When “Aspen” rolls off the tongue, it’s easy to conjure up images of pristine ski slopes or perhaps the pop of celebrity sightings. Yet, beyond these glamorous veneers, Aspen harbors a soul nourished by art, intellect, and a deep reverence for the natural world. This essence is epitomized at Aspen Meadows Resort on the sprawling Aspen Institute campus—within easy walking distance of downtown Aspen but existing in a world of its own.
In the mid-20th century, Walter Paepcke, a dreamer with an industrialist’s acumen, envisioned a more profound Aspen. Not merely a ski haven, but a serene refuge for both mind and spirit. A destination where nature’s masterpieces weren’t hung on walls but framed by windows. Where architecture wasn’t just shelter but a canvas for world-altering dialogues. Enter Herbert Bayer, a Bauhaus legend, beckoned by Paepcke to transform a serene 40-acre Aspen meadow into a sanctuary of inspiration. And Bayer, with his genius and finesse, didn’t disappoint, creating a property that can only be described as a “total work of art.”
Today, Aspen Meadows Resort’s newly renovated 98 guest suites, set in six Bauhaus-inspired buildings comprising the campus’s residential complex, are a living homage to Bayer’s masterpiece. Expansive windows beckon nature inside, where the color palette of reds, blues, and yellows nods to Bauhaus’ foundational color theory. The atmosphere is intensified by a curated series of monochrome photographs capturing the essence of Bauhaus by Ferenc Berko, an artist who made Aspen his muse in the ’60s. Mid-century originals like Eero Saarinen Tulip Tables and Bertoia Bird Chairs have been rejuvenated, now complemented with contemporary additions—like platform beds with integrated lighting and underneath storage. A “drop station” by the entrance offers a space for the outdoor paraphernalia that’s part and parcel of an Aspen escapade. Geometry and Bauhaus principles define the suites’ separate living and sleeping areas, complete with dedicated dining/work stations, pull-out sofas, walk-in spa showers, wet bars and kitchenettes, and balconies or patios. Modern comforts aren’t forgotten, with state-of-the-art heating and cooling solutions powered entirely by renewable energy.
All this set within the sprawling Aspen Meadows property—a verdant expanse interwoven with sculpted artworks and installations, a tennis club and health center, and more. Wandering its meandering pathways, guests discover Bayer’s holistic approach to design where the built environment and landscape merge. Interactive artworks dot the grounds, from earthworks and gardens to abstract sculptures, igniting contemplation and wonder. All of these elements harmoniously converge, making the resort not just a place to stay, but a living museum celebrating the potency of art, architecture, and design—the genesis of the Aspen Idea.
Eat & Drink
Fine, hyperlocal cuisine featuring ingredients foraged from Aspen Meadow’s 40 acres, Plato’s restaurant serves daily brunch and dinner with a side of impeccable mountain views—soon to be enhanced when the restaurant unveils renovations this fall. Complimentary electric-powered shuttle service from Plato’s connects you with the great dining in Aspen’s downtown. The newly opened PARC Aspen, on Hyman Avenue, boasts both fine dining and a vibrant atmosphere replete with art, a mirrored bar area, and French farmhouse feel. If you go, the elk carpaccio is a must, the Colorado hybrid bass is divine, and the suckling pig is a work of art.
The Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies, a hub for the study of art and culture, is a testament to Bayer’s legacy at the Aspen Institute. Established in 2022, this Center honors Bayer’s contributions to the American Bauhaus movement and to the revitalization of modern-day Aspen. It’s a repository for Bayer’s diverse artistic contributions as well as an educational hub, promoting deep insights into art, design, and media. Free and open to the public, the Center also anchors the Aspen Institute’s visual arts program, with over 9,000 square feet of gallery space, outdoor installations, and the ongoing exhibition, Concept of a Visualist: Herbert Bayer’s World Geo-Graphic Atlas, which runs through April 2024.