Surrounded by one hundred acres of sand-hued canyons, Amangiri is a perfect place for a weekend of hiking, spa treatments and relaxation in southern Utah.
Goldener Hirsch, Auberge Resorts Collection
Lodges at Deer Valley
The fact that you can rent your skis and boots right in the building
The Lodges at Deer Valley is a comfortable condo lodge with hotel-like services a short shuttle ride from the Snow Park base. The lobby is dominated by a massive rock fireplace and leather sofas. There’s twenty-four-hour front desk service, a helpful concierge, a ski-rental shop off the lobby and a small “General Store” that sells sundries; you can also arrange to have your kitchen stocked with groceries for a fee. Rooms range from hotel rooms doubles to spacious three-bedroom suites with large living rooms with fireplaces, dining areas and full kitchens and washers and dryers. Each bedroom has its own bathroom, which are not fancy or marble clad. “Roaring Rockies” might describe the décor, which features plenty of wood elements, from twig accents to walls paneled like a log cabin. Antler lamps, plaids, Navajo-style rugs and paintings that evoke ranches and fishing cabins are scattered throughout. As mountain family homes, they work exceedingly well. There’s a heated swimming pool, full fitness center, daily Continental breakfast offered in a second floor dining room and après-ski hot cocoa and snacks, but no on-site restaurant or room service nor a spa.
Montage Deer Valley
Montage is a relatively young luxury hotel company—its first property opened in Laguna Beach in 2003—but one with a major reputation for lavishing attention on very spoiled hotel guests in Southern California. So the owners of Montage Deer Valley don’t just aim to be the best ski property in the West—they need to live up to their brand’s own standards.
In Montage’s case, how you arrive at the hotel distinctly affects your impression. As a hotel guest, you drive high up the mountain to Empire Pass and pull up under a massive porte cochère with stone columns, soaring wood beams and flickering flame heaters. Valets usher you into the lobby, a Craftsmen show-stopper with wide wood floors and a bronze statue of a skier to remind you why you came. The hotel mascot, a Bernese Mountain dog named Monty, may also be present. Check-in is done in advance so you are whisked right up to your room, which has a residential mountain décor and fireplaces in every bedroom. The effect: a warm welcome. If you arrive from the slopes, however, what you notice is how massive the building is. The main building is ten-stories, with rooms, suites and residences across all floors. A ski valet will help you with your skis but you must climb steps in your ski boots to reach one of the restaurants or the lobby.
Among the draws for families are a pub with bowling alleys, dart boards, pool tables and video games, a kids’ club, indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, a sledding run and a 35,0000 square-foot spa (complimentary locker access to all 18+ and pool and fitness center access for all 16+). The sledding run can be rented out and the experience is complete with hot chocolate, hot cider and s’mores at the fire pit. A highlight is Paintbox, the kid’s program for ages five to twelve that includes games, crafts and movies and is open to entertain until 4pm, with Kid's Night Out on weekends from 6pm to 9pm. In the winter, the Paintbox staff will prepare the children for skiing before bringing them down to their lesson, returning at the end of the day with a report card and a map of where the child skied. In the summer, activities for all include hiking, biking and fly-fishing. Want to rent skis, book an instructor or buy gear? You can ride the elevator from your room to the ski shop, which provides lockers for all ski gear, warms boots overnight and will have your skis waiting out front for you.
The staff still has trouble managing crowds at peak times (to snag a table at Daly’s pub, you better arrive before noon), but they are friendly and plentiful. Touches like the superb hot chocolate served in the cafe (the secret recipe of the chef’s mother) that comes piled with mini marshmallows, whipped cream and chocolate shavings soften the frustration of the kinks. Well-selected coffee-table books and oil paintings of Western landscapes adorn the public spaces as well as the 154 bedrooms and 66 suites and residences that range from one to four bedrooms. The Western rustic décor continues in the guest rooms, all of which have patios or balconies and mountain views and feature signature Montage comforts like large stone bathrooms with heated floor tiles and Italian soaps, great linens and LCD TVs. The Vista Lounge, complete with stunning views of Park City and beyond, is perfect for an après ski snack, remote work or pre-dinner cocktails and features live music for après ski daily.
Overall, the Montage’s scale is imposing and unless it’s full of bustle, it can feel like you are alone rattling around in a cavernous space. However, the staff really knows how to spoil its guests and cater to families. In fact, it has the promise of becoming a great Western lodge, much in the vein of grand old family resorts, like the Greenbrier or the Breakers. Don’t miss the excellent, on-site restaurants, including Apex, Daly’s Pub & Rec and Vista Lounge.
