Castles have long captured the imaginations of European royalty, who dotted the Old World with them starting in the 9th century. The enduring appeal of such grand estates lies not only in the muscular nature of their design—which often feature moats, keeps, and battlements—but in their downright palatial size, some clocking in at thousands of square feet and encompassing hundreds of acres. We’ve rounded up the five most majestic properties currently on the market, from a $3.4 million Victorian-era estate in the Scottish Highlands to a $17.8 million fortification north of Bordeaux.
Dournazac, France | $17.8 million Photo: Courtesy of Allez-Français
Set amid 408 acresa couple of hours northeast of Bordeaux, the imposing Château de Montbrun dates from 1179. Although pillaged then rebuilt in the 1430s, the 16-bedroom manor nonetheless retains its original eight-story crenellated tower and medieval moat, while its current owners have added luxuries like radiant-heat floors and an elevator, cinema room, and sauna. Listed as a historic monument, the site is where Richard the Lionheart is said to have died from a wound sustained during a siege of a nearby castle.
Dating from 1885, this storybook Victorian pile is located outside Glasgow, at the edge of the Scottish Highlands. The current owners acquired the 11-bedroom retreat, dubbed Craigallian, in the 1990s, maintaining original decorative features such as inlaid oak paneling, fleur-de-lis plasterwork, and elaborate cornices while modernizing spaces like the kitchen—which was outfitted by kitchen-design firm Clive Christian. A veritable sporting haven, the rambling 340-acre property features a large trout-stocked lake and boathouse, horse stables, and a charming two-bedroom sandstone cottage with its own conservatory and garden.
Málaga, Spain | $10.7 million Photo: Kristina Szekely Sotheby’s International Realty
To help safeguard Spain’ssouthern coast in the 1620s, King Philip IV ordered a fortress be built on a nearby mountainside overlooking the Mediterranean. In 1929, with the stronghold long abandoned, the Count of Mieres asked the French firm Lahalle et Levard to craft a majestic 27,000-square-foot neo-Moorish palace on the 1.5-acre parcel. Refurbished as a luxe eight-key hotel a decade ago, the property retains original elements like Mauméjean stained-glass windows, wrought-iron chandeliers, and marble floors—not to mention the ancient ruins, now presiding over the lush terrace.
Asti, Italy | $5.1 million Photo: Turin Sotheby’s International Realty
In the early 1900s a local nobleman was gifted this 15th-century Piedmont estate as a token of gratitude for his military service, and he promptly enlisted architect Giovanni Chevalley to oversee an extensive renovation and expansion. Organized around a central courtyard, the horseshoe-shaped plan now holds six bedrooms, a tower, and a consecrated chapel across 21,500 square feet. (Original details were graciously preserved as well, including frescoes from 1633, intricate plaster moldings, and an impressive sandstone fireplace carved with a coat of arms.) Dotted with vernacular outbuildings, the manicured eight-acre grounds boast staff quarters, a barn, and a greenhouse, plus an orchard and a private lake.
Limburg, Belgium | $9.6 million Photo: Brussels Sotheby’s International Realty
In 1998 Belgian industrialist Jos Vaessen purchased this 18th-century compound, known as Château Ommerstein, situated about 50 miles east of Brussels. “It was more or less a ruin,” he said in 2012, describing the property’s condition prior to architect Vittorio Simoni’s exhaustive eight-year renovation, which introduced Art Deco–inspired interiors and modern amenities (including an elevator and rooftop terrace) to the 25,000-square-foot, 12-bedroom villa. A pair of spacious detached wings, meanwhile, contain staff quarters, stables, and a four-car garage. There’s also a heated pool on the estate, whose 33 acres are graced by some of the country’s oldest giant sequoias.
The Sotheby’s International Realty® brand is proud to announce that it has partnered with New Story, a non-profit organization that puts 100% of donations toward transforming dangerous living environments into communities of safe, sustainable homes, for $6,000 a home.
Why did we choose New Story as a partner?
100% of donations go directly to the field. They operate with completely separate overhead cost so every dollar donated goes straight to building homes.
Donors have the ability to see the exact family they’re sponsoring, along with the supplies and costs their donation is covering. In the beginning, the donor receives a photo of the family and their story. When the home is completed, they are delivered a move-in video to share in the excitement of this incredible effort.
