Aerin Lauder’s perfect weekend in Aspen

The granddaughter of Estée Lauder is the founder of Aerin, a global luxury lifestyle brand of beauty products, fashion accessories and home décor collections

Aerin Lauder on a trail in Aspen
Aerin Lauder on a trail in Aspen | Image: Patrick Fraser

I wake up early wherever I am, but in Colorado I’m up at six because the time difference is two hours earlier than New York, where I live. The first thing I do is make drip coffee and set the table for breakfast. I have a certain Alpine style in Aspen and buy Austrian gingham napkins and plates from Gorsuch, a housewares store I love.

I’ll drink my coffee, read the paper and check on emails. I’m a list maker so write lists of what I have to do for work and my family. It’s a great time to call friends on the east coast, looking out at the breathtaking view. I’ve been coming to Aspen since the late 1980s and it hasn’t changed much. When we were buying a holiday home six years ago my husband and I went everywhere – Montana, Idaho – but we came back to Aspen in the end; my uncle and cousin have homes here and it’s a very family‑oriented place.

I’ll then drive to Paradise Bakery to buy muffins and croissants to have breakfast at home with my husband and two teenage sons. We’ll go for a hike on the Ute trail and lunch at Ajax Tavern, at the bottom of the cable car in town. It’s known for its truffle fries, burgers and kale salads, so you can eat healthily or unhealthily – and if it’s chilly they have delicious tomato soup with grilled cheese to put a smile on your face.

I’ll leave my family to do their own thing and go to Kemo Sabe, a traditional Colorado clothing store where I recently bought a big brown belt with a silver buckle, which I had initialled, and brown cowboy boots with embroidered flowers. I wear them with Levi’s and a J Crew denim shirt; there is something “when in Rome” about what you wear in Colorado.

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In Aspen they don’t really do tea, so I meet up with my family at the outside bar at Little Nell’s hotel and might have a glass of rosé with Parmesan fries and aioli. Then off to the spa at the St Regis hotel for a gentle massage. The rooms are made of stone, which feels right for the location.

We’ll eat dinner at La Crêperie du Village, my favourite restaurant here. It’s owned by an amazing Frenchman – I don’t know how he ended up in Aspen – and I’ll start with foie gras marinated in sauternes. Even though it’s summer we’ll share a truffle-cheese fondue because it’s so fun to eat. For dessert, it’s crêpes, of course. The kids go off to meet their friends, and my husband and I go to the little bar at Casa Tua restaurant for after-dinner drinks; I’ll have a glass of Casa Dragones, a delicious sipping tequila. I’m not the person to go to a club, so we’ll go home and watch a film with the kids and then drift off to sleep.

On Sunday we’ll go to Main Street Bakery for pancakes with maple syrup and bacon – this is not the healthiest weekend. We then walk to Explore Booksellers, and on to Carl’s Pharmacy, an old-fashioned place that has a nickel-and-dime store upstairs selling toys that are great for gifts.

We might then bike to Basalt, another town about an hour away, and come back for lunch at White House Tavern for devilled eggs – or you can’t go wrong with their spinach and artichoke dip. Then a hike on the Rio Grande trail, looking towards Aspen Mountain and its ski runs. From the trail you can see Red Mountain – there is iron ore in the rock, hence the red colour.

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On the way home we stop at Meat & Cheese to pick up a salami and cheese plate. We love to have friends over; we’ll sit on our deck and chat over margaritas and Coronas. After some downtime we’ll go as a family for dinner at Matsuhisa. We’ll order sashimi, black cod and shrimp and drink cold sake presented in a beautiful bamboo pitcher. We’ll get home at 9.30pm to pack for the flight back to New York. After all the fresh air and food, I soon fall into a deep sleep.

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