Chalet Chic in Aspen

The newly renovated Limelight Hotel offers a laid-back gathering space for guests and locals alike
Dest Fire

Custom Riki Lighting chandeliers with a matte black metal frame and brass accents set the tone for the swank lobby, also known as the “living room” of the Limelight. The space features warm decorative elements from West Elm, Restoration Hardware, Blu Dot, and Lulu and Georgia. | Photo by Joe Thomas

Everyone seems to have their favorite season in Aspen, but the reality is that every single day of the year in this Colorado mountain community is a delight. The arts, music, outdoor recreation, dining, nightlife and shopping—Aspen simply has it all. So when the owners of the iconic Limelight Hotel had the chance to fully renovate, they decided to go all out. After all, an investment in Aspen usually pays off.

Dest Reception

The new reception/ concierge area is referred to as the “Jewel Box,” with a digital video screen and a bronze glass and champagne metal structures to welcomes guests. | Photo by Joe Thomas

In this case, the Limelight already had one of the best locations in the downtown core—adjacent to Wagner Field, a short stroll to the bustling shopping and dining district, and a five-minute walk to the Aspen Mountain gondola—but the 1950s-era property, with its dated finishes and dark, tired interior, was in desperate need of an upgrade. Aspen Skiing Company, which purchased the property in 2010, hired New York City hospitality-focused design firm Stonehill Taylor to remodel the hotel. For nine months in 2021 the 100,000-square-foot property was revamped and modernized.

Dest Lounge

With floor-to-ceiling windows, the glamorous light-filled lobby is “the place to be seen,” says general manager Noemi Kiss-Baldwin. Floor lamps and sconces were sourced at Arteriors and Visual Comfort, while chairs are custom Lily Jack with seat fabric by Bernhardt Textiles. | Photo by Joe Thomas

“The hotel lacked a personality,” recalls Meghan Kelly, lead designer. “It didn’t have connectivity or refinement. We wanted to create an elevated and updated experience with a ski chalet vibe—something contemporary and elegant with playful pops of color and unique eye-catching forms.” Kelly and her team brought new life to the space but remained true to the balance of luxury and accessibility. “Other hotels in Aspen can feel exclusive for guests but disconnected to the locals,” she says.

Dest Bath

The penthouse suite bathroom offers plumbing fixtures and tub by Kohler, with undermount sinks from Lacava. All porcelain tile was sourced from Stonepeak Ceramics, meant to mimic the look of marble. | Photo by Joe Thomas

In fact, Aspen residents affectionately refer to the Limelight as their “community living room” because so many local events are held there throughout the year. Residents gather in the expansive and airy lounge nightly for affordable cocktails and appetizers (an “endangered species in Aspen,” says Kelly) and the easygoing, laid-back vibe of the space. It’s just a genuine place to be, without the pretension, agree many Aspen locals.

Kelly and her crew aimed for an environment of warmth and comfort while also paying homage to Aspen’s dynamic past and vibrant present. In addition to a complete remodel of all hotel rooms, the team changed the layout of the lobby and lounge area to provide better flow for check-in. General manager Noemi Kiss-Baldwin says families often feel uncomfortable bringing their children to elegant hotels in the area, but the Limelight strives to make them feel welcome and connected. “We don’t follow five-star standards, which can be stressful for young families. We’re more relaxed. There’s no need to do your makeup to come down to the lobby.”

Dest Bed

The penthouse primary bedroom offers Kravet draper- ies and fabric throughout, outdoor furniture by Eric Brand, custom headboards and daybed by Lime
Tree Hospitality, and Nydree white-oak flooring. | Photo by Joe Thomas

Rather, adults can sit by the cozy fireplace, order cocktails from the upscale marble-clad bar, and listen to live music while their children play in the newly added kids’ lounge in the back of the lobby area, which is filled with colorful furniture, video games and toys. “The kids can be loud in their own area while the parents have a glass of wine yet still keep an eye on their little ones,” explains Kiss-Baldwin. Plus, floor-to- ceiling windows in the main lobby area provide the seen-and-be-seen glam of Aspen, which doesn’t hurt.

Dest Bar

In the opulent hotel bar, the Delicatus White Granite countertop mimics the fireplace seat in the lobby. The herring- bone tile beneath is from Design Direct Source, and the custom bar stools are made with leather from Cortina. | Photo by Joe Thomas

As for the interior, Kelly and her team used natural materials with mixed metal finishes, a neutral mix of earthy wood tones, amber-tinted glass, brushed bronze and whitewashed oak in the spacious and airy main area. The result is a contemporary aesthetic that is a nod to the mountain lifestyle and the history of Aspen.“Our goal was to get the Limelight into the 21st century,” says Kiss-Baldwin. “We’re lighter and brighter, with a little bit of glam and a modern vibe. It’s sophisticated but comfortable. At the Limelight, you can let go and enjoy.”

The Scoop

LOCATION 355 S. Monarch St., Aspen, Colorado

HISTORY The Limelight was built on the site of the storied Limelite Lodge and Ski and Spur Bar, owned by the Paas family. Aspen Skiing Company bought the hotel in 2010 and renamed it the Limelight as the hotel brand’s flagship property. Other Limelight hotels are in Denver, Snowmass and, in 2025, Boulder, Colorado; Ketchum, Idaho; and Mammoth, California.

RATES $1,500/night peak season; $1,200/ night summer; $350/night off-season

ACCOMMODATIONS 126 rooms, including six suites

AMENITIES Complimentary continental breakfast, free in-town transportation, adventure concierge, outdoor pool and hot tubs, fitness center, loaner bikes, stand-up paddleboard adventures, ski lockers, and pet-friendly rooms.

DINING Breakfast, après happy hour, and full dinner service with an Italian emphasis (and pizza!).

GETTING THERE The Limelight Hotel Aspen is located in downtown Aspen, three miles from Aspen/Pitkin County airport. Aspen is approximately 200 miles from Denver via Glenwood Springs, or a 3.5-hour drive.


Categories: Mountain Travel