They hire local labor and buy domestic materials to boost the country’s economy. New Story does more than build houses – they provide jobs and economic stability for the communities they service.
During a year when the words “slowdown” and “slump” were used to describe the luxury housing market, 2016 turned out to be a banner year for Sotheby’s International Realty.
The firm reported on Monday that it saw record global sales last year, most coming from a tough U.S. market that experienced pockets of softness in key regions. All told, Sotheby’s has seen annual volume explode over the past 12 years, from $4 billion to $95 billion in 2016. That’s within shouting distance of the more than $166 billion Coldwell Banker, another luxury real estate giant, moved in 2015.
CEO Phillip White told CNBC in a recent interview that Sotheby’s International Realty makes “the consumer the real focus, and that’s important when you do business in the luxury space. We made a decision early on to provide the consumer a high level of exceptional service and true global exposure.”
High-end clients “want to be taken care of and catered to, and that’s what we really brought to the business,” said White, a 36-year real estate veteran who’s been the firm’s CEO since 2013. “Then we were able to expand it quickly in the high-end markets of the world in a pretty short period of time.”
Source: Sotheby’s International Realty
3 Countryside Lane in Cherry Hill Village, Colorado. Sotheby’s International is the broker for the $9.5 million listing.
The company’s big year took place in a luxury market that retrenched worldwide, but was particularly acute in some places, including New York. The ultra-exclusive enclave of the Hamptons saw sales tumble 8 percent in 2016, according to Town and Country Real Estate, while luxury units sales in Manhattan plummeted by 18 percent last year, according to data from real estate broker Donna Olshan.
Against that backdrop, Sotheby’s International Realty recorded $85 billion in domestic sales volume, while increasing its sales force and offices. However, White said the firm’s recipe for success included elements that are unconventional, and perhaps a bit counterintuitive when servicing demanding high-end clients.
“There are not a lot of people who can buy some of these places, and we have to work hard to get in front of the right people,” said White, a former Marine. However, “sometimes we have to tell them things they don’t want to hear.”
Needless to say, the ultra-rich aren’t usually considered the sort of people who take “no” for an answer, and often expect a certain result. However, White explained that honesty and transparency are key ingredients to moving luxury homes — especially in a challenging market.
“That’s when you have to do your homework and be prepared,” White said, adding that Sotheby’s International Realty agents perform extensive research on a particular market to assess a home’s true value.
“If you go into someone’s house and say ‘it’s worth this [much]’ and the seller might be disappointed, you can tell them you looked at” other houses in the area, White said. Then, the firm explains “how their house compares to all the others, because you took the time to go through all the others. That’s doing your job.”
He added: “It’s easier to go along with them, but that’s not doing them a service because it’s not going to sell. It’s doing them a disservice.”
Situated on a captivating front row lot on Aspen’s prestigious Willoughby Way, this home is a vision of contemporary style and sophistication. Intelligently designed by David Johnston Architects and meticulously crafted by Paul Rasmussen, Pitkin Green will be well served by its newest addition. Comprising 8,710 square-feet of elegant, yet comfortable heated living spaces, the development team has brought all of their experience and expertise to bear on this unique project. The home utilizes three levels to incorporate six bedroom suites, six-full baths, two-half baths, exercise room, wine room with bar, o ce, 750-square-foot three-car garage, and 2,960 square-feet of patios and decks. The comprehensive landscape plan allows for enjoyment of the outdoor experience as much as the indoor.
$13,900,000 USD | New York City, New York | Sotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage
On Fifth Avenue, you have it all; the best of the city, architecture, museums, and tree lined streets. Carnegie Hill is a neighborhood that o ers a perfect dose of charm. As you exit the elevator that opens up onto the private landing of your 12-room residence, you are lured into your living room by the captivating views of picture-perfect Central Park, the Central Park Reservoir and the south-facing New York skyline. Beyond perfection, this unimaginable renovated home enjoys soaring ceilings and large picture windows that showcases Central Park greenery from every room.
$11,500,000 USD | Austin, Texas | Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty
This exceptional Mediterranean villa overlooking Lake Austin offers four opulent acres of breathtaking panoramic views surrounded by a lush landscape. This magnificent waterfront estate is highlighted by six oversized bedrooms, seven-full and two-half baths, three living rooms, two dining rooms, wine room, butler’s pantry, gym with kitchenette, library and office, pool, boat house and seven boat slips, four-car garage, and detached guest quarters. Masterfully designed to provide supreme privacy and lavish entertaining while also being conveniently located to downtown.
