Holly Hunt Reinvents The Little Nell


After 20 years as the crown jewel of Aspen accommodations, The Little Nell was in need of a little pick-me-up. So the Crown family, owners of the Aspen Skiing Company and The Little Nell, invested $18 million in an exciting project for the property’s 20th anniversary: Eighty-six rooms and corridors of the hotel were extensively renovated, guided by the vision of interior-design extraordinaire and part-time Aspenite Holly Hunt.

“My family and I have long enjoyed Aspen and our home here,” says Hunt. “For our family and friends, it has been a place for connecting and rejuvenating for many years, and I hope the final result of this project will in some way express that same sense of authentic comfort.”

The rooms at the Mobil Five-Star Award- and AAA Five Diamond Award-winning property, which will open to guests in December, are reinvented with new room-control systems and technology designed to conserve energy. The systems utilize the most up-to-date advances in lighting, music, television and temperature and allow guests to customize their accommodations to suit them. Hunt worked closely with Paula Crown on the new design, and the results define a new chapter in the hotel’s legacy. Modern art adorns the walls; the lights, textiles and furniture were all designed by Hunt, creating the ultimate “Aspen modern” atmosphere.

“‘Aspen modern’ is an indigenous nod to [town’s] roots via materials and warmth, but it’s modern in feel,” explains Hunt. “The color and texture came from the land, complementary to the scenery of the great outdoors of Colorado. Not bright, not contemporary, and not trendy. We created three color palettes and addressed 36 unique room types in an effort to give each interest and continuity. Texture proved to be as important as color, thus we were tireless in searching for and composing palettes that achieved richness in neutrals coupled with a range of Aspen-esque textures.”

Hunt’s favorite aspect of the redesign is the in-room fireplace. “By extending the scale and importance—incorporating the old existing fireboxes and adding steel, stone and textured wood—we have rendered a new, warm, beautiful focal point for many of the rooms,” she says.


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