While Aspen’s large hotel renovations dominate the news this winter, Aspen’s small inns continue to attract an incredibly loyal following with a combination of relatively moderate prices and personalized service. Stay here, and within a day or two, you’ll be on a first-name basis with the staff while mingling with other ski addicts from all over the world. All are within walking distance of downtown Aspen and a block or so from the shuttles that access all four Aspen ski areas. Here are three of our favorites:
Why go: From the outside, the 19-room Lenado looks California contemporary, but inside it’s pure mountain lodge, with handcarved beds, cozy down comforters, and lots of honey-toned wood trim. Some rooms even include wood-burning stoves, whirlpool tubs, vaulted ceilings, and private balconies. All encircle the soaring two-story lobby, where you can warm up after a day lapping runs from Aspen Mountain’s gondola with complimentary hors d’oeuvres by the huge concrete-and-stone fireplace. Then grab a loaner book and sink into a leather chair in the small library or nab a sheepskin-swathed lounge chair on the front porch. The hotel’s full breakfast, included in the room price, offers homemade granola, omelets, and specials like Grand Marnier french toast—locals sometimes start their day here, too. Other nice touches: L’Occitane toiletries, heated boot lockers off the lobby, a dedicated massage treatment room downstairs.
Best-kept secret: The Lenado welcomes furry, four-legged guests, too, with dog treats, bowls, and bottled water, as well as a town park right out the back door. Pictures of the canine clientele decorate a library wall. hotellenado.com