Price Undisclosed | Australia | Peninsula Sotheby’s International Realty
Offered for sale for the first time, this signature position at the spectacular and sheltered end of Fisherman’s Beach within the tightly held cul-de- sac of Weeroona Estate, provides incredible views across Port Phillip Bay, Police Point and Portsea Pier. Once owned by Australia’s 17th Prime Minister, Harold Holt, this 1,885-square-meter allotment is the perfect private setting for this modern home. Constructed in 1990 and featuring a N/S mod-grass tennis court and fully tiled self -cleaning pool, the home also features private stairs, providing quick beach access to the water’s edge and stunning cove of Weeroona Bay. Comprising five bedrooms over two levels, the residence also offers a spacious kitchen that overlooks the dining and living areas with a gas log fireplace that spills out to a generous terrace where ships sailing through punctuate an otherwise serene outlook.
€5.550.000 EUR | Italy | Italy Sotheby’s International Realty
This one-of-a-kind penthouse, situated in a prestigious building built at the end of the 19th century, enjoys unrivaled views of the Castello Sforzesco. The property is set over two floors and features a large living room on the top floor with double sun light exposure, game and reading area, dining room, bath, kitchen with balcony and a service area with laundry and bathroom. The top floor is complemented by a planted panoramic terrace. The master bedroom features a walk-in closet and bathroom while the home also offers a second double bedroom and a large bedroom with adjacent bathroom all situated downstairs.
(CNN)The freedom found skiing on a mountain is often earned after lengthy journeys, airport hassles and time-consuming traffic.
But what if flying to the slopes was simple?
Certain ski resorts do offer this — and not just the ones involving a helicopter lift from the nearest international airport.
“The benefit of private jet travel for ski trips is as much about time saving and convenience, as it is about luxury,” says PrivateFly chief executive Adam Twidell.
Here are nine of the best ski resorts that can by flown directly to, with airfields less than 10 miles from the ski lifts.
Courchevel: A matter of yards from runway to slopes.
Courchevel is the queen of the crop when it comes to flying straight to the slopes. Europe’s highest tarmacked runway at 6,583 feet is just yards from the piste.
Skiing is only a matter of minutes away from landing. The steeply sloping runway — only 1,762 feet long — means pilots must power up on landing, a counter intuitive move.
“Get it wrong and the runway has to close while they get a tractor to come down and tow you up,” says Richard Lumb, director of Kaluma Travel. But make it intact, and the 372 miles and 166 lifts of the vast Les Trois Vallees ski area — shared with Meribel, Val Thorens and Les Menuires — are all conveniently close. So, too, are Courchevel’s seven Michelin-starred restaurants, galaxy of five-star hotels, such as the Cheval Blanc and Les Airelles, and constellation of ultra-luxury chalets.
Did you know? Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge chose Courchevel as the venue for a four-day ski break in March 2016.
Meribel sits at the heart of the Three Valleys, a welcoming wooded buffer between the chic Courchevel and high-altitude Val Thorens. Its mini airstrip, nestling among the firs, is just 1,332 feet long and can only cater for light aircraft. The Meribel valley has 100 miles of ski runs, stretching from up to the mighty Mont du Vallon at 9,685 feet, with a mix of easy, intermediate and daringly difficult slopes such as the Saulire couloirs, some of which access Courchevel. Meribel was founded in the 1930s by Briton Colonel Peter Lindsay, who decreed all the building must be sympathetic to the environment, hence the predominance of timber and chalets. The sole five-star hotel is Le Kaila, with its Michelin-starred restaurant, while Hotel Le Grand Coeur and Spa is a long-time favorite for deep-pocketed visitors.
Did you know? Meribel hosted the ice hockey and the women’s downhill at the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics.
Sound of Music actress Julie Andrews reportedly once said “Gstaad is the last paradise in a crazy world.” Arrive quickly by plotting a course to Saanen private airfield — a VIP gateway just three miles from glamorous Gstaad, which clings to its earthy farming traditions while attracting the beautiful people with generous sprinkles of snow. This Swiss Shangri-La on the northern ramparts of the Bernese Oberland boasts 136 miles of runs split between five main ski areas. Glacier skiing up to 1.86 miles is available a short drive around the valley above Les Diablerets.
