Alpine Refuge


Known as a playground for the rich and famous, Aspen has a multitude of charms to entice visitors to its stunning slopes. That, of course, is exactly what Viceroy Hotels and Resorts is counting on with the Viceroy Snowmass (CO), its first mountain resort. While there is plenty of mountain adventure to be had at the resort, guests won’t feel truly indulged until they’ve scheduled some recovery time at The Spa at Viceroy Snowmass. “Built upon the timeless traditions of the Ute Indians, Nordic influences, and Asian healing, The Spa at Viceroy Snowmass offers a complete holistic experience that takes each guest on a personal journey inspired by these unique cultures while carefully marrying the latest in results-driven, non-invasive technologies,” says Holleigh Alexander-Ramsey, executive director of spa and wellness. “From customized therapy selections and spa journey tea pairings to the organic welcome elixir and our foot cleansing ritual, each and every thoughtful detail induces a sense of harmony and rejuvenation that restores the mind, body, and spirit.”

That same attention to detail was evident from the start, as renowned designer Jean-Michel Gathy was tasked with giving the spa a sense of place. He, too, drew inspiration from the Native American Ute Indians and incorporated many of the elements they worshipped—water, earth, stone, and fire—into the spa’s overall design. For example, water can be found cascading from the ceiling to the floor, passing through rough-hewn granite, in the relaxation lounge. “Visionary Jean-Michel Gathy married Asian influences and mountain-Zen materials in the design of The Spa at Viceroy Snowmass, inviting nature inside and creating a powerfully monolithic space that is dramatic yet relaxing,” says Alexander-Ramsey. According to her, a silver and steel sculpture depicting elk antlers in the relaxation lounge is just one example of Gathy’s whimsical approach to traditional mountain design.

Whimsy didn’t play a role in Alexander-Ramsey’s approach to the menu. Instead, her goal was to take guests on a holistic journey. She also wanted to share the story of the spa’s indigenous surroundings. “Much research went into discovering the history of Snowmass, Aspen, and its people and what influenced this community throughout time,” says Alexander-Ramsey. “While taking the most impactful traditions as inspiration, I created a spa interpretation of these traditions throughout the entire menu.”  For instance, the Ute Sun Dance Ritual ($340, 2 hours) is based on the most important spiritual ceremony in the Ute tradition. It involves a hot salt soak to wash away heavy intentions, a warm red clay body wrap to detoxify, a hot oil scalp treatment to quiet mental stress, a nourishing shea butter full-body massage, and a healing hand and foot treatment. Guests can also take part in the Bear Dance Ritual ($340, 2 hours), an important Ute ceremony symbolizing the awakening of the bear from hibernation. It includes a full-body exfoliation, a hydrating body wrap, and a sacred stone massage. The menu also features Asian- and Nordic-inspired rituals.

Because most guests are looking for holistic healing, rejuvenation, and a unique experience, the menu offers plenty of variety. According to Alexander-Ramsey, the spa’s most popular treatment is The Healer ($240, 90 minutes) with the Herbal Compress Enhancement ($25). Ideal for those who may have overdone it on the slopes, The Healer incorporates sports and deep-tissue massage to ease muscle pain.

Like the treatment menu, many of the product lines were based on the fact that they help tell the spa’s story, such as Akhassa, Kerstin Florian, and Zents. “I was looking to build partnerships with product lines that not only shared my same philosophies in terms of sustainability and were either wildcrafted or organic in nature but also provided on-going support for training, events, and marketing campaigns,” says Alexander-Ramsey. “Additionally, it was important that each vendor offered products that were cultivated with ingredients that could be found in our local environment or would be found in the environment for which the individual treatment story could be told.”

Retail is obviously an important piece of the equation, and each guest receives a personalized recommendation. “Our spa sets individualized monthly retail sales goals for our technicians on a tiered incentive basis that also includes additional incentive opportunities by our vendors,” says Alexander-Ramsey. With seven full-time and 18 part-time employees, the spa is able to accommodate up to 63 clients each day. Looking to the future, Alexander-Ramsey is focused on building the business in terms of domestic and international recognition, as well as nurturing and developing in-house talent so they can continue welcoming guests to this high-country haven. 


OWNER: Viceroy Hotel Group/Long-term management company for Related Colorado


OPENED: November 2009



70% female

30% male



7,000 square feet;

6 treatment rooms



aromatherapy, body treatments, couples’ treatments, energy work, eyelash and brow tinting, facials, fitness, guided meditation, hair and scalp treatments, hand and foot treatments, hydrotherapy, LED therapy, makeup application, massage, nailcare, outdoor treatments, Pilates, prenatal services, reflexology, sound therapy, sunless tanning, waxing, yoga



Ute Sun Dance Ritual ($340, 2 hours)



Ultimate Renewal Signature Facial ($475, 2 hours; $3,800, series of 10)



Akhassa, Boca Terry, Cirepil, Eco-Fin, Intraceuticals, Kerstin Florian, Moroccanoil, OKA b., SpaRitual, The Comphy Co, Universal Companies, Vita Liberata, Zents



Book4Time, Living Earth Crafts, TechnoGym



OZ Architecture (Denver)



Jean-Michel Gathy, Denniston International Architects & Planners (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)