I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend with my husband at the St. Regis Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. This elegant mountain property is about a 45-minute drive from Salt Lake City’s international airport via the comfortable Park City limo service, a chance to unwind from the flight, sit back, and enjoy the beautiful scenery as one makes the climb to the 7,000-plus-foot level.
The St. Regis is located within the gated community of Deer Crest, perched high above the main lodge of the Deer Valley Resort, with its six mountains covering more than 2,000 acres and 21 chairlifts. Our route through Deer Crest was lined with snow-draped aspens and evergreens, and lighted with thousands of twinkling white lights. On arrival at the hotel, we were greeted at the porte cochere by gracious valets who scooped up our luggage and led us into the warm and inviting lobby where a fire was blazing in the big, central, stone fireplace.
From the moment of our arrival to the airport drop-off three days later, the level of service at the hotel exceeded all expectations—starting with our “personal butler,” Alexander Mattinson, who happens to be head butler for all North American St. Regis properties. Mr. Mattinson honed his craft in England at Buckingham Palace, as part of the livery staff working with the Queen’s horses and carriages. A high level of service, indeed! I’m pretty used to doing things for myself, so I didn’t take Alexander up on his offer to unpack my bags, but I did enjoy his “familiarizing” us with our suite—from the working of the two gas-fired fireplaces and the location of coffeemaker, dishwasher, and kitchen utensils, to the use of the hidden TV screen embedded in the bathroom mirror. And it was good to know that he was always available should any problem arise.
