News & Media Coverage

Winter 2019

The first luxury hotel to open in the area in a quarter-century, the W Aspen is gearing up to celebrate its first winter season with a long-overdue bang—including the reintroduction of storied local bar 39 Degrees, formerly of the Sky Hotel, now a moody, velvet-infused cocktail den and grotto inspired by the area’s red-light district. If you’re feeling more social, take in the panoramic mountain views with a poolside mezcal cocktail on the 12,000-square-foot all-weather rooftop. Come nightfall, tuck into one of 88 guest rooms (there are also 11 residences); our vote is for the Extreme Wow suite—think of it like a presidential—which comes decked out with a fire pit, hot tub and DJ booth with a curated music library. If you can pull yourself away from all that, the property also has one hell of a ski-in/ski-out location.

W Aspen Developer - John Sarpa

The Developer

John Sarpa

If Aspen has a champion, John Sarpa would most certainly be in the running, a man who has spent his time in Aspen influencing and affecting the place he has officially called home since 1996 (he began working here in the '80s). His efforts have always been rooted in a desire to maintain the special mountain town he first encountered in the '70s with his then girlfriend, now wife. His impact has been felt on countless organizations and projects thanks to his launching of Sarpa Development five years ago to specifically focus on local initiatives, as well as his long relationship with Aspen Valley Hospital, serving as the chairman of the board and CEO and now the chairman of the board of the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, an experience he calls "one of my most rewarding experiences as a member of our community."

His most recent project is then much-anticipated development of the W Aspen, which he co-developed with Northridge Capital. "I think we have been able to bring back some of the vibrant, edgy and joyful type of gathering places Aspen used to be known for," says Sarpa, who in addition to being a real estate developer is also a realtor with Forte Aspen. "W Aspen does that in spades." So, what does Sarpa hope his legacy will be in the town he has dedicated a good portion of his life to? "I would hope people could say I knew and understood Aspen well and was able to help lead a number of initiatives that had a significant, lasting and positive impact on our community."

W Aspen architects - John Rowland and Sarah Broughton

The Architects

John Rowland and Sarah Broughton

In the 16 years since Sarah Broughton and John Rowland started their firm in their Aspen condo, the wife-and-husband pair have grown a team of more than 40 architects and designers, and left their fingerprints on buildings across the Mountain West. They've done more than 50 downtown Aspen projects, completed 20 on Aspen Skiing Company properties, opened offices in Denver and seen their star rise with legacy homes like an airy rebuild of Aspen ski legend Stein Erickson's historic Starwood house, which won the 2019 Colorado Homes & Lifestyles Home of the Year Award.

But these days, with the arrival of their W Aspen as winter's party central and a renovated Ajax Tavern, both at the base of Aspen Mountain, they may best be known as the architects of Aspen's après-ski scene.

The pair — who also designed Chair 9 at the Little Nell and a face-lift at the Champagne-soaked Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro at Aspen Highlands — have demonstrated a genius for shaping après-friendly spaces.

"We had to think deeply about how the party can keep going and ensure there's never a bottleneck," Broughton says of shaping the flow of W and its rooftop pool bar.

Their approach is collaborative and unconventional (the firm's spirit animal is a buffalo, bestowed upon it by a shaman) but rooted in the personal client-builder creative relationships upon which they have founded the firm.

The pair's aesthetic is contemporary but influenced by the mountain and especially by Aspen history, as reflected in their meticulous restoration of the 1888-build Mesa Store building on Main Street, where Rowland + Broughton moved its office in March. "We want to see it function for the net 100 years," says Broughton, "and be a beacon as you enter Aspen."

It's Groovy, Baby, Yeah

The new W Aspen is poised to be the hottest après-ski, dancing-in-your-ski-boots party house in town.

The first luxury hotel to open in Aspen in 25 years under the W banner wants to be in the heart of town's social scene. The new construction on the site of the former Sky Hotel looks positioned to do just that — become party central — with an 8,000-square-foot roof deck, a living room with a DJ booth in the form of the largest silver nugget to come out of Smuggler Mine, a cocktail lounge and an Extreme Wow Suite with a central soaking tub and DJ booth (vinyl included), complete with an elevated circular coating bed. Yeah, baby! The hotel was designed by Aspen-based architecture firm Rowland+Broughton, with interiors by global firm NEMAWORKSHOP and Marriott's design team, all to tap into Aspen's history, from its mining days (notice the mine shaft hallways) to the counterculture decades of the 1960s and '70s with bursts of bright orange and blues in the guest rooms and colorful murals in the public areas. Select rooms feature head-to-toe queen bunk beds — some sleep up to eight — catering to the next generation of Aspen iconoclasts, and offering a "wink to the more hedonistic qualities of Aspen's past." See you at the W.


Fall 2019

Aspen, CO - W Aspen & The Sky Residences: It’s been eleven year since the last new hotel of note opened in this world famous ski town (the Limelight in 2008), which makes the new W (now open) - a rebuild of the Sky Hotel - notable. It is also notable for frequent travelers because W Hotels is part of Marriott, which operates Bonvoy, the biggest frequent stay program in the high-end travel world.

I recently wrote a detailed article about the new W Aspen which you can read here, but here’s an overview. It sits at the end of Durant Street within walking distance of the lifts at Aspen Mountain (Ajax) and is the brand's second "Mountain Escape" resort, following W Verbier in the Swiss Alps. It is focused on being hip and cool and very, very après, and the showpiece feature is the WET Deck, a year-round, all-weather, Vegas-style public rooftop complex with heated pool, hot tub, fire pits, cabanas, bar, dance floor and DJ booth. The Sky Hotel’s popular 39 Degrees après ski bar has been repositioned as an underground “ultra-lounge cocktail bar and grotto” inspired by the Red-Light District from Aspen’s days as a 19th century hell raising silver mining outpost. The second floor Living Room, which has with couches, bar shuffleboard and an outdoor terrace with fire pits, is expected to be another big après ski hotpot.

The W Aspen & The Sky Residences is a contemporary take on the chalet concept, with plenty of stone and wood, alongside modern art, bold patterns and bright colors. It has 88 guestrooms, 11 residences and five “WOW suites.” There is an in-house ski and snowboard shop, and well-equipped modern fitness center, but no spa, normally a fixture of top tier ski town properties.


Rising from the base of Aspen Mountain, The Sky Residences at W Aspen’s peaked roofs evoke the classic silhouette and style of a European ski chalet but with an up-to-the-minute interpretation, constructed with environmentally sustainable materials and contemporary finishes.

