Aspen is a world-class skiing destination and anyone who likes to ski or ride should visit it at least once in their lifetime. Many people consider Aspen to be a ski town and resort for the rich and famous, and in some ways, it is – but don’t let that put you off. Aspen is for everyone; you’ll find accommodations at all price points and skiing opportunities for all levels.
Aspen Snowmass Resort is quite large. It is made up of four separate ski areas – Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands, and Snowmass – that are all accessible with the same lift ticket. It’s truly one of the best ski resorts in the country, if not the world.
These mountains aren’t interconnected, but there is a free shuttle that will take you to all of them from Aspen proper. Each mountain has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, but one thing is for sure: you’ll never run out of new runs and fresh powder during your stay in this charming mountain town.
This whole area is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. Whether you ski or ride or not, this area is beautiful in the spring, summer, and fall as well. When you first arrive, take a short walking tour of Aspen to get to know the history and layout of your mountain oasis.
There are breathtaking hiking trails and lots of other outdoor activities to keep you busy no matter the season. And, even people who aren’t outdoorsy will love Aspen, too. There are countless shops, spas, restaurants, bars, and cafes to check out in this historic mining town.
The year-round population of Aspen is around 7,000. It’s a bit off the beaten path and, unlike many other large-scale ski towns in Colorado, it’s far off I-70 which keeps it feeling small and quaint. Everything in Aspen is close to everything else in town, and you’ll find it easy to navigate and enjoy.
However, if you’ve never visited Aspen before, then you may be wondering where to stay for your visit. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn about the best areas and accommodations in Aspen so you can start planning your trip.
TL;DR: Where To Stay In Aspen
Best Areas to Stay in Aspen
- Best Area for First-Timers/Tourists: Downtown Aspen
- Best Area for Budget Travelers: Buttermilk/Aspen Highlands
- Best Area for Luxury Travelers: Downtown Aspen or Snowmass
- Best Area for Safety: Anywhere! Aspen and Snowmass are both very safe.
- Best Area for Families: Buttermilk/Aspen Highlands
Where To Stay In Aspen: Downtown & On Aspen Mountain
Downtown Aspen is the most happening place to be, and it’s where most people choose to stay when they visit because many of the best Aspen hotels are in the downtown area. This small city is very walkable and when you stay downtown, you’ll find that almost everything you want to do is within easy walking distance. Want to get to know the town a little better? Take a history tour of Aspen, or enjoy a spooky Aspen ghost tour. What a way to get acquainted!
When you stay in downtown Aspen, you’ll be so close to lots of local attractions and fantastic restaurants. In town for skiing or riding? The Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain is right there, and Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands ski areas are close by as well.
If you’re looking for things to do in the area besides hiking or skiing, you might enjoy a visit to one of the town’s great parks like sporty Wagner Park, Paepcke Park with its famous gazebo, or woodsy Herron Park. The beautiful and serene John Denver Sanctuary Garden is not to be missed and is a perfect tribute to its namesake.
Visitors who love art will enjoy visiting the many local galleries, the Wheeler/Standard Museum, and the Aspen Art Museum. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is a crucial stop for anyone who wants to learn more about the wildlife and natural history of this region.
Downtown Aspen is also full of top-notch restaurants. The restaurant scene in this mountain town is very competitive so you can expect to get an excellent meal almost anywhere you go.
Mawa’s Kitchen, The White House Tavern, Steak House No. 316, Matsuhisa Aspen, and Hickory House are all impressive options, to name just a few.
You’ll love staying in downtown Aspen. This area has literally everything: excellent accommodations, local attractions, incredible food options, great views, and easy mountain access. It’s the best choice for most people who visit Aspen at any time of the year.
See Related: 27 Fun & Best Things to Do in Breckenridge, Colorado
1. Mountain Chalet Aspen
Best Budget Hotel in Downtown Aspen
Mountain Chalet Aspen – The Mountain Chalet Aspen is an excellent choice for Aspen visitors who want to be in the center of everything without spending a lot of money. The hotel has great amenities like a year-round heated outdoor pool, a sauna, a hot tub, Wi-Fi, and free hot breakfast. Some rooms have private balconies from which you can enjoy the mountain views.
2. Aspen Square Condominium Hotel
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Downtown Aspen
Aspen Square Condominium Hotel – This highly-rated hotel is in the middle of downtown Aspen, only steps from the Aspen Mountain lifts. Rooms are 500-square-foot studios with full kitchens, comfortable living rooms, wood-burning fireplaces, and private balconies that sleep two to four guests. There’s a pool and a gym, and kids stay free.
