design at the nell
In 2020, The Nell completed a renovation of the hotel lobby and living room, completed by Luis Bustamante Interiors of Spain. The primary goal for the renovation was to create a sense of place; a hospitality experience that evokes as sense of elevated Aspen living. A sculptural reception desk is a nod to the hotel’s history of being an ‘art’ hotel. Fine art is very much the ethos of the Little Nell has infused the design with more references that reinforce that heritage. The space is designed to be more social – adding more seating to encourage guests to enjoy the convivial nature of the property. Screens were installed between the reception and the living room to elegantly break up the open space and create a sense of privacy while still allowing for engagement.
The Wine Bar was renovated by New York-based firm, Champalimaud Design with the ‘Aspen’ narrative carrying into the space with a mixture of woods to create a luxurious contemporary cabin-like feeling with dark metal accents and hearty flooring, plus a custom chandelier reminiscent of cairns on Colorado hiking trails.
Also in 2019, Ajax Tavern was renovated by Rowland + Broughton Architecture and Interior Design who previously renovated the space in collaboration with Holly Hunt. The overall look is a modern tavern that is open yet cozy and comfortable. Seating is in booths and banquettes that allow for flexibility and gathering different sized groups. The palette is a combination of lighter oak with red leather booths, blackened metal hanging lights and other accents and camel leather chairs. The walls are dark to maintain the tavern feel. A glass screen with an inlaid grain pattern provides a semi-opaque view towards the kitchen and the handmade tile wall beyond. The floor is carpet which is durable for ski boots, softens the acoustics in the room and creates a cozy feel. The patio also has new seating, umbrellas and string lights.
In 2017, Champalimaud Design refreshed the 52 guest rooms, 26 premium guest rooms, eight junior suites and all guest floor corridors, inspired by an “Authentic Aspen” motif. The design pays tribute to both Aspen’s lively and cultural scene, as well as its dynamic history as a charming silver mining town. “A primary intent behind the renovation was to brighten and update the hotel’s luxurious accommodations, which are regarded for their residential, welcoming feel,” noted Paula Crown, of the Crown family who owns Aspen Skiing Company and The Little Nell and whose artwork graces its walls. Champalimaud’s approach towards the project was to reinvigorate the spaces to be fresh, light and welcoming, utilizing palettes of blue, tan and grey to complement the relaxed nature of Aspen. Key features include plush carpet in the guest rooms and corridors, as well as luxurious sensory details ensuite such as navy blue ottomans and plush decorative pillows, Custom throws were also designed exclusively for the hotel and are available for sale in the boutique at The Little Nell. New wall coverings behind the color block headboards are reminiscent of a mid-winter snowstorm or a stand of aspens. Subtle elements of surprise include gilded wallpaper within the gracious closets.
In 2012, the signature restaurant at The Nell reopened as Element 47, designed by James Beard Restaurant Design award-winner Bentel & Bentel. Design elements include a fortified connection between the vibrant bar scene to the dining room, a focus on large-scale artwork, a glass wine wall incorporating the restaurant’s Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning cellar and lighting that provides a distinct look for each meal period. The space also includes natural elements such as stone, sumptuous wood, blackened steel and rich leather seating softened by luxurious fabrics and wall coverings.
In 2008, Chicago designer and Aspen resident Holly Hunt and her team redesigned the hotel's six signature suites. The aim was to welcome guests as if they were stepping into the comfort of a luxurious private home. This was accomplished with a transitional blend of modern and classic styles and a “very close attention to the textures,” by mixing fabrics, woods, stone, and metals.