Author Topic: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report  (Read 2692 times)

Offline mdv

  • Dansdeals Silver Elite
  • **
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 83
  • Total likes: 39
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood
  • Programs: Marriott Titanium UA silver DL silver AC 25k Hertz PC National EE
Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« on: July 14, 2020, 11:48:36 AM »
This is my first trip report so I hope I do this right!
 I am the kind of guy who's always planning trips but rarely actually gets to go on one so when the opportunity came up I jumped on it . For a destination we wanted to stay within USA just for simplicity due to all the covid restrictions in other countries ....our first idea was just boring miami but we quickly ditched that due to weather and covid spiking... next idea was arizona but also too hot so we settled on Colorado for the perfect no humidity weather in the mountains during the summer.

Ever since getting married I've become a stickler for nice hotels (before that i just looked at it like a waste of money/ points) so my planning was partly (alright- mostly) based on where I can find a really nice hotel on points and the winner was the St Regis Aspen which was at the time pricing at 70k Marriott per night for the entire duration of the stay (which usually is quite hard to find) due to covid .The hotel is actually quite an old building but was renovated about 10 years ago and its very luxurious even for today's standards albeit with more of a rustic mountain feel (more on that later) . In regards to the location obviously everyone recognizes the name from the tissue boxes so I knew I wouldn't be let down.

 I spoke to a well travelled friend who told me the nicest thing to see in the Colorado Rockies is Maroon Bells which is right next to Aspen so that sealed it ! The other thing my friend told me about was Mt Evans which is a drive thats supposed to be very cool (highest road in USA) but that's closer to denver and too far from Aspen to be a day trip.
 So I was thinking to do one less night in Aspen and 1 night closer to denver so we can do that drive ( and also by only doing 3 nights I wouldn't feel so bad not taking advantage of fifth night free....staying 5 nights would have meant having to stay for shabbos in denver and that just didn't work for me)
However by the time I decided to do that the off peak promo was over and if you want to shorten a stay with marriott its based off the current rates (which had gone back up to 85k) so essentially you are just canceling the stay and rebooking it for 1 less night for the current rate - they can't just knock off the last night and keep the rate you booked (which seems quite foolish). I tried huca and supervisors to no avail. They said the only other option is to get the hotel to make the change but when I spoke to the property they said they can't change a points reservation all I can do is check out a day early and I would get the points back but then would be charged $4000 (!) for "making a change within 24 hours" and no they can't make any exceptions as it's a rigid rule. Obviously I asked for a manager and was told he was in a meeting so I should leave a voicemail. So as a last ditch effort I left a message explaining the situation and saying that I'm coming with my 5 month old baby this is his first trip blah blah blah not expecting to get a call back.
To my surprise i got a call a bit later from Carlos who introduced himself as the reservation manager for the St Regis and the W (the W aspen is an insanely cool and modern property but the rooms are a bit quirky - some rooms have weird bunkbed style beds and some have no views at all i.e. no windows and it has a rooftop pool open to the public and seems to have more of a party vibe - more on the w later -the st regis just seemed more classy and luxurious) and he goes I have a 2 month old myself and i can definitely help you change your stay no problem no fees! I actually ended up staying all 4 nights but Carlos ended up helping me alot with something else I'll elaborate later.

For flights we had the option of united from newark or Philadelphia or southwest from Philadelphia and I ended up going with southwest because I had some Sw points left from getting 2 cards last year and some very cheap rates , flexible changes (@Dan southwest systemwide free changes) , 2 free bags and guaranteed middle seat free so i can bring my baby's car seat on the plane - although the flight times weren't the greatest.

