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the w aspen hotel

Nestled at the base of the iconic Aspen Mountain, the W Aspen Hotel is a contemporary interpretation of a traditional 1940s-60s chalet. In collaboration with the architects, the project memorializes the iconic elements of a mountain chalet within the Aspen context. The design style is recognized as an essential part of Aspen’s evolution and dates back to the return of the 10th Mountain Division, who upon their re-entry, infused the architectural style from their experience in the European Alps.

Inlaid between the long sloping roof lines emblematic of the historic chalet style, the W Aspen’s roof terraces offer unique views of the mountains and skiing, as well as a variety of experiences and gathering opportunities for guests and locals. With a long history as an apres-ski hotspot during the hotel’s previous iteration, the design team continues the fun and playful nature of the outdoor spaces into the new hotel’s WETDeck. Used year-round, the terrace includes a heated pool, spa, lounge seating focused around fire pits, a full bar, and a DJ booth and dance floor.  The Living Room terrace offers elevated outdoor dining and the Residences terraces offer a private pool and spa area for residential owners.

The streetscape’s form takes its cue from sinuous mountain paths and responds to the hotel’s prominent location at the base of Aspen Mountain and the terminus of Spring Street.  Hotel arrivals by vehicle are thoughtfully integrated into a pedestrian-first space, where rain gardens treating roof and street runoff are inset into a series of elevated and at-grade planting beds. Permeable pavers line the vehicular drop-off from South Spring Street, furthering the site’s overall permeability and creating a stark at-grade juxtaposition between the hotel streetscape and the roadway. Pedestrian amenities populate the exposed aggregate walkway, with ample seating and bike parking being offered throughout. 

The plant palette lines the arrival at the hotel with a mix of native grasses and perennials. Undulating between the massing of lower plantings, higher shrubs, and trees gives form and structure to the design. This playful undulation and restrained color palette connects the planting design with the dramatic mountain backdrop whose landscape embraces the chalet style with a unique character of naturalistic forms and swaths of native plantings. Expanding the architectural history of Aspen, while directly representing and building on the territory’s ecological conditions is at the foundation of the landscape’s ideology.


project type: hospitality, landscape architecture

location: aspen, colorado

client: saturn properties limited/sarpa development

photography credit: jason dewey photography

architect: rowland+broughton architecture

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