The Little Nell, Aspen, Colo.

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The Little Nell has long been considered one of ski country's most luxurious hotels, though never lauded as one of its most cutting-edge. Enter interior design guru David Easton, who also rethought the town's tony Aspen Mountain Club and the Nell's own restaurant, Montagna. New York—based Easton applied his modern design aesthetic to the public spaces at the 16-year-old Relaix & Chateau property, producing an effect that's contemporary without sacrificing the rich leathers and woods that longtime Nell guests expect. For the redesign, all the furniture in the living room was replaced with leather banquettes and low tables facing the mountains. The lobby takes on a homier feel, with light colors and a dual fireplace separating it from the living room, warming both. The final piece is the Nell's famous bar. In a much-needed move, Easton extended the small lounge three feet, then installed a backlit photo wall plastered with images of Aspen ski legends—a wellsuited addition to one of Aspen's legendary hotels.

$450—$4,600; 970-920-4600; thelittlenell.com

FEBRUARY 2006