The new property comprises a series of firsts: the first W Hotels ski escape in the United States, the first new hotel to open in Aspen in 25 years, and currently the town’s only public mountainside après-ski venue. Combined, these elements are bound to enliven the local scene. The property includes 88 hotel rooms, 11 shared ownership residences and a variety of public spaces that will attract an energetic clientele.

According to Marriott Global Design Director Martin Ablaza, creative collaborators contemplated historical, physical and social contexts as they determined the storytelling approach that drove design decisions behind The Sky Residences at W Aspen.

“Storytelling allows us to tap into unique insights in the location and bring them to life through unexpected elements, infused with wit and a dash of whimsy,” he said.

History with a Twist

Colorado-based architecture firm Rowland+Broughton envisioned the property in the ski chalet style that is characteristic of the town, incorporating sloped ceilings and level changes throughout the interior, giving each space a cozy, individual style.

“There are three basic elements to a ski chalet,” Ablaza explained. “There’s a sloping roof with overhanging eaves, rustic and compact wooden architecture, and iconic elements of fire and warmth.”

Rowland+Broughton Principal, John Rowland, expands on that idea. “By design, the architectural concept of a modern ski chalet links Aspen’s past, present and future,” says Rowland. “W Aspen contributes to the base of the mountain location with its sloping roofs and natural, high-quality materials. Plus, it’s infused with modern-day detailing that weaves into the fabric and history of town.”

As skiers schuss down from Aspen Mountain toward the ski-in portion of the property, the second-floor Living Room welcomes them with its outdoor mezzanine and dramatic fire pit. “It serves as a beacon,” Ablaza said, “drawing guests in for the afternoon après-ski ritual.”

The design team also turned a keen eye toward Aspen’s colorful history as they developed the property’s public spaces. In fact, part of The Sky Residences at W Aspen’s story tracks back to 1879, when miners established the town and soon discovered a 30-mile-long vein of silver ore. The underground riches drew thousands to seek their fortunes at 8,000 feet of altitude.

The prize treasure, the largest silver nugget ever found, emerged from deep in the Smuggler Mine in 1894. It weighed over 2,000 pounds and consisted of 93 percent pure silver.

Today, the DJ booth in W Aspen, created by New York interior design firm nemaworkshop, evokes this legendary nugget.

“They took the size and scale of the world’s largest silver nugget,” Ablaza said, “and streamlined it and abstracted it to impart that same sense of awe the original silver nugget gave during the mining boom.”

The glittering DJ booth, faceted like a gem, is visible from the driveway, suspended above the stairway/seating area that leads visitors up to the second floor where it gleams at the center of the Living Room.

In the residences and throughout the property, lighting fixtures that recall miners’ headlamps and millwork details patterned after the grid structures used to fortify shafts into the mines also conjure Aspen’s mining history.

To be sure, Aspen was founded for its mining opportunities, and then its world-class skiing gained notice after soldiers stationed there during World War II returned to establish resorts, building two ski lifts that together comprised “the longest chairlift in the world” in 1946.

But Aspen is also well-known for the bohemian and counterculture atmosphere that attracted throngs of revelers in the decadent ’70s, including Jack Nicholson, John Denver and Goldie Hawn. This era earned Aspen its nickname, Glamour Gulch.

“This spirit is evoked throughout the interior of the property,” Ablaza explained. “The blur between something that’s very glamorous and something that’s very rustic creates the aesthetic that’s W’s take on the Aspen experience.”

In W Aspen’s EWOW suite, designed for hosting events and parties, there’s a central fire pit, a hot tub open to the living area and “brass and crystal rods that create a screening element around a bed that’s set on a rotating platform, as a nod to the hedonistic architecture of Aspen’s pleasure palaces of the era,” Ablaza said.

Similarly, the property’s residences also feature banquette seating with velvety textures and furniture, pillows and lighting fixtures with pops of ’70s-inspired color that bring this spirit of playful decadence to their sleek, contemporary interiors. “Some iconic elements carry over to the residences,” Ablaza said, but they were also designed with a little “more restraint … leaving room for interpretation.”

Residents and guests with youthful joie de vivre are also bound to linger on the 8,000-square-foot WET Deck, an all-weather rooftop gathering space with panoramic mountain views, banquette seating, a DJ booth, a hot tub, a heated swimming pool and a bar whose overhang is like a whimsical upside-down model of the mountains’ relief.

Owners of Sky Residences have the privilege of their own balconies and decks and will also have access to a private rooftop lounge, which includes hot tubs, outdoor dining space and grilling areas, according to Ablaza.

Local Art Invigorates Design

The designers behind The Sky Residences at W Aspen also took care to incorporate inspiration from local artists. The graphic artist Thomas W. Benton moved to Aspen in the 1960s, and his art, including posters he created for Hunter S. Thompson’s wacky 1970 candidacy for Pitkin County Sheriff, evoke the style and spirit of the era.

These posters, with their muted color gradation patterns, influenced the palette of the bathrooms on the living room level.

Celebrating “hidden gems of Aspen,” Forte Aspen designed the pillow artwork to highlight the unique history and location of W Aspen in what was historically the “red-light district” during the turn of the century.

Local designer Jenna Holcomb says she was inspired by both Benton, as well as another iconic Aspen artist, Herbert Bayer, when creating the W Aspen bed pillow graphics. “It’s meant to be part of a process of discovery,” says Holcomb. “The back of the pillows show a hand-illustrated trail map of Aspen Mountain which suggests a sketch on a napkin, a modern-day treasure map for adventurous visitors and locals.”

Ablaza also explains how the Rocky Mountains inspired the Hudson River School of landscape painters in the 1800s — in particular, the majestic works of Albert Bierstadt.

“We wanted to see if there were artists out there who could impart their own vision on what Aspen is today through the lens of these historical paintings,” Ablaza said.

The team invited the artist Gaia, originally a street muralist, to create work for W Aspen, and he came up with works that incorporated elements from Bierstadt paintings, as seen, for example, through the camera of a smartphone. Gaia “interprets the local voice through the veil of historical painting … with a youthful and modern take on local culture,” Ablaza said.

Ablaza said designers also embraced the kitschier elements of Rocky Mountain art.

The Bob Ross technique of paint-by-numbers influenced the signage in the corridors, and the location’s former status as a red-light district during the mining era set the mood for 39 Degrees, the destination bar within the complex, “recalling a Victorian bordello palette with crushed velvets and a lot of reds … and the pit seating that’s synonymous with the ’70s.”

Referring to Aspen’s location on the 39th parallel, the 39 Degrees moniker and logo design are also infused with meaning.

