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2009 Food & Wine Classic: Aspen Hotel reviews

Brandon Wenerd's picture

Summer in Aspen is tantamount with a litany of high profile festivals and events, including the venerable Food and Wine Classic. This year’s festival on June 19, 20, and 21st will mark the event’s 27th annual gathering in Aspen. The Food & Wine Classic has been flambéed in the public’s imagination as a fairytale-like experience of beautiful people and fantastic flavors from around the globe. The storied event has become the crème de le crème of luxury lifestyle events in Aspen and has garnered status as one of the world’s premiere culinary festivals. After all, contestants on Top Chef, The Bravo Network’s fashionable food-porn reality show, compete for a trip and showcase at the June culinary convention in Aspen, amongst other goodies.

For one weekend a year, epicureans, culinary superstars, distinguished chefs, wine connoisseurs, sommeliers, and curious foodies gather at 7908 feet in Aspen for what has become the South by Southwest for the food and wine industry. At events like the Grand Tasting, consumers and insiders sample, sip, ask questions, and socialize with well-informed gastronomes over an argosy of delectable treats, premium wine vintages, and top shelf cocktails. The crowd consists of the movers and shakers of the culinary industry; the global arbiters that influence how America eats, be it dining out, prepared grocery store take out, or a fresh, home cooked meal.

This year’s presenters and speakers include acclaimed chef Mario Batali, eccentric Iron Chef icon Bobby Flay, successful New York restaurateur Danny Meyer, celebrity chef and television personality Giada De Laurentiis, Dan Philips and Joshua Wesson. Additional speakers and presenters slated for the 2009 Food and Wine Classic include culinary A-listers like Tom Colicchio, the rock star, vintage guitar playing/collecting chef who moonlights as the host of Top Chef; celebrity television chef and author Jacques Pepin; California fusion chef Ming Tsai; and Jean Georges Vongerichten, the celebrated chef and highly-regarded brainchild behind a global empire of gourmet eateries, including Jean Georges, Spice Market, Vong in New York and V in London.

The scrumptious and gluttonous high altitude party is not just limited to the barrage of sponsored tasting, seminars, and the opulent Grand Tasting Pavilion in Wagner Park. Other events include a Mexican Machaca feast on Thursday June 18th with Chef Mario Batali, exclusive private tasting for American Express Platinum Card holders, over 50 wine seminars, sustainable food roundtables, and lavish private parties in Red Mountain estates. The weekend-long gourmet menu of events is delightfully coupled with Jazz Aspen/Snowmass’s annual June Festival. In the evenings, British pop-jazz-piano superstar Jamie Cullum, Chris Botti, and Motown soul legend Smokey Robinson will regal the throngs of winers and diners with cool jazz at the beautiful Benedict Music Tent. The event serves as the perfect palette-cleansing nightcap for a day of Food and Wine fun.

If you’ve procrastinated making plans to come to Aspen for Food and Wine weekend, it isn’t too late to grab an event pass or book a room for the weekend-long festival. Because thousands flock to town, rooms are at a premium. So, here at we’ve complied a helpful price-point guide for visitors seeking accommodations for this fabulous, only-in-Aspen weekend. The St. Regis may be filled to capacity, but there are still plenty of lodging options left. Just act quickly!

For information, visit the Food and Wine Festival’s website and check out the schedule and videos from last year’s Food and Wine Classic in Aspen.

For information on purchasing the $1,185 Consumer and Trade Ticket which grants admission to the Grand Tasting, visit the Food and Wine Aspen Registration.

For information on streamlining your hotel accommodation booking process for Food and Wine weekend, visit Booking through the central reservations includes a discounted pass for the festival!

*Please note, the listed rates are subject to change and based on current availability.

Limelight Lodge
355 South Monarch Street
Aspen, CO 81611
(800) 433-0832

This year’s Food and Wine Classic will be the first for this brand-new, uber-sleek, super modern, double-digit million-dollar hotel. Opened in November 2008, the family-owned Limelight Lodge is just across the street from the Grand Tasting Pavilion. The Limelight is the perfect and welcoming accommodations for families and revelers. The rooms are spacious and an unpretentious pool glistens.