And for a rental car I had a whole bunch of points leftover from my single years of renting and from buying some a few years thru daily getaways (thanx to @Dan )and coupled with presdents circle (got from the LH Senator code a few years back and kept up thru status match thru national) I was hoping for something nice ( although I had never previously gotten anything better than a challenger with PC) .
Being that we were landing 9am and taking off 430pm I would've had to pay for a whole extra day for those extra few hours but I decided to take my chances and use the amex platinum cdp which allows you to set up your reservation online to return 4 hours later than pickup , hoping that they wouldn't ask me to prove my card membership
(I actualy have a business platinum card that I canceled a while ago but the expiry date on the card is still on the future and i happened to have kept the physical card for situations like these).
So I managed to get a rate for 4 days ( 3000 points) for a 10am pickup and 2pm drop off plus a quoted $100 and some change for taxes and fees (for some odd reason they ended up charging only 19 dollars but I ain't complaining)
 
So here's some numbers :
Breakdown of costs
Flights (for myself and my wife) :
PHL to DEN Sunday 7am
10746 WN + $11.20
DEN to PHL Thursday 435pm
14646 WN + $11.20
Car :
10am pickup 2pm dropoff .paid for 4 days and got 4 hours extra with amex plat code
3000 Hertz points + $19.10
Hotel :
St Regis Aspen Resort
280k Marriott points ( 4 nights @70k per night off peak rate due to covid promo)(yes it killed me to not take the fifth night free )

For food we needed to bring with us because the closest kosher food is in denver 3 hours away so we did a combination of premade food from yapchik which they vacuum packed for us, some premade homemade food frozen in pans and some raw steaks , all individually wrapped in silver foil, labeled (I made a corresponding list on my phone to keep track of everything) and then as per my rov I taped each one in a specific way to be able to tell if it was tampered with. Next I froze everything and put it in a Polar Bear suitcase (thanks @Dan for the tip worked perfectly) and then the rest of the stuff - milk , cheese frozen pizza etc we made an order from East side kosher deli which we would pick up after landing in denver. To prepare the food we brought a sous vide (to warm the vacuum packed yapchik food and cook the steaks )and a plastic bin for the water, a mini blowtorch to sear the steaks and a toaster oven to warm up the things in pans and for frozen pizza. Honestly a toaster oven is quite a schlep and we only brought it because we had so much free baggage but next time I would probably just try to get one at my destination and leave it there when I'm done
So that's pretty much all the planning ... next up is the actual trip and some pics
..... to be continued.....
Sorry I don't have any snarky line for this space

Offline CRACKERJACK

  • Dansdeals Gold Elite
  • ***
  • Join Date: Mar 2019
  • Posts: 117
  • Total likes: 22
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2020, 01:14:51 PM »
Very detailed so far!
Keep it coming!

Offline sam28

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jun 2010
  • Posts: 1645
  • Total likes: 40
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2020, 05:39:20 PM »
keep it coming and add some pictures please . also would u say its a good idea to go to Colorado with kids age 6 and 12 ?

Offline mdv

  • Dansdeals Silver Elite
  • **
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 83
  • Total likes: 39
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood
  • Programs: Marriott Titanium UA silver DL silver AC 25k Hertz PC National EE
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2020, 06:43:59 PM »
There's definitely some great pics coming - you won't be disappointed ...maybe even some videos and time lapses if l I can figure out how to do it . Still writing day 1.
I would definitely recommend going with kids (obviously you're gonna need 2 rooms )as long as they appreciated m nature and scenery etc. otherwise they might be bored
Sorry I don't have any snarky line for this space

Offline mme

  • Dansdeals Gold Elite
  • ***
  • Join Date: Jul 2019
  • Posts: 146
  • Total likes: 43
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Location: ny
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2020, 11:34:32 PM »
Wow nice TR just in time i'm thinking of going there!

Offline moisheyb

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Gold Elite
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2014
  • Posts: 884
  • Total likes: 21
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2020, 11:34:57 PM »
Wow nice TR just in time i'm thinking of going there!
+1

Offline Dan

  • Administrator
  • Dansdeals Lifetime 50K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • **********
  • Join Date: May 2008
  • Posts: 57968
  • Total likes: 5590
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 16442
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: CLE
  • Programs: UA Global Services, AA Lifetime Plat, DL Dirt, SPG Plat, Hyatt Diamond, Fairmont Lifetime Plat, Hilton Diamond, Priority Club Plat, Avis Chairman, National EE, Hertz PC
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2020, 11:53:41 PM »
Nice start!
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline mdv