“Forte Aspen was inspired by latitude and longitude lines when creating the retro-inspired custom font that makes up the 39 Degrees logo,” says R.J. Gallagher, Jr. “The curved shapes allude to Aspen’s famed silver mine tunnels and the light of a miner’s headlamp. An Instagram-worthy neon sign can serve as the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel.'”

Aspen is known for luxury and recreation, and The Sky Residences at W Aspen evoke the bold spirit that characterized the town’s multiple heydays — and just might foster a new prime.


Welcome to altitude, W Hotels. Where the beloved Sky Hotel once stood, the just-opened W Aspen now marks the spot. And unlike its Kimpton predecessor, you can now call this piece of paradise a part-time home.

As part of W Hotels Worldwide’s first-ever North American alpine destination — the hotel group opened its first Mountain Escape property in Verbier, Switzerland in 2014 — The Sky Residences at W Aspen offer an exclusive shared real estate opportunity with 11 slopeside units. Upon its grand opening celebration in August, the inventory was already 40% sold, indicating a much-needed niche for fractional ownership.

Ski-in, ski-out access to Aspen Mountain is punctuated by a private, Residences-only roof deck with spa, lounge seating, BBQ grills, outdoor kitchen and fire pit, as well as on-property amenities including concierge, 24/7 security, in-residence dining, housekeeping, ski lockers, valet, and fitness center. W’s signature “Whatever/Whenever” service promise provides residents and hotel guests with “whatever they want, whenever they want it!”

The Sky Residences portfolio features five 2-bedrooms (approximately 1,567 square feet; starting in the mid-$500K price range) and six 3-bedrooms (approximately 1,993 square feet; starting in the $800K price range), available for a 1/10th shared ownership interest in real estate. Enjoy five weeks of usage — four of which are guaranteed Planned Vacation Weeks within the winter and summer (two weeks per season). The fifth week of ownership, Space Available Nights, can be either dedicated to the winter or summer season, depending upon ownership preference and availability.

“The Sky Residences at W Aspen feature compelling statements of space and design that defy expectations,” says R.J. Gallagher, Jr. of Forte Aspen, the agency managing sales. “It’s where an owner can get away from it all, while having it all. Effortless ownership, where quality time with family and friends is the only order of the day. And night.”

The building itself — Aspen’s first new luxury hotel in 25 years — was brought to life by locally-based architecture and design firm Rowland + Broughton, resulting in an environmentally sustainable, modern mountain chalet with long, sloping roof lines drawing inspiration from the Rocky Mountain landscape. W Aspen and The Sky Residences at W Aspen are owned and were co-developed by Washington, DC-based Northridge Capital (also owner of the Sky Hotel for 16 years), which financed the buildout and also tapped locally based Sarpa Development as a project partner.

The W brand’s signature luxurious, energetic vibe interior was dreamt up by global interior design firm nemaworkshop that pays homage to Aspen’s storied inhabitants from the silver miners of the late 19th century to the swinging counterculture of the ‘60s and ‘70s to the current crop of globe-trotting billionaires.

Each of the W Aspen’s 11 Sky Residences exude a cozy warmth reminiscent of a Swiss chalet through the use of rustic wood finishes, sloped ceilings and fireplaces, complete with decor channeling Herbert Bayer, Thomas Benton, and the Ute Indian Tribe mixed with modern industrial touches and rich, ski-wear-inspired fabrics.

Gallagher adds, “This shared ownership opportunity offers a unique combination of the hip W brand and the prime Aspen location. All of these amenities right at an owner’s fingertips — in one of the greatest locations, in one of the most desirable towns in the world.

Additional owner benefits include access to the Living Room restaurant and bar, 39 Degrees (a nod to the Sky Hotel’s beloved lounge, and the WET Deck — an open-to-the-public rooftop bar with a pool, cabanas and hot tub. Already proven to be Aspen’s hottest new spot, there’s no closer commute home than to a Sky Residence of your very own.


We explored a prominent pattern in hospitality today in our July-August issue, Frame 129: fashion’s stake in the sector. It’s a trend that’s showing no sign of stopping. Saint Laurent has opened a permanent Paris café neighbouring its new boutique in the space concept store Colette once lived, and womenswear brand Mansur Gavriel has a Ladurée eatery in its West Hollywood boutique.

There are aesthetic trends to mention, too. From Aspen to Amsterdam, the 1970s are seeing a spatial resurgence in the hotel world. Both W Hotels and FG Stijl credit the decade for inspiring the interiors of the recently opened W Aspen and Park Centraal, respectively; in our last hospitality Openings list, we featured Sinner, for which interior designer Tristan Auer proclaimed the same.

Read on to see more hotels, dining spaces – and even a medical gym in London – which have caught our eye as of late.

The W Brand’s design team collaborated with interior design firm Nemaworkshop and architects Rowland + Broughton to complete the second global W Mountain Escape, opened in Aspen. Following W Verbier in the Swiss Alps, W Aspen is a re-imagination of the traditional ski chalet: it has 88 guestrooms, 11 branded residences and one suite, all which evoke the warmth of traditional Swiss architecture and wink at the decadence of Aspen in the ‘70s.


Summer 2019

The W Aspen & The Sky Residences at W Aspen debuts today, the first new luxury hotel to open in Aspen in 25 years. The W Aspen is the second W Mountain Escape globally, following W Verbier in the Swiss Alps. Situated on prime real estate at the base of Aspen Mountain, W Aspen has ski-in/ski-out access to Aspen Mountain. Guestrooms have dramatic views and the architecture and interior design may well prove to be game changers in this design-conscious town.

W Aspen has been designed by NEMAWORKSHOP, Aspen-based architects Rowland + Broughton, and Marriott’s design team. The design references were inspired by the Ute Native Americans, 19th century silver miners, the 60’s counterculture and yes, today’s billionaire inhabitants.

W Aspen will feature 88 guestrooms and 11 W-branded residences, along with four WOW suites and one Extreme WOW suite that can be one, two or three bedrooms. Interiors reference classic Swiss chalet architecture, thanks to rustic wood finishes, sloped rooflines and a fireplace-inspired mini-bar. Each guestroom features pit and platform lounge seating that’s intended to be a nod to the 60’s.

Select rooms feature a W design first, quad-queen bunk beds. These beds can sleep up to eight youthful guests. The two-bedroom Extreme WOW suite features a central fire pit, a hot tub open to the living area, a circular bed on a pivoting platform and a DJ booth, a suite that Austin Powers might well enjoy.

On the hotel’s second floor is The Living Room, with velvety cushions, stadium seating and a suspended DJ booth. Light fixtures are inspired by miner’s headlamps and there’s also an outdoor fire pit.

