One of the most expensive property markets in North America is Aspen, Colorado. With average home prices around five million dollars, Aspen is a place billionaires flock to. This mining town, turned ski town has hit the big time while retaining its charm and natural beauty.
The level of affluence might keep prospective visitors away, but take heart; there is an affordable side to Aspen waiting to be discovered. Due to its location high in the Rocky Mountains, it would be best to spend at least twenty four hours in the area to make the most of your trip, and you would need lodging.
Limelight Hotel, Aspen: Luxurious accommodations all year long
The Limelight Hotel is ready and waiting to show you luxury doesn’t have to cost a bundle. The secret is to come in the off-season when the sunshine and lack of crowds make this a great place to explore.
In peak season, you could spend as much as 800 USD per night to stay in a standard room, or pay as little as 150 USD per night in May or October for the same level of luxury. While the ski season is typically late November to mid-April, the Limelight Hotel still has much to offer in the off-season.
The heated pool and hot tub still stand ready to soothe aching muscles and joints. Plush bedding is there to coax you into a good night’s rest, and the staff is ready to fulfill most any need a traveler might have.
Most rooms come with a view
At the Limelight Hotel, a few of the rooms have an outside balcony area with outstanding views of the valley and mountains. If you don’t get one of those special rooms, guests are invited to enjoy similar balcony locations on the third and fourth floor (above the lounge) open to every guest.
Each room is a pleasure to stay in, with recent updates showing off king-sized beds, flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations, oversized closets, plush robes, and Body Eclipse Spa line.
Humidifiers are available for guests that are not used to the dry mountain air, and in-room safes are large enough to accommodate a laptop computer. An in-room Keurig coffeemaker stands at the ready for your first cup in the morning before venturing to the on-site restaurant for free breakfast.
This is not just a continental breakfast. The Limelight puts on a spread every morning from seven to ten a.m., full of fresh fruits, granola, pancakes, cooked oatmeal, eggs, and a meat of the day, biscuits and gravy, and more delicious choices.
After breakfast, take a moment to view the old Limeliters album covers from the famous folk music group of the 1960’s adorning the walls of the lobby and restrooms. For those of us that remember the group, it’s a trip down memory lane.
A warm fireplace lounge comforts guests in the cool months
The lounge area features one of the best happy hours in Aspen. Many in-the-know locals and travelers come for the 10 USD pizzas (gluten-free if needed), 3 USD Bud Light, 4 USD draft beer, 6.50 USD house wine, and 8 USD specialty cocktails.
The regular menu is also available with excellent salad choices, wild mushroom fettuccini, braised beef short ribs, and more. The menu changes with the seasons, but has something for most anyone’s taste.
Live music comes to the lounge Thursday through Monday from 4-7 p.m., playing to a packed house during most of the peak season.
Take a walk in the John Denver Sanctuary
For a touch of luxury, the Limelight Hotel offers a two hour test drive in a 2017 Audi Q7. Take it for a spin up Independence Pass, one of the most scenic and memorable roads in Colorado, and stop for a roadside picnic among fields of blooming wildflowers in June.
If you love biking, take a free loaner bike for a spin on the nearby Rio Grande Trail, 42 miles / 67.6 km long, that goes all the way to Glenwood Springs, or just ride around Aspen’s bike friendly streets looking at the historic Victorian homes that sell for millions of dollars.
Bring your dog to this pet-friendly hotel and enjoy walking numerous trails in and around the town with your best friend. The John Denver Sanctuary is a great place for a peaceful walk, with or without a dog, and is only ten minutes from the Limelight Hotel.
If you need a ride somewhere local, the staff is ready to take you around town for free, and pick you up when it’s time to come back.
When to visit
A few things to note are: resort fees cost an additional 6%, and if you drive, on-street parking is only 5 USD for a week. As you can plainly see, an off-season trip to Aspen can be both affordable and enjoyable.
In my opinion, October is the best time to visit, when the aspen trees are still shedding their golden leaves during warm days and cool evenings. Most restaurants, bars and attractions are open, and you might even see a black bear wander into town looking for something good to eat before hibernating for the winter.
Aspen is popular for a good reason. Come and see what the buzz is about and tell your own tales of Rocky Mountain highs afterwards.