Did you know? Gstaad regulars over the years are said to have included Louis Armstrong, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot, Roger Moore, John Travolta and Roger Federer.
Zell am See, Austria
There’s just two miles between landing strip and Austria’s beautiful Zell am See.
Two miles is barely enough time to apply sunscreen, but that’s how far Zell am See‘s airport is from the resort. The nearest lift, the Areitbahn, is just across the road.
Medieval Zell am See occupies a picturesque spot on the western shore of Lake Zell at the base of a horseshoe-shaped mountain, the Schmittenhöhe, with 48 miles of runs.
The new zellamseeXpress gondola has opened up an old run into Glemmtal with plans to extend further towards Saalbach-Hinterglemm. The total skiable domain is about 86 miles, including the trails on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier at 10,500 feet, which towers above Kaprun, and the family-friendly Maiskogel area. The historic Grand Hotel Zell am See sits on a lakeside peninsula, while the nearby Salzburgerhof has a five-star superior rating.
Did you know? The Steinerwirt is rated as Zell am See’s top restaurant on TripAdvisor, while the Crazy Daisy is a popular apres-ski spot.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
The term “jet set” could have been coined for the glitterati of St. Moritz. Private jets land at Samedan airfield in the Engadin valley, only four miles from the historic birthplace of winter tourism and the favorite alpine hangout for international moneybags, aristocrats and superstars. The 218 miles of ski runs and 58 lifts in the Engadin valley are centered around St. Moritz’s Corviglia area, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948. The resort also provided the setting for the skiing scenes in James Bond flick “The Spy Who Loved Me”. Gourmets are well catered for with a selection of fine-dining including La Marmite, the highest Michelin-starred restaurant in the Alps at 8,156 feet. Celebrated five-star hotels include the 120-year-old Badrutt’s Palace (Engadin suite from $5,328 per night), the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains and the Kulm Hotel. A two-night return from London’s Luton Airport to Samedan with a four-seater Citation Mustang is about $9,000 with PrivateFly. Otherwise it’s an almost three-hour trek from Zurich airport.
Did you know? St. Moritz is home to the infamous Cresta Run toboggan course, first built in 1884, and the nearby Olympia bob run, the world’s first and only naturally refrigerated bobsleigh track. The town also hosts an annual polo match and the “White Turf” horse race on the frozen lake.
Whisper it, but there’s a back door to Switzerland’s famed 4 Vallees ski area — jewel in the crown Verbier — and visitors can fly right up to the doorstep.
Sion airfield in the Rhone Valley is a Swiss Air Force fighter jet base (though they’re moving out next year), but it also welcomes limited commercial flights and private jets if the pilot’s qualified for the tricky approach through towering 13,000 foot peaks. Veysonnaz and Nendaz are traditional hamlets, eight and nine miles from the airport respectively, which connect into the circuit, Switzerland’s largest ski area with 248 miles of runs and 93 lifts. The high point is Mont Fort at 10,826 feet, with Mont Blanc and Matterhorn panoramas. The luxury Hidden Dragon chalet in Veysonnaz was built using Shinto and feng shui rituals to site the plot.
Did you know? Verbier’s La Vache mountain restaurant is co-owned by singer James Blunt, former England rugby union captain Lawrence Dallaglio and former Superbike world champion Carl Fogarty.
Pitkin County Airport, connected with dozen of US cities, is a convenient entry to Aspen town.
Everyone’s heard of Aspen, the Colorado silver-boom mining town done good — so good, in fact, it’s an A-list favorite with some of the most expensive real estate in the United States.
And its Pitkin County Airport is just a few short miles from the slopes. The airfield, which connects with dozens of US cities, is just three miles from the town of Aspen, surrounded by the ski area of Aspen Mountain (known locally as Ajax), Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Another ski area, Snowmass Village, is just six miles from the tarmac. Aspen, which features in several songs by late resident John Denver, claims a total of 319 miles of tree-lined Rocky Mountains trails. Common celebrity crash pads include the five-star Little Nell, Hotel Jerome and the St Regis.
Did you know? Aspen’s Buttermilk hosts the Winter X Games, while the 2017 FIS alpine skiing World Cup finals will be held there in March.
