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I’m a pretty normal gal on a budget who wears a ski jacket that I got the year I graduated high school (and I’m now in my mid-30’s, gulp). While I very much enjoy skiing, I have little business being in Aspen, the winter playground of the rich and famous, let alone staying at a very fancy St. Regis between Christmas and New Year’s. However, because of how valuable Starwood Preferred Guest points can be, I spent a few days leading up to New Year’s doing just that…coincidentally Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were skiing in Aspen at the same time, which is further proof I don’t really belong there.
This particular stay was my final stay as part of the 2013 Starwood Preferred Guest Amex Stars program. This partnership allowed me to take three trips to different SPG properties in 2013 that I otherwise likely wouldn’t have been able to visit this year (St. Regis Bahia Beach, Westin Grand Central during the US Open, and finally St. Regis Aspen). Each of my stays went along with a giveaway to one of you. This final stay of the year allowed me to give away 70,000 SPG points to one lucky Twitter follower in early December!
The SPG Amex Stars program also provided me with 70,000 SPG points as well as airfare for two, and challenged me to use the points to build a special two night holiday winter trip within the US in November or December. All other expenses we incurred beyond that were on us, and we utilized our points via the normal booking channels once they were received. I was tempted to just use a few of the points for the trip and stash the rest for later, but resisted the temptation and accepted the challenge by going all-in on a short winter wonderland getaway to the St. Regis Aspen.
The Pre-Christmas holiday time frame is a “no travel” time in our household, but planning a “Winter Wonderland” trip a few days after Christmas was the perfect way to leave ourselves something to look forward to after all the presents under the tree were opened. We also thought it to be the most likely place to spot Santa after the holidays!
If you want to see video we made of the hotel and local skiing for yourself, then check out this video review that we put together. I’ll also cover much of the info in this post, but please check out the video review and let us know what you think.
Using Points to Stay at the St. Regis Aspen:
The St. Regis Aspen is a Category 7 SPG hotel, and rates during ski season can reach an astonishing $1,000 – $2,000 dollars per night. That is an absolutely insane number, but it is what the cash price was for the dates we were there, and the hotel was darn near sold out. Instead of $2,000 per night, we spent 30,000 SPG points per night for our stay and were able to book it for the very peak Christmas – New Year’s time period just a couple of months out!
Getting to the St. Regis Aspen:
My husband, daughter, and I flew on a convenient non-stop United flight from Houston to Aspen. Aspen’s airport is one of the hardest to fly into in the country (according to those who know way more about flying than me), and landing is quite interesting as you are surrounded by mountains. It is, however, an absolutely beautiful place to fly into and it puts you in the mood to be in the mountains before you ever touch the ground.
Once you land at the airport and walk into the terminal, you are promptly greeted by a representative from the St. Regis who will assist you in getting your bags and offer you some bottled water (drink lots of water in the mountains!). Before our trip, the hotel had contacted us to get our arrival information so they could meet us and provide complimentary transportation.
The St. Regis has a desk in the baggage area as well in case you need it. Within a couple of minutes, the driver had bought our child’s loyalty quickly and easily by giving her a FAO Schwartz St. Regis Aspen bear!
Once our checked bags emerged, they were promptly loaded into the complimentary shuttle and we were on our way to the St. Regis! The hotel was about 12 minutes or so from the airport, so it was a very efficient trip from landing to the hotel.
My four year old was most impressed by all the snow covered mountains we passed along the way!
Checking in and the Lobby:
There was virtually no one in the lobby when we arrived at the hotel, presumably because they were all out skiing. The lobby gets much more lively once the sun goes down.
We had our pick of chairs by the fireplace or by the sunny windows, but we had more important things to do like check out our room and go rent skis!
The check-in process was efficient and delivered politely. We had put the stay in my husband’s name so we can use his SPG Platinum status, and as such we were offered 500 bonus SPG points, a spa facilities visit (I think for two), or breakfast for two daily. Naturally we chose breakfast for two as breakfast would likely be pretty expensive at a St. Regis, and in Aspen in general. There were no suites available during our visit to upgrade to using his status, but we were given an upgrade to a room with a view of Aspen Mountain as well as a patio. The room was not available when we arrived around noon, but it was ready about an hour or so later which was still a few hours before the official check-in time.
I want to also point out that in the check-in area there is a little place for kids to sign in. My kiddo wrote her first initial (since that is the one she is good at writing) and joined the list of kids who have stayed at the St. Regis Aspen. Everyone we encountered was so nice to her, and many of them checked with me to make sure she had received her St. Regis bear.
Around the holidays they also host several family friendly Christmas themed events, and even have their own “Christmas Room” that is just down the hall from the check-in desk. The room was beautiful even though Christmas was over and Santa’s visits had passed.
