In a winter skiing Mecca and flourishing cultural center on par with Europe's finest, families will adore the historic and very luxe Hotel Jerome.
Aspen’s origins were sparked in 1879 when the cry of “Silver!” sent prospectors flocking across the Continental Divide into Ute City. By spring, the city, with its awe-inspiring natural beauty and stunning panorama of mountains, became known as Aspen. It quickly turned into a boomtown, thanks to its rich silver ore, two railroads, and investments from wealthy entrepreneurs, but in 1893, boom turned to gloom, when gold replaced silver as the national standard. Mining declined, but farming and ranching sustained the valley until the 1940’s when it was re-invented as a ski town and cultural center.
An Historic & Luxurious Property
The family-friendly Hotel Jerome has offered Aspen’s premiere lodging since 1889 when mogul Jerome B. Wheeler built his posh European style hotel in the heart of downtown. Over a century later, it’s still said that, “If you haven’t been to the Jerome, you haven’t been to Aspen.” The 92 richly-appointed guestrooms and spacious suites offer special touches, including beds with down comforters and feather pillows, exceptionally roomy closets and oversized bath tubs.
The one-bedroom suites with living rooms and Jacuzzi tubs are perfect for families and the kids will especially enjoy the in-room, on-demand music, video games, board games and DVDs. Parents of babies can pack light as the hotel’s loaner equipment includes strollers (jogging strollers, too) playpens, baby carriers and monitors. Babysitting, children’s activities, pet care and spa services are all available upon request. The luxurious pool, surrounded by heated tiles, also offers a Jacuzzi on each end and provides year round enjoyment. Nearby, there’s a hutch for towels, robes and slippers (warmed in winter, of course).
In the tradition of RockResorts, recent owners of the classic Jerome, the dining options reflect a respect for the environment through their innovative, locally inspired menus, sustainable cuisine, and use of the freshest organic, natural and seasonal ingredients. For all around dining, The Garden Terrace offers distinctive American cuisine, seasonal regional specialties and Sunday brunch. The Library is a sophisticated lounge that offers an abbreviated menu from all the venues. And, a great place to see and be seen is the J-Bar, Aspen’s favorite watering hole — and arguably its most popular burger joint — since 1889. The authentic saloon ambiance and walls packed with memorabilia attract a diverse mix of locals, tourists and celebrities.
Grandparents, parents and kids will enjoy viewing the old photos and artifacts of a hotel that was a paragon of hospitality for 1889. In its heyday, the Jerome was a modern marvel, boasting 90 guestrooms, 15 bathrooms with indoor plumbing, hot and cold running water, steam heat and an elevator. It even boasted to being fully lit by electricity.
The “silver crash” sent the Jerome reeling until it was restored to its former glory in 1948. When Aspen began attracting artists, avant-garde writers, and movie stars like Gary Cooper, Lana Turner, Hedy LaMarr and John “Duke” Wayne, the town and the hotel were propelled onto the world’s celebrity map and back into the limelight. In 1985, restored once again, the historic Jerome was recognized as an exceptional example of Mine Camp architecture. A subsequent renovation project in 2005 refurbished the legendary J-Bar, guest rooms and main lobby and RockResorts have published this gem even more brightly.
Aspen Beyond Hotel Jerome
In addition to attractions that are remnants of Aspen’s colorful Wild West days, this super chic town is known for its world-class dining and shopping, so be sure to ask the Concierge about what’s hot at your visit.
The Wheeler Opera House was founded in 1888 when Jerome B. Wheeler deemed it only fitting that Aspen should have a truly magnificent Opera House, and so he built one. Restored to its Victorian splendor by the City of Aspen in 1985, it is one of the town’s most treasured historic buildings, and tours are available. Check their site for a schedule of events from operas, to lectures, to films and to concerts of all kinds.
The Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum is set in the 1891 barnhouse that was part of the extensive Holden ore processing mill. On view is a large model of the site as it was in the early 1890’s, and the actual machinery that made the mining process work. The Wheeler/Stallard Museum is set in a 1889 house also built by Jerome B. Wheeler. The building and carriage house, overseen by the Aspen Historical Society, serves as a setting for revolving exhibits and headquarter for collections and archives from Aspen’s history. Tours are available for both.
The Aspen Art Museum offers year round exhibitions of fine arts and architecture, and has a variety of art classes for children including creating with clay, printmaking and drawing. Aspen Cooking School conducts hands-on cooking classes for children from 6-years-old, who can make everything from peanut butter and jelly to sushi.
Outdoor lovers will be in heaven here, summer or winter. When the snow melts, families can bike together along paved riverside paths or on the more advanced trails through the beautiful Rocky Mountain countryside. There’s hiking along hundreds of scenic trails so be sure to pack hiking boots or a sturdy pair of sneakers. Fishing is great at both the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan Rivers, and children’s trips are available to nearby ponds.
Everyone will thrill to the scenic skytours of the Aspen/Snowmass area and to whitewater rafting for all abilities, from scenic float trips to raging white waters on the Colorado, Roaring Fork and Arkansas Rivers. Horseback riding is a wonderful way to explore the surrounding mountains and valleys, with easy paced nose to tail trips, or specialized rides for experienced equestrians.
Catch a ride on the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain, a perfect place for nature walks, picnics, and the best family photos. Enjoy the Aspen Music Festival that lures music students and artist faculty members from all over the world. To view true turn-of-the-century living, visit the Ashcroft or Independence Ghost Towns. And don’t forget golfing on championship courses, and outdoor tennis at several nearby courts. Camp Ecology and Camp Eco-Sports feature nature camps for ages 4-8 and sports daycamp for ages 7-12 in Aspen’s beautiful parks.
Winter sports fanatics will find the skiing is intoxicating and the powder, heavenly. Aspen offers skiers and snowboarders the power of four of the world’s greatest mountains – Aspen, Buttermilk, Snowmass and Aspen Highlands. Together they form one giant ski resort, which can be accessed with multi-mountain lift passes. Hotel Jerome is too far from the slopes to walk with your gear, but they can arrange for complimentary shuttle service to and from Aspen Mountain and throughout downtown. There is also an inter-mountain shuttle to Buttermilk, Snowmass and Aspen Highlands. Scenic cross-country trails are available for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers, and private and group ski lessons can be tailored to individual levels of skill.
If you get tired of skiing you can explore the surrounding mountains on snowshoes, glide across the snow on horse-drawn sleighs, or go snowmobiling and dogsledding. Ice-skating is available at Aspen Ice Gardens, and at The Silver Circle. The Aspen Recreation Center offers access to a 32-foot climbing tower, aquatic center, NHL-size ice arena with grandstands, team, individual and family locker rooms, a youth center and five outdoor multi-use playing fields.
Dining and clubbing are the primary evening activities. A premier dining destination, Aspen features restaurants that appeals to every palate. Families enjoy Little Annie’s Eating House for homestyle cooking, Boogie’s Diner for burgers and shakes, Su Casa for traditional Mexican, Bruno for pizza and pasta, La Comida for Southwestern and Woody Creek Tavern for eclectic American/Mexican cooking.
Photos by Mel Greenberg
Resort Report Card
|Address:||330 East Main Street
|Seasonal Rates:||$$ – $$$$|
|Choice of Activities:||B+|
|Quality of Amenities:||A|
|Bonus:||The knowledgeable, friendly Concierge staff aims to please. They’re seasoned at making arrangements for Aspen’s vast array of activities.|
|Note:||Website has seasonal B&B specials, with or without the kids.|
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.