A check for $9,890 will buy a round-trip ticket on a private charter from Vancouver to Revelstoke deep in the heart of powder country. The airport — which also hosts two scheduled flights a week (via Revelstoke Air) is just two miles south of town. Be rewarded with a vertical drop of 5,620 feet — the most in North America — and 64 runs among glades and high-alpine bowls on Mount Mackenzie. Revelstoke is also known for its heli-skiing. From the uber-luxury Bighorn lodge, step onto a chopper parked out front and be whisked from doorstep to deep powder in minutes.
Bighorn costs $79,160 for the lodge in a high-season week, excluding heli-skiing. The helicopter will clock up $1,223 per person, per day.
Did you know? Don’t forget to pack a snorkel — Revelstoke is blessed with 40-60 feet of snow annually.
This former mining town from the mid-1800s was the setting for Butch Cassidy’s first bank heist in 1889, but now Telluride rates as one of North America’s hottest ski locations. Telluride Regional Airport sits on a lofty plateau six miles west of town and is open to scheduled services via Great Lakes Airlines or private charters. This makes it possible to fly in and be cruising in the San Juan mountains within the hour. Telluride’s compact center, only eight blocks wide and 12 long, retains a boutique Wild West look with clapboard storefronts and Victorian-era homes. Famous residents have included Tom Cruise, Jerry Seinfeld and Oprah Winfrey. The ski area — 2,000 acres and 127 runs among aspen and spruce glades — is dominated by Palmyra Peak at 13,320 feet.
The Revelation lift whisks skiers up to a high point of 12,515 feet above Revelation bowl.
Did you know? The ski area at Telluride — thought to be a contraction of the phrase “To hell you ride” — was founded in 1970 with snowcat skiing for $12.50 a day including a sack lunch. The first lifts followed in 1972.
As you make the drive from the airport in Montrose, Colorado into Telluride, you pass the remains of old mining operations and wind through the striking San Miguel Mountains. The anticipation continues to build until finally, you drive into the box canyon where Telluride (which was originally named Columbia when it was founded back in 1878) sits.
Part of the allure of Telluride, which transitioned from a mining town to a ski-bunny, hippie haven in the late ’60s and ’70s, has long been its exclusivity. It’s hard to get to, making it extremely attractive for celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and designer Ralph Lauren to buy land in this Colorado ski enclave. Celebrities won’t be bothered by paparazzi or swarming fans here—it’s almost an unspoken rule that you just go about business as usual, similar to other hotbeds for the rich and famous, even if Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes are walking down the street with Suri tagging along.
As opposed to other more glitzy ski towns around the world, Telluride is not a place to see-and-be-seen, and you can leave your outrageous fur coats and Moon Boots at home—there’s no place for them here.
As Lauren explained in an interview, “Colorado was an escape for us. It wasn’t about being in fashion. It was about a life that would be different, that would be freer—that would have nature and trees and animals and big sky.”
Just because Telluride is about understated glamour, however, doesn’t mean it lacks a strong culinary scene, high-end shops, or luxury accommodations. This small town needs to cater to the most discerning of tastes and it does not disappoint on that front. You’ll find impressive local microbrews, wine lists with some of the world’s best bottles, multi-course tasting menus served at the top of the mountain. To help, here are some insider tips to use as your plan your itinerary:
When to Go:
Telluride Ski Resort is a skier’s paradise in the winter months, with everything from a beginner’s terrain to hike-to-ski areas to Nordic-style skiing. In the spring and summer, however, Telluride plays host to some of the country’s top film and music festivals, like the Telluride Film Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. (Summer, for the record, increasingly draws the biggest crowds of all.)
Where to Stay:Madeline Hotel and Residences, situated right on the slopes with ski-in/ski-out access, is a go-to spot for repeat Telluride visitors from around the world. Highlights include the sweeping mountain views from the rooms, the food at Black Iron kitchen (make sure to try the Colorado lamb sliders), an impressive fitness center with the most up-to-date equipment (in case you need to work off a few too many lamb sliders or French fries), and the full service spa with an inspired range of treatments, ranging from targeted ski and mountain recovery treatments to crystal massage therapy. If you want something remote and extra luxe, opt for Telluride Ski Resort’s Tempter House, situated at 12,200 feet up on the mountain. The house was designed in the late ’90s by Anne Eckley, who is registered nationally at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Where to Eat:
For fast and casual bites, the innovative tacos at Tacos del Gnar in town will blow your mind. If you are in need of something to warm you up in between ski runs, Poachers Pub is where the locals go—try the chili and the Ska Euphoria IPA. Other on-mountain dining favorites include Bon Vivant (for French country cuisine like crepes and cheese plates) and High Camp (they have self serve hot chocolate!). For a more gourmet, special dining experience, both Allred’s and Alpino Vino on top of the mountain are a must. Afterwards, if you are still looking to keep the party going, have a nightcap in town at High Pie or There Bar.