  • Dansdeals Silver Elite
  • **
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 83
  • Total likes: 39
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood
  • Programs: Marriott Titanium UA silver DL silver AC 25k Hertz PC National EE
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2020, 12:14:20 AM »
Sunday 07/05/20
We had to get a really early start as our flight was 7am from Philadelphia and we had an hour drive from Lakewood. We got to the airport, checked in our 4 free bags (i think 2 of them may have been a few pounds over 50 but thankfully they didn't make any issues...either because they saw I was traveling with my baby or just southwest isn't so makpid...I definitely didn't go over our combined 200 lbs) , went thru security (I have TSA pre but my wife doesn't....still haven't figured out why it doesn't always give it to her even tho she is booked on same itinerary as me) , and got to gate just as they were starting boarding. I happen to still have A list status with southwest from my credit card so I knew our boarding position was going to be one of the first but when I walked up to the gate there was literally no one else with A boarding position so we were the last to the gate and the first on the plane! The gate agents were nice enough to let me bring the doona on when I explained to them that I can strap it to the empty seat they were guaranteeing (I actually collapsed it as I was advised to do so they would see its a car seat and not a stroller but the way back I totally forgot to and they let me bring it anyway when I explained). This as opposed to numerous reports of united and AA not letting in car seats even though there are empty seats.
We boarded the plane first so we had the option of taking the bulkhead, but unfortunately the doona is too wide to fit on a seat without lifting an armrest and the armrests in the front row don't go up as they contain the folding tray table...so we ended up taking one row back. Still it was a pretty ideal setup .
Thankfully my baby was a little angel on the flight- he basically slept most of the time and was happy in the car seat...we barely had to hold him...pretty good for a free seat!
We landed in denver, went in circles a few times until we figured out how the airport works (were they drunk when they built it?) , finally located our bags and hopped on the shuttle for Hertz.
Our shuttle driver was quite enthusiastic about his job ( gave us a whole introduction, this "trip will be approximately 5 minutes " "I'll be playing 60s music unless anyone objects "giving us old fashioned actual driving directions how to get to the city ) - gotta love these guys who are all pumped about their job lol.
We arrived at herz and sitting in the PC lit was a nice white Jaguar SUV .... you don't leave something like that in the lot (even if a bigger SUV would have been more practical with all our luggage) so we took the Jag , managed to cram all our luggage in ,and headed for the city.







It was a beautiful sunny day in denver and just as we were leaving the airport we got a stunning view of the snowcapped mountains far off in the distance with a southwest plane taking off in the foreground.... unfortunately we missed the picture .
We headed to king soopers for drinks, paper goods, butane for my torch and some other odds and ends, then we went to a chabad so I can daven shachris (I have the rabbis number if anyone needs) , then headed to Brooklyn Pizza and got some great pizza , then to East side deli to pick up our order and I got some wine there as well. ( I had bought back at home a nice bottle of yarden cab and a castel rose' but the wife was too nervous to bring in luggage - I ended up getting some cheaper stuff in denver because the selection was pretty weak and the good stuff was way too expensive - oh well, sigh. First world problems. )
Finally we hit the road for our 3 and half hour drive through the mountains to Aspen . Even though I knew we were driving through the mountains I didn't realize that this drive would be as epic as it was....the only problem was the weather was a bit rainy( the way there). I always think its a chaval when you do these kinds of drives because you can't experience and /or get pictures of most of it - even if you stop at all the spots on the side you're still missing alot and we didn't end having time to really stop at all either way so I actually set up my phone in the mount to take a time lapse of the drive (obviously you're still only getting the front view and the best is really the side views but the only way to get those would be by setting up a gopro on each side of the car and that fancy I am not. lol) but the time lapses from the way back came out better as the weather was better I will try to attach one below (disclaimer: you may get dizzy :))
The drive really was spectacular ....from wide open lush vallies with cattle grazing surrounded by snow capped mountains to narrow passages carved out of a cliff with barely enough space to squeeze past the incoming traffic....and the elevation fluctuating wildly - my ears were popping and unpopping the entire time ( I also had a bit of a cold I don't think my wife had it so bad). The weather also was pretty wild from almost 100 degrees in denver it dropped to under 60 degrees at one point !
Here's a screenshot of the route I believe we took (for some reason I couldn't find it in Google timeline ) .





