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When to Splurge vs. When to Save: Ski Town Hotel Edition

Before photo of the Little Nell, after photo from the Limelight

Curbed Ski has dished on the 38 best ski hotels, but let's be honest, sometimes the ritzy spots are worth the extra money and sometimes they aren't. Today we match up the 5-star ski hotels against their budget counterparts in a battle of "Splurge vs. Save" that will have you spending your hard-earned money wisely. Where is this battle going down? Pack your skis because we're headed to Aspen, Jackson Hole, and Steamboat.

Before photo of the Little Nell, after photo from the Limelight

Aspen: Aspen might be the fanciest ski town on the map, but where should you spend your money? We're comparing two sister properties: The Little Nell and the Limelight Hotel. We love both (that's why they are on our 38 Essential Hotels List). The Little Nell is Aspen's only five-star, five-diamond property with ski-in, ski-out access to historic Aspen Mountain. The digs are gorgeous and the food is top notch. The Limelight isn't exactly budget, but you will usually save at least a few hundred dollars if you opt for this option. Don't think it's a sacrifice, you will still find large rooms, comfortable beds, and an awesome pool and hot tub area. Plus, we prefer the Limelight's laid-back happy hour vibe in the lobby.

Winner: SAVE and book the Limelight.

Before photo is the Four Seasons Jackson Hole, after photo is the Wyoming Inn

Jackson Hole: The splurge in Jackson Hole is without a doubt at the Four Seasons Resort. An awesome location at the base of the mountain, top-notch lodging, and impeccable service make the hotel one of America's best. We also just can't get enough of the outdoor pool, whether in winter or summer. But is it worth it, or should you stay at one of the other more reasonable options like the newly remodeled Wyoming Inn? This 68-room lodge is in Jackson proper and makes a great base for dinner out or exploring the nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Even though rooms are a lot less pricey than the Four Seasons, they certainly don't look budget, with fireplaces, granite countertops, and the like.

Winner: SPLURGE and book the Four Seasons Jackson Hole. It's just that good.

Before photo is the Steamboat Grand, after photo is the Nordic Lodge

Steamboat Springs: Steamboat doesn't have the same ritzy resorts found in other ski towns, but the Steamboat Grand Resort and Hotel is the closest thing to a luxury oasis. Located at the base of the mountain, the Steamboat Grand features 328 spacious rooms that are good for families. Two oversized outdoor hot tubs round out a nice list of amenities. The budget competition? The Nordic Lodge, a remodeled motel with a great location in town. We know, we know, it's a motel. But the service at this place beats some 5-star resorts, with helpful owners and attentive maid service. It's also a great place to explore town, and offers roomy accommodations for half the price of the Grand.

Winner: SAVE and book the Nordic Lodge.

· All Hotels Week 2014 Coverage [Curbed Ski Archives]