W Hotels opens its first mountain escape in North America
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W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International has announced the much-anticipated opening of W Aspen & The Sky Residences at W Aspen, located at the base of the world-renowned, eponymous mountain.
With ski-in/ski-out access to some of the world’s most coveted slopes, stunning 360° mountain views and striking architectural and interior design, W Aspen is the second W Mountain Escape globally, following W Verbier in the Swiss Alps. Poised to carve out a new era of luxury in Aspen, W is bringing its bold point of view to the iconic mountain town for year-round access to alpine adventure.
W Aspen is nestled slope-side on Aspen Mountain - an 11,212-foot summit internationally-renowned for skiing and snowboarding – tucked in at the end of Durant Street, where Aspen’s famous Red-Light District once thrived. From the Ute Native Americans and the silver miners of the late 19th century to the swinging counterculture of the ‘60s and ‘70s and the current crop of globe-trotting billionaires, Aspen’s ever-evolving residents and curious culture rival the world’s most dynamic cities.
“Aspen’s people, vibrancy and natural beauty make this year-round mountain town the perfect place for the W lifestyle,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “W Aspen reimagines the traditional ski chalet and allows people to experience the town in a way they never have before, through evocative design, inclusive programming and a social scene that is sure to become an essential stop on the global jet-setting calendar. The first new build W Escape in the USA for 10 years, W Aspen marks a milestone in the brand’s reinvigorated focus on North America.”
W Aspen & The Sky Residences at W Aspen are owned by Northridge Capital of Washington, DC, the owner for 16 years of the former Sky Hotel situated on the same site, and co-developed by Northridge and local partner Sarpa Development. “After more than five years of hard work,” commented Northridge’s owner and president Dave Jackson, “we are thrilled to finally be opening the W Aspen for the enjoyment of its guests and the local community, and grateful to our partners at W Hotels, Haselden Construction, and too many other team members to name for their tireless efforts to reach this goal.”
Sky’s The Limit
W Aspen brings a luxurious, playful style to the historically-rich town of Aspen. Designed by global interior design firm NEMAWORKSHOP and Aspen-based architects Rowland + Broughton, alongside the W Brand’s award-winning design team, W Aspen centers on the natural beauty and bounty of the mountains and the historical context of the city it surrounds.
It begins with the exterior: a modern mountain chalet with long, sloping roof lines that draw inspiration from the Rocky Mountain landscape. The essence of the outdoors continues throughout the interior, where the Welcome Desk wood formations echo the Rocky Mountains and intricately-detailed terrariums represent seasonal Aspen activities from hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding.
On the second floor is The Living Room, which serves as the central point of the Escape experience and showcases a grid-pattern display on the bar - a nod to traditional millwork structures used to create mine tunnels in Aspen during the silver boom. Seating in The Living Room features brass and polished rods that surround plush, velvety cushions synonymous with Aspen’s bohemian counterculture of the early ’70s. Along the side, stadium seating leads to an iconic suspended DJ booth that takes its cue from the largest silver nugget discovered in Aspen at the turn of the century.
Continuing to honor Aspen’s role in the Colorado Silver Boom, light fixtures are informed by the look of a miner’s headlamp and floors are swept with curving patterns that echo the soil found at the bottom of a smuggler’s cove. At sundown, The Living Room’s outdoor fire pit acts as a beacon at the base of the mountain - signaling to the skiers above it is time to après.
Art reminiscent of iconic Americana paintings of the Rocky Mountains layer the walls of W Aspen. Commissioned artists impart a more modern vision through the lens of classic landscape paintings like those done by Albert Bierstad and other greats. Longtime W collaborator Gaia showcases a series of works throughout the Escape that tease an infatuation with American landscape paintings but are superimposed with local millennial fragmented culture spirit guides - adding a contemporary veil to the traditional. Accent pillows in the Living Room and guestrooms are inspired by artists Herbert Bayer and Thomas Benton and pay homage to the historical residents of Durant Street, named the ‘Soiled Doves of Durant’.
W Aspen features 88 guestrooms and 11 W-branded residences, along with four WOW suites and one Extreme WOW suite that can be a one, two or three bedroom, all of which offer modern takes on Ute patterns and furniture inspired by the decadence of ‘70s Aspen “pleasure palaces.”
All guestrooms and suites are playfully marked with room plates in a style reminiscent of the pop culture icon Bob Ross, while interiors reference the cozy warmth of Swiss chalet architecture through the use of rustic wood finishes, sloped rooflines and a fireplace-inspired W MixBar. Each guestroom features pit and platform lounge seating that nods to the plasticity of mile-high bohemia and is complete with Ute-inspired accent pillows. Selected rooms feature a W design first, quad-queen bunk beds, which can sleep up to eight to cater to a younger adult clientele, as well as offer a wink to the more hedonistic qualities of Aspen’s past.
