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A massive renovation in 2012 turned the historic Hotel Jerome into the hippest crash pad in Aspen, yet even after that it was still struggling to keep up with the Joneses. A few blocks away, the Little Nell had created the Residences, which range in size from studios to four-bedroom apartments. Couple that with the popularity of homestay sites such as vrbo.com, which allow travelers of all budgets—including the hyper-rich—to house multiple families beneath one roof, and the 129-year-old icon had to find a way to keep pace.
“Some of our most loyal, repeat guests were telling us that they loved staying here, but that with several kids, a nanny, and the grandparents, they really wanted the convenience of a residence,” says Betty Rivera, marketing manager for the Hotel Jerome.
So in June, the property unveiled two brand-new residential apartments. Both were constructed above the 140-year-old building next door to the Jerome, where the Aspen Times had once operated. The historic first floor was transformed into an event space that opens onto the Jerome’s lawn and patio. And the basement is now a speakeasy-style underground bar called Bad Harriet, named after the wife of Jerome Wheeler (who built the original hotel).
Apparently, it was Harriet’s attitude that was bad, not her behavior. “She was from New York City, and was part of the Macy family that started the department store, and she thought Aspen was boring,” explains Rivera. To placate his culture-craving wife, Wheeler built not only the Hotel Jerome, but also the splendid Wheeler Opera House.
We’re guessing Harriet would have adored the two new luxury apartments, which vary in size from one to three bedrooms based on guests’ needs. Each features a spacious great room comprising a kitchen, dining table, and sitting area with armchairs and a sofa clustered around a gas fireplace (which aren’t offered in the historic portion of the Hotel Jerome because of preservation restrictions).
There’s more seating on the balcony, located off the great room. This perch offers great people-watching along Aspen’s Main Street and beyond that, views of Aspen Mountain’s ski runs.
Bathrooms use the same design elements of the original Hotel Jerome—think mosaic tile, mirrors suspended behind the gray marble countertop, and dual sinks. And the closets are huge: Built-in shelving lines the walk-in space to house boots and totes, while seemingly limitless hanging space lets guests pack for all four seasons.
Moving in long-term isn’t an option, however, because ever since the new residences opened in June, they have rarely sat vacant. Repeat guests get preferred access to bookings, and sought-after dates such as Christmas and July 4 are long gone. But if you have the budget for it—and the foresight to plan vacations far enough in advance–the Hotel Jerome’s residences offer visitors a posh lodging option in a historic setting.
By the Numbers
2,000 (square feet of each residence)
$3,250-$12,500 (nightly rate)
$11 million (cost to renovate the Aspen Times building and build the two residences and Bad Harriet)
6 (chairs at the round dining table in each residence)
4 (minutes to walk from the residences to the J-Bar)
1904 (the year the false-fronted Aspen Times building was erected)
20 (the number of antique typewriters decorating the stairway entrance to Bad Harriet)
80 (average age of the antique flask used to present Bad Harriet’s signature cocktail)