For après ski, W Aspen offers up a WET Deck, which is Aspen’s only year-round, all-weather, public rooftop bar. Beyond the views, the gathering area offers a heated pool, hot tub, fire pits, cabanas, full bar, dance floor and DJ booth. There’s also 39°, a restaurant, lounge and cocktail bar.

From November through April, W Aspen’s Strategy Rooms serve as the hotel’s Ski & Snowboard shop which will be operated by Four Mountain Sports. The shop will also rent and sell the hotel’s first edition series of snowboards. They were designed in partnership with Aspen’s High Society Freeride and created by Denver-based Never Summer.

For those who want to take a stay to the next level, The Sky Residences at W Aspen offer shared ownership opportunity with 11 W-branded Residences located slope-side on Aspen Mountain. There are six three-bedroom and five two-bedroom Residences. Owners have access to a private, owner-only roof deck with a spa, lounge seating, BBQ grills, outdoor kitchen and fire pit. Owners can enjoy all of the amenities and services at W Aspen, including in-residence dining and STYLE housekeeping services; WHEELS valet service; FUEL® state-of-art fitness facilities; two WET® Deck pools; and W’s signature Whatever/Whenever® service promise, which provides residents and hotel guests alike with whatever they want, whenever they want it.


Stepping into the W Aspen is like being swept up in an avalanche of déjà-vu.

The swirling, topographical-print carpet, glossy wood paneling, mélange of fabrics and textures and sparkling metallic accents hark back to the Sky Hotel’s decidedly retro vibe. Yet the totally rebuilt, rebranded Marriott International property—a massive project more than five years in the making, two-and-a-half in construction—is a modern design masterwork that feels breathtakingly brand new.

As impressive as the dazzling décor (silver nugget DJ booth! Stairwell street art!) and edgy amenities (“Love Kit” for amorous escapades) are executive chef Jackie Siao’s plans for playful, creative cuisine. Siao will serve cosmopolitan fare in three distinct venues: the Living Room, with dining area, bar and outdoor terrace; 39°, a cushy, nighttime cocktail “grotto” tucked into a semi-sunken site where the Sky lounge of the same name was located; and the Wet Deck, an 8,000-square- foot rooftop patio tricked out with heated pool, hot tub, bar, cabanas and stunning 360-degree views of Aspen Mountain and environs.

I skipped away from an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour thinking that the W Aspen is a bundle of dynamite sure to blow up our après-ski scene like a powder bomb. At last, it opens to the public on Thursday, Aug. 29. A few enticing highlights among Siao’s ambitious program of party fuel:

Siao’s overall culinary theme is “globally inspired, locally sourced.” Evidence: coconut-kaffir lime-lemongrass green curry meatballs; chicken tikka masala brochettes with cilantro-lime-cumin yogurt; edamame tossed in ginger shoyu with crispy garlic, ginger and a touch of candied orange zest; charred mirin-yuzu prawns with grilled shishito peppers and cucumber pickles; jalapeño salt-and-vinegar rubbed chicken wings; barbecue-dusted chicharróns with ranch dip. Lunch and dinner entrées include the K Bowl (kalbi Korean barbecue short ribs, sticky rice, kimchi, wilted spinach) and the J Bowl (lump crabmeat, ebi shrimp, tuna, sticky rice, sauces, wakame seaweed)—“like a poke bowl on steroids,” Siao quips.

Sticky buns, cider doughnuts and muffin tops, oh my! “Our continental isn’t exactly a continental—it’s sharable, like an appetizer section, to start the day while socializing before going skiing,” Siao explains. Expect staples—eggs, bacon, potatoes—plus nontraditional offerings by way of a build-your-own hash bowl menu. Plus: coconut milk chia seed porridge. “The W brand is all about being healthy and at the same time indulging—detox to retox,” Siao adds.

Siao’s Vapor Burger is a double patty with braised short ribs, double cheese, fried onion straws, and bacon. The Fancy Pantsy Burger, only at the Wet Deck, is a wagyu beef patty dosed with liquid Crescenza Brie and Gouda cheeses, maple-pepper bacon, and truffled Béarnaise sauce. Both are stabbed, heart-attack style, with a steak knife. Meanwhile, Siao’s short-rib grilled cheese on house-made sourdough is filled with American, cheddar, and caramelized onion spread, then encrusted on its exterior with extra cheese.

“It’s a mix of everything you crave…a remake of a ‘Garbage Plate’ out of Rochester (N.Y.),” explains Siao of her nightly special announced via DJ at 10 p.m. in the 39° bar and lounge. “I want to do a huge Bavarian pretzel, and in the middle of the holes are a bunch of different dips. Maybe it’s ribs. Maybe it’s a total garbage plate of sausage gravy, chili cheese fries, nachos. And it’s literally on a pink plate.”

Silly hats, surprise boxes, dice games, and physical challenges (pour wine for your group) rule this area of the Living Room, which may be reserved for semi-private dining. Siao practiced the concept last year at the Lodge at Spruce Peak in Stowe, Vermont: “Everyone got into it. We had the silly hats—Viking hats, hotdog hats, cows. There’s interaction among the guests and with staff. It’s a night they won’t forget.”

“I’m really excited about the cheese program: cold/room temperature cheeses versus hot cheeses,” Siao shares. “You don’t see that (combination) a lot. During après, this mobile cart with different cheeses from around the world will go from Living Room to 39° to Wet Deck.”

A Traeger wood-pellet smoker grill on the Living Room terrace (former site of Sky Hotel’s pool) will send barbecue scents wafting through the hotel’s accordian glass doors. Servers will mention the day’s “hot-box special,” be it hickory-smoked pork shoulder, baby-back ribs or elk-jalapeno sausage sandwiches, the latter prepared with custom links crafted by Colorado Meat Company in Avon.

Beverage versus Food: Sommelier LeeAnn Kaufman and chef Siao, who worked together at Chefs Club at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, will go head-to-head in a friendly three-course, four-course, or “all-out war” competition, leaving guests to choose who wins each round. “The food is going to be great,” Siao declares. “What makes the experience better is (our) interaction with guests, making it fun.”

Call it instant gratification in the Instagram age: wheeled trays of “playful, snacky” food will traverse the 39° nighttime cocktail lounge. On busy Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights, guests might find a sushi bar, poke bowl station, or raw bar set up. “You can come up and talk to the chefs and see them making your food,” Siao says. “That makes people curious.”

Inflatable flamingo and ducky drink-holders to match adult-size loungers on the Wet Deck—’nuff said!

Siao makes just three frozen dessert sammies per sheet tray, each pressing together homemade salted caramel, chocolate or vanilla ice cream with classic candy. “I did it at the Lodge at Spruce Peak at Stowe,” Siao recalls. “Then we removed it, and there was an all-out riot.”