The 2-bedroom Extreme WOW Suite is inspired by Aspen’s mountain culture and is the quintessential location to play and stay. The suite features modern industrial touches, rich ski-wear fabrics, a central fire pit surrounded by curved pit seating, a hot tub open to the living area, a crystal and glass barrier embracing a circular bed on a pivoting platform, and a DJ booth with a mini LP vinyl player and curated music library - all playing on vintage luxury. The plush reds, blues and oranges in addition to psychedelic detailing add extra electricity to this warm mountain escape.
Whether one needs to cool down after a summer day of biking the trails or warm up for après-ski cocktails, the place to see and be seen is the WET® Deck, Aspen’s only year-round, all-weather, public rooftop. With jaw-dropping, panoramic mountain views, a heated pool, hot tub, fire pits, cabanas, full bar, dance floor and DJ booth, the WET Deck is poised to redefine Aspen’s social scene. Guests can enjoy signature beverages from the center bar, which features a ceiling of abstract crystal sculptures that mimic upside-down mountain peaks.
39 Degrees, a legendary après ski bar in the former Sky Hotel, returns as an underground ultra-lounge cocktail bar and grotto inspired by the famed Red-Light District of Aspen. Outfitted with platform and pit seating, crushed velvet touches, cheeky Gonzo-style posters and pillows and a W-commissioned, Gabriel Alcala mural that portrays an Aspen landscape through the lens of ‘excess,’ this hidden spot will keep the energy going late into the night. The menu is a canvas, painting each taste bud with the flavors of sweet, sour, bitter and salt.
Highlights include sweet bites like Crab Dip with duck sauce, sour bites such as Grilled Yuzu and Mirin Tiger Prawns, and salt and vinegar dusted Chicken Wings with jalapeno are all designed to play perfectly with 39 Degrees libations. Cocktails include timeless favorites like a W Sazerac or Sherry Cobbler as well as new/next drinks like a Spiked Cucumber Splash with grapefruit and rose vodka or a shareable cocktail like the Hidden Treasure, made with Montanva Oro, Aperol, mango, orange, and pineapple.
From November through April, W Aspen’s Strategy Rooms serve as the hotel’s Ski & Snowboard shop which will be operated by Four Mountain Sports. The shop will rent and sell the hotel’s first edition series of snowboards, which were designed in partnership with Aspen’s own High Society Freeride and created by Denver-based Never Summer. Inspired by the historical, cultural and social aspects of the town, only 40 boards were made - 20 for women and 20 for men - and are available exclusively at the hotel. From May through October, each 350 square feet Strategy Room sets the stage for the hotel’s art, fashion and music programming as well as private events and intimate, mountainside weddings.
“The buzz and excitement for the debut of W Aspen has been building for some time and we could not be readier to bring the infectious energy, spirit and programming of W to this iconic American town,” says Greg Durrer, General Manager, W Aspen.
“We know that W Aspen will not only serve as a year-round destination for travelers but that it will bring a bold new point of view to the local social scene and become the latest player in the legacy of this incredible cultural mecca.”
The Sky Residences Living
The Sky Residences at W Aspen offer an exclusive shared ownership opportunity with 11 W-branded Residences located slope-side on Aspen Mountain. With a limited collection of only six three-bedroom and five two-bedroom Residences, owners have access to a private, owners-only roof deck with a spa, lounge seating, BBQ grills, outdoor kitchen and fire pit. In addition, owners can enjoy all of the Escape’s amenities and services at W Aspen, including Welcome Ambassadors and round the clock security; in-residence dining and STYLE housekeeping services; WHEELS valet service; FIT® state-of-art fitness facilities; two WET® Deck pools; and W’s signature Whatever/Whenever® service promise, providing residents and hotel guests alike with whatever they want, whenever they want it! The Sky Residences at W Aspen are currently offered for sale by Forte Aspen.
“The Sky Residences at W Aspen feature compelling statements of space and design that defy expectations,” said R.J. Gallagher, Jr. of Forte Aspen. “It’s where an owner can get away from it all, while having it all. Effortless ownership, where quality time with family and friends is the only order of the day. And night.”
To celebrate W’s debut of its first North American Mountain Escape, W Aspen is offering travelers a special opening package available for stays between September 4 – December 15, 2019. The package includes a two-night minimum stay, $100 B&F credit, complimentary valet parking, 4pm late check out based on availability, and two signature welcome cocktails. Rates available upon request and dependent on time of year.