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“A Home Away from Home”

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Mountain Chalet Aspen
Ranked #7 of 35 Hotels in Aspen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 January 2008

I had never really thought about skiing in Aspen until a friend told me about The Mountain Chalet Aspen. The fundamentals are unbeatable: great location two blocks from the Gondola and just steps from the bus stop from which you can easily access (for free) Buttermilk, Snowmass, and Highlands; spotless rooms that are old but warm and comfortable; all-you-can-eat breakfast that sets you up for the rest of the day included in the price; easy access to restaurants and shopping; sensible pricing; helpful front desk help. For the serious skier who wants to ski one of the world's great ski destinations but has a modest budget, it's impossible to beat The Mountain Chalet Aspen. When you get to the property, look around. Right next door is the St. Regis that costs four, five, six times as much. Do they have heated floors in the bathrooms?

But there's much more to the MCA than value and other tangibles. My family has stayed there seven times now and we feel like part of the family that has owned and run the lodge for over 50 years now. Ralph Melville, the founder who pretty much built the place with his own hands, could not be friendlier. It's the same way with the entire family, as you'll find out at the Monday evening drinks party usually held in the rooftop meeting room with its wonderful views of Aspen Mountain, Wagner Park (the rugby field), and the St. Regis, where people are paying four, five, six times as much. Some very wealthy people stay at the MCA, people who could stay anywhere. They choose the MCA because it's home.

Quite often, my son and I will take Ralph's dog across the road to play in the snow in the park.

We always stay in the least expensive room available but I understand that the better rooms are very well-appointed. The architecture is quirky and clearly layered and it's not textbook but, in a world full of cookie-cutter hotels, the MCA is a welcome change. And nobody will bat an eyelid if you wander through the lobby in your capilene and not much else to grab a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie (both free) after a big day.

There's a swimming pool, fitness center, whirlpool, and wifi in the lobby. So the MCA has many of the standard Aspen amenities.

And Aspen actually has a number of restaurants that are sensibly-priced all within easy walking distance. You won't need to rent a car if you are staying at the MCA but if you have one, you get underground parking--a serious bonus as finding a parking place in Aspen is like finding fresh powder in the Sahara.

Another bonus? Denver hordes rarely make it to Aspen; they usually get to Vail and stop there. So Aspen, while it can be crowded at the peak times, is never choked with the Front Range hordes. My worst ski lift line wait ever? 15 minutes. Once.

A skiing vacation is never inexpensive and the only discount you'll get at the MCA is a healthy 10 per cent (or is it 15?) for returning guests but if you want value and if you want that cooked breakfast (a $30 value per person in Aspen) and if you want to experience Aspen without blowing an unlimited budget, then call up the MCA right now. But book early because space is limited in the ski season.

Other regulars, and I see the same people there year after year, will probably be annoyed that I am writing this review. Like me, we're all worried that MCA will go the way of other family-owned lodges in Aspen and be plowed under to make room for fractional ownership condos with granite countertops in the kitchens. And the "regulars" feel like they have their own secret stash of powder! But it's important to tell it like it is and, I'm telling you, the MCA is my second home and the Melvilles are my second family and my son and I can't wait to get back next year so that we can see Ralph and everyone else and play with Ransom in the park. And one of these days, I'm going to get there outside the ski season.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled with family
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4  Thank ShortRotundSkier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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421 - 427 of 454 reviews

Reviewed 31 December 2007

My wife and I stayed here over Christmas. For Aspen its very well priced, but that still means its expensive!

Very freindly and helpful check in and front desk. large, well appointed rooms - the bathrooms actually have tile heaters in the floor!. The underground garage is heated and a welcome relief not to have to dig your car out of a snow drift in the morning. While I didn't try the pool several other did - even though its was snowing at the time!

Breakfast was nice and the all day tea/coffee in the lobby was a good touch when coming back in from the outside. Excellent location as well.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank AussieinDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 November 2007

I have been going to Aspen since I was 7, I have stayed at the hotel since I was 7, this hotel ROX!! They are so great there, you feel at home even though you aren't home and it is so confortable! Its the best hotel ever and no one can argue! it is on the base of Ajax I mean really! Its awesome! the hotel owners, the manager, and employees are great there so nice and you everyone who stays there are great company if its sitting by the fire, or breakfast before a long day on the mountain, whatever it is it is the best!!!!!

  • Stayed: February 2006
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1  Thank MountainChaletRox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2007

We found ourselves with a night to kill in Aspen, awaiting the birth of our grandbaby. We didn't want to spend a lot, so looked into the Mountain Chalet. With a AARP discount, we got a very charming, queen room overlooking Ajax mountain (and the St Regis...), for about $75, including a very nice cont bkfst and free garage parking. This is the first ski lodge in Aspen, substantially enlarged and remodeled. It's right on Wagner Park, site of the Food & Wine Festival and, this week, rugby tournaments. You couldn't ask for a better location. It's not fancy, but it's like what most of us look for in small, charming European lodges. There's always free coffee, and cookies in the cozy lobby. We loved it and will definitely return.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank ChefGeorge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2007

