Hike at Independence Pass this summer.

If you’ve ever experienced an Aspen summer, you know you don’t need a reason to visit again—you just need to make it happen. Aspen’s record-setting snowfall this winter has already kicked off an epically anticipated summer adventure. Not only did Aspen Mountain open early because of unprecedented conditions, they closed late (in June) because of extended ski conditions.

What does that mean for mountain rookies? Well, you can still expect a summer chock-full of multisport days that embrace Aspen’s altitude, sunshine and fresh air.

The gates at Independence Pass are open. Hiking trails are clamoring for foot traffic. Rapids are fiercely flowing. Wildflowers are blooming, and the mountain sun is waiting to be soaked up.

Nowhere is more fitting for an Aspen stay than the exquisite and elevated experience at The St. Regis Aspen Resort, ideally located at the base of Aspen Mountain. The location alone is enough to plan a visit, but it’s the over-the-top customer service that makes you want to stay.

Many rooms come standard with butler service, which is the perfect way to be spoiled while vacationing in the mountains. Not feeling well? They’ll run to the store for cold medicine. Don’t feel like packing? Give them a heads-up and your packing will be done quickly and perfectly. If you’re not looking to spend the extra money on butler service, that’s no problem because their entire staff goes out of their way to ensure your stay is nothing less than five-star.

The St. Regis Aspen Resort is breathtaking in summer and fall, too.

Luxurious junior suites overlook picturesque mountain vistas. Downstairs, you’ll find a granola bar, a concierge—where you can ask for a hiking suggestion or where to ride the complimentary bikes—and Kitty Jacob Astor IV, the hotel’s first mascot and social media star—a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy born September 2018, who pays tribute to the St. Regis’ history and is a great cuddler. 

Don’t miss the 11:15 a.m. daily bloody mary ritual in the lobby bar, Mountain Social, where you can sample the hotel’s signature bloody mary, the Downhill Snapper (every St. Regis Resort location crafts a local rendition of a bloody), mixed with locally-made Woody Creek Vodka, muddled dill and basil for a distinct flavor that will make you want to stay far beyond the free sample.

Hotel guests can reserve complimentary Lexus models for half-day excursions throughout Aspen-Snowmass. Make the 18-mile drive to Independence Pass or the 11-mile drive to Ashcroft Ghost Town, and if you’re feeling extra adventurous, reserve the Lexus and a complimentary paddleboard for a day trip to Ruedi Reservoir. Rather not drive? Grab one of the hotel’s complimentary cruiser bikes and visit the Saturday farmers market or Rio Grande Park. These are all things to add to your summer bucket list, no matter where you stay.

Paddleboards are complimentary.

And if you get sore from your outdoor adventures, Remède Spa at the St. Regis was recently voted the No. 1 spa in the world by Travel + Leisure. First-class services here include an oxygen lounge, steam caves, and a CBD healing customized massage, which uses CBD oils to help alleviate symptoms of pain and tension, decrease inflammation and reduce muscle soreness and tension.

Eventually, you're going to want to check out Aspen's great dining scene. Houstonians will rejoice in the brand-new and intriguing introduction of Kirby Ice House in the town center, adjacent to Wagner Park. The new restaurant also turns into the Bumble Lounge pop-up—sponsored by Austin-based dating app Bumble—at 9 p.m. each night with a DJ, late night food, free swag and hopefully a love (or networking) connection waiting for you.

Heading out to hike on the Ute Trail? Make your first morning stop at the corner of Spring and Hopkins, home to the Spring Café, which opened in 2013 as Aspen’s first 100 percent organic eatery, serving colorful acai bowls or smoothies. Aspen Tap is another corner hangout with coffee and doughnuts, or upon your return to town, a plethora of craft beer, too—order an Ajax Pilsner.

Hop into Mountain Social for its nightly champagne sabering.

Mountain Social, the lounge inside St. Regis, has a delightful selection of drinks for you dinner pre-game and also does a nightly champagne sabering. Head back downtown for a night at Ellina, a quintessential dinner spot, especially for wine lovers. Serving Italian-American contemporary cuisine paired with a well-curated wine list, the restaurant provides an intimate atmosphere in the heart of Aspen and a bar menu not to be missed. As with most Aspen restaurants, do yourself a favor and snag a seat at the bar, which is usually quicker and always more fun.

Stop by the brand new Betula for cocktails after, where the delicate Yellow Paloma is served in a bird-shaped chalice for one of the most photogenic drinks in Aspen (and you’ll want photographic proof of the $20 Casamigos Tequila masterpiece), and the outdoor terrace offers views of Ajax Mountain. The town’s newest speakeasy Bad Harriet is a semi-secret lounge inside Hotel Jerome, in the recently restored Aspen Times building. As of right now, there isn’t a password for entry, but don’t expect that to last. The town needs to keep a few secrets reserved for the locals.

If you only have one meal in Aspen, save it for the chicken sandwich at White House Tavern. Part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group, which owns Houston’s, this unassuming literal white house doesn’t look like much. The restaurant is small and there’s usually a wait. But the chicken sandwich is huge—big enough to share, if you want. Grab a side of fries, glass of pinot grigio and you’re as close to a local as imaginable.

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