these local experts.
Montagna, at The Little Nell: Pretty lattes and freshly squeezed orange juice. Sit outside for breakfast and fortify yourself with the house smoked salmon. It’s a large serving that comes with a toasted bagel so you can get your carbs in.
Sundeck: A cafeteria-style eatery at the top of Aspen Mountain. If you don’t want to do the taxing hike up, take the gondola. Either way, it’s worth coming up here to see the surrounding peaks and valleys. Try the ahi-tuna salad if you’re there for lunch. You can hula-hoop the calories off afterwards (free hoops are available next to the patio).
Elk Camp Cafe: A mid-mountain stopover at Snowmass. Pop in for lunch between mountain biking sessions. The shredded beef tacos are yummy.
Ajax Tavern, at The Little Nell: A restaurant with biking bona fides. It’s the only one in town that has its own cycling team. The truffle fries are a must–but watch out: They’re so good, you’re liable to overindulge.
BB’s Kitchen: The balcony is a lovely place to decompress after a long day of working hard in the great outdoors. The waitress I had was very friendly and helpful with suggestions. She recommended the burrata, a dish of creamy mozzarella served with greens: refined, cool, and rich. I never knew cheese could be so good.
Casa Tua: If you like the art on the walls, you can buy it. But this isn’t a fire-sale joint. It’s a classy establishment with serious food. I had the juicy and decadent beef tenderloin topped with foie gras. If you’ve got a large group, see if you can dine in the lodge room, with an open view of the kitchen in the back. It’s both intimate and accommodating, with a long communal table that almost takes up the whole room and interesting photography on display.
Brexi Brasserie: Have your nightcap here. I recommend a nice port and the warm chocolate truffle cake, served with vanilla bean ice cream.