Pendry Park City
Sorrel River Ranch
Usually when a property is located a 30-minute drive outside of the closest town, it is an inconvenience – in the case of Sorrel River Lodge, it's actually a plus thanks to a glorious setting right beside the Colorado River. It also helps that Route 128, that leads to the 240-acre property is one of Utah's most scenic, framed by towering red rock cliffs and the rushing river.
Guests turn into the sprawling property and drive along large meadows studded with the property's horses (lessons and rides into the surrounding landscapes are available). By the time you reach the cluster of wooden cottages and cabins, you cannot hear the road anymore; the sound of cars has been replaced by the rustling Aspen trees and gurgling river.
Sorrel has 55 rooms and suites, all of which come with kitchenettes (if you want wine or snacks, you have to purchase them in Moab, as there is nothing up near Sorrel). All accommodations are set in clusters of wooden cabins that line the river, though not all of them have river views. There are eight family suites, and every room category has several options, including king beds, double queen or full beds. Some are multi-level and others have the possibility of connecting rooms. Interiors are modern interpretations of the Wild West, with polished wooden floors, Navajo-inspired rugs, wrought iron light fixtures and massive picture windows. Most of the bathrooms comes with separate showers and claw foot tubs, and the lovely eco-friendly amenities are made exclusively for Sorrel. For couples, some of the best rooms are the Riverview Deluxe Kings, which have lofty ceilings and a lot of space.
The heart of the property is the main lodge, which was the original owner's personal home in the 1990s. The large wooden deck outside is reminiscent of a safari lodge, with lots of comfortable couches and rocking chairs, overlooking the river and into the mountains. The pool and hot tub are small and located right next to the riverside entrance of the main lodge; walking by a hot tub-full of people in bikinis can feel a little awkward at dinnertime. Overall, though, the vibe at Sorrel is laid-back, almost like a summer camp for grown ups – no one dresses up for meals, and most everyone is just happy to be staying in this special setting.
There's a small spa with four treatment rooms, tennis courts and some short hikes on property, but the whole point of a visit here is to explore beyond Sorrel. The lovely staff is happy to help arrange day activities in the nearby parks and wilderness. Guided tours to Arches and Canyonlands are options, as are excursions to nearby Fisher Towers and the incredible mountain bike trails of Moab. During the summer months, the Colorado gets busy with rafting traffic, and guests at Sorrel have front-row seats to the spectacle. More serene are April and October: both are glorious months to visit this part of southeastern Utah.
St. Regis Deer Valley
True to the St. Regis style, the ski-in, ski-out Deer Valley property has a cozy, residential feel expanded to grand hotel proportions. Interiors of the 181 guest rooms, 67 condo suites and 26 private residences mimic the surrounding snowscape: subtle eggshells, rich umbers, and deep creams are set with dark chocolate furnishings and brass reading lamps, printed pillows and heavy gold curtains. But there are few nods to the West with lodge-pole furniture or to Alpine traditions.
Amenities are top-notch as well: there’s a 14,000 square-foot Remède Spa, a state-of-the-art fitness club with personal trainers, exhibition wine cellar, ski butler service, two-tier infinity edge pool and slope-side hot tubs. The final wow? The perennial outdoor lounge: a 3,000 square-foot heated stone terrace, edged by 40-foot long wall of fire. Plus, December 2021 saw the opening of a new après lounge in the form of a massive clear and heated structure with vaulted ceilings, a bar and comfortable seating slope-side, just in front of the stone terrace.
Stein Eriksen Lodge
Ever since Norwegian Olympic gold medalist Stein Eriksen opened his five-star lodge, it has been the top address on the mountain for those seeking a classic mountain-resort, ski in/ski out experience. There’s always a fire blazing in the lobby, beneath soaring rock walls, a copper chandelier and large elk head that hangs over the mantelpiece. At Christmas, mantels and doorways are framed with pine boughs and twinkling lights and a massive Christmas tree bedecked with ornaments and surrounded by beautifully wrapped presents dominates the lounge. Stein’s ski rental shop, complimentary lockers and Deer Valley ticket window are mere steps from the slopes, and are complimented by a coffee shop serving pastries that are easy to grab and go in the morning. While it is simple to click on your skis and head down to any of five lifts, the Stein Eriksen Lodge does command a perch above them, so a short lift is available to deliver you right to the ski lockers at lunchtime or the end of the day (although it is a relatively short uphill walk, for those so inclined).
