IRVINA LEW

Travel Writer & Author

Month: January 2018

The Hotel Jerome

For more than a century, this historic hotel has been a cornerstone of the community in Aspen, Colorado

Jerome B. Wheeler moved to Colorado for his wife

Harriet’s health in 1882. They were cultured New Yorkers: he, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s third cousin, and she, the niece and heir to Macy’s Department Store. While he became enchanted with the soaring mountains, towering trees and pristine landscape of Aspen, she decided not to move into the gracious 1880s Queen Anne-style residence he built there.

But that didn’t prevent Wheeler from selling his share of the department store and investing in the railroad, silver mines and real estate during Aspen’s silver boom of 1879 to 1893.

In 1889, he built the Hotel Jerome, a four-story, 92-room, red-brick and limestone structure with imposing arched windows. The luxurious inn emulated the five-star luxury of London’s Claridge’s hotel. International socialites who arrived on Pullman sleeping cars found “modern” conveniences: electricity, indoor plumbing, hot and cold running water, steam heat and an elevator. The classic lobby displayed locally made floor tiles, columns, a fireplace and a rose-and-green-colored glass ceiling. The décor featured East Lake furnishings, grandfather clocks, marble-top buffets and mahogany-framed mirrors. Guests also discovered culture at the nearby Wheeler Opera House, which the entrepreneur built above his Romanesque Revival and Italianate bank and gave to Aspen in 1899.

The Hotel Jerome has been intrinsic to the Aspen community for more than a century. In the 1940s, Chicago philanthropist Elizabeth Paepcke and her industrialist husband, Walter, established a ski town and launched a cultural renaissance centered around the “Aspen Idea,” dedicated to the body, mind, and spirit. Paepcke leased the hotel for 25 years, during which time they founded the Aspen Institute and the annual Aspen Ideas Festival. In addition, the hotel was also where the Aspen Music Festival and School, the International Design Conference, the Aspen Center for Physics and the Aspen Skiing Company were founded.

The Hotel Jerome, the Wheeler Opera House, and the Wheeler-Stallard House have each been meticulously restored and upgraded beyond their Victorian-era grandeur. Todd- Avery Lenahan, of TAL Studio, refurbished the hotel in 2012 and brought a joyful spirit to the décor. Using a light, neutral palette, small checks and plaids, some animal prints and lots of studded and tufted leather, he created a warm and gracious ambiance in gracefully proportioned rooms (with cashmere drapes) and public spaces. Stylish elevator walls are lined with bronze-framed leather belts in a patchwork pattern. Throughout, there are period pieces and historic artifacts, including a striking, hand-stitched, 38-star American flag which dates from 1876, when Colorado became the 38th state.

Currently, the gracious hotel, which is part of the Auberge Resorts collection, is completing an expansion, with a new outdoor pool, garden, underground speakeasy, two three- bedroom residences and an event space in the adjacent former building of The Aspen Times. The Hotel Jerome is an example of the relaxed elegance for which Aspen is known and remains a landmark amid the community’s mining heritage and history.

Spa Getaways: Lisbon Havens 

Lisbon, where the appealing topography descends from park-covered hillsides to a riverfront promenade. Everywhere, people walk, jog, cycle, push strollers and climb hillsides carrying groceries or discovering neighborhood charms. Locally grown farm-to-table fare features fresh produce, wild-caught sh and seafood and made-in-Portugal olive oil, canned sardines and wine, offering healthy culinary pleasures.

The city’s architectural beauty adds to the serenity and rejects its cultural heritage. In Alfama, narrow cobblestone streets surround the medieval São Jorge Castle, where Islamic Towers top ancient Roman walls, andred-tile-roofedd buildings are fronted with hand-painted blue and white Azulejo tiles. Christian history flourishes in Romanesque churches, Gothic monasteries, and cloistered convents. Construction after the devastating earthquake of 1755 includes the jacaranda-bordered Eduardo VII park and the Avenida da Liberdade, with its central treed pedestrian promenade lined with splendid belle-époque buildings with wrought iron balconies. Theatre, opera, and museums abound, including The Tile Museum within a historic 16th-century cloister, the Foundation Gulbenkian, a seven-acre, park-like art complex named for the art-collector donor and the Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology, a riverfront, contemporary cultural center with a walk-up rooftop terrace, which opened in 2016.

Whether you receive a beauty or body treatment at a spa within a posh city hotel or take the half-hour drive or train ride

to one on the beach or in the mountains, Lisbon offers a multitude of wellness options, including public safety, at a less costly price tag than in most Western European capitals.

HEART OF THE CITY

RITZ SPA AT FOUR SEASONS HOTEL RITZ LISBON
The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon is a classic, mid-century Modernist structure established by Portuguese Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar. The luxe, art hotel is known for its stylish Varanda Restaurant, its staffed, rooftop center with an outdoor running track and its exceptional spa. The four-treatment-room facility includes a stunning couple’s suite and a lighted indoor pool, where chaise lounges are backed by a glass window wall, which separates the pool area from an exterior fountain. Full- and half-day programmes offer a variety of face and body treatments, some use organic ESPA products, and there’s a selection of facials incorporating nourishing Swiss Perfection cellular products. Among the sensual signature treatments, the most supreme indulgences are the 80-minute, four-handed Symphony Massage, and the Portuguese Retreat, which features regional almonds and honey for the scrub, followed by moisturizer and massage. www.fourseasons.com

TIVOLI SPA AT TIVOLI AVENIDA LIBERDADE LISBOA HOTEL
In spring 2017, the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade reopened, just a year after becoming part of the Minor Hotel Group, with a US$16 million renovation that created a classic lobby, of newly remodeled rooms, stunning eateries, a striking Sky Bar and, for warm weather, an outdoor swimming pool set in a lush tropical garden. The contemporary classic is well located amidst the restaurants and designer shops on the city’s major pedestrian-centered promenade. In October last year, the rst Tivoli spa in the city made its debut. The spacious facility accessed via a lift or flight of marble stairs from the lobby, has luxe, marble floors, state-of-the-art equipment in the new Tivoli Active Fitness Centre and oversized treatment rooms, each with its own changing room, bathroom and shower and at least one with a marble platform dedicated to shiatsu treatments and Thai massages. All personalized treatments begin with a foot ritual, whether followed by an Organic Hydrating Body Scrub, Aromatherapy Massage using essential oils or the indulgent Biologique Recherche Facial. www.minorhotels.com

MAGIC SPA AT PESTANA PALACE

The Pestana Group purchased and restored The Pestana Palace, once the palatial residence of a well-traveled 19th-century

nobleman. The Portuguese family-owned group installed its own branded standalone Magic Spa, which boasts a Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, sauna and heated indoor pool, located in an ower corner of the estate gardens beyond the charming Tea House. For an idyllic day, savour the Magic Exotic Fruits Body Scrub, which exfoliates with sugar and Algarve-grown citrus in an almond oil base, followed by a 60-minute Magic Serenity Massage, which incorporates sweet orange, lavender and a

hydrating base of almond oil. Finally, the 75-minute luxury Magic Facial Flash Effect uses anti-aging antioxidants and features a unique Asian-inspired facial massage technique. A second, smaller Magic Spa, with its own indoor pool and solarium and similar treatments, is located within Pousada de Lisboa, an art historic 18th-century, mustard-yellow hotel in a former government building on the city’s major waterfront square. www.pestana.com

by Irvina Lew

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