Served in a beer mug with a shot of Bailey’s, the W Aspen’s buzzy root beer float pays homage to Mr. J. Willard Marriott himself—who launched his empire in 1927 with a nine-seat root beer float stand that mushroomed into a restaurant chain, motor lodges, and now luxury hotels and residences around the world.


Mountain deluxe architecture and decor, rooftop amenities with some of the best views in Aspen, and urban-chic vibes thanks to the iconic W Hotels brand — The Sky Residences at W Aspen are transforming the town’s luxury shared ownership market.

The Sky Residences at W Aspen, a limited collection of only six three-bedroom and five two-bedroom W-branded Residences, are debuting this summer. The Sky Residences are offered for sale as a 1/10th shared ownership interest in real estate.

As the property at the base of Aspen Mountain has taken its new shape after the Sky Hotel’s demolition in 2017, it’s clear that what was once one of Aspen’s most exciting and hip gathering spots is not only going to carry on that tradition, it’s going to exceed it.

“The Sky Residences at W Aspen feature compelling statements of space and design that defy expectations,” said R.J. Gallagher, Jr. of Forte Aspen: Residential Marketing & Sales. “It’s where an Owner can get away from it all, while having it all. Effortless ownership, where quality time with family and friends is the only order of the day. And night.”

Built for Aspen

Located on the third and fourth floors of W Aspen, The Sky Residences are modern and luxurious, with many energy-efficient building and lifestyle features fit for this environmentally-conscious town.

“W Hotels Worldwide is a really unique brand in the sense that no two properties are the same,” said Owner and Co-Developer David Jackson of Northridge Capital. “W Hotels starts with the local community and comes up with a design narrative that fits in with that community.”

In Aspen, reflections and echoes of Aspen’s past, as well as its current environment, will be visible throughout the property. Patterns in carpets will feature Ute Indian tribal designs, while artwork and other interior decor will incorporate some of the go-go days and Aspen’s jetsetters, as well as silver mining relics.

“As you walk around, you’ll recognize so many details unique to Aspen and its history,” he said.

Well known street artists are completing artwork on the walls at several highly visible locations throughout the property. The staircase on the north end of the property is the site of a street art installation expanding from the basement level all the way to the rooftop. “This art is going to be incredible. I predict people will want to travel to Aspen just to see it,” said Jackson.

With architecture by Aspen firm Rowland + Broughton, local expertise from Sarpa Development, and Northridge Capital’s experience as owner of the Sky Hotel for 16 years, this is a team that knows Aspen. The result is a property that fits in with the town both architecturally and culturally.

“Our incredibly beautiful views of the majestic mountains and our historic town are open for everyone to enjoy. When combined with the excitement and fun the W Aspen team will bring to the property, Aspen will once again set the bar as no other place can,” expressed Co-Developer John Sarpa.

Owning a piece of Aspen

From a dedicated residential staff to the perks of Whatever/Whenever® Concierge services, The Sky Residences at W Aspen Owners can enjoy a carefree lifestyle where everything is taken care of. Amenities include 24-hour front desk services, housekeeping, a state-of-the-art fitness facility, below-grade parking garage, room service, and more.

Jackson and Sarpa point out that the W Aspen staff will make Owners feel like celebrities around the clock. W Hotels is known for impeccable service combined with an unsurpassed ability to quench guests’ lust for life. The Sky Residences at W Aspen are a place where Owners can begin new family traditions and create lasting memories.

“This shared ownership opportunity offers a unique combination of the hip W brand and the prime Aspen location,” said Gallagher. “All of these amenities right at Owners’ fingertips — in one of the greatest locations, in one of the most desirable towns, in the world.”

Public amenities include an underground late-night speakeasy — named 39 Degrees as an homage to the Sky Hotel — a rooftop bar with hot tub, cabanas, and spectacular views of Aspen Mountain from one of the highest points in town. Owners have access to all W Aspen amenities, plus Owners-only perks such as an exclusive rooftop, the private Owners’ deck on the 4th floor, with a fire pit, hot tub, and BBQs.

“If Owners want to be part of the scene, it’s there and accessible to them. If they want to escape from it, they can retreat to the Owners’ deck,” Jackson said. “This is a very special property in terms of its rare and prominent location and its colorful history with the community of Aspen and its visitors. As the owners, developers, and stewards of W Aspen, we understand its significance as a resort asset and the role it plays in keeping Aspen a desirable, must-do tourism hot spot. But most of all, we are proud to carry on the Sky Hotel legacy as a neighborhood gathering place and the heartbeat of Aspen.”

The Sky Residences at W Aspen Amenities

  • Private, Owners-only 4th floor roof deck with spa, lounge seating, BBQ grill, outdoor kitchen, and fire pit
  • Spacious floor plans are strikingly furnished with open, gourmet kitchens, distinctive appointments, and impeccable detailing, and include expansive balconies, increasing the livable floor area for each Residence
  • All the Residences are in prime locations within the building, featuring expansive views of Aspen Mountain, Independence Pass, Red Mountain, or downtown Aspen
  • Owner amenities entitle Owners to enjoy the convenience and exceptional experience of living at a fine resort property
  • On-property ski locker room
  • On-site ski/snowboard shop with daily and weekly equipment rentals and demos available

What you can expect at the W Aspen

The W Aspen, built from scratch on the site of the former Sky Hotel, will open in mid-July after two years of construction. Curious? So were we. The hotel’s general manager, Greg Durrer, shared with us what to look for.

1. A striking egg-shape pod, designed to resemble a silver nugget, hangs suspended over the lobby. Inside the pod … a DJ booth.

2. Local celebrated architecture firm Rowland and Broughton designed the modern chalet; in-demand New York firm Nemaworkshop did all of the interiors.

3. The 8,000-square-foot rooftop pool area (or the Wet Deck, in W parlance) features a full bar, cabanas, firepits, an oversize hot tub, and the aforementioned pool, along with an up-close view of Aspen Mountain. Better yet, it’s open to the public.

4. Instead of parallel beds, double queen rooms have a tiered setup; along one wall, one bed sits behind the other, elevated on a platform that also provides extra storage for bulky items. The unique arrangement allows for more open floor space, too. Dance party, anyone?

5. 39 Degrees, which Durrer calls an “ultra-lounge,” evokes Aspen’s long-ago red-light district—located where the hotel now sits—with bordello-inspired décor trended up by craft cocktails and a menu of shareable eats. And, of course, the moniker reflects the name of the much-loved lounge and après-ski party spot in the Sky Hotel.


Ask someone to imagine Aspen, and there’s a good chance they’ll picture wintry Rocky Mountain slopes glinting with fresh powder or autumn sun illuminating a hillside dotted with the golden trees that give the town its name.

