Michelle Rago, Ltd.—Blog

That Niggling Feeling…

April 7th, 2013 · No Comments

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.33.15 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.04.25 PM


Two other times in my life I distinctly remember having the same niggling feeling upon arriving at a resort as I did upon arrival at The Little Nell in Aspen on Wednesday. This feeling I get is essentially a sense that things don’t quite seem in sync or simply don’t add up. After four breathtaking days at The Little Nell, what I have now come to believe is that this niggling feeling is a precursor to what is simply …unimaginable. What I now know is that … some experiences can’t be put into words.

But let me try…

In 2001, I was flying in a single engine plane from Johannesburg into Skukusa Airport in Kruger National Park to stay at Richard Branson’s Ula Saba resort and was wrestling with that niggling feeling while looking out of the prop plane window… “the bush looks so scrubby and low and I don’t see any animals… where are the Big Five?”  After landing on a single runway and then loaded into a Land Rover- within five minutes I was gaping at my first pride of lionesses in the wild…and cried of course.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.16.00 PM

A few years later I had the same niggling feeling when I landed on the “backside” of the island of Santorini to attend a friend’s wedding. ” This simply can’t be right…what panoramic views are people talking about?”  The taxi driver dropped me at a nondescript point to meet the hotel “bellman” who, by the way, lashed my luggage to a donkey. When I finally crested the last step – Santorini’s vista literally took my breath away.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.17.00 PM

So let’s traverse back to my my arrival at the 5 star, 5 diamond resort-The Little Nell, nestled at the base of Aspen Mountain in The Rockies. I have been trying to make this trip for 2 years and was excited and in a complete flurry. We were driving through downtown Aspen for our final approach and that niggling feeling crept in…”this can’t be right…how can we be in downtown Aspen and this breathtaking experience on a mountain be sooo close at hand?” We pulled up to the front of the hotel and I continued to obsess. We checked into the room and I continued to obsess. Then my boyfriend and I headed to a casual dinner at Ajax Tavern just steps away from our room and the systematic annihilation of that niggling feeling was in full play. Luxury was “downhill” from there on.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.18.55 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.02.37 PM

The Little Nell is the perfect destination to host your wedding regardless of the time of year. There are so many features its tough to get to all of them. So the Reader’s Digest version is this… you can have your wedding in the hotel or take the Silver Queen Gondola three miles up to the summit and utilize The Sundeck with 30 foot ceilings and insane views of The Rockies for your reception or the private Aspen Club. You can privatize either the more casual Ajax Tavern at the base of the mountain or the beautifully appointed Element 47 restaurant in the hotel.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.04.56 PM

Element 47

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.08.31 PM

Silver Queen Gondola

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.05.40 PM

Ceremony Area by The Sundeck

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.00.57 PM

The Aspen Club

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.03.36 PM

The Sundeck

The Little Nell has also done the next to impossible (which as I have come to learn when it comes to working with Director of Catering, Melinda Galvas, nearly anything is possble), and partnered with the super swanky Caribou Club in town to host events late into the night. We also dined at The Pine Creek Cookhouse which is nestled on 750 acres and is also a gorgeous alternative for rehearsal dinners and or a party that needs to go late into the night.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.10.57 PM

The Caribou Club


Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 3.35.29 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.10.46 PM

The Pine Creek Cookhouse


Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.09.49 PM

In the winter the only way in is on foot or by horse drawn sleigh.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 3.53.55 PM

Coco Chanel said…”Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” The Little Nell embodies this. I am not a skier so I am a great litmus test of whether your guests who don’t ski will have enough to do. The answer is a resounding yes! The resort is at the base of the mountain on one side and literally spills into town on the other. The lobby is littered with comfy couches and spots to languish. So whether après ski in the tranquility of the hotel is your schtick or the swanky atmoshere of Ajax Tavern where skiers can literally dust your oysters with powder from their full stop at day’s end… trust me all ties that bind will disintegrate.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.08.17 PM

Après ski- Ajax Tavern

The wine list at the hotel is amazing and it is rumored to be a 2 million dollar wine collection. I happen to be a huge enthusiast of French wines and was most certainly not disappointed. Master Sommeliers Jonathan Pullis and Sabato Sagaria,  and Advanced Sommeliers Carlton McCoy and Csaba “Chubby” Oveges have your well in hand.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.09.12 PM

Check out this fancy wine carafe!

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 4.00.46 PM

There was lots of thinking and deciding involved as you can see…

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 3.16.36 PM

I can’t end this post without one of my all time favorite features at The Little Nell. Should you host your wedding during ski season…The Little Nell and Veuve Cliquot take bar hopping to new heights…11,000 feet to be exact!  The Oasis, a pop-up Champagne bar by The Little Nell food and beverage director Sabato Sagaria who sadly I didn’t get to meet, is such a great idea I am jealous I didn’t think of it! This is my kind of scavenger hunt!

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 11.56.06 AM

The Oasis at Little Nell

The Oasis operates much like a big city food truck, roving around Aspen Mountain on a Sno-Cat hitch (I am obsessed with heavy machinery so this is a big plus!) and using social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to update thirsty skiers and snowboarders on its whereabouts. The menu is simple…Veuve Clicquot and one-ounce pots of California Caviar’s hackleback sturgeon caviar. Love!

I have a niggling feeling this bottle has your name on it!

 Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.07.38 PM



A special thank you to Melina Glavas for such an amazing site inspection!

Posted in: Destinations · Farm to Table · Guest Bloggers · Our Travels · Social Media · The Detail that made the Difference · Trends · Unknown. · We Know...