By Kurt Jacobson
In almost twenty years of visiting the Aspen area I had somehow overlooked the Inn At Aspen. All that time it was hiding at the base of Buttermilk Ski Area. Now that I’ve found it I must spread the word; this is the only place to stay when coming to Aspen Buttermilk, unless you are a billionaire.
It’s the only ski-in ski-out hotel at Buttermilk and the prices are extremely reasonable by Aspen standards. The starting price for a room during mid-March, (peak season) was a mere $259 and sleeps up to four. I was doubtful it was worthy, but since my wife and I love to ski Buttermilk it was worth a try.
When we arrived I was thrilled to find out parking was free! This is almost unheard of anywhere in and around Aspen. Our room wasn’t ready at 10am, but the restrooms near the reception desk had a changing area perfect for donning ski gear to attack the slopes.
The Summit Express and Panda Peak chair lifts are just steps away from the hotel. This makes it an easy walk in clunky ski boots.
Before and after ski comfort
When our day of skiing was over we checked into our room, parked our skis in the designated ski lockers, and found our room to be a pleasant surprise. I was told by sales director Kelly McDonald, “Most of the 122 rooms have been renovated, and the rooms that have not been renovated are rented to airline employees on contract, not hotel guests. Twelve of the renovated rooms have kitchenettes.” Other amenities are three conference rooms with space for up to 56, 120 or 200 respectively.
For a low-cost hotel the amenities were great. Our room had a king size bed, a sleeper sofa, refrigerator, kitchenette with plates, cups, bowls, silverware, deluxe toaster oven, and most everything needed to enjoy a light meal in the room. For dining there is a table and three chairs without crowding the spacious room.
A Starbucks coffee set-up is furnished and in the cupboard we were surprised to see a set of six “real” wine glasses! With two storage spaces for clothing, one dresser, and one built-in, guests get plenty of space for an extended stay.
Wet and warm with a view
The bathroom had a tub and shower combination we appreciated since our last hotel had only a shower. During recent renovations most rooms were upgraded and include granite counter tops in the bathroom. They supply Aveda products for a touch of class. Guests are furnished with robes that are great when it’s time to walk to the outdoor pool and hot tub. The pools offer excellent views of the mountain and guests can watch the skiers and snowboarders from this wet and warm location.
The onsite restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus après ski from 3-6 pm for drinks and appetizers in their bar area. Breakfast is included with the room rate and features three hot items: bacon, scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes. Cold items are juices, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads, hard boiled eggs, and an assortment of cereal. Coffee, tea, and milk are available also.
If you need a breakfast Blood Mary, bring your own fixings for in-the- room breakfast cocktails. When the X Games come here every winter I’m sure there are some breakfast cocktails consumed onsite. Speaking of the X Games; they are closed to the public during that time of year since the X Games people rent out the entire hotel.
Smoke em’ if you got em’
Some like to go into Aspen for legal marijuana shopping. Out-of-state visitors over 21 can buy a quarter ounce per day but it’s a bit tricky finding a place to smoke it legally. The Inn At Aspen is a non-smoking hotel and that goes for the legal weed. Here’s a valuable link to help understand the legal weed thing while in Aspen.
Since this is a bit isolated from the town of Aspen it’s a useful amenity having a free shuttle. The hotel’s shuttle service is the type of amenity found at expensive luxury hotels in area and we were impressed the Inn At Aspen provided such a perk. The ride takes less than ten minutes and they drop you off and pick you up most anywhere in town.
The shuttle also runs to the airport making this an easy hotel to get to when flying directly into Aspen. The shuttle hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. When we caught the shuttle to town it was Geoffrey Lubin – Guest Services Manager who took us there. We said we would take the RFTA Bus back, he said, “Call if you change your mind, we are happy to come and get you in the shuttle bus.” When the time came to return to the hotel it was cold and windy and we did take him up on his offer instead of waiting for the RFTA Bus.
This hotel has so much going for it and the recent renovations to the main floor and lobby area show it off very well.
The lobby lounge looks out on the mountain through large picture windows that frame the mountain sunset in its full glory.
In warmer weather, sit outside the lobby around the fire pit and sip a glass of wine while you recount the adventures of a day in the majestic Colorado Rockies.
Mountain biking, fishing and hiking are popular in spring, summer and fall making this hotel a great choice any season.
In the end we were amazed we had never even heard of this hotel. Part of the reason may be due to its closure during the X Games and Special Olympics. Most prospective guests can’t stay here during those events.
The Inn At Aspen at Buttermilk Ski area is a great base camp any season. My wife and I are sure a new low-cost hotel has been found for visiting Aspen. Many others already feel that way. Maybe you will agree after you give it a try?
Kurt Jacobson lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and spent many years as a professional chef. Now he travels the world and shares his stories here and on other travel websites.