But to those in the know, Aspen’s prime season just might be summer, when the weather is sublime, festivals overlap and musicians, chefs, mixologists, creatives and visionaries from around the world flock here.

The possibilities for Aspen summer fun and adventure stretch as high as the Maroon Bells peaks, and packed days are best brought to a close while lingering with friends over world-class cuisine and drinks.

Experience the Summer Festival Scene

In the summertime, sweeping mountain vistas inspire lofty thoughts as the world’s leading thinkers, writers, artists, entrepreneurs and dreamers gather for the Aspen Ideas Festival and Aspen Summer Words literary festival in June.

Summer Words is a six-day event for writers and readers that includes creative writing workshops, panel discussions and readings by top authors. The Ideas Festival brings scientists, public officials, economists and more to Aspen for 10 days of public panels, on-stage interviews, debates and lectures.

One year’s typically eclectic lineup for the Ideas Festival included luminaries such as the musician Common, the bestselling author Tara Westover, professional basketball player Kevin Love and Vincente Fox, the former President of Mexico.

Even if you don’t register for the daytime workshops, talks and symposiums, the guest speakers and attendees tend to spill out into the town’s bars and restaurants at night and engage in lively discussions with anyone who sparks them.

Impress your friends with your skills at identifying the Pulitzer Prize winner while sipping a Burning Man cocktail at local steakhouse The Monarch.

Unwind on the W Aspen Rooftop Deck

Rising directly at the base of Aspen Mountain and just steps from downtown’s trendy restaurants and shops, The Sky Residences at W Aspen offer the premier location for grooving on mountain views.

The outdoor WET Deck is open year-round, but in summer the mountainside turns vivid green under the vast blue sky, and the 360-degree view is breathtaking. Dance to live DJs, soak in the hot tub and swimming pool, or just hang out by the fire pit and sip a cocktail with friends knowing that Aspen’s summer playground lies just beyond this hip enclave.

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

Although the opportunities for alpine sporting adventures abound for miles in every direction, the town of Aspen itself is compact, providing the perfect atmosphere for skipping from one experience to the next.

Outdoor lovers have it good here, as they’re in easy access to top-notch hikes like the easy Rio Grande Trail, or the slightly more difficult Smuggler Mountain Trail, which rewards hikers with stunning valley and mountain views. For wildflower spotting, head to Cathedral and American lakes.

Adrenaline junkies should point themselves to Aspen Paragliding for a flight through the Colorado sky, or hit Roaring Fork River for whitewater rafting and casting a line for brown, cutthroat and rainbow trout.

Once you’re had your sporty fix, hit the Aspen Saturday Market, open in summer and early fall, for local produce, a food court and live music. Enjoy the high-country atmosphere in the outdoor beer garden at Hops Culture and choose from 30 different on-tap brews. Or for an underground experience, savor a Oaxacan Daiquiri at Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar, tucked into the basement of Meat & Cheese Restaurant & Farm Shop.

The Aspen Art Museum attracted international notice when its striking new building, designed by Pritzker prize–winning architect Shigeru Ban, opened in 2014. The building, a modernist, latticelike cube, spills sunlight into an interior filled with provocative contemporary art.

Plus, the SO Café at the top of the museum features delicious food and drinks, views of Independence Pass, and in the summer, various evening entertainments, including Movies at the Museum, Jazz Aspen Snowmass café shows, dance performances and “Music with a View” collaborations with the Aspen Music Festival.

A wide variety of bands and singer-songwriters appear on the intimate stage at The Belly Up year-round. If you’d rather party with the see-and-be-seen set, try your luck at making it past the velvet rope outside the Escobar Aspen, or to be safe, reserve a table in advance. The club’s décor is reminiscent of the inside of an airplane — if the airplane were filled with neon decor, laser accents, pulsing DJ beats and dancing revelers.

Tune into Aspen’s Music Festivals

Almost 30 years ago, the Jazz in Marciac festival in southern France inspired music lovers in Aspen to create their own mountain music extravaganza, which has since expanded into a series of concerts in June and an open-air Labor Day festival that encourages crowds of 10,000 attendees to dance their cares away.

Today, Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) has expanded to usher in a new format. The June Experience fills smaller downtown venues with live performances, allowing concertgoers to walk from one show to the next and catch multiple acts in one day.

Over the years, a variety of greats from a myriad of genres have played JAS, including Al Green, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Michael Franti, Mumford and Sons, and the Roots.

Classical music lovers descend on Aspen each summer to attend the Aspen Music Festival and School, an eight-week season of performances and training of mostly young-adult musicians.

More than 400 classical music events fill the schedule and feature orchestras, solo and chamber music performances, opera productions, master classes and more.

Find Your Foodie Haven

Does food taste better at 8,000 feet? Maybe, especially after a day spent working up an appetite while hiking, biking and shopping in and around this Rocky Mountain town. But the talented chefs who create innovative feasts for foodies every June at the Food & Wine Classic don’t need any altitude assistance.

A pass to the festival buys savory meals and a chance to mingle with celebrity chefs, James Beard Award winners, Food & Wine Best New Chefs and champion cocktail mixologists.

Attendance is capped at 5,000, ensuring prime access to all pass holders. Tickets sell out months in advance, and events include wine seminars, cooking demonstrations and dinners in which chefs from across the country recreate the dining experiences of their signature restaurants.

The Sky Residences at W Aspen represent an exclusive shared ownership opportunity slope-side on Aspen Mountain. The Sky Residences are a limited collection of only six three-bedroom and five two-bedroom W-branded Residences.


Anyone who remembers the 2017 ski season closing party at The Sky Hotel knows that what now stands in its place, the new W Aspen and The Sky Residences at W Aspen, has a lot to live up to. Specifically, a reputation as one of Aspen's foremost places for fun and frolic. (Its '80s iteration, the Aspen Club Lodge, held its own as well.)

Launching this summer as parent company Marriott International's only alpine resort escape property in the United States, the W Aspen and The Sky Residences at W Aspen promise a youthful, energetic vibe conviviality for locals and visitors alike. Aspen's historical and cultural legacy lives on, right at the outset.

"W Aspen and The Sky Residences at W Aspen are a great example of how the true spirit of a property can be maintained, while elevating the experiences of the next generation of travelers and residents," says John Rowland, of Rowland+Broughton, architects on the project. "The design concept of a modern ski chalet—including long, sloping rooflines—that was prevalent in Aspen when skiing was first introduced, links Aspen's past, present and future."

