Aspen regulars remember this as the Aspen Club Lodge. One foot in the door, and they'll know better. The understated exterior remains, still steps from the gondola at the base of Ajax, but with new ownership, the interior has taken on an entirely different character.
The high-ceilinged lobby is an unusual blend of ski-lodge rustic and metropolitan sleek. Most notably, high-backed chairs are upholstered in cream-colored leather that contrasts with the rugged stone wall behind them. In the 39 Degrees lounge (named for Aspen's latitude), rough-hewn timbers are softened by leather, tweed and mohair. All 90 guest rooms (including six suites) have sunflower-colored walls and are accented with white quilted headboards, drapes and velvety-soft down comforters.
The Sky intends for strangers to socialize: A 20-foot-long family-style table, bedecked with board games, dominates the lobby. Mornings, you'll find it lined with newspapers and continental breakfast; evenings, the lobby hosts a wine reception. When the weather agrees, the sundeck doors pivot open to create one big social setting. (The patio is warmed by radiant heat, fire pits and heat lamps. And, of course, a heated pool and hot tub.) Enjoy a casual meal inside or out. Chef Jeremy Fox's menu includes innovative creations such as white-truffle chicken salad and gingersnap crème brà»lée.
With its one-of-a-kind décor, exceptional food and unique amenities (Nintendo in the rooms; an on-site ski rental shop; an honor bar selling flip-flops and bottled oxygen), the Kimpton-run Sky breathes new life into the Aspen lodging scene.
One more thing: If you have a pet, bring it. For an extra $35, you get a copy of the book Canine Colorado, and your pet will enjoy the use of a water bowl and plush doggie bed.
The Sky doesn't exude the ritzy feel of its next-door neighbor, the Little Nell. And that's exactly what many like about it.