Aspen has been ranked the most expensive ski resort in North America based on winter lodging rates, according to a recent survey by the online hotel booking website Cheaphotels.org. Snowmass is the sixth most expensive.
Aspen’s average nightly rate of $241 (to stay in the cheapest available double room in a minimum three-star hotel in February or March) edged out Olympic Valley, Calif., whose rate of $239 under the same conditions is a close second. Alta/Snowbird rounded out the podium with a rate of $236.
The remainder of the top 10 most expensive ski resorts are in Colorado: Breckenridge, $223; Vail, $214; Snowmass, $212; Telluride, $204; Keystone, $203; Beaver Creek, $199; and Copper Mountain, $192.
The top Canadian ski resorts in the survey were much less expensive. The highest nightly lodging rate Cheaphotels.org found was $204 at Kicking Horse, British Columbia—which places it in line with Telluride for the eighth most expensive resort in North America.
The least expensive of the 30 resorts listed were Banff/Mt. Norquay, Alberta, at $84 per night; and Heavenly, Calif. and Sun Peaks, British Columbia, both at $94 per night.
Cheaphotels.org conducted its survey in late January by searching Expedia, Priceline, and Orbitz for four specific time periods in February and March, and considered only hotels with three stars or higher within two miles of each ski resort.
While it may be true that Aspen has the highest single-night rate among ski resorts, "you get what you pay for," said Stay Aspen Snowmass President Bill Tomcich, who travels frequently to other resorts and notes the significant upgrades Aspen's lodging properties have made in the past few years.
Tomcich also pointed out local properties are offering "aggressive deals" on lodging and lift ticket packages in February and March, perhaps more substantial discounts than other mountain resorts.
Meanwhile, the five-star, five-diamond Little Nell was ranked the best hotel in Colorado and number 14 in the country in a list of top luxury properties by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings were calculated based on accolades and ratings the country’s elite hotels received from major travel publications and travelers.
Typically Aspen’s priciest hotel, the Nell commands a nightly rate of $905 for a standard guest room this time of year, according to spokeswoman Sally Spaulding.
In the U.S. News & World Report survey, The Little Nell was given props for its slopeside location and ski services; its two restaurants, Element 47 and Ajax Tavern; its spa; its “spacious and inviting” rooms; and it’s customer service—with guests saying that “the hotel’s employees were some of the nicest they’d ever met,” according to the write-up on the U.S. News & World Report website.
The Nell had the second-best ranking of any hotel in a ski resort area, behind the number one-ranked Amangani in Jackson, Wyo. It was ranked just behind the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (#13) and just ahead of the Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington, Conn. (#15).
After the Amangani, the top-ranked hotels were the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i in Hawaii (#2); The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, an Auberge Resort, in Bluffton, S.C. (#3); and The Setai Fifth Avenue in New York City (#4).