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Aspen, Colorado Hotels: 10 Cheap Hotels and Affordable Winter Accommodations in Aspen, Colorado

Brandon Wenerd's picture

Newsflash: Aspen, Colorado is expensive. The Limelight LodgeThe Limelight LodgeAs many ski vacationers discover whiling planning an Aspen winter getaway, cheap places to bunk up in America's priciest and poshest ski town are few and far between. Most vacationers cope with this bittersweet reality long before touching down at the Pitkin County Airport, usually while booking hotel or airline reservations. Nonetheless, the savvy and penny wise ski traveler may be surprised by the diverse array of relatively affordable hotels, motels, condos, and ski lodges for a comfortable, warm, and restful slumber. Like finding a fistful of quarters between sofa cushions, one just has to know where to look and book.

In an era of tony boutiques, furriers, and exclusive residence clubs, it's hard to believe Aspen once was home to a Holiday Inn. These days, Fat City does not have the usual smattering of run-of-the-mill,. franchise budget motels. Skiers expecting the sterile accommodations of a Super 8 , Comfort Inn, or Best Western will have to spend the night 30 minutes down valley in Carbondale or Glenwood Springs. This option makes for an extended commute to the slopes, which involves fighting through the chaos of westbound traffic on Highway 82 or squeezing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Roaring Fork Valley's hourly wage-earning proletariat on a RFTA shuttle bus for a 45-minute drive. Plus, having to flee town at sundown could potentially dampen the luster of Aspen's apres ski scene, legendary dining, and world-class shopping.

Inside the Molly Gibson HotelInside the Molly Gibson HotelHere's some good news: budget conscious vacationers don't have to max out the credit card on a hotel in Aspen, Colorado.However, finding a great hotel bargain in Aspen requires plenty of research, patience, and a dash of sheer luck, to boot. Flexibility is key, particularly with dates of travel. For example, rates immediately after the New Year in January tend to be considerably cheaper than rates in February and early March.

In an attempt to debunk the myth of Aspen's ritzy veneer, we've narrowed down a list of highly affordable and practical hotel properties for the thrifty ski traveler. These hotels may not boast the international acclaim and glitz of the St. Regis, the sizzling scene of the Sky Hotel and the Little Nell, nor the opulent Wild West charm of the Hotel Jerome. Nonetheless, these hotels are comfortable, centrally-located, and well-stocked with plenty of creature comforts for a memorable ski getaway.

10

The Annabelle Inn

232 W. Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-3822
www.annabelleinn.com

Originally opened in 1948, the Annabelle Inn remains an elegant, sophisticated, and romantic bed and breakfast on west Main Street, just a short walk from downtown Aspen. This boutique ski lodge is an affordable option for travel-savvy couples seeking the highest value possible on an Aspen ski vacation without blowing the bank. The Annabelle's 35 guest rooms are spread across three floors and individually decorated with rustic mountain furnishings like four-post beds and handmade quilts. Ask for the option of a room with a fireplace or a balcony to elevate the alpine ambiance. Besides the large clock facing Main Street, the Annabelle Inn's marquee highlight is its courtyard, a four-season sanctuary with a warm outdoor firepit, waterfall pond, and a stream garden. It is the perfect hideaway to sip a morning cup of coffee or trade stories with other guests during apres ski. Other attractive guest bonuses include first floor ski lockers, a relaxing lounge, and a third floor observation deck and hot tub with sweeping vistas of downtown Aspen, Aspen Mountain, and Independence Pass.


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9

Hotel Aspen

110 W. Main St
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-3441
www.hotelaspen.com

The Hotel AspenThe Hotel Aspen

The Molly Gibson Hotel's sister property is a delightful boutique hotel on Main Street. Like the Molly Gibson, all 45-rooms of The Hotel Aspen are appointed with warm down comforters, flat screen televisions, iPod alarms, and plush terrycloth robes. Guests requiring more space can upgrade from the basic guest room to either the Jacuzzi suite for a private outdoor jacuzzi on a balcony overlooking Aspen Mountain or a Fireplace suite with an in-room fireplace. A continental breakfast and beer and wine apres ski is served daily in the second story Great Room, which includes a blazing fireplace and sublime views of Aspen Mountain. The heated courtyard swimming pool and hot tub is a welcome respite after maneuvering down Aspen's legendary double-black diamonds.


