Round-arched upper windows under a frieze of recessed brick panels distinguish this three-story brick hotel, named for financier Jerome B. Wheeler, who bankrolled the $160,000 project. The hotel, with its balustraded entry porch and a sacrosanct sidewalk bench, has been the town gathering place since 1889. After the 1893 crash, a bartender bought it for back taxes and kept it open. The Paepckes leased the hotel in 1946 and began renovation. A $10 million expansion and restoration in 1986 converted the ninety modest rooms into twenty-one luxurious rooms and six suites. A sixtysix-room rear addition mirrors the original's rough sandstone trim, pink brick, and arched windows. Inside, Eastlake furniture, a pastiche of sixteen different floral wallpapers, rustic antler chandeliers, and Carrara marble bathrooms help the Jerome outshine even Aspen's newer luxury hotels, the Little Nell and the Ritz-Carlton.
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