3. St. Regis Aspen Resort
Best Luxury Hotel in Downtown Aspen
St. Regis Aspen Resort – One of the most impressive and best hotels in Aspen is the St. Regis Aspen Resort. It’s located at the base of Aspen Mountain and offers easy access for skiing and for enjoying what downtown Aspen has to offer. There are five on-site restaurants and a well-rated spa, plus an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub, a steam room, a fitness center, miniature golf, ski and bike rentals, babysitting services, and pet facilities.
4. Hotel Jerome
Another Great Luxury Hotel in Downtown Aspen
Hotel Jerome – Hotel Jerome is one of the most expensive Aspen hotels but it’s also one of the very best hotels in town. Like the St. Regis Aspen Resort, you may encounter famous folks in the lobby or at one of the hotel’s two bars and three on-site restaurants.
Hotel Jerome was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. It is considered one of Aspen’s major landmarks.
See Related: Best Ski Resorts in Colorado
Where To Stay In Aspen: Buttermilk/Aspen Highlands
There aren’t as many accommodations near Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands ski area as there are downtown and near Snowmass, but there are a few. This might be a good area for you to stay in if you want to be near the action, but still love peace and quiet.
If you’ve come to ski or ride, Buttermilk is a great mountain for beginners, as it’s very family-friendly. Its next-door neighbor, Aspen Highlands, is quite the opposite in that it offers mostly expert terrain. Because of these factors, people staying in the Buttermilk or Aspen Highlands area often do so to have quick and easy access to these two mountains.
This part of Aspen isn’t far from downtown. If you have a car, it will take you under ten minutes to get from your room on this side of town to the center of the downtown area.
You can still get into town easily from these areas when you want to even without a car thanks to Aspen’s free shuttles. The Castle/Maroon and Highland routes pick up at several places near Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands every 20 to 30 minutes from 6:20 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily. It will take you anywhere you want to go in the area.
One benefit of staying near Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands is that you’ll have easy access to the Aspen Recreation Center. You can buy a day pass for $28 and enjoy the pool and waterslides, climbing tower, batting cages, ice arena, fitness rooms, and pickleball courts.
There’s even a sledding hill. The Aspen Recreation Center is a great place to spend a day off from skiing or hiking.
5. The Inn At Aspen
Best Budget Hotel Near Buttermilk/Aspen Highlands
The Inn at Aspen – The Inn at Aspen is right at the base of Buttermilk Ski Area, which makes it a great option for families or beginners who are just starting out with skiing or snowboarding. This modern ski hotel has an outdoor heated pool, outdoor hot tubs, an airport shuttle, an onsite restaurant, a spa, and more. The Summit Express lift is 50 feet away from the front door, and others are close by, too.
6. Ritz-Carlton Club, Aspen Highlands
Best Luxury Hotel Near Buttermilk/Aspen Highlands
Ritz-Carlton Club, Aspen Highlands – The Ritz-Carlton Club, Aspen Highlands is a condominium hotel that is right at the base of the Aspen Highlands Ski Area. There are ski-in, ski-out accommodations available, and all rooms come with a private balcony, kitchen, dishwasher, oven, satellite flat-screen televisions, and large bathrooms.
7. Elegant Lodge
Best Vacation Rental Near Buttermilk/Aspen Highlands
Elegant Lodge – Getting a vacation rental with a bunch of friends or another family is a great way to save money in Aspen. This ski-in, ski-out vacation rental is a standalone house with six bedrooms and four full baths.
Over three stories, the 3,000-square-foot rental includes a large kitchen and dining room, Wi-Fi, and cable television. You’ll love the huge deck and how close it is to so many nearby activities.
Where To Stay In Aspen: Snowmass
Snowmass is Aspen Snowmass Resort’s largest and most diverse mountain and ski area, but it’s about a 20-minute drive from downtown Aspen. Still, it’s a great place to stay for skiing and riding because there are runs for every ability level, three terrain parks, and lots of ski-in, ski-out lodging options. Snowmass is also quite family-friendly.
Snowmass Village is technically an entirely different town than Aspen; it has its own year-round population of about 3,000 residents. However, Snowmass is part of the Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort, so Aspen and Snowmass are considered to be one combined place by most people, and you can easily travel between the two towns on the free Snowmass Village Bus Service. It runs every half hour from the early morning until well after midnight.
Really, though, Snowmass Village has plenty to offer on its own. There are shops and restaurants and enough things to do in Snowmass that you can spend your entire trip there if you wish. Besides food and shopping, Snowmass Village has yoga, a bowling alley, an alpine coaster, galleries, a rodeo, an arts center, and an arcade.