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8

Hotel Durant

122 E. Durant Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-8500
www.durantaspen.com

This simple five-room bed and breakfast on east Durant Street is only two blocks away from the Silver Queen Gondola in downtown Aspen. The Hotel Durant's two suites and three lodge rooms are comfortable, spacious and individually decorated. A continental breakfast is available in the mornings. In the evenings, guests can unwind in the whirlpool hot tub.


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7

Limelight Lodge

228 E Cooper Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-3025

The Limelight LodgeThe Limelight Lodge

The 2009-2010 ski season is only the second of many for this mammoth, 126-room hotel across from Wagner Park. Many of the state-of-the-art rooms offer scenic panoramas of both Aspen Mountain and downtown Aspen. A plethora of room choices are available, including two-bedroom suites, casitas, and a graciously-furnished penthouse on the top floor. The heated pool and hot tubs are tops for relaxing before heading to dinner. A fine wine apres ski is available every evening in the hotel's cavernous lodge room, a prime place to meet and greet fellow guests around the massive hearth and crackling fire. Additionally, a health-conscious continental breakfast of granola, pastries, cereal and fresh fruit is served in the mornings. Pet-lovers take note: Fido is welcome in the rooms on the hotel's first floor.


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6

L’Augberge Cabins

435 W. Main St
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-8297
www.preferredlodging.com

L’Augberge CabinsL’Augberge Cabins

The L’Augberge Cabins looks like a fairytale winter wonderland when blanketed in snow, making for memorable, rustic, and romantic accommodations for couples on a mid-winter ski retreat to the Rockies. This cluster of 16 wood-paneled cabins is situated on Aspen's Main Street, just four blocks away from downtown. Guests receive a private cabin with a fireplace, kitchenette, down comforters, Jacuzzi bathtub, antler chandeliers, and a television. While the property does not offer a continental breakfast, it does include a warm hot tub to relax weary muscles.


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5

Chalet Lisl

100 E. Hyman Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-3520

Only two blocks from the downtown pedestrian mall, the Lisl is a modest, charming, and rustic European-style chalet that is perfectly suitable for low-maintenance couples and families. The Chalet Lisl offers apartment-style accommodations with a kitchenette in its five studios and four one-bedroom units. The property includes ski lockers and a hot tub snuggled into a grove of aspen trees. Unlike other Aspen condo rentals, the Chalet Lisl's rates are based on nightly occupancy. At a rate starting at $85 dollars a night during ski season, the Lisl is a difficult bargain to beat.


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4

Tyrolean Lodge

200 W. Main St
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-4595

Tyrolean LodgeTyrolean Lodge

After moving to Aspen from New York in search of alpine adventure and artistic inspiration, sculptor Lou Wille established a ski lodge named after a legendary alpine region in the Austrian Alps. Thus, it is fitting that Lou's son, Pierre Wille - now the innkeeper and proprietor of the Tyrolean Lodge - is a renown skier and accomplished mountaineer. Situated on Main Street, it is difficult to miss this lodge, thanks to the Valkyrie-like silver eagle sculpture nested atop the chimney of the blue chalet. The sculpture was molded by Lou Wille from chrome car bumpers and is a delightfully idiosyncratic touch for a one of a kind Aspen ski lodge. The entire property is comfortable, cozy, and decorated in vintage ski decor. The top floor rooms include fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, and enough space for a small group or family. While the amenities may be spartan and the furnishings a tad dated, reasonable rates and proximity to downtown Aspen are the Tyrolean's major drawing point. Prices for the 2010 ski season average around 150 dollars, a jaw-dropping steal for mid-winter rates in downtown Aspen.