Many of the 175 rooms are suites with fireplaces, balconies, kitchens and living rooms; some can be connected with adjacent rooms for as many as fourteen people. All have a cozy and charming mountain aesthetic, with lots of polished pine furniture and wood-burning fireplaces, lending the place an old-world–yet updated–feel, and bathrooms boast Molton Brown products.
Glitretind, the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, frequently wins awards for its “global cuisine” and extensive wine list, but many prefer to grab a table by the fire in the Troll Hallen lounge and order a Stein’s burger or grilled cheese. The lunch scene is renowned with a bountiful skier's buffet served every day in Glitetrind with carving and made-to-order stations, hot options and salads. The desserts are also plentiful, and the pastry chef is known for his homemade caramel chocolates, which can be ordered online by guests who crave them when they get home. There’s a large gym, two outdoor pools and renowned spa, where guests can get treatments with organic products.
The several-year-long expansion that began in 2017, brought a number of exciting additions to the property, including Stein Alpenglobes, located on the deck outside the Gitretind. These are sleek glass and wood domes available for après ski and dinner reservations, offering the same menu but with a private experience and mountain views. Families love the addition of the movie theater, which operates on a first come first served basis and screens Sundance films during the festival, as well as the new Champions Club (the Stein Eriksen’s answer to the Montage’s Daly’s), which offers classic pub fare and complimentary arcade games. Right outside the Champion's Club is the newly redone outdoor plaza with heated patio with fire pits for s’mores, as a well as a new family-friendly pool added beside the original (although all ages are permitted in both). The extension also included expanding the wine cellar and the private tasting room, and giving the main lounge a facelift that preserved Stein's Norwegian charm. A similar plan update will be given to the Glitretind, and the lodge is currently in the process of redoing most of their rooms to give them a more uniform look while maintaining the classic Stein feel.
For travelers looking to day trip to another mountain in the area, Stein offers vehicles that can be rented out for the day. Staff-driven vehicles (which are linked to Uber) are also available to take guests to and from downtown Park City and Park City Mountain.
Located mid mountain near Stein Eriksen and the Goldener Hirsch, the Chateaux is a solid option for families who want space or for groups who want more independence than they find in a hotel. The 147 rooms are large and comfortable with fireplaces and large granite kitchens but a little less convenient to the ski school, it’s located at Silver Lake, which is midway up the mountain and the ski school is based down at Snow Park Lodge. Rooms range from hotel doubles to four-bedroom condos, and in addition to the Continental breakfast and in-room kitchens, there is Cena Ristorante and Lounge, and Le Spa Chateaux, a full-service spa and salon, on the premises as well as an outdoor rooftop pool overlooking the mountains.
The Lodge at Blue Sky
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon
If you want to visit Bryce Canyon for more than a drive-by, this is the only place to stay (unlike Zion, which has a charming little town with bed & breakfasts just outside its border, Bryce has nothing but strip-malls in its vicinity). The main Lodge building has a large lobby, with a row of check-in counters, fireplaces and cushy chairs. One wing houses a large gift shop (which actually has some very nice, locally made crafts); the other contains the dimly lit restaurant where hikers have breakfast and dinner.
Guests stay either in basic hotel rooms, located in two-story buildings that are reminiscent of a college campus, or in a series of more plush cabins. All accommodations are a short walking distance to the rim of Bryce's famously dramatic Amphitheater, so the location cannot be beat (the Sunrise Point Rooms are slightly closer than the cabins and Sunset Point Rooms). The best accommodations are the cabins, which are spacious and come with gas fireplaces and double full-sized beds. Bathrooms are small but adequate (you won’t be spending much time in the rooms anyhow).
There's nothing luxe about the Lodge's rooms (don't expect room service or amenities) or restaurant, which is a large, cafeteria-style setting with hundreds of diners nightly. But the pleasures of staying here are not found inside: it's the absolute privilege of waking up in time to see the sun paint the canyons orange; setting off on hikes before the day trippers arrive; and walking up to the dark rim at night, beneath a looming sky splattered with stars, feeling like the smallest — and luckiest — person in the world.
Trail’s End Lodge
Friends of ours love Trail’s End Lodge & Pine Inn, a ski in/ski out condo adjacent to Snow Park Lodge, where the ski school is based. The rooms have a rustic Western appeal and were conceived to accommodate families, so fabrics and furniture are tasteful but durable. Many of the rooms, which range from one- to four-bedrooms, have full kitchens as well as covered decks with hot tubs. Like the Lodges at Deer Valley, Trail’s End offers Continental breakfast and après-ski snack service but no restaurant.
Washington School House
There is something to be said about a hotel that is elegant and stylish, yet somehow successfully achieves an inviting and warm ambience. This is the case for the 12-room Washington School House.
The hotel’s exterior shows its historic significance, while the interior, after a complete renovation in 2011, is simple in design with white walls, wooden floors and unique furnishings. Complete with an outdoor pool for the summer and easy access to the surrounding ski resorts in the winter, the hotel is open year-round. Non-skiers will also enjoy the property, which is located a short walk from Main Street, complete with great boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. While the hotel offers a true boutique experience, luxe extras include in-room massages and a private chef who whips up whatever guests desire.
The first thing you realize on the homepage of the Zion Lodge (the only hotel accommodation inside Zion National Park) is the fact that it takes reservations more than a year in advance. This gives you an idea of how nearly impossible it is to reserve here. If you are lucky enough to get a cabin, don’t start shopping around for other options: just book. The Lodge is by far the most coveted place to stay (unless you’re into camping), as it allows travelers to sleep inside the park, in the center of a canyon. Guests are the only people allowed to drive inside the park during the season (everyone else is relegated to an excellent shuttle bus service).
The Western Cabins are not freestanding (they are duplexes or fourplexes) and remind of a children’s drawing: thick wooden beams, beds with Navajo-inspired throws, gas fireplaces, ceiling fans and a small porch with a wooden bench. Bathrooms are small but adequate (you won’t be spending much time in the rooms anyhow). Walls are thin, but your neighbors will be fellow hikers and outdoor enthusiast, so normally it’s a quiet bunch. Mid-day, the cabins make for a great spot to nap, change and recharge before an afternoon hike, one of the main disadvantages of staying outside the park.
The Lodge’s restaurant offers breakfast and will pack a classic boxed lunch for hikers (sandwich, including a PB&J option, cookies, apple, chips). Dinner is also available (the dining room seats 400), but the nearby town of Springdale has better food at less-lofty prices, and a more local vibe. Views, of course, cannot be beat, so at least come for a beer or glass of wine at the end of a hiking-heavy day and sit on the first-floor terrace while watching the rock-face turn crimson. As the pinks and purples give way to blues and blacks, you can’t help but feel privileged to be stargazing in midst of this special place, as you wander back to your cabin surrounded by the silent, majestic landscapes you explored during the day.
Zion Mountain Ranch
The good news first: Zion Mountain Ranch sits in an incredibly pretty location on 2,700 acres, with expansive views of the area’s mountains and forests as well as overlooking a buffalo preserve, with roaming animals that immediately convey an uncanny Wild West feel. All of the accommodations are log cabins and lodges of varying size (up to three bedrooms), and most feature modern but destination specific décor and furnishings, including comfortable king-sized beds, gas fireplaces and wooden floors. Some come with well-equipped kitchenettes, wood fireplaces, bathtubs or Jacuzzi tubs. All have glorious views and a feeling of spaciousness.
In short, this is an alternative to the Zion Lodge inside the park (and for travelers allergic to the whimsy of a family-run B&B, it is the only other option). But here’s what to consider/know before committing: the East Entrance to Zion (about a 10-minute drive away) is spectacular but it’s also a hair-pin pain to drive repeatedly. At the end of its 20-minute hairpin-turn descent lies the Main Entrance where you will have to leave your car and get on the shuttle.
Serious hikers will not appreciate this lengthy approach on a daily basis, preferring the convenience of a Springdale hotel, where the Zion Shuttle makes stops. There’s no “running back to the hotel” in case of a forgotten camera or suntan lotion at Zion Mountain Ranch; once you are out for the day, you will not want to return until you’re ready to be home for the night. The same goes for dinner: the Ranch has an excellent restaurant (Cordwood), whose menus feature organic produce grown in the gardens here. But if you want to mingle with the locals at Oscar’s or Bit & Spur in Springdale for a night out, you will need a designated driver willing to negotiate the canyons after dinner. The bottom line: you have to decide how important easy park access is to you versus nightly comforts when considering booking the Zion Mountain Ranch.