Food and Wine Weekend Room Rate: Deluxe rooms starting from $439 per night

Hotel Aspen
110 W Main St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-3441

This quirky and recently updated boutique hotel on Main Street is a throwback Aspen of the 70s and 80s. An elk chandler graces the main foyer and a spacious second-floor breakfast room has gorgeous views of Ajax Mountain. The Hotel Aspen is within walking distance of the Grand Tasting Pavilion and the Benedict Music Tent. It also boasts state of the art amenities and a pool. But hurry! There’s only one room left for the festivities.

Food and Wine Weekend Room Rate: One fireplace room/suite currently available starting from $379

Molly Gibson
101 W Main St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-3434

The Hotel Aspen’s soulful soulful sister property is situated immediately across Main Street. The Molly Gibson – named after a silver mining company from the late 1800s - is a funky, modern, convenient (everything is within walking distance), and highly affordable.

Food and Wine Weekend Room Rate: Lodge rooms with two Queen beds starting from $339

Hotel Jerome
330 E Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 920-1000

This red-bricked downtown icon is quaint yet historically distinguished as the heart of civic life in Aspen. The Jerome’s summer pool scene is historic and legendary, dating back to the days when Walter Paepcke and his wife began envisioning Aspen’s resort town future. If you can afford the rooms for the weekend, The Hotel Jerome will surely pack an A-list crowd.

Food and Wine Weekend Room Rate: Rooms starting from $749

The Little Nell
675 E Durant Ave.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 920-4600

Foodies and wine aficionados probably already have some familiarity with the Little Nell because of its critically acclaimed in house restaurant Montanga and the 20,000-plus bottle wine list, which frequently earns nods from Wine Spectator and other sommelier insiders. The Gucci, Prada, and Fendi-wearing see-and-be-seen crowd flocks to The Little Nell. The hotel is sure to be a sophisticated spectacle over the weekend’s activities.

Food and Wine Weekend Room Rate: Rooms starting from $570 a night for a town view; $635 for a mountain view.

Independence Square Hotel
404 S Galena St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 920-2313

Independence Square Hotel is a quaint, quiet, and historic bed and breakfast option in the heart of downtown Aspen. It is located immediately adjacent to the downtown mall. Guests can enjoy a rooftop Jacuzzi and a continental breakfast with their stay.

Food and Wine Weekend Rate: Only one deluxe room left, starting from 245 a night

L'auberge d'Aspen
435 W Main St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-8297

These rustic and quaint individual cabins on Main Street are an alternative to Aspen’s glitz and glam scene. Staying in L'auberge d'Aspen is an affordable and authentic mountain experience. All of the weekend events are still within walking distance and the cottages, steeped in rural alpine ambiance, will surely delight a no-frills visitor.

Food and Wine Weekend Rate: Cabins starting from $385

The Gant
610 S. West End Street
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-5000

Situated on the fringe of Aspen’s West End, The Gant is a comfortable modern condo resort perfect for families or groups. The property has beautiful views of Smuggler and Ajax Mountain, as well as a two pools and tennis courts.

Food and Wine Weekend Room Rate: Standard condos starting from $495 per night

The Sky Hotel
709 E. Durant Avenue at Spring
Aspen, CO
(970) 925-6760

Aspen’s swank, chic, and funky boutique hotel is decorated in colorful neo- psychedelic Alice and Wonderland regalia. Known for a sexy outdoor pool and hot tub scene with breathtaking views of Ajax Mountain that sizzles in the summer months.

Food and Wine Weekend Rate: Four Night Minimum Stay; Rooms starting at $555 per night

Aspen Meadows
845 Meadows Rd.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-4240

Though the Aspen Meadows is a bit of a distance from the Grand Tasting Pavilion and downtown Aspen, it is within close proximity of the Benedict Music Tent. A convieneint and luxurious choice if you are planning on enjoying the Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Festival along with the Food and Wine events. The Bachuous-designed Meadows is home to the prestigious Aspen Institute and features all the amenities of a full service resort and hotel, including great views of the mountains, a wonderful modern art collection, a charming pool scene, and tennis courts to sweat off the calories after the Grand Tasting.

Food and Wine Weekend Rate: Rooms starting from $625 a night