In addition to the stuffed bear, my daughter was also given a reusable water bottle with some pink sunglasses inside to use on the bright mountain. We actually had forgotten her sunglasses at home, so this was a very welcome little gift. This hotel seems to go out of its way to surprise you with nice touches, and is family-friendly in many ways even though you may not think that a St. Regis is a family-oriented hotel on the surface.
We were on the second floor, so took the elevator up and were immediately impressed by the wallpaper in the halls. I’m not a wallpaper gal, but this just seemed perfect given the location. There were also chandeliers in the hall because, well, it’s a St. Regis in Aspen.
The room itself looked like it came out of a magazine. The colors, textures, and view were all simply incredible. More importantly, the beds were very comfortable, and the TV received the NFL football games just fine. I love that they offer standard rooms with two beds for families!
Even with three of us and ski boots, clothes, etc. we didn’t feel cramped in the room at all during our stay.
You could look out of the window from the room and have an amazing view of the mountain!
A highlight of the room for my family was the bathroom, and specifically the huge soaking tub. We actually did brave the cold to go out to the hot tub one night, but it was much easier just pretending the big tub was a pool and letting my daughter “swim” in there.
Having a separate vanity, room for the toilet, bath tub, and shower allows for a family to get ready much quicker than if everyone had to wait their turn for one small bathroom that housed all of those items together.
Overall the room was great, but we did hear music in the room until pretty late at night one night. Of course, we were there just before New Year’s so it was likely related to one of the big events the hotel was hosting. There were two adult robes in the room, and they will provide a kid’s size robe on request. We tried to get for our jaunt out to the hot tub, but it never showed up. Not a huge deal, but worth a brief mention as even a St. Regis isn’t perfect 100% of the time.
Breakfast in Trecento Quindici Decano and Other Dining:
We ate breakfast both mornings at the Trecento Quindici Decano that opens at 7AM. We found that eating there right when they opened was perfect for being able to then finish up getting dressed in our ski gear and heading to Snowmass on-time for ski school. I’ll post more on the local skiing in a subsequent post. The restaurant has a breakfast buffet that was available as the SPG Platinum breakfast. Our first day we asked if the breakfast could instead be used as a credit toward a menu item, but were told it could not. We had several issues getting our Platinum breakfast credited accurately that first day, so I don’t know if that was the accurate answer or not but it was enough to lead us toward the buffet that normally goes for about $32.
The hot menu items rotated slightly the two days we were there, with the cold items staying generally the same on our two day stay. There was plenty of food that we enjoyed on the buffet, including the hash, bacon, salmon, yogurt parfaits, and omelet station.
My daughter opted to order kid’s pancakes and loved them both mornings.
Our juice and coffee was not included in the Platinum breakfast, but a tip is to just get complimentary coffee in the lobby! In fact, there there is complimentary coffee, tea, water, and hot chocolate in the lobby at different times of the day.
While we are on the topic of food, a little fruit and water amenity appeared in our room the first evening, and it was a very nice treat that I assume was related to our Platinum status.
The hotel also offers complimentary s’mores in the evenings that we took advantage of both evenings. The first night the s’more supplies were depleted about halfway through the scheduled time, and even though we waited a little while we didn’t see them replenished. It is possible they were replenished after we left. However, the second night we went in time to roast some marshmallows by the outdoor fire.
The first night of our stay I was having what I thought to be an altitude headache. I talked to the hotel about suggestions, and they recommended I visit the oxygen room in the spa. Normally the spa amenities come with a $50 fee, but they told me the fee would be waived to try out the oxygen room since I wasn’t feeling well. I don’t know if this is standard operating procedure or not, but it was a very nice gesture.
The oxygen room was very calm and comfortable, and I was told to relax and was literally hooked up to oxygen. I was also given some warm tea and honey.
The combination of the quiet, the oxygen, and relaxing truly did make my headache go away in about 15 minutes. I didn’t feel perfect afterwards, but I certainly felt much better. It’s certainly the first time a hotel has hooked me up with oxygen, but it is the perfect amenity for such a high altitude hotel!
The St. Regis Aspen is a beautiful and luxurious hotel at the base of the mountain in Aspen. It is an easy walking distance to tons of shops and restaurants (more on that in a future post), and being able to use SPG points for something that would have otherwise been so far out of reach for us was insane. If you I think that for people looking to really experience Aspen on points this is the perfect choice. If you want to try out the luxury and beauty of Aspen but avoid spending four figures a night at this hotel, you can use points earned via the SPG American Express card or SPG Business American Express card.
While this hotel is only 10 minutes or so from the family-friendly Buttermilk Mountain, I think that families who want to primarily ski Snowmass specifically may be better served at the Westin Snowmass (unless you really love the Aspen scene!). Even still, I’m so glad we got the chance to experience this beautiful hotel and the great city of Aspen!
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