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Why You Should Book A Family Vacation at Aspen’s Little Nell: It’s Epic 

Why You Should Book A Family Vacation at Aspen’s Little Nell: It’s EpicCarri Wilbanks

My family and I love destination hotel vacations, but usually, my 4-year-old son Everett is ready to head home after a few days. I'll know he's ready because after packing up on the last morning, he barrels full speed ahead for the elevator and can't wait to get to the car.

But on a recent trip to stay at the Little Nell in Aspen, it was a very different experience. This time when we were leaving, he had tears streaming down his face. He walked slow and didn't want to push the button to go down like he usually loves to do. On our way back to Denver, driving the twists and turns over Independence Pass, Everett kept telling us how great a time he had. He wanted to go back and have a play date with another kid he'd met at the pool and see his favorite Little Nell employees who had learned his name on day one.

And that evening, after getting home and tucking him into bed, I heard crying as I walked down the hall. Returning to his room, I asked what was wrong. He told me he missed his bed in Aspen and the friends he had made there. It made my mama's heart melt, and I realized then this trip had really made an impact on him, which is precisely what I wanted.

We went to the Little Nell, Aspen's most luxurious and only five-star, five-diamond property located right at the base of Ajax Mountain, for a two-night stay. It was exactly the type of trip my husband TJ and myself needed. Between work schedules, inevitable Covid-19 adjustments (like working from home), and raising two children under than age of five, we need some time to put work aside and really focus on being together as a family without any distractions.

It was epic. Not in the way a safari to Africa or a big whitewater wilderness trip may feel epic to some, but it was epic to our family and how we were able to disconnect from electronics to reconnect with ourselves. It was the kind of trip that made me realize how important it is not just to say I am going to turn off my work email at the end of the workday, but to actually start doing it post-trip, thus ensuring the connection this trip brought us as a family sticks.

The Little Nell is a fantastic hotel for this kind of reconnection. First of all the staff are fabulous. Everyone takes the time to know your name and remembers the little details. Upon arrival, Everett immediately befriended the front door staff, especially an employee named Nick. Nick took the time to really talk to Everett, asking him what he had for breakfast, how he liked his hike, and who his favorite superhero is.

When we would get close to the hotel after being out for a few hours, Everett would get super excited, asking: "Is Nick going to be there?" It was priceless.

Honestly, we loved everything about The Little Nell. It's hard not to. Located at the base of the ski mountain right next to the gondola, in winter, it offers ski-in, ski-out access and is a favorite with visiting celebrities. It also recently underwent a full renovation leaving the legendary property with a refreshed swanky chic style. Popular with families and couples alike, the rooms and suites here have a romantic vibe, and I loved the fireplace, furnished balcony, and super comfy beds with silky soft linens. The suites also have Jacuzzi tubs and steam showers in the marble bathrooms. And if you are traveling with your dog, The Nell is one of the most dog-friendly properties in Colorado. The bellmen learn pups' names and will even walk them upon request.

I also loved the onsite restaurants. Ajax Tavern was our favorite. A serious scene in winter when it books out completely for lunch and is the apres-ski scene spot, in the fall it is slightly easier to grab a table. Whatever you do, don't skip the truffle fries here. Served in a large cone that is perfect for sharing, they are iconic and live up to their reputation from a taste perspective. We grabbed a table on the patio and ordered double wagyu cheeseburgers along with the fries. The raw bar is also excellent, as are the classic cocktails, craft beer, and wine list.

Our absolute favorite amenity at The Nell, however, was the heated outdoor pool and hot tub. We are an active family and love our pool time, so it is usually a spot we factor in post-hike or soccer games but only for a max of two hours. We quickly broke this rule at The Nell. Once we settled into the pool here, all plans were off the table. There was nowhere the kids wanted to be more than here. While TJ and our daughter Alena napped on lawn chairs in the shade, Everett and I ran back and forth from the pool to the hot tub. The atmosphere was perfect for families and Everett even made some new friends his own age.

It has been more than a few weeks now since we returned from a trip to Aspen, and Everett still talks about his time at this special hotel. I know that when he is 18-years-old he may not remember the hike we went on, the food we ate, or just how comfortable his rollaway bed was, but I hope he knows there are these special gems to be found that brought us closer together as a family. We needed that time, to leave our computers at home and be in a spot that we didn't want to leave, which is why I say you too should book an epic family vacation to The Little Nell this fall.

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Carri Wilbanks is a freelance writer, producer and TV host whose aim is to inspire people to engage with the world around them. Trekking across Europe and South America unleashed her passion for travel. When she's not living out of a suitcase, Carri resides in colorful Colorado. Read more about her global adventures at

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