Interiors within the 88-room hotel and 11 W-branded fractional Residences feature bespoke furnishings, details and accents that speak to both Aspen's heritage and inherent decadence. Well-being of body, mind, and spirit, an ode to Aspen's historical credo, is addressed via a split-level living room-lounge, the 39° lounge (think high-style cocktails and light fare), topped off by the 8,000-square-foot WET Deck's heated pool and hot tub, fire pit and cabanas, and 360-degree town and Aspen Mountain views.


Summer 2019

The hopes and dreams of the many involved in the redevelopment of Aspen’s Sky Hotel were realized Thursday with the grand opening of the new W Hotel.

Since Northridge Capital bought the lodge they would turn into the Sky 16 years ago, partners on the project have been running numbers on a potential redevelopment.

“We went at it from every way you could possibly conceive and finally found a way that worked and that is why we have what we have here today,” Dave Jackson, president of Northridge, said in his remarks before the crowd that gathered at the W Hotel’s front door to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday afternoon.

He added, “We came into Aspen because we saw a niche in the market for younger people that have enough money to spend, but really the Nell or the St. Regis weren’t their place. … Financially it was very, very successful, but we never imagined it would serve the niche in the community that it served,” Jackson said.

He conceded that people were concerned about what was going to replace the Sky, with its funky decor and accessible restaurant, bar and pool scene frequented by locals.

“I hope you see now that what replaced it continues the values and culture of the Sky but really at a different level,” he said.

John Sarpa, a longtime Aspen developer who guided the approval process on the W Hotel and who has been involved in local lodging projects including the St. Regis Aspen Resort and the Hyatt Grand Aspen, spoke about the welcoming posture city officials, from the mayor to the building department, took toward the project.

Everyone worked to find answers whenever an issue arose, he said.

“But It’s not just approvals and all that stuff,” Sarpa added. “You have got to have people that understand Aspen and who have a boatload of money. This is an expensive proposition.”

He thanked Jackson and the Northridge team for having the vision and the gumption to see the project through.

According to records on file with the city’s building department, the W’s reported construction valuation — which is limited to the value of structural building materials and labor and excludes soft costs and furnishings — is $56.5 million. Plans examination manager Denis Murray noted that the figures developers use to benchmark the total financial value of their projects tend to be about double the building permit valuation number.

The 128,000-square-foot building contains 88 hotel rooms and 11 two- and three-bedroom fractional ownership residences, which are being sold in one-tenth shares.

Hotel room prices in the week leading up the opening were between $419 and $619 per night.

The 8,000-square-foot rooftop deck has a pool and is open to the public, even to those who are not purchasing food and drink from the bar. That stipulation is a condition of the project’s approval, confirmed the W’s director of operations, Scott Cochran.

The food and drinks are not cheap but not out of line by Aspen standards. Signature cocktails run between $18 and $20 and most beers are $7, according to the menu. The “Vapor Burger” on the menu in the downstairs restaurant is priced at $26 and includes two patties, braised short rib and bacon.

“We are totally committed to hitting that whole spectrum, from the international guest to local guests and doing specials all the time,” Cochran said, adding that what the specials are will come into focus in the coming weeks.

The hotel will employ more than 200 people when it is fully staffed. General manager Greg Durrer thanked those who have been on the team in the lead up to opening for their tireless work “to make this place amazing, so you all can enjoy it.”


Thursday’s opening of the W Aspen marks the first time in 25 years that the town has had a new luxury hotel.

Approved in 2015 to replace the Sky Hotel, the new W Aspen is an 88-room hotel, along with 11 free-market residences that are currently for sale for fractional ownership.

The property is the W brand’s second “Mountain Escape,” following the W Verbier in the Swiss Alps.

Greg Durrer, general manager of the W Aspen, said the word “escape” is the W brand’s way to describe an alpine resort.

“The W brand has a different word for just about everything,” he said Wednesday in the hotel’s “Living Room,” which serves as the central point of the “Mountain Escape” experience.

For locals, the central point of the property, located at the base of Aspen Mountain, will likely be the W’s “WET Deck” — an 8,000-square-foot rooftop area that’s open to the public.

It includes a heated pool, hot tubs, cabanas, couches, fire pits, DJ booth, dance floor, a U-shaped bar and 360-degree views.

W Aspen and The Sky Residences at W Aspen are owned by Northridge Capital of Washington, D.C., the owner for 16 years of the former Sky Hotel.

The property was co-developed by Northridge and local partner Sarpa Development.

Northridge’s owner and president, Dave Jackson, was on site this week helping with the final details before Thursday’s grand opening.

In the world of the W brand, the finishing touches are called “styling,” and there is plenty of it throughout the 128,000-square-foot property.

Part of Marriott International Inc., the W Aspen is a big move for W Hotels Worldwide’s global reach, Jackson noted.

The property’s demographic are young professionals who are connected globally by social media, who have disposable incomes and who will spend money and travel the world for the W experience.

When Jackson’s group bought the Aspen Club Lodge, which then became the Sky Hotel run by Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, it was envisioned as moderately priced lodging for affluent young people.

“They don’t fit into The Little Nell” category, Jackson said of Aspen’s five-star hotel.

When Northridge put out the request for proposals to would-be hotel operators, the W brand won out over nine others.

“What drew us to the W was the continuation of the Sky clientele, the young and young at heart,” Jackson said. “Plus its global reach … and the ability to project that out was really appealing.”

Durrer said the W Aspen’s introductory rate is between $300 and $500 a night.

Those prices will fluctuate as the seasons change, he noted.

Reservations are strong going into the first quarter of 2020, according to Durrer, and the property is attracting national and international attention within the industry.

The demographic of buyers for the condos, called the Sky Residences at the W Aspen, are a bit different than the hotel guest, but align with multi-generations, said R.J. Gallagher Jr. of Forte Aspen, the firm that is selling the fractional interests.

“We have buyers from the 40ish to the 80ish,” he said Wednesday.

Buyers are young families, empty nesters, international travelers, movers and shakers and entrepreneurs, coming from as far away as Australia and Hong Kong and as close as in state, according to Gallagher.

Just shy of 40% of the fractionals have been sold, with over 50% of them being the three-bedroom condos.

Sales prices range from just over $551,000 for an interest in a two-bedroom suite, to $797,000 for a three-bedroom.

Each 1/10th ownership interest provides five weeks of use by each owner. The four weeks are guaranteed throughout the year — two in the winter and two in the summer.

The fifth week will be either dedicated to the winter or summer season, depending upon ownership preference and availability.

People are buying into the W Aspen through word of mouth from friends and family and business relationships.

“It’s creating community and that’s the value of the W brand,” Gallagher said. “It’s a rarified property in Aspen. … It’s a lifestyle. It’s beyond bricks and mortar.”