We took the 70 west and south to wheeler junction then the 91 to Leadville which is a little town with incredible views whichever way you turn and then we took the 24 to the 82 and that's when things got really fun as you can see from this screenshot .





It passes a landmark called the continental divide which is a mountain ridge that runs north to south and is the point where all waters to the east flow toward the Atlantic and all waters to the west flow toward the pacific (bet you didn't know that...well I didn't either until I googled it after- I am retroactively fascinated lol)
heres a time lapse (from the way back cuz was nicer weather)




Finally we got to Aspen and we pulled up to the magnificent St Regis





to be continued....
Sorry I don't have any snarky line for this space

Offline mdv

  • Dansdeals Silver Elite
  • **
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 83
  • Total likes: 39
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood
  • Programs: Marriott Titanium UA silver DL silver AC 25k Hertz PC National EE
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2020, 12:29:04 AM »
Sorry the time lapse doesn't seem to work...l will try to attach  it a different way
Sorry I don't have any snarky line for this space

Offline mdv

  • Dansdeals Silver Elite
  • **
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 83
  • Total likes: 39
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood
  • Programs: Marriott Titanium UA silver DL silver AC 25k Hertz PC National EE
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2020, 12:30:07 AM »
Sorry the time lapse doesn't seem to work...l will try to attach  it a different way

Watch in full screen for full effect
Sorry I don't have any snarky line for this space

Offline mme

  • Dansdeals Gold Elite
  • ***
  • Join Date: Jul 2019
  • Posts: 146
  • Total likes: 43
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Location: ny
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2020, 12:30:52 AM »
Wow didn't have such a nice TR in some time detailed and the pictures WOW! i can't wait for the rest!

Offline EliJelly

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jan 2019
  • Posts: 1051
  • Total likes: 489
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2020, 12:31:47 AM »

It passes a landmark called the continental divide which is a mountain ridge that runs north to south and is the point where all waters to the east flow toward the Atlantic and all waters to the west flow toward the pacific (bet you didn't know that...well I didn't either until I googled it after- I am retroactively fascinated lol)

Sure we do!! ;D
Trip report:

Finishing the trip by pouring water into both the Atlantic and Pacific at once:





Offline mdv

  • Dansdeals Silver Elite
  • **
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 83
  • Total likes: 39
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood
  • Programs: Marriott Titanium UA silver DL silver AC 25k Hertz PC National EE
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2020, 01:17:54 AM »
Ah well I guess that's the price I paid for not stopping at these pull offs either way .... didn't end up having time. Pity
Sorry I don't have any snarky line for this space

Offline gsquared817

  • DansDeals Copper Elite
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2015
  • Posts: 23
  • Total likes: 10
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2020, 06:10:52 AM »
Pretty sure I saw you in the Hertz parking lot in Denver as I saw that Jag in the parking lot and went inside to double check if I could have it, and then my kids came inside and told me other Yidden got it first!