What to Do:
Aside from lots of ski and snowboarding, (and eating), do a scenic fat bike (it’s a bike with extra fat tires so you can bike on the snow) tour to Telluride Brewing Company to sample some local microbrews. Make sure to try the Tempter IPA. Also, spend at least one afternoon exploring the charming town of Telluride (just a short ride away from the mountain village), where you’ll find historic landmarks like the 103-year-old Sheridan Opera House (which has hosted more world premiere films than any theatre in the U.S. between New York and L.A. and still acts as a working theatre today), and a slew of specialty boutiques (Two Skirts is a must, along with Swanky Buckle, Picaya and T.K. Imports for home goods) and galleries. There’s also a cannabis walking tour, led by Telluride Green Tours, where you can visit the town’s many dispensaries and explore the cannabis scene, if that’s up your alley.
Telluride is one of the most visually striking destinations in the world. Whether the lush, green summer, the striking gold fall, or the snow dusted frosty winter, the peaks and natural landscape are unforgettable. But don’t let us sway you, discover Telluride winter for yourself from a truly unique aerial perspective.
The latest volume of Art & Home is here! This month, Iyna Bort Caruso takes us to the forefront of design and innovation.
There are architects who design homes. And then there are visionaries who rethink the very definition of what a home is and how it should be experienced.
$6,700,000 USD | Park City, Utah | Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
In certain circles, innovative architecture is a boundary-pushing test of one-upmanship. Architects are juxtaposing styles and exaggerating silhouettes to create what seems like newly invented forms. They’re embracing the element of surprise and a hint of playfulness.
$5,995,000 USD | Austin, Texas | Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty
To be successful, however, innovative design has to do more than break with the past. It has to be functional. It is the architect’s responsibility to create designs that better the lives of the people who inhabit the home, says Dan Brunn, a Los Angeles, California-based architect whose residences have incorporated pivoting walls to display (or conceal) artwork and zig zag-shaped balconies. Bringing shapes and spaces together, capturing volume and light, framing views and choreographing floor plans so that “forms comes alive” are the attributes of great architecture, Brunn says.
3.500.000 € EUR | Saxony, Germany | Berlin Sotheby’s International Realty
In areas like Scottsdale, Arizona, some luxury home buyers are shifting away from traditional Tuscan and Southwest Territorial styles. They’re opting for statement-making properties with striking contemporary lines that “contrast with our Sonoran Desert, yet balance with its natural setting in terms of aesthetics,” says Deems Dickinson, president and principal broker of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty in Scottsdale. A custom home located on the 17th fairway of the prestigious Mirabel Golf Club community, for instance, is a remarkable example of modern architecture that stands out in the openness of the desert surroundings. The home features an indoor atrium with a bamboo garden, a floating staircase and windows that extend from the floor to ceiling and beyond, becoming full-length skylights.
As far as North American ski towns go, Aspen, Colorado, is tough to beat. It has not one but four mountains and a historic yet glitzed-out downtown full of shopping, restaurants, luxury hotels, world-class art, music, and intellectual gatherings. Two hundred miles to the southwest lies a not unknown but more discreet, more remote, more hemmed-in ski hamlet perched some 900 feet higher in the sky. Telluride and Aspen are both mining towns turned ski resorts, but thanks to Telluride’s spectacular setting, wholesome attitude, and homegrown entrepreneurs, it may have a few things to teach its bigger, more famous Coloradan sister.
1. Make your location more inaccessible and dramatic.
A Google Image search of the term box canyon will quickly turn up a photo of Telluride. The town’s population of 2,300 is less than half the size of Aspen’s and is squeezed into an even smaller canyon accessed by a smaller airport (TEX). Most visitors choose to fly into Montrose, some 70 miles to the north. This bite-size valley makes the town feel somehow quainter and more jaw-dropping at the same time.
