AS THE STORY goes, Eleven Experience is named for the reference to the cult-classic Spinal Tap (“These go to 11”), but also because the experience of visiting one of their locations is not a 10—it’s an 11. It’s hard not to agree once you make your way to an Eleven property, all of which are located in slightly off-the-beaten-path destinations: northern Iceland, Harbour Island in the Bahamas and Le Miroir in France, among them. So when I was offered the opportunity to visit not one but two Eleven locations, my excitement level was at—you guessed it—an 11.
My trip takes me back to a state I lived in for 12 years and return to often: Colorado. But all of my years spent in the picturesque Rocky Mountains could never have prepped me for what was in store. Eleven Experience is all about truly customized experiential travel for what the brand refers to as “adventure capitalists.” I feel comfortable classifying myself as that, which made me feel ready—and thrilled—for my trip.
A driver meets me and a few other guests in the tiny Montrose airport to drive us to Crested Butte, an approximate hour-and-a-half journey. We arrive at the robin-egg blue Scarp Ridge Lodge (winter rates from $3,180 per room, per night, based on double occupancy)—set a block off Crested Butte’s main drag—and are greeted by an extraordinarily friendly staff of young locals, all eager to cater to our every whim and desire. The 13,500-square-foot building was once a hall where the silver miners gathered for drinking and dancing, but today it accommodates up to 20 guests (the property is popular for full buyouts). There are five king suites—each named for a mountain that can be seen from the lodge’s windows—and one incredible bunkroom, complete with an adjoining nanny bedroom. (I mentally file this under “properties that have thought of everything.”) All the rooms come stocked with fresh food mini bars filled with tiny jars of anything from seasoned popcorn to yogurt-dipped pretzels to Castelvetrano olives.
The decor at Scarp Ride Lodge epitomizes Alpine elegance, with hardwood floors reclaimed from a 19th-century farm in Kentucky and exquisite metalwork throughout, all made from a local blacksmith whose massive and wild studio (sparks seem to fly from every corner) is close to the property. The marble in the kitchen is sourced from the nearby town of Marble, and hanging on the walls are framed vintage photographs, each telling the story of the town’s heritage and its storied skiing past. There is also an indoor saltwater pool (complete with underwater acoustics) as well as a steam shower and sauna, but the pièce de résistance of that room has to be the Jacuzzi with its jets aimed toward the muscle groups most commonly used for skiing.
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