The Little Nell

Aspen, Colorado

Transforming the visitor experience of Aspen Mountain’s primary portal

By 1990, the base of Aspen Mountain had not changed for over four decades and was dated and dilapidated. The Aspen Skiing Company gave Design Workshop the challenge of creating a public realm around a new gondola and private outdoor spaces for a new 90-room luxury hotel on a 2-acre site. Vigorous public input helped shape the design. The final form makes about half the site public and half private, with a building massing that preserves view corridors and access from the town to the mountain. A central plaza seamlessly weaves the urban fabric of town with ski access to the mountain, bringing the community into the space and easing the passage of as many as 2,000 skiers per hour at peak periods through the area. The private area, designed for The Little Nell Hotel, the only 5-star, 5-diamond hotel in Aspen, is an outdoor courtyard for guests. It acts as a focal point to frame views and temper the climate for a pool, hot tubs and outdoor dining, all of which sit over an underground parking garage. Both the public plaza and private courtyard provide welcoming spaces for locals, skiers and visitors.

Services Provided: Rezoning/Entitlements, Site Planning, Landscape Architecture


  • Award of Excellence, ULI Colorado
  • Honor Award, ASLA Colorado
  • #1 Best Hotel in Colorado, US News & World Report


The Little Nell Hotel


CCY Architects