Christopher R. King

In My Words

26 Aug

A Big Taste of Aspen at The Little Nell

August 26, 2019

Private jets, wine cellars, private mountain clubs, 5-star dining, international elite, and lots of snow, of course, we’re talking Aspen, Colorado, the top destination for relaxation and adventure in the middle of the mountains. My favorite part of visiting Aspen is the moment I check into The Little Nell. It is an experience I sincerely look forward to all year round. Nestled between the white snow-capped mountains, this quaint, luxurious hotel feels like home the second I walk in. Every time I arrive, the staff greets me and remembers me by name, as if we are long-lost friends reunited at last. After checking in, I like to relax and unwind in the main lobby with the fireplace crackling loudly, the smell of wood burning, and the somber sleeping mountains outside the grand windows. Between the hotel suites, private residences, accommodations, and luxury amenities there is really no place like it. The Little Nell serves as “home away from home” for some of the most sophisticated and wealthy people in the world, especially during peak Ski season from December to March, and festival season in the summertime. Though, even with all it’s accolades, being the only AAA 5-Diamond and Forbes 5-Star hotel in Aspen, The Nell (as regulars call it) still has a warm and cozy ambiance for all their guests. Whether you’re skiing or snowboarding, you’ll appreciate that The Nell is the only hotel with Ski-in, Ski-out access to Aspen Mountain. My choice is snowboarding and after a few treks up and down the mountain; I’m ready to recover at the private Aspen Mountain Club with a shot of whiskey and a cigar. Atop the mountain, I’ve found this is the best place to sit in awe and admire one of the most beautiful views in the United States.

Christopher R. King at the private Aspen Mountain Club / Christopher R. King top of Aspen Mountain

The Seafood Tower at the Ajax Tavern

The newly renovated Ajax Tavern sits at the base of Aspen Mountain and is an excellent place for an apres-ski. The Ajax Tavern debuted their new look on June 7th. Personally, my favorite place to dine is Element 47. I relish the opportunity to throw on a nice dinner jacket and bask in the elegance of this five-star dining experience. The name Element 47 is a clever nod to the heritage of both the hotel and the city of Aspen, representing silver: the 47th element on the periodic table. Considering Aspen’s history is rich from its roots in silver mining, the name is fitting for the soul of Aspen. Between breakfast, brunch, or dinner, there are six different menus to choose from throughout the day. The dinner menu is packed full with impressive, mouthwatering delights, but Executive Sous-Chef Keith Theodore never disappoints with my favorite dish; the Sourdough Rigatoni with wagyu tataki, mustard greens, and shiitake. I would literally fly there, just for this dish! I should also mention that Element 47 has one of the best wine programs in the country and is a longtime recipient of the Wine Spectator Grand Award. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed the wine pairings suggested by my good friend Carlton McCoy, Master Sommelier and Wine Director in the past years. I love to catch up, share stories, share laughs, taste different wines, and explore any new wines from their glorious wine cellar of over 24,000 bottles. I look forward to meeting the new wine director Chris Dunaway who will be taking over for Carlton.

Enjoying a bottle of Ornellaia at Element 47

Christopher R. King with Executive Sous-Chef Keith Theodore

Something I genuinely appreciate about The Little Nell is that they extend Aspen experience and culture beyond just your stay at the hotel. With events like the Heitz Cellar Legacy Dinner, Food & Wine Classic, and Mountaintop Yoga, they provide a wide array of activities that invite you to get involved. This past summer they partnered with DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. to host a cycling trip through Burgundy, France where participants got to cycle through scenic countryside led by cycling legend Christian Vande Velde, with wine tasting arranged by the new wine director from Little Nell, what a treat!

The Sourdough Rigatoni with wagyu tataki, mustard greens, and shiitake

Considering The Little Nell is barely turning 30 years old this year, I am thoroughly impressed with the rich culture and respect it has garnered over the years. I know that when I check into The Little Nell, I am checking into my home. From the top-notch service, divine culinary experience, wine selection, and of course mountain access, this hotel treats their guests like royalty. To celebrate it’s 30th anniversary the hotel will be hosting planned activities spanning from Thanksgiving through Easter so stay tuned for their announcements coming soon, it’s definitely a celebration you won’t want to miss. I will be there, will you?

The Little Nell residence suites