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Aspen Vacation Primer: How to Package Perfection

Posted: 3 Feb 2016

There's lots of pieces that need to come together for the perfect Aspen vacation: travel accommodations, lodging, dining and activities, just to name a few. With so many things to do in town, it's up to each individual traveler to decide what's important to them. That's where Frias Properties can assist.   To help you along the way, our blog team sat down with Frias' head concierge, Mariya Mitsinova, to discuss the many parts  of creating the perfect Aspen vacation. Below, she answers some basic questions to help you along the way. Let's see what Mariya has to say on three important aspects: lodging, activities and dining. LODGING Q: What summer lodging do you recommend? A: "Very popular during the summer months are the properties by the river - Chateau Roaring Fork and Chateau Eau Claire. Beautiful views and peaceful location. The Galena neighborhood collection of condos is situated conveniently in downtown Aspen - within walking distance from almost all restaurants and stores in town. Many of the hiking trails are also nearby."

The Chateau Roaring Fork is a popular Aspen lodging choice, especially during the summer months. The Chateau Roaring Fork is a popular Aspen lodging choice, especially during the summer months.

Q: What types of amenities are important in the summertime? A: "Outdoor swimming pool. Most of our properties have one but ask reservation to make sure the property you are interested in does.  Outdoor barbecue grill - most properties have a grill available on site.  Parking - many guests drive during the summer. We provide 1 parking spot per condo in the parking lot and street parking permits for the extra vehicles free of charge.  Bike racks - available on site. "Many people coming to Aspen for the first time are surprised that the condos (big part of them) do not have air conditioning. Summertime is so great here because it never gets too hot and the humidity is very low. We don’t really need an A/C in the accommodations we offer or in our homes. We’ve had guests asking for firewood in the middle of July! " Q: What’s your pick for luxury lodging in the summer? A: "Obermeyer Place and Obermeyer Place-Park are beautiful luxury apartments. We offer luxury accommodations at the Clarendon complex as well. 330 West Bleeker is an amazing house in Aspen. You can also rent properties at the Ritz-Carlton, St Regis and Hyatt by calling our reservations department." Q: What winter accommodations do you recommend? A: "Chateau Dumont and Chateau Chaumont are two blocks away from the Aspen Gondola. Most of the properties we manage are in downtown and within short walking distance to the bus station from where all free buses to Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands depart every 15-20 minutes. The Fasching Haus, Alpenblick, Durant and Fifth Avenue condos are less than three blocks away from the Gondola. Independence Square Hotel is almost across the street from the lift!" Q: What amenities are important in the winter? A: "Fireplace - 90 percent of our condos have a wood burning fireplace and we provide firewood.  Hot tub and a heated pool - available in most condo complexes. Independence Square hotel has an amazing rooftop hot tub with great mountain views." Q: How important is it to be close to the ski lifts? A: "Depends. Aspen Mountain is the only mountain in downtown. You need to catch a free bus or drive to get to the other three mountains. Our bus system is super convenient - all the buses are free and run frequently. If you are an advanced skier and will primarily ski Aspen Mountain - reserve one of our properties nearby the Gondola or Lift 1." ACTIVITIES Q: How early do I need to buy lift tickets, and how do I do that? A: "At least seven days in advance to get a discount. Once you book your accommodation with Frias, call the concierge desk at 970-925-9075 and we’ll get them for you. Don’t wait in long lines - pick up your lift tickets upon check-in from our office." Q: What are some winter must-do activities? A: "People come to Aspen for the fresh power - world-class skiing and snowboarding! You can hit the slopes even before they are open if you sign up for First Tracks. The more adventurous can book a backcountry powder tour or even a hut trip."

Aspen's known for its world-class skiing. Aspen's known for its world-class skiing.

