Grand and Mysterious!
This is the beautiful hotel building, where we stayed in June.
The 3-story structure has been sitting in Aspen for way over a century. That's about all I know! The lack of historic info, feels mysterious!
Before we parked, I started snapping photos from the window. The building and setting was even more photogenic than the website images.
For a moment I thought maybe the structure wasn't really historic. The brick and stone looked flawless, as if it had been built to look old. There was a Disney World feel, with the brick walk, street lamps, flowers and shops.
We parked and approached and I was happy to see the sign above the corner window. Independence Building 1889. I prefer old.
Even though the hotel's website had mentioned the word historic, I had begun to wonder if they were referring to the historic location. Their focus was clearly not on the building's past.
The obvious entrance to the building, was at the corner. But not this door!
I very much doubted we would check in at the counter, inside a lovely Ralph Lauren shop. (I did step inside later and found a basic red bandana for $99!)
Down We Go!
To the right of fancy green door, I spotted the hotel sign. We passed by a very curious and steep, stairway.
The green sign welcomed us to a newer set of stairs. It felt like an adventure heading underground, to a lobby. More NYC than Aspen!
We headed down a few steps to a door, which led to more stairs. The windows, hanging light fixture and white-wood walls, kept things bright.
The host, Andrea greeted us from a desk, in the windowless lobby. She was welcoming and relaxed and offered advice about parking and restaurants. But Andrea didn't have too much info about the building's history. She only knew of its more recent years. "Condos..."
Up to Third
We grabbed our bags and headed up, in a modern elevator. There was also an interesting set of stairs. The open stairway seemed to float up from the basement.
The angles and levels seemed so modern. Could these be original stairs? Maybe they had once been enclosed in a stairwell? It was hard to imagine this modern space 100 years ago.
Before heading into our room, I peeked over railings and looked down halls.
There were nice sitting areas on the second and third levels, but not a person in sight. No sounds behind closed doors. It certainly didn't feel like a hotel.
Our hotel location was ideal! We were right in the heart of Aspen. A block from the slopes and right on Cooper Avenue Walking Mall. But parking was less than ideal.
After tossing bags in our room we moved our car from a temporary spot and headed with our residential street parking pass, to find a place to leave the car.
Food & Wine Classic
We had a map showing areas where we could park, but we drove in circles. Aspen was gearing up for their annual Food & Wine Classic.
The festival was a week away, but many streets were already blocked off. Tents were going up. It took forever to find a spot, but at least the walk back was entertaining and pleasant.
Back in our quiet "hotel" we settled into our room.
The high ceilings made the room feel a little more spacious. There was a lot of light wood in that room, from shutters to ceiling.
The room wasn't huge, but we appreciated the incredibly comfy leather couch. Table and chairs are always appreciated.
There was a noisy a.c. unit, but it was only needed briefly. It was pleasant having two windows that opened.
The distant mountain view was nice. I should have taken a shot of the square below. People watching in Aspen is entertaining and we had a fun view of a restaurant patio with lots of fashionable people.
I didn't see anyone dressed in this outfit, but I could have bought it for myself. It was in the shop window below us.
Good for Price
There was nothing outstanding about our room. Queen bed with a triangular table. Cowboy art. There was sort of a 1980's Alpine style, to the room. It didn't seem to be in the same era (or class) as the ritzy shops underneath us.
The bathroom was basic. I had issues with the shower and the sink. But again, we were in the heart of Aspen and our hotel room was under $250. That's incredibly low for Aspen, where nearby hotels were charging over $1,000. for a night. No real complaints.
Besides the hotel's location, the roof was a major highlight of our stay.
The rooftop had a 360 view of Aspen and the surrounding mountains.
Not a soul joined us when we headed up to catch the sunset.
We had the roof deck to ourselves, which made the hot tub all the more inviting.
We dashed downstairs and changed, then made use of the robes in the closet. How could this affordable Apsen hotel be so empty in June?
A little later I made a quick trip down to the street, to see how the hotel looked at night. My first surprise was seeing a nearly full moon above our building. (Looks a little more star-like in my photo.)
As I headed towards the entrance I looked up and spotted our room. I could see our 2 glowing windows, above Maverick's. That's the shop that sold "my outfit", as well as a Louis Vuitton western saddle.
In the morning we headed to the basement for our complimentary breakfast.
There wasn't too much out of the ordinary. There was yogurt and some burritos that could be microwaved. Some fruit and cereal.
We were the only guests sitting at the long table near the big bear. I sipped my coffee and wondered. It was becoming more clear that this was not a a true hotel, but privately owned room/condos that could be rented. Somewhere between a hotel and Airbnb.
By 11 we checked out, knowing nothing more about the historic building. But we left with some memories of great weather and wonderful walks.
We've stayed in 4 Aspen hotels over the years. For the price, this is the one with the most bang for your buck. I'd return.
The building was lovely and the location was outstanding, for $250. The vibe in the hotel was oddly quiet. And why have I found so little on the internet about this historic Aspen property?
After lots of searching I finally found one news article, from 1963. It said the building had just been purchased by a Mr. Robinson, the director of an Aspen skiing corporation. For some time it had been called the Prince Albert building. There had been shops below and dorms above. The new owner planned on keeping the Victorian flavor, when he remodeled. I guess that Victorian disappeared at some point.
And that's it for my research. I give up. I hope if someone knows more, they'll enlighten me!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!