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3

St. Moritz Lodge

334 W. Hyman ave.
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-3220
www.stmoritzlodge.com

The St. MoritzThe St. Moritz

The St. Moritz is a homey, rustic, and comfortable ski lodge in Aspen's West End, nestled near the steep, craggy base of Shadow Mountain. This highly affordable faux-Swiss chateau is only five blocks from downtown Aspen and has earned a reputation as one of Aspen's best kept lodging secrets, largely because of a friendly staff and an innkeeper who is willing to go the extra mile for guests. In addition to spacious lodge rooms and rental condominiums, the St. Moritz is one of Aspen's only hostels. It is known to attract an eccentric and diverse international crowd, so expect the convivial camaraderie of Europeans, Australian, Canadians, and retirees who regularly return to the lodge over winter holiday. Thoughtful extras like a 101-degree blue-tiled mosaic pool, a stream room, complimentary apres ski parties, and a hearty continental breakfast make for a comfortable and no-frills ski vacation. The condos are an excellent choice for families or groups on a budget and include kitchenettes, private balconies or patios, multiple flat screen televisions, and views of Aspen Mountain.


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2

Mountain Chalet Aspen

333 E Durant Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-7797
www.mountainchaletaspen.com

After graduating from Dartmouth with a physics degree, Ralph Melville came to Aspen in the winter of 1951 as a ski bum. However, things didn't quite go as planned. Melville ended up breaking his ankle and spent his idle time browsing the local real estate market. After saving money by working odd jobs around Aspen and back in his native Massachusetts, Melville purchased the Mountain Chalet's lot in 1953 for 2000 dollars. Though now surrounded by luxury fractional residences and sleek new hotels, Melville and his family continue to own and operate the Mountain Chalet over a half-century later. While the exterior of the Mountain Chalet may resemble the Switzerland section of Epcot Center or Vail Village, the truth is the Mountain Chalet is a comfortable, clean, and economical ski lodge conveniently located two blocks from the Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain and one block from the ski shuttle to Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. The Mountain Chalet offers a variety lodging choices suitable to the needs of a budget-conscious traveler. Suites, apartments, and even a hostel-style bunk-bed space are also available. The large, solar-heated outdoor pool includes lanes for swimming laps and a hot tub, sauna, and steam room is available to soothe exhausted skiers. A full-service fitness studio is available as well. Every Monday afternoon the Mountain Chalet hosts a Gluhwein apres ski party on the hotel's fifth floor. A hot breakfast is served each morning during the ski season.


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1

The Molly Gibson Hotel

101 W. Main St
Aspen, CO 81611
1-888-649-5982
www.mollygibson.com

The Molly Gibson HotelThe Molly Gibson Hotel

Named after a prosperous local silver mine, the Molly Gibson Hotel continues to charm both first-time Aspen vacationers and return guests. Located on Main Street across from Paepacke Park, it's hard not to love the Molly Gibson's affordable rates, excellent location, and alluring amenities. All 53-room are sizable and well-equipped with flat screen TVs, DVD players, plush terrycloth bathrobes, iPod docking alarm clocks, and fluffy down comforters. Some rooms include private fireplaces and private Jacuzzi tubs. In the morning, guests can enjoy a delightful continental breakfast before hitting the slopes. A complimentary beer, wine, and cheese apres ski is available in the afternoons. The hotel's three hot tubs, courtyards, and heated pool are perfect for a relaxing soak before hitting the town.


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Additional Considerations:

Snow Queen Lodge and The Cooper Street Lofts
124 E. Cooper Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-8455
www.snowqueenlodge.com

This colorful, quaint, and historic Victorian bed and breakfast is touted as "The Jewel of Aspen" by the Aspen Historical Society. The Cooper Street Lofts is a group of condos overlooking Aspen Mountain that can be rented nightly.

The Hearthstone House
134 E. Hyman Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-7632
www.hearthstonehouse.com

The architecture of the Hearthstone House was inspired by the architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright. This luxurious bed and breakfast pampers guests with world class service and a variety of extras like a steam room, hot tub, daily wine and cheese apres ski, and continental breakfast.

The Shadow Mountain Lodge
232 W. Hyman Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-8207
www.shadowmtlodge.com

When it comes to Aspen hotels, the Shadow Mountain Lodge is completely off the radar. Located across the street from the Aspen Ice Garden, this comfortable condominium hotel in Aspen's West End is ideal for families and groups on a budget. The property includes a pool.