Inside the walls of the W Aspen, the town’s rich history is displayed in subtle and not-so subtle ways — from the red light district that once thrived on Durant Street, to the Ute Native Americans and the silver miners of the late 19th century to the swinging counterculture of the ’60s and ’70s.

It was all created by interior design firm Nemaworkshop and Aspen-based architects Rowland + Broughton, along with W Brand’s design team.

Accent pillows in the Living Room and guest rooms are inspired by local artists Herbert Bayer and Thomas Benton and pay homage to the historical residents of Durant Street, named the “Soiled Doves of Durant.”

During the ski season, W Aspen will have a ski and snowboard shop operated by Aspen Skiing Co.’s Four Mountain Sports.

These so-called “Strategy Rooms” will rent and sell the hotel’s first-edition series of snowboards, which were designed in partnership with Aspen-based High Society Freeride and created by Denver-based Never Summer.

The hotel employs between 120 and 140 people, Durrer said.

They will be on hand Thursday when the doors open at noon. A ribbon-cutting ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m.

“The buzz and excitement for the debut of W Aspen has been building for some time and we could not be readier to bring the infectious energy, spirit and programming of W to this iconic American town,” Durrer said. “We know that W Aspen will not only serve as a year-round destination for travelers but that it will bring a bold new point of view to the local social scene and become the latest player in the legacy of this incredible cultural mecca.”


The highly anticipated W Aspen opens this summer

Employee training sessions have started at the city’s newest hotel, the W Aspen, which is scheduled to open Aug. 29.

“Our plan is to have the hotel open and fully operational for Labor Day weekend,” said Greg Durrer, general manager of the W Aspen and the Sky Residences at W Aspen. “We are at the final stages of our pre-opening process, finishing up details as related to construction and embarking on the beginning of our training process with our talent members.”

Construction on the 88-room hotel and the property’s 11 fractional residences, located at the same East Durant Avenue location as the former Sky Hotel, took a little more than two years following May 2017’s groundbreaking ceremony.

In an interview earlier this week, Durrer expressed excitement about the future of the property and the response he’s received so far.

“A lot of time and effort was put into making sure that the look and the feel of the hotel — this modern day chalet if you will — would fit into the local neighborhood and the community and [add] to the overall Aspen aesthetic,” he said. “I think we invested a lot of time on that. Overall, in speaking with different neighbors of the hotel and individuals around town, everyone’s very pleased with the way it turned out.”

The property is owned by Northridge Capital LLC of Washington, D.C., the same group that took control of the Sky Hotel in 2001. The W Hotel brand is affiliated with Marriott International, which will manage the lodging operation and residences.

Last spring, it was reported that the hotel would open in July. Durrer said “there was a desire to accelerate construction and potentially open the hotel at the beginning of summer.” The pace of construction didn’t allow it.

“One of the things we didn’t want to do is sacrifice the level of quality,” he said. “Now we have a tremendous world-class product. I think all of the local community as well as guests from around the United States and the world will agree when they see it. It’s world-class in terms of design, architecture and the overall hotel experience.”

More on the W Aspen

  • The W Aspen will be the W hotel brand’s second “Mountain Escape” property globally, following the W Verbier in the Swiss Alps.
  • Located at the base of Aspen Mountain, W Aspen will have ski-in/ski-out access.
  • Designers of the hotel include Nemaworkshop of New York City, Aspen-based architects Rowland + Broughton and Marriott International’s award-winning design team. According to marketing materials, the design blends “alpine luxury with bold adventure through a mixed lens of historical, physical and social contexts,” inspired by generations of Aspen inhabitants and visitors: from the Utes and the silver miners of the late 19th century to the swinging counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s and the current crop of globe-trotting billionaires.
  • All guest rooms and suites are playfully marked with room plates in a style reminiscent of the pop-culture icon Bob Ross, while interiors reference the cozy warmth of Swiss chalet architecture through the use of rustic wood finishes, sloped rooflines and a fireplace-inspired mini-bar.

Aspen’s restaurant and bar scene never sleeps. Even as the town shuts down in the dead of offseason, behind closed doors deals are being made, and in the light of day, construction season flourishes.

Here’s a look at some of this summer’s most anticipated additions.

The W Aspen

Replacing the local favorite Sky Hotel, this swanky new spot has some big shoes to fill.

The W Aspen will boast a rooftop patio bar with a pool and jacuzzi, fire pits, cabanas, and views of Aspen Mountain. It also will house a living room area with a built-in DJ booth suspended from the wall.

“Our team is focused on activating W Aspen around our guests’ passion points of design, music, fashion and fuel,” says hotel general manager Greg Durrer. “We will be partnering with local and regional experts in order to bring these experiences to life.”

An homage to the defunct Sky Hotel, the ground floor lounge will be called 39 Degrees. The menu will include craft cocktails and bar bites, while the living room lounge will serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Nestled at the base of Aspen Mountain, the hotel will offer 88 bedrooms and suites and 11 residences.

The Aspen location is the second of the international brand’s mountain resorts; the first opened in Verbier, Switzerland in December 2013.


Aspen’s first major new hotel offering in a decade is scheduled to debut this summer, at the base of Aspen Mountain. Promising to cater to the cachet of Aspen-aspiring, affluent millennials, W Aspen’s modern chalet will also please locals with a chic public rooftop reminiscent of the property’s former iterations as the Sky Hotel and Aspen Club Lodge, both known for killer après scenes—no matter the season.

Marriott International (owner of the St. Regis and W luxury brands) now occupies both east and west sides of Aspen Mountain.

“Our strategy was to layer various stories of Aspen throughout,” says Anurag Nema, principal of Nemaworkshop of New York. “Mainly, we drew from Aspen’s history as a silver mining town [beginning in 1881]. This informed everything from the lobby lounge, guest room corridors, miner-style lamps and the illuminated dioramas found in each of the standard rooms to the metallic silver palette in the rooms.”

The opening of W Aspen brings the total of ski-in/ski-out hotels in Aspen to two. Its neighbor, The Little Nell, is the other.

“The iconic chalet style was first introduced to Aspen in the 1940s, and over time, the style has been slowly eroding,” says John Rowland, principal of Rowland+Broughton. “The opportunity to create a modern interpretation of the chalet speaks to Aspen’s ski heritage and the prominence of being at the base of the mountain.”

The WET Deck, W Aspen’s public rooftop, will feature a heated pool, hot tub, cabanas, fire pits, a dance floor, bar and 360-degree views—the perfect gathering spot for locals and visitors.

The Sky Residences offer 11 shared ownership units (six three-bedroom and five two-bedroom) on the property.