2. Scale down the architecture.
Downtown Telluride is six blocks wide by 12 blocks long, dotted with adorable pastel Victorian-style houses. The main street is dominated by the courthouse, built in 1886, the New Sheridan Hotel, and the Sheridan Opera House—designed by the same architect as Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House, but at a fraction of the size. The retail boutiques represented in Telluride’s downtown are more Patagonia than Gucci.
3. Less caviar, more tacos.
Aspen has a slew of excellent, cosmopolitan dining options, from Matsuhisa to Chef’s Club at the St. Regis. But sometimes after a day of playing hard in the snow, all one craves is a bowl of piping hot, salty/carby ramen, like the dish served at There Bar, a cozy après-ski spot in one of Telluride’s charming Victorian cottages. Or a good taco like the ones at newly opened Taco del Gnar. At $4.50 a pop, try as many as you like; we recommend the lamb and the Korean short rib. Also try: Caravan (a Middle Eastern food truck), High Pie (pizza and “Telluride Mules”), Siam (for Thai staples), or Esperanza’s (a local favorite). Even the truffle French fries at Tomboy Tavern are toned down compared to Aspen’s Ajax Tavern’s over-the-top bouquet of Parmesan and truffle oil.
4. Gondola rides for everyone!
Both ski towns have gondolas that drop skiers off right in town, but Telluride’s is free. Celebrating its 20th birthday this season, the gondola at Telluride takes passengers up and over the hill to the European-style Mountain Village, built in the 1980s with ski-in, ski-out hotels (for example, the Madeline Hotel). The free gondola makes all of Telluride accessible by foot or ski whether you are staying in Mountain Village or in town, and runs until midnight. The silent swoosh of the cabin as it sweeps down the mountain by moonlight, cozily whisking you to your dinner reservation in the twinkling town below, is enchanting.
5. Design your own skis.
There is no denying the equipment involved in the sport of skiing is a hassle. Many recreational athletes swear by having custom-fit boots made to not waste precious vacation time dealing with rental gear. One Telluride entrepreneur has taken this hack one step further and built a bespoke ski factory in Mountain Village. The process for a pair of Wagner skis starts at home with a questionnaire about your physicality and where you like to ski, then moves to a Skype consultation. Once the blueprint is agreed upon, the elves at the Wagner workshop start cooking up your skis—complete with your choice of graphics (the vintage stripes are especially nice). Large windows invite passersby to look in on the magic, making Mountain Village kind of like the North Pole year-round.
Both resorts offer terrain that is the envy of ski destinations around the world. In the end, you can’t go wrong.
Telluride might be known for its famous landowners—Oprah Winfrey and Ralph Lauren among them—but this majestic ski town tucked away in a box canyon in southwestern Colorado still maintains its Old West charm. Once a mining town, and where Butch Cassidy started his bank-robbing career back in the 1890s, modern-day Telluride remains the unfussy, more casual ski-town sibling of places like Aspen or Vail. Don’t let the lack of fur coats and big-name chefs fool you—Telluride has world-class dining and lodging to match the outstanding ski terrain at Telluride Ski Resort.
There are Telluride establishments that should definitely be on your list, like Madeline Hotel and Residences (a favorite for its ski-in/ski-out access and après scene), Allred’s gourmet restaurant at the top of the gondola, and the 104-year-old Sheridan Opera House, where some of the entertainment world’s biggest names have passed through over the years. But if you are looking for some of the more under-the-radar spots, either because they are hidden in the mountains or are newer establishments, here are a few local watering holes that shouldn’t be missed on your next trip to Telluride.
Where to eat and drink Tacos del Gnar
Tacos del Gnar might be one of the newest dining spots in town, but news of their mouthwateringly delicious tacos has spread quickly in Telluride. The casual spot is perfect for grabbing a quick bite after a morning spent shredding the gnar. Here you’ll find some of the most unique tacos one could dream up, like the Avo taco with tempura-fried avocado slices on a flour tortilla topped with shredded cabbage and a zippy sauce. This place is so good, you seriously might want to plan a second stop here before you leave town.
New Sheridan Historic Bar
The historic New Sheridan Hotel and its accompanying dining spots—the Chop House and its Historic Bar—are iconic watering holes in Telluride. The restaurant is one of Telluride’s finest, and the Historic Bar—which dates from 1895, is a favorite of locals and visitors alike for its lively atmosphere, games (pool and foosball), and nightly drink specials. But what many visitors don’t know is that the bar also has a limited but very tasty menu of its own. Think elk chili, French fries with truffle oil and Parmesan, French dip sandwiches (arguably the best in town), and more.