Q: What are some popular winter outdoor activities other than skiing? A: "Even if you are not skiing and snowboarding there is plenty to do! Group snowshoeing tours are a great way to spend time outdoors in nature and get your exercise at the same time. "The road to Maroon Bells is closed during the winter but you can still visit the iconic sight of Aspen by booking a snowmobiling tour. "You can also go on a scenic sleigh ride, ice skate, and paraglide. Ice fishing trips are also available." Q: Are there any indoor winter activities or events that you would recommend? A: "Aspen Recreation Center is a great place to take your children to swim, ice skate or climb. "All of our guests receive passes to the Aspen Club and Spa as part of their reservation with Frias. Imagine soaking in the Jacuzzi or relaxing in the steam room after a long day of skiing! "Don’t forget to check Belly Up’s schedule of live concerts. You will be surprised of the amazing line-up of performers. "My personal favorite is the Jas Café at the Little Nell Hotel. You can enjoy listening to world renowned jazz musicians while having a glass of wine and appetizers." Q: What are summer must-dos? A: "The two most popular activities during the summer are hiking and biking. Rent bikes and bike to Woody Creek Tavern and back. This is an intermediate 10-mile bike ride. The adventurous road bikers prefer the Castle Creek Road to Maroon Bells or Ashcroft Road. "Our hiking trails are gorgeous. My favorite hike is Cathedral Lake Trail. Not an easy hike - four hours round trip but the views make it totally worth it. "Don’t forget to buy a Gondola ride ticket and go to the top of Aspen Mountain. The views are stunning and there are many family activities offered up there." Q: What are some popular summer outdoor activities other than hiking and biking? A: "Fly Fishing - we can arrange a trip for you with experienced guides. Colorado offers some of the best fishing there is.  Another way to see the valley is to go on a scenic jeep tour or paraglide above Aspen.  Rafting is an awesome adventure too. There are trips of different levels - from mellow to a quite stimulating adventure.  Yoga at the Sundeck - the yoga fans will have a blast stretching outdoors enjoying breathtaking views." Q: Are there any cool summer indoor activities? A: "Nobody wants to be indoors during the summer - it’s so nice and beautiful outside!  The Aspen Recreation Center is a fun place to take your kids. They will love the large swimming pool with water slides, the climbing wall and the ice skating rink." DINING Q: What are some of the top restaurants in Aspen? A: "Pinon’s, Nobu Matsuhisa, Steakhouse 316, Cache Cache and the Wild Fig are probably the most difficult to get a reservation. Book at least 1 month in advance.  Other great places are the Italian restaurants L’Hostaria, Campo de Friori and Acquolina, Ajax Tavern, Kenichi, Jimmy’s."

Aspen is a foodie's paradise. Aspen is a foodie's paradise.

Q: How early do I need to make reservations, and can the concierge desk do that for me? A: "Submit your list of dinner reservations at least one month in advance during the winter. Summertime many restaurants have large patios they don’t accept reservations for and it’s easier to find availability." Q: What are some of the top picks for winter dining (Christmas/New Year’s)? A: "The Prospect at the Hotel Jerome and Trecento Quindici at the St. Regis offer great Christmas buffets. The most desired restaurants this time of the year are as usual Nobu Matsuhisa, Casa Tua, Cache Cache, Pinon’s and Steakhouse 316. On New Year's Eve, almost every place in town has a pricey cover fee per person. The most popular parties in town are at the Sky Hotel, Element 47 at the Little Nell and the party at the Jerome. The tickets sell out really fast." Q: Are there good restaurants near the lifts or on the mountain? A: "Ajax Tavern is located right at the base of Aspen Mountain. The Sundeck is an on-mountain dining option in Aspen. You can get there with the Gondola. "The most popular strictly ski-in and out restaurant is Cloud 9. This place sells out 1 month in advance to the exact date. Great food and party atmosphere." Q: What restaurants offer fun  outdoor summer dining? A: "Jimmy’s Bodega - large patio next to Wagner Park; Hops Culture and Zocalito Latin Bistro - Hyman Avenue mall outdoor dining; Jimmy’s has a nice balcony; The Meatball Shack and the Red Onion are casual pub style places with great outdoor seating; Casa Tua - Italian, fine dining (Cooper Avenue mall) and many others. "Pine Creek Cookhouse is a unique mountain dining experience. Definitely visit for a gourmet lunch and enjoy the stunning Castle Creek Valley views."

Mariya Mitsinova (970) 429-2449 Mariya Mitsinova
(970) 429-2449

Thanks, Mariya! That's a ton of great advice that will help the planning process! When packaging your next Aspen getaway, the concierge desk can be a useful resource after you've secured your accommodations through Frias Properties. On the lodging side, our seasoned team of vacation specialists can quote you rates for your specific dates. Be sure to tell your vacation specialist what amenities are important to you.