Aspen, Colorado, has long served as a winter playground for the rich and famous, including virtually any celebrity with a private jet (from Jack Nicholson to, more recently, Mariah Carey). If they're not checking into one of several five-star resorts, they own million-dollar homes, like Antonio Banderas and David Geffen.
The A-list history can be traced back to the sixties when the Kennedys visited for a family retreat. Since then, Elvis Presley came for ski jaunts, Hunter S. Thompson set up residence and wrote his first article for Rolling Stone ("The Battle of Aspen") and John Denver wrote two songs about Aspen when living there. Over this holiday season, recently spotted celebrities include Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively and also LeAnn Rimes and Meg Ryan with daughter Daisy.
Peak season lasts until the end of February and a top draws this year are the 2014 Winter X Games (Jan. 23-26). Additionally, Aspen continues to crank out new spots for celebrities to congregate, like David Arquette and John Terzian-owned Bootsy Bellows and Food & Wine Best Chef Tim Goodell’s Ricard (in nearby Snowmass). Here's how the elite can spend slightly over $1 million dollars in a weekend in America's richest winter destination.
First, go big with real estate at Viceroy Snowmass Residence.
With so many celebrity-owned homes in Aspen, there could be a star map rivaling Hollywood. According to Forbes, Aspen ranked as the 11th most expensive zip code in the country out of the 22,000 in 2013. It's not unusual for A-listers to purchase million-dollar homes for property investment, primarily in the West End or Red Mountain. But condos have also become hot. Real estate is booming in nearby Snowmass (a 20-minute drive from Aspen), which ranked 48 on the list. In December 2012, Viceroy Snowmass debuted 152 one to four-bedroom residences and 57 have already sold to various notables.
Two-bedroom condo residence starting at: $799,000
On your way, charter a private jet with Clay Lacy.
A-listers arrive only by private jet to Aspen. Book the top-of-the-line Gulfstream G450 (holding up to 14 passengers with spacious cabins) with Clay Lacy Aviation, a preferred private jet charter for industry executives.
Round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Aspen: $64,000
At the slopes, tip your ski instructor a Cadillac.
Ski the Colorado mountains with the well-trained, world-class ski instructors of Ski & Snowboard Schools of Aspen. Visitors can book a full-day private lesson for a reasonable $710 but tipping the ski instructors a G isn't unusual. In fact, A-listers have been known to offer even more generous tips like condos, vacations and, most recently, a Cadillac Escalade.
Tipping a Cadillac Escalade: $70,570
Tim Goodell's Ricard Brasserie & Liquor Bar
While you're there, support the Aspen Art Museum as a Visionaries Circles donor.
The beloved Aspen Art Museum's Freestyle 2013 may have wrapped last month (where Grammy nominee Rufus Wainwright had a special performance at the high-brow benefit gala) for live auctions. But part- and full-time notables are increasingly becoming donors, where privileges with its top Visionaries Circles level gives priority seating to AAM events, exclusive dinners with exhibiting artists and art trips with AAM CEO and director Nancy and Bob Magoon. The Gersh Agency’s Bob Gersh sits on the museum’s board.
Visionaries Circle membership fee: $50,000
Book Bootsy Bellow's for a private event.
West Hollywood's most notorious celebrity haunt Bootsy Bellows recently opened their Aspen outpost this past December. Just like its Hollywood home, Bootsy Bellows will be chockfull of A-listers in a speakeasy lounge setting. Rent the entire space for your own private event (capacity 112). Cost range from $15,000 to $50,000, depending on night of the week and other facts.
Bootsy Bellows takeover starting at: $15,000
And book your stay at Little Nell.
What celebrity hasn't stayed at the Little Nell? The 92-room boutique luxury property recently opened Chair 9, a new après-ski bar, where industry execs can be spotted. The residences (starting at 2,500-square feet and boasting direct ski-in/ski-out access to Aspen Mountain) are in high demand and are some of the most expensive rooms to book.
Two-bedroom residence at $5,950 (based on X Games travel dates). For three nights: $17,850
Buy a designer ski jacket at Moncler.
Stop at Moncler, a popular skiwear shop for big spenders. Jackets like Moncler Grenoble Jagerhorn ($3,600) for women and Moncler Grenoble Morgon ($2,300) for men are hot for 2014.
Two windproof high-quality ski jackets: $5,900
Do even more shopping with new designer stores.
This season, a handful of name-brand boutique stores are making their Aspen debut, including Dolce & Gabbana, Helmut Lang and Rag & Bone. Spend a day in Aspen retail, hitting up the designer shops.
A day of designer-brand shopping: $10,000
Get pampered out at St. Regis Remede Spa.
The most luxurious spa in Aspen is a sanctuary for A-listers, many of whom book the six-hour Remede Spa Sanctuary package that includes 60-minute massage, 60-minute facial, 60-minute scrub, mani/pedi, light lunch and access to all the facilities like oxygen lounge, steam caves, hot tubs and Confluence waterfall.
6-hour Remedy Spa Sanctuary: $640
And conclude with an exclusive, private dinner at Ricard with Tim Goodell.
Tim Goodell, a Food & Wine "Best New Chef," recently opened Ricard Brasserie & Liquor Bar in Snowmass. Serving fancy French fare, Richard has been wooing gourmands for nine-course tasting meals in the private dining room, where Goodell himself will prepare the plates paired with some fine wines including the rare Chatuau Margaux Bordeaux 1982.
Private, 9-course Tim Goodell dinner with wine pairings for four people: $10,000