Aspen exudes the image of a grand winter wonderland, attracting world-renowned writers, artists, and movie stars who are drawn to this majestic (and exclusive) enclave. Yet Aspen is more than a winter resort town. Its breadth of winter and summer activities, festivals, and cultural events, make it truly a year-round destination—perhaps most stunning in the fall when its namesake trees are in full color. With astronomically high real estate prices reflecting its posh popularity, a second home in Aspen is a reach for most. Enter Dancing Bear: a luxury private fractional ownership club located next to the renowned St. Regis Hotel and within walking distance to the slopes at Ajax Mountain, distinctive dining, and world-class shopping.
Perhaps even better than its perfect location is its price of ownership—$850,000 (plus annual dues) for a one-eighth share of a beautifully appointed 2,000-square-foot home boasting three ensuite bedrooms (plus a lock-off option to accommodate extra bedroom requirements); open-concept kitchen, living and dining areas; and exclusive, member-only amenities. When designing Dancing Bear, a Timbers Resorts property, the developer thoughtfully considered the desires of second-home owners who want the benefits of a vacation home without the all-in cost or maintenance. With similar properties worldwide in such attractive locales as Beaver Creek, Cabo San Lucas, Kapalua, Tuscany, and St. Thomas, Timbers Resorts knows a thing or two about designing luxury vacation homes. “We believe traveling luxuriously means always traveling effortlessly,” says Timbers Resorts Founder and Executive Chairman David Burden. Indeed, families choose to own second homes in hopes of creating shared memories—fun, relaxing times spent together where everyone can reconnect.
‘These are the places Timbers creates,” says Burden. Dancing Bear is just such a spot. The resort comprises two four-story buildings; the Parkside Building, which opened in 2009 beside Wagner Park, and its newest Mountainside Building, which was completed in June 2016 and faces Aspen Mountain. Each building has a maximum of four units per floor, allowing each to be a comer unit with a full range of views. The two buildings are connected by a corridor that runs under Durant Avenue (the first of its kind permitted by the city) that resembles a posh hotel hallway and provides Mountainside residents comfortable access to all the resident amenities in Parkside. Each building has its own ski valet plus individual boot lockers with Chinook heaters and year-round owners’ storage.
Both buildings boast exquisite interiors, Parkside has slightly larger bedrooms and living space but Mountainside has newer interiors with a similar warm and inviting aesthetic. Central to the living space is a stacked-stone gas fireplace with natural wood accents. The master bedroom boasts a second fireplace, and the adjacent bath features heated tile floors, a steam shower, a Westyle soaking tub, and Kohler sinks and faucets. Kitchens are fully stocked with Villeroy & Boch china and feature granite countertops, a microwave “drawer,” a Subzero refrigerator/freezer, Wolf range, and Asko dishwasher. Each unit also has a washer/dryer. Crowning the Parkside Building is a glass-walled rooftop terrace commanding magnificent views not only of a star-studded night sty; with an Aspen Mountain backdrop, but also overlooking historic downtown, Independence Pass, and the Roaring Forks Valley.
The best seat in the house is either beside one of the two fire pits, or immersed in one of the three hot tubs. Robes and slippers await in the indoor lounge area. The terrace also has two BBQ grills and a seating area if owners wish to cook both cold and hot breakfast specialties and the all-important morning latte. Dancing Bear provides all the features an owner would desire in a second home and then some. There is a private theater with lounging chairs, fleece throws, and popcorn upon request. An expansive game room will keep all ages entertained with foosball, ping pong, billiards, card tables, a large screen TV, and sofa seating in the room’s main area, plus a separate nook dedicated to a toddler play area and a glass-walled “teen room” boasting its own TV with Wii and Xbox gaming consoles.
The lower level also has a state-of-the-art gym and a private massage room. Men’s and ladies’ locker rooms with showers come in handy, especially on checkout days. Owners can host a large family Thanksgiving dinner or casual beer and pizza parties in the private dining room, which has its own service kitchen, wine locker storage, and an adjacent lounge area tastefully draped off with velvet curtains. Dancing Bear employs a full-time private chef on site for just such occasions. Both buildings have ground floor tenant space available for restaurants. Parkside currently houses The Monarch Steak House, a pub-styled restaurant inspired by the private London supper clubs. The Monarch’s tableside Caesar salad is delicious entertainment. It boasts an impressive wine and spirit selection, with specialty Manhattans making an intoxicating comeback.
Dancing Bear’s private club-like atmosphere combined with the generous number of days ownership affords (three weeks in the summer and three winter weeks, annually) creates a relaxed comradery among its owners who chat over breakfast on the rooftop terrace or mingle at a cocktail reception. Likewise, the Dancing Bears staff gets to know the owners, as they attend to their every need with genuine hospitality Reservations are made, picnics are packed, massages are booked— all with easy smiles and graceful service. The team makes transitions easy, anticipating your arrival by delivering your stored personal items, stocking your pantry as requested, and bringing up your wine from the cellar. Dancing Bear offers shuttle service to any of Aspen’s four ski mountains: Aspen Mountain (if you decide not to walk), Buttermilk, Snowmass, and Aspen Highlands.
Its shuttle also is on call to take you to whichever local hot spot strikes your fancy, whether apres ski at The Little Nell, brunch at the Hotel Jerome, or shopping at Gorsuch. The beauty of fractional ownership with a Timbers property—especially one as popular as Dancing Bear—is the opportunity to exchange a week or two for time at Esperanza, The Preserve at Botany Bay, Mayacama, or another of its five-star properties. And yet, with a vacation home in such a stunningly beautiful and vibrant location as Aspen, you might find yourself cherishing your days at Dancing Bear like a child clutching his favorite blanket.