Offline yossi4k

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Oct 2010
  • Posts: 1573
  • Total likes: 8
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: NMB FL
  • Programs: Avis President's Club National Executive Elite Sixt Platinum
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2020, 06:30:14 AM »
Sunday 07/05/20
We had to get a really early start as our flight was 7am from Philadelphia and we had an hour drive from Lakewood. We got to the airport, checked in our 4 free bags (i think 2 of them may have been a few pounds over 50 but thankfully they didn't make any issues...either because they saw I was traveling with my baby or just southwest isn't so makpid...I definitely didn't go over our combined 200 lbs) , went thru security (I have TSA pre but my wife doesn't....still haven't figured out why it doesn't always give it to her even tho she is booked on same itinerary as me) , and got to gate just as they were starting boarding. I happen to still have A list status with southwest from my credit card so I knew our boarding position was going to be one of the first but when I walked up to the gate there was literally no one else with A boarding position so we were the last to the gate and the first on the plane! The gate agents were nice enough to let me bring the doona on when I explained to them that I can strap it to the empty seat they were guaranteeing (I actually collapsed it as I was advised to do so they would see its a car seat and not a stroller but the way back I totally forgot to and they let me bring it anyway when I explained). This as opposed to numerous reports of united and AA not letting in car seats even though there are empty seats.
We boarded the plane first so we had the option of taking the bulkhead, but unfortunately the doona is too wide to fit on a seat without lifting an armrest and the armrests in the front row don't go up as they contain the folding tray table...so we ended up taking one row back. Still it was a pretty ideal setup .
Thankfully my baby was a little angel on the flight- he basically slept most of the time and was happy in the car seat...we barely had to hold him...pretty good for a free seat!
We landed in denver, went in circles a few times until we figured out how the airport works (were they drunk when they built it?) , finally located our bags and hopped on the shuttle for Hertz.
Our shuttle driver was quite enthusiastic about his job ( gave us a whole introduction, this "trip will be approximately 5 minutes " "I'll be playing 60s music unless anyone objects "giving us old fashioned actual driving directions how to get to the city ) - gotta love these guys who are all pumped about their job lol.
We arrived at herz and sitting in the PC lit was a nice white Jaguar SUV .... you don't leave something like that in the lot (even if a bigger SUV would have been more practical with all our luggage) so we took the Jag , managed to cram all our luggage in ,and headed for the city.







It was a beautiful sunny day in denver and just as we were leaving the airport we got a stunning view of the snowcapped mountains far off in the distance with a southwest plane taking off in the foreground.... unfortunately we missed the picture .
We headed to king soopers for drinks, paper goods, butane for my torch and some other odds and ends, then we went to a chabad so I can daven shachris (I have the rabbis number if anyone needs) , then headed to Brooklyn Pizza and got some great pizza , then to East side deli to pick up our order and I got some wine there as well. ( I had bought back at home a nice bottle of yarden cab and a castel rose' but the wife was too nervous to bring in luggage - I ended up getting some cheaper stuff in denver because the selection was pretty weak and the good stuff was way too expensive - oh well, sigh. First world problems. )
Finally we hit the road for our 3 and half hour drive through the mountains to Aspen . Even though I knew we were driving through the mountains I didn't realize that this drive would be as epic as it was....the only problem was the weather was a bit rainy( the way there). I always think its a chaval when you do these kinds of drives because you can't experience and /or get pictures of most of it - even if you stop at all the spots on the side you're still missing alot and we didn't end having time to really stop at all either way so I actually set up my phone in the mount to take a time lapse of the drive (obviously you're still only getting the front view and the best is really the side views but the only way to get those would be by setting up a gopro on each side of the car and that fancy I am not. lol) but the time lapses from the way back came out better as the weather was better I will try to attach one below (disclaimer: you may get dizzy :))
The drive really was spectacular ....from wide open lush vallies with cattle grazing surrounded by snow capped mountains to narrow passages carved out of a cliff with barely enough space to squeeze past the incoming traffic....and the elevation fluctuating wildly - my ears were popping and unpopping the entire time ( I also had a bit of a cold I don't think my wife had it so bad). The weather also was pretty wild from almost 100 degrees in denver it dropped to under 60 degrees at one point !
Here's a screenshot of the route I believe we took (for some reason I couldn't find it in Google timeline ) .





We took the 70 west and south to wheeler junction then the 91 to Leadville which is a little town with incredible views whichever way you turn and then we took the 24 to the 82 and that's when things got really fun as you can see from this screenshot .





It passes a landmark called the continental divide which is a mountain ridge that runs north to south and is the point where all waters to the east flow toward the Atlantic and all waters to the west flow toward the pacific (bet you didn't know that...well I didn't either until I googled it after- I am retroactively fascinated lol)
heres a time lapse (from the way back cuz was nicer weather)




Finally we got to Aspen and we pulled up to the magnificent St Regis





to be continued....
Awesome job, little brother! Keep it coming- just what's with the grammar? Did we go to the same school or what?  ;D ;D