The Hotel Jerome has a storied past in Aspen’s history, starting from its opening on Thanksgiving Eve in 1889. Built by Macy’s Department Store magnate Jerome B. Wheeler during the town’s silver mining boom, the Hotel Jerome put Aspen on the map of leisure and luxury destinations in North America. The hotel boasted first class status, pampering guests with then-modern amenities like an elevator, a French chef, a barbershop, a greenhouse for a winter garden, and hot running water.
A tasteful splash of modern luxury and impeccable service are still found in this esteemed Colorado landmark, now boasting membership in both the National Register of Historic Places and the Leading Hotels of the World group. The Jerome remains a distinguished and sophisticated hotel, staying true to its 110-year tradition of international regality. However, The Jerome’s true charm is its unique local character steeped in rustic Wild West iconography: high-ceilings, wooden rafters, antique furnishings, and elk trophies adorn the lobby sitting room. In many aspects, the Hotel Jerome still feels as if recently removed from the western frontier of Sergio Leone movie - think swinging saloon doors and well-waxed, pencil thin mustaches.
Situated on Main Street in downtown Aspen, the Hotel Jerome is a seven-block walk from the gondola at Aspen Mountain, as well as the world-class luxury shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and nightlife of downtown Aspen. The three story, redbrick Jerome is owned and operated by Rock Resorts, renown for its fashionable collection of luxurious ski lodge properties in Vail, Jackson Hole, Keystone, and Beaver Creek, as well as hotels in The Bahamas, Florida, and the Caribbean. The Jerome has hosted scores of A-list Hollywood celebrities, including silver-screen cowboy titans John Wayne and Gary Cooper, who frequented the ground floor J-bar. The hotel has even served as a backdrop to pricy political fundraisers, celebrity weddings, and the late “Gonzo” journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s “Freak Power in the Rockies” sheriff campaign headquarters in 1970.
Guests are enchanted by spacious and elegantly appointed rooms and suites. All 92-room include antique furnishings, marble bath fixtures, oversized bathtubs, and king-sized beds dressed with fluffy down comforters, feather pillows, and 300-thread count linens. Rooms have either a mountain view of the slopes or a view of downtown Aspen. No matter what time of year, guests can retreat to a serene, heated blue-tile outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, and warming hut, complete with cushy bathrobes, tucked into the corner of the property to nurse weary muscles after a day on the slopes. Additionally, the hotel has a concierge on hand to arrange powdery skiing expeditions on either Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass mountains, as well as make reservations at any of the world-class dining establishments around town.
The hotel’s venerable J-Bar retains the rough and tumble, Old West saloon ambiance. A hearty mix of well dressed out-of-towners, ski bums, and born-and-raised locals gather at the long, polished maple bar in the afternoons and evenings to exchange town gossip or anecdotes from a day on the mountain. Be sure to try the house specialty: an Aspen Crud, which dates back to the Prohibition-era, when the bar was converted to a soda fountain and milkshakes were spiked using the code-word, “Crud.” The Aspen Crud is a vanilla milkshake blended with a robust, stiff-armed pour of bourdon. The drink was popular with soldiers in the locally based skiing 10th Mountain Division, who frequented the hotel on a special patriotic rate of $1 a night. The other house specialties include J-Bar Avalanche – a creamy mixture of Kahlua, Baileys Irish Cream, Amaretto, as well as scrumptious pub-grub like French fries fried in fresh truffle oil or the bacon-wrapped hot dog in green chile sauce and homemade ketchup.
In addition to the J-Bar, The Jerome’s other in-house restaurant is Jacob’s Corner, a graceful fine dining eatery tucked into the hotel’s ground floor. Jacob’s offers a hearty sit down breakfast starting at 7 a.m., before the lifts open, as well as lunch, and dinner. Executive Chef Chris Keating’s dinner menu features contemporary American cuisine inspired by the fare of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain alpine high country, focusing on regional specialties such as mouth-watering grilled elk loin in a persimmon compote and smoked cherry sauce, Rocky Mountain trout, and high-country Colorado rack of lamb. The award-winning wine list features a selection to perfectly complement a variety of palates. In summer, enjoy fabulous views of Aspen Mountain on the Garden Terrace while dining on the fresh summer fare dining al fresco. The Jerome’s quiet, candle-lit Library bar is one of Aspen’s best-kept secrets. It is an intimate, relaxed atmosphere perfect for an after-dinner scotch or cognac.
The Jerome isn’t embellished by faux-details like some Epcot-like re-creation of an old time Rocky Mountain hotel; it is 100% authentic American Western, serving an important role in Aspen’s civic character and international identity. This is one of the many reasons why its guests keep coming back, year after year. As it is frequently said by the staff, residents, and reoccurring guests, “If you haven’t been to the Jerome, you haven’t been to Aspen.”
The Hotel Jerome
330 East Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611