In the winter, you can go ice skating, cross-country skiing, snow tubing, or take a dogsled ride. In the summer, there are over 80 miles of hiking and biking trails right outside your door, plus nearby opportunities to go fishing and rafting. If you stay in Snowmass, you may not even find a reason to go into Aspen!
8. The Timberline Condominiums
Best Budget Hotel Near Snowmass
The Timberline Condominiums – The Timberline Condominiums are an excellent and affordable choice near Snowmass Village. The rooms here range from 365-square-foot studios to 1,345-square-foot three-bedroom condos with full kitchens.
Children stay free in all rooms, and some have ski-in ski-out access. There’s a pool, ski storage, and laundry facilities, plus free airport transfers and free Wi-Fi.
9. Viceroy Snowmass
Best Mid-Range Hotel Near Snowmass
Viceroy Snowmass – Viceroy Snowmass is a wonderful mid-range property that’s 1,000 feet from the Elk Camp Gondola, which will take you quickly to the top of the mountain; you can ski right back to your room. Rooms here include studios, suites, and apartments and include kitchenettes, high-definition TVs, and private balconies.
10. Viewline Resort Snowmass
Best Luxury Hotel Near Snowmass
Viewline Resort Snowmass – Like Viceroy Snowmass, the Viewline Resort Snowmass offers quick and easy access to the mountain; it’s right next to the Sky Cab gondola, and it’s within 2,000 feet of three other lifts. This luxury property also has a private ski valet and ski school to help you get the most out of your ski vacation.
11. Shadowbrook Condominiums
Best Vacation Rental Near Snowmass
Three-Bedroom Condo in Shadowbrook Condominiums – This ski-in, ski-out vacation rental has three bedrooms and sleeps eight guests in four beds; it also has three full bathrooms. You’ll love the open-concept living space, gas fireplace, balcony with gas grill, and stylish Western decor. The lift is immediately adjacent to this condo so you can spend more time skiing and less time commuting to skiing!
See Related: Best Things to Do in Colorado & Places to Visit
Finding Deals On Aspen Lodging:
There are a lot of high-end, upscale accommodations in Aspen and the prices may seem out of reach when you first start planning your trip. Our first tip is to try to save on airfare when you can. Going.com is a great place to start looking for cheap flights to Colorado from your home airport, and you can get discounted Going membership (20% off!) by using our code at checkout, VIA20.
But, if you plan in advance and take your time investigating all the options, there are budget-friendly accommodations in this area, too. Although many of the hotels in Aspen charge well over $500 a night during ski season, there are hotels and motels that are more affordable – you just have to plan ahead.
Vacation rentals in Aspen are also an excellent option to consider if you want to save money. Not only are there literally hundreds of them to choose from, but you’ll save when you stay in one because you can cook meals in your own kitchen in many cases.
When you save on dining, your whole trip becomes cheaper. And, vacation rentals often sleep more people than standard hotel rooms, so if you can get friends to join you on your trip, you can split the cost amongst everyone in the group.
If the above tips don’t help, we have one other suggestion for you: stay outside of Aspen and Snowmass. If you’re willing to drive a bit, you’ll find much more affordable hotels in nearby towns like Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs.
How far in advance should I start planning my Aspen ski vacation?
The answer to this question is simple: if you want to ski at Aspen Snowmass, you should start planning your trip as far ahead as possible. The farther in advance that you plan your trip, the better deals you are going to find.
It’s not uncommon for the best and cheapest hotels in Aspen and Snowmass to sell out a year in advance. If you want to find the perfect accommodations for your budget, your wants, and your needs, you should be prepared to book far ahead of your intended trip date.
However, if your budget is bigger, you can often find hotels in Aspen closer to your trip date, too. Keep in mind, though, that even some of the most expensive properties in Aspen and Snowmass sell out months ahead of time during the peak ski season.
What are the best ways to get to Aspen?
Many people are excited to discover that Aspen has its own airport. The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is on the outskirts of town right between Buttermilk and Snowmass ski areas. Unfortunately, it can be rather expensive to fly in and out of this small airport so most travelers choose a larger one.
The closest larger airport is Grand Junction Regional Airport which is about two hours away. It’s still small, though, and can also be expensive.
The largest and most affordable airport in the state, Denver International, is about a four-hour drive from Aspen. Both Grand Junction Regional Airport and Denver International Airport have ample rental car facilities if you wish to drive yourself from there, or you can book a ski shuttle to Aspen – there are plenty.