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R+B Completes Second Interior Renovation Of Ajax Tavern At The Little Nell Hotel


Renovation aligns with the slopeside hotel’s 30th anniversary


ASPEN, CO — September 24, 2019 — Rowland+Broughton Architecture / Urban Design / Interior Design is delighted to announce the completion of an interior renovation of Ajax Tavern at The Little Nell, set at the base of Aspen Mountain, next to the Silver Queen Gondola. The Little Nell, Aspen’s only Five-Star, Five-Diamond, ski-in/ski-out hotel, is owned by the Aspen Skiing Company (ASC). This renovation furthers Rowland+Broughton’s collaboration with ASC, which has produced over 20 projects in the last ten years, including a renovation of Ajax Tavern in 2007. The hotel celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.


Addressing present and long-term requirements, primary goals of the renovation include improving the overall flow of the restaurant and ensuring maximum flexibility within the space. A new corner entry allows for better flow into the interior and improves presence from the gondola plaza. The new entry leads directly into the bar area, further enhancing the tavern feel and community atmosphere. The previous entry remains for service access between the patio and dining room.


Inside, enhancing the seating flexibility allowed by existing booths and banquettes, a new central, divisible banquette set on casters may be reconfigured or moved away to accommodate private functions and groups.


With the goal of brightening the interior, the color palette was lightened and existing wainscoting painted. New caramel-colored leather Sling Bar Stools by Industry West complement natural light oak tabletops, and a custom mirror hung by leather straps reflects exterior light and activity of guests entering the space. A higher banquette overlooking the main dining area was also added along a rear wall.


Throughout the restaurant, handcrafted details reflect the ethos of Colorado and enhance the overall effect of the new décor. Banquettes feature new custom upholstery from Aspen Upholstery that transitions from leather to fabric. Pendant lights were updated with matte black “Allied Maker” fixtures with brass interiors and leather accents. The rear dining room wall and back wall of the semi-open kitchen was refinished with handcrafted Industrial Glass tiles from Decorative Materials.


Additional interior details include new black leather Sling Barstools by Industry West at the blackened steel bar and the community table, and sustainable Interface carpet that softens acoustics and discourages slipping for those in ski boots. Updates on the patio include new Tuuci dual cantilever umbrellas and Outdoor Euro dining chairs.


About the project, R+B Principal Sarah Broughton, AIA, NCIDQ, shares, “We are so proud to once again be involved in the renovation of everyone’s favorite slope-side restaurant, Ajax Tavern, as it moves into the future. I always say that design is the third most important thing in a restaurant space. The first two are the food and the service. I really want to compliment The Little Nell and Ajax Tavern staff for the amazing job that they do with both of those aspects.”


“The R+B team worked hard to address the goals of improving the flow and flexibility of the restaurant, and enhancing its tavern feel, with simple insertions that had a strong effect. The end result is so gratifying for us as architects and designers, as it truly shows that space matters. Thank you to the Aspen Skiing Company for allowing us to further a collaboration that has encouraged sustainability and hospitality over the last ten years.”


Little Nell General Manager Jonathan Fillman adds, “Rowland+Broughton and Aspen Skiing Company have collaborated on multiple projects over the past decade, including several here at The Little Nell. Time and again, the process has been seamless, including the initial renovation of Ajax Tavern in 2007 and just recently in 2019. They take into consideration the guest experience and the flow of operations, both of which are evident in Ajax Tavern’s redesign.”


In addition to Broughton, the R+B team on the project includes Project Manager Alison Foto Agley, AIA, NCARB, Carol Cisco, LEED AP ID+C, Senior Interior Designer, Project Architect Maslin Mellick, AIA, and Architectural Designer Maggie Wohltjen.