Friends With Bennys Food Cart
If you are in need of a quick breakfast in town, head straight to Friends With Bennys (located at the gondola plaza on the Telluride side) for the eggs Benedict sandwiches (they do vegetarian Benedicts and have several options for meat lovers) or the loaded breakfast sandwich, a homemade English muffin topped with a fried egg, prosciutto, cheddar cheese, avocado, tomato, arugula, and red onion. Locals consider it to be the best in the area. Insider tip: You can call or text your order to 970-708-0054 (include your order and your cross streets), and they will either deliver to you or pick a meeting spot nearby.
The Grilled Cheese Cart
Even the most dedicated grilled cheese enthusiast will not be disappointed by the sandwiches at the Grilled Cheese Cart in the Mountain Village Core. It has traditional grilled cheeses, and if you are more of an experimental grilled-cheese eater, go for the grilled Brie and apricot sandwich.
Between the Covers Bookstore
You might think it’s just a cute bookstore, but nestled in the back is High Alpine Coffee Bar, which brews locally roasted coffee beans from Tomboy Coffee Roasters. Find a cozy corner and enjoy your coffee with a good book.
You certainly won’t just stumble upon this place. Alpino Vino, a five-course Italian restaurant in a European-style chalet at 11,966 feet, is only accessible at night via a gondola ride followed by a 20-minute snowcat ride up the mountain. During the day, you can get to it by taking the Gold Hill Express, Lift 14. Ski down “See Forever” and you’ll see it. Chef Nico Peccedi, who hails from the Italian Alps, will wow you with his braised-duck ravioli, cauliflower soup with amaretti crumbles and truffle oil, and his signature tiramisu (his grandma’s recipe). As for the wine, opt for the premium wine pairing (all Italian wines) expertly curated by wine director Andrew Shaffner. Note: Guests must be at least 21 years old to eat at the restaurant at night. Call ahead to reserve your spots.
Head to this tiny local hangout on Pacific Avenue for après-ski drinks and Asian-inspired tapas. There are many inventive cocktails on the menu, but it’s the jam drinks that locals come here for. (Yes, jam!) Just pick a jam—Maine blueberry, red pepper jelly, or pumpkin—and then pick your spirit—vodka, gin, rum, tequila, or rye. The red-pepper jelly and tequila combo is a good bet. As for eats, share the extra crispy brussel sprouts (you’ll find it hard to put your fork down with these), potatoes bravas (both good options for vegans), and the ramen, available with pork tenderloin, prawn tempura, duck breast, King crab, or veggies, plus a soft egg.
Where to ski Plunge Lift (Lift 9)
Plunge Lift is a local’s favorite that gives you access to some of the mountains’ best advanced terrain, like Log Pile and Bushwacker, along with sweeping views of town.
Where to stay Tempter House
If you are looking for somewhere to stay that’s truly off the beaten path, look no farther than Tempter House. Situated at 12,200 feet up and adjacent to Gold Hill, which is famous for its expert ski terrain, Tempter House is one of the highest elevation homes in North America. The Anne Eckley–designed house has sweeping views of the mountain, ski-in/ski-out access, an attendant for turn-down service, steam showers, a hot tub, a credit for dinner for two at Allred’s or Alpino Vino (two of the mountain’s best fine dining options), and a private chef available (for an additional cost). The Winter Overnight for Two package is $7,500 per night. Note: People book Tempter House around six months in advance, so make sure to plan ahead on this one. It’s not likely you will get a last-minute reservation.
WSJ Top US Real Estate Brokers
#115 Nationally - 2013
#11 Nationally - 2010
#19 in Colorado - 2015
#19 in Colorado - 2014
#3 in Colorado - 2013
#13 in Colorado - 2012
#2 in Colorado - 2010
Top 38 Sotheby's Brokers, US - 2013
WSJ Top US Real Estate Brokers
#115 Nationally - 2013
#11 Nationally - 2010
#19 in Colorado - 2015
#19 in Colorado - 2014
#3 in Colorado - 2013
#13 in Colorado - 2012
#2 in Colorado - 2010
Top 38 Sotheby's Brokers, US - 2013