Cold Turkey over the phone, I booked at the Chalet for my first trip to Aspen with Steve. He was friendly & accommodating. Because there were no one room for all 5 nights, I agreed to switch rooms as they became available. He discounted the original room rates for me. This was a great booking experience to somewhere I did not know. Yes, the check-in experience was anxiety ridden for various reasons. The problem was a room availabilty, and there was question of a refund needed. Craig said he would check the facts with Steve, and he would get back to me. Would I have preferred an immediate answer to the refund? Yes, but I was staying for several days. So I decided to enjoy my stay, and I trusted Steve to follow through with the refund. Craig and his staff did respond quickly to getting a room ready. Craig touched base with me each day, and he and Steve resolved the refund issue with me. It was to my satisfaction, and it was told to me before check-out day. Their location in Aspen was very convenient, but I feel there were two other features I was pleased with. First, the front desk, cleaning & breakfast staffs were very friendly & accommodating to me. After all, I left tips for all. Laurie requires extra mention for her friendly, patient & stick-to-it-ness for getting my first time sleigh ride when all avenues seemed blocked. Boy, did I enjoy that whole ride experience! The casualness & home-like atmosphere of their front sitting rooms were very relaxing & pleasing as were the other guests all sharing the rooms each evening. Would I stay there again? Yes, I would. I just hope I get the chance to return to Aspen.

Stayed: November 2006
4  Thank LadyMaggie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2007

We stayed here over the NYE holiday. The requirement was a 5 night stay and for the 30th and 31st the only room was a 2 bedroom apt. A deposit was required for half the cost of the stay. Unfortunately the airline messed up and made me miss my flight to Aspen which was the last flight out. I still had to pay for the night at the hotel so I was really upset. I called the hotel and told them what happened and told them I was taking the first flight in early the next morning.
When I arrived exhausted (I stayed up all night at the airport) at 9:30 am to find that the hotel had let someone check in early to my room. They didn't have another room for me to check in to right away. They said they will have the 2 bedroom apt. available around noon. I was very upset since I had to pay for the room anyways but did not get a room. I asked if there was some way they could compensate me for this since I was not getting the room I was being charged. They said that was not their policy. I went around and around with the general manager named Craig. He was not very accommodating. He said he would have to talk to the person I talked to the night before to verify that I had called the night before. I found this to be extremely poor service. I should not have had to defend myself. I was being charged for the room and not being given the room. Since I am paying for the room I should have a room to stay until check out time that day ( I was changing rooms to the 2 bedroom apt. after the first night). I had to wait 3 days before the employee came to work to verify I had called. He was very nice and helpful, but the general manager was awful. He got nasty during the initial debate and offered to find me and my friends another place to stay.
I would never stay at this hotel again. There are so many hotels in Aspen and if you can avoid this one, do. The rooms were like a mountain cabin. Nothing special. Any decent hotel would have rectified the situation immediately without getting nasty and having to verify my story with the clerk (as if I was lying).

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled with friends
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4  Thank skytravelgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MCAInnkeeper, General Manager / Owner at Mountain Chalet Aspen, responded to this reviewResponded 10 January 2008

This guest was to be in a room for one night (as she stated) and at 9:00 the next morning, as they had not arrived, we allowed the guest who was staying in that room following them to check in. This guest then arrived at 9:30 wanting to get into the room. We would have been checking them in at 9:30 and back out an hour and a half later.

To accommodate them, we had their apartment ready half an hour later. In the end, because of this half hour inconvenience, we credited them $130.

We could have, as they wanted, told the new guest they could not go in the room until 11:00 even though it was vacant and clean, but that seemed unkind. Could you imagine if I told this guest that they could not get into a vacant and clean room until the official check-in time of 2:00 how they would complain?

Our goal every day is to be fair and to offer all our guests the best service we can.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2006

My friend and I only stayed one night in Aspen, but we stayed at the Mountain Chalet.... It was a great place for the price (esp. since most of the hotels in Aspen are very expensive). Yes, the bathroom could use some updating, but other than that it was a nice place. It is walking distance to pretty much everything in downtown Aspen which is great, including they have a parking lot under the building. Aspen doesn't have alot of parking, so this is a bonus. Breakfast was nice and I heard that the owners usually come down and visit with the guests. They have alot of amenities which is nice.... unfortunately we only used the hot tub, which is actually quite large, but it was a little too hot. All in all we had a great stay. The staff seemed very helpful and nice. I would stay here again if I come back to Aspen. PS - The horseback riding at T Lazy 7 Ranch (I think that is what it's name was) offered horseback riding (Sam was a great guide) - definately go out, the trails offer beautiful views of Maroon Bells.

  • Stayed: November 2006, travelled with friends
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4  Thank sunshinevt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mountain Chalet Aspen

Address: 333 E Durant Ave, Aspen, CO 81611-1839
Region: United States > Colorado > Aspen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Business Hotel in Aspen
#7 Family Hotel in Aspen
#12 Romantic Hotel in Aspen
Price Range: £75 - £393 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Mountain Chalet Aspen 3*
Number of rooms: 59
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Friendly, casual ski lodge centrally located at the base of Aspen Mountain. Directly diagonal to shuttle service and two blocks from the Gondola. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mountain Chalet Aspen Hotel Aspen
Mountain Chalet Hotel Aspen
Aspen Mountain Chalet Hotel

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