Entrepreneur Spotlight: Simon Chen of The Little Nell

The Little Nell is a 5-star, ski in/ski out resort located on Aspen Mountain. Read on for insight from Simon Chen, Managing Director for The Little Nell, and learn why this resort keeps people coming back!  

Denver Style Magazine: Can you describe the general atmosphere of The Little Nell?

Simon Chen: “We spend countless hours training our employees to provide the finest experience for our guests, with one major caveat. We want employees to build a rapport with our guests, and not just for that visit, but for years to come. When you walk into the hotel, it is very approachable and our service is intended to run parallel. I remember my first Christmas back at The Little Nell. Upon arrival, I was watching our guests bypass the front desk and  immediately greet our team with hugs and kisses. The Nell is the only hotel that I have ever seen this happen so regularly, and I remember my thoughts when I first saw it happen. I was speechless and in awe of the amazing team. That was a defining moment for me, and made me realize what a special place The Little Nell and her employees are.”

DSM: What qualities make this destination unique to the area?

SC: “I have had the privilege of living in Colorado since 2002, in the Vail Valley, San Juans and now Aspen, and running hotels in all of these stunning locations. Aspen has always set the benchmark that all other mountain towns aspire to achieve. Our community is always trying to attract new visitors while keeping our loyal ones. Aspen is a year-round destination. We are fortunate to have  amazing restaurants, world-class events, great music and art, and of course, a plethora of outdoor activities.”

DSM: Why do you enjoy working at The Little Nell, and what do you think that says about the business as a whole?

SC: “I love the team that I get to work with every day. They are all outstanding at what they do and so much fun to work with. It makes coming to work a joy. We are constantly looking to improve what we do and most of our ideas come directly from our team, then we all work together to bring them to reality. Because we are part of Aspen Skiing Company, we have the ability to access a whole different world than most hotels can ever dream of. I am still amazed at some of the ideas the team has come up with, who we reach out to help us bring the idea to life, and how successful they have become for us. I think our guests recognize that we are always trying to improve their experience and that’s why they keep coming back.”

DSM: What is your favorite quote, and how does it apply to your business philosophy?

SC: “I really don’t have a favorite quote. My business philosophy is very simple.

 *   Hire people who are passionate about what they do. We can teach you to make a cup of coffee but we cannot teach you to care about our guests.

 *   Treat each other with dignity and respect

 *   Allow people to do what they do best

 *   Most importantly, have fun! Life is too short”

DSM: What is your most memorable business experience?

SC: “When I reflect on all of the different places that I have seen throughout my career, the one thing that keeps coming up is the people that I have had the privilege to work with. The hospitality industry affords us the ability to pretty much work anywhere in the world. Luckily for me, I have seen some remarkable places and had the opportunity to live in amazing towns & work at outstanding hotels. I still have great friends from each place I’ve worked, and have had some of my most memorable experiences with them.”

DSM: What would you recommend on the menu for a quality dining experience?

SC: “I think a quality dining experience differs for each person. Personally, I like to try different cuisines and dining experiences. I always enjoy amazing ingredients simply prepared, complemented by a nice bottle of wine from the region, or something new and different that I haven’t tried before. Working in the industry, I prefer the service to be friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.”

The Little Nell


675 East Durant Avenue Aspen, Colorado 81611 970.920.4600