In a dusting of snow, the jet comes to a stop, and the hatch door opens. An attendant unfolds a small staircase, attempting not to shiver in clothes obviously suited for another climate. A puff of white fur emerges from the aircraft, followed by her entourage, and the whole party makes its way to a preheated Escalade waiting at the entrance of the airport. Welcome to Aspen.
Posh Winter Pads
Aspen is flush with pricey lodgings, but the best accommodations are the town's private homes and guest villas. If possible try to snag a private rental within the central village through services like
Aspen Luxury Rental, which will enable you to enjoy area nightlife without the hassle of a car.
St. Regis Aspen made quite a splash last year, it's still
The Little Nell that attracts the star-studded guests and hip après-ski scene chock full of sexual tension. For those who can't get enough,
The Residences at The Little Nell offer a limited collection of 26 magnificent ski-out/ski-in residences priced from $1.7 million.
Those looking for more of a party atmosphere usually opt for
The Sky Hotel. Currently it's the only boutique hotel in Aspen, created by San Francisco's trendy Kimpton Hotels as a minimalist ski retreat with in-house spa and full-service restaurant. Its heated pool, often the scene of late-night skinny-dipping, is legendary.
Naturally Aspen's only boutique hotel would have an innate ability to attract the sexiest creatures to its mega-popular
39 Degrees Lounge. In a town that likes to mix up 20-somethings and 50-somethings like a cocktail, the place is well suited for all ages looking to meet and mingle after a day on the slopes.
Beware of Cougar Crossing. It's a local legend and one of the busiest post-slope scenes in town.
Eric's Bar offers an eclectic pub-style environment of well-teased blondes strutting their sexiest one-piece ski ensembles for middle-age men looking to land their next trophy wife.
More upscale than you'd prefer in clunky snowboard boots,
J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome is one of Aspen's favorite and most historic watering holes. A saloon-style bar, it offers a gentlemanly environment for throwing back shots of whiskey and other manly malts preferred by regulars like Jack Nicholson.
Very Social Dinners
Don't dismiss the glitzy outpost of
Nobu Matsuhisa just because you happen to have one back in L.A. or New York. The Aspen restaurant features a sleek Main Street dining room that books up a month in advance during high season, but also the Upstairs at Nobu that's always on a first-come first-served basis.
It helps fill seats when Jennifer Aniston is spotted by candlelight at the village dining hotspot
D19. The small bistro-style restaurant is currently the hardest reservation to snag in town and requires a two-month advance booking during the winter season.
An Aspen institution of steak feasts and midnight tango,
Jimmy's boasts a rare combination of cozy village steakhouse and nightlife inferno. The more mature crowd hits the dance floor around 10:30 p.m. for weekly Latin and traditional dance nights.
Aspen's newest Social Restaurant & Lounge comes from the owner of
Elevation on Aspen's restaurant row. The two-story supper club features icy leather furnishings with a global small-plates menu meant for communal dinners. Upstairs is a wine bar and dance lounge for late-night romps that make it the hottest opening of the season.
Late Night Revelry
You'll have to become a member, at least for the weekend. Once inside the
Caribou Club, you'll discover the town's hottest celebrity scene with everyone from Trump offspring to Kate Hudson. The lounge fills up around 7 p.m. for a predinner social hour and the bustle continues well past midnight on busier weekends. Try to land the ever-elusive guest pass from an existing member. Flirting never hurts, especially with the freshly Botox'ed divorcees.
From season to season, many bars and nightspots change hands and names. Located in the former Bar Aspen space is the
The Regal Watering Hole with its NYC-inspired social lounge and dance bar. Expect weekly drink specials and DJs spinning dance music until 2 a.m. throughout the winter high season.
Just in case you didn't get enough of your airplane experience, the owners of DC's
Fly Lounge debut an Aspen spinoff in the former Lava lounge space.
Jet Set meets the Jetsons with a swanky cocktail lounge and sizzling-hot staff of bartenders and waitresses dressed like airline stewardesses.
Though the name hasn't changed, Club Chelsea is under new ownership and has quickly become Aspen's hottest dance floor. Under its new management, the club is a bit more upscale than you may remember, with a frilly martini menu and line-up of top-notch DJs spinning hip-hop anthems.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.