Utah has 15 resorts for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy. And while everybody's looking for the same thing on the mountain—a layer of world-famous Utah snow topped by bluebird skies—they have very different needs and wants when it comes to where to stay when off the slopes.
Some want a top-of-the-line brand-name experience or a stay in an iconic Utah hotel. Others are looking for a place for the crew, family and friends that allows everybody to connect around the dinner table. Or maybe there's nothing more important than access and being right on the mountain to ski in and ski out all day long. Finally, there's the ski bums, whose passion for the slopes outweighs the balance in their bank accounts, and whose sole concern is just having a place to crash at night.
Whichever one of those groups you identify with, there's a good fit to be found in Utah. In our list of lodging options, we're also including Salt Lake City. After all, one of the main selling points of Utah as a ski destination is that there are several resorts within an hour's drive of the capital city.
The Grand America (555 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 800-304-8696, GrandAmerica.com) was built in downtown Salt Lake City to invite the world here for the 2002 Olympics. The rooms feature classic décor, and the hotel's website lists 27 amenities for the most basic room. After a day on the slopes, you can book a treatment in The Grand Spa, which, at more than 20,000 square feet, lives up to its name. Or, you can even book a spa suite, where the treatment space is part of where you stay.
Sundance Mountain Resort (8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, Sundance, 800-892-1600, SundanceResort.com) is a symbol of recreation in the Utah mountains, and the different lodging options in Provo Canyon are part of what makes the experience unique. Rooms, suites, lofts or homes are set in areas with mountain views or along the river or on the mountain. With legendary restaurants such as the Tree Room and a name that is so recognizable outside of Utah, Sundance remains one of the state's premier experiences.
From top of the slopes to top accommodations
The St. Regis Deer Valley (2300 Deer Valley Drive East, Park City, 866-932-7059, StRegisDeerValley.com) features a fun funicular ride with beautiful views of the valley while getting from the parking area to the hotel. Once there, enjoy traditions that are found at every St. Regis, such as the sabering of a bottle of Champagne at 6 p.m., or a signature Bloody Mary, in this case featuring local vodka from High West Distillery. The private slopeside "ski beach" in back of the hotel is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny afternoon after a few runs.
Montage Deer Valley (9100 Marsac Ave., Park City, 435-604-1300, MontageHotels.com/DeerValley) is an imposing building on the side of the mountain that looks like something out of a James Bond movie. One thing that can tear you away from the slopes is the spa, a 35,000-square-foot retreat with a holistic focus, outdoor views and Vichy showers. Try a signature treatment like Altitude Therapy.
The front lounge at Waldorf Astoria Park City at Canyons Resort (2100 Frostwood Drive, 435-647-5500, ParkCityWaldorfAstoria.com) features the same crystal chandeliers and black décor that can be found at the Waldorf Astoria in downtown New York City. The ski lifts are just yards from the front door, while in the back is a courtyard with firepits that is so romantic at night that it was a home base for The Bachelor in 2012.
The More The Merrier
At the Hyatt Escala Lodge at Canyons Resort (3351 N. Escala Court, Park City, 435-940-1234, EscalaLodge.hyatt.com), all of the suites, ranging from one to four bedrooms, have full kitchens, and sleeping configurations range from two people to more than 10. The Escala is located within short walking distance of the main village area and lifts.
Westgate Park City Resort & Spa (3000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City, 877-819-4050, WestgateResorts.com/park-city), also at Canyons, is a family-friendly property with a kid's club and rooms that are set up so that a basic one-bedroom rental can sleep four people, and you can add a smaller lockout section with room for four more people to sleep. A full kitchen and a large dining room table make it a home away from home.
Newpark Resort (1476 Newpark Blvd., Park City, 877-781-6916, NewparkResort.com), located just off Interstate 80 at Kimball Junction, is near enough to Park City's resorts to make skiing a priority, but also far enough away that guests can experience something beyond a typical ski lodge experience while being surrounded by all of the shops and restaurants in the Newpark and Redstone shopping areas. There are 20 two-bedroom townhomes to accommodate family and friends. At the end of a cold day on the slopes, what's better than walking on heated floors and hopping into a hot tub on your own private deck? We can't think of anything.
At Snowbird's Cliff Lodge (9385 S. Snowbird Center Drive, 801-933-2222, Snowbird.com), ski-in/ski-out isn't the only thing that's convenient. You've also got easy access to shopping, dining, a salon, a rooftop pool, 360-degree views, and the Cliff Spa, which offers 30 different treatments.
For families, it's tough to beat the Brighton Lodge (8302 S. Brighton Loop Road, 855-201-7669, BrightonResort.com), where kids under 10 stay free, continental breakfast is included and dorm-style rooms are an option. Being slope-side just yards from a lift location along with the lodge's rustic style make this a classic winter vacation experience.
Cedar Breaks Lodge (223 Hunter Ridge Road, Brian Head, 800-438-2929), CedarBreaksLodge.com), sitting at nearly 10,000 feet, makes it easy to get on the mountain at Brian Head Resort, and its prime location just outside of Cedar City in Southern Utah also means you can easily get to national parks such as Zion and Bryce Canyon. Combine sun and snow by taking a quick drive down to St. George or even Las Vegas.
Park City Mountain Resort, recently purchased by Vail Resorts, is home to Marriott's MountainSide (1305 Lowell Ave., Park City, 435-940-2000, Marriott.com). The property offers one- and two-bedroom residence-style villas that are, as the name suggests, right on the side of the mountain.
Grand Summit Hotel at Canyons (4000 Canyons Resort Drive, 435-649-5400, CanyonsResort.com) is a modern, AAA 4-diamond property that happens to sit just steps from the warm and toasty Orange Bubble Express, an enclosed heated lift system that keeps you nice and comfortable as you head up the mountain.
A ski vacation can be a great time to try out unique accommodations. These spots might leave you talking about more than just the snow when you get home.
With its downtown location, chic décor, hosted wine hour every evening, animal print bathrobes, 24-hour in-room dining available from Bambara Restaurant and in-room spa services, Hotel Monaco (15 W. 200 South, 801-595-0000, Monaco-SaltLakeCity.com) offers the classic city-center boutique hotel experience.
Washington School House (543 Park Ave., 800-824-1672, WashingtonSchoolHouse.com) in downtown Park City is, as the name suggests, a school built in 1889 that's been transformed into a bed & breakfast. However, don't let the B&B designation fool you: with the theme "old school is the new cool," the 12 rooms here have European décor, a bright rather than rustic feel, and ice-white marble bathrooms. Don't forget to ask to borrow an iPad loaded with movies.
Dude, I Just Need a Place to Crash
For hard-core but funds-strapped skiers and boarders, the answer to "Where should we stay?" is "Wherever is cheap and available." Amenities, schmenities. What counts is if you can get back and forth to the resorts and make this as affordable as possible so you can take even more ski trips.
The Chateau Apres Lodge (1299 Norfolk Ave., 435-649-9372, ChateauApres.com) in Park City justifiably calls itself "a skier's ski lodge," because the location is just 150 yards from Park City Mountain Resort's lifts, and boasts 32 rooms—including dorm style—where the focus is on being serviceable and getting you back out onto the slopes as often as you want.
We're also living in an age where a quick search on AirBnB.com and CouchSurfing.org means you no longer have to rely on knowing somebody when you go to a new place and you just need a couch to crash on. CouchSurfing.org claims more than 7,000 registered hosts in the greater Salt Lake area.
Whatever your group size, trip focus or budget, you can find the perfect place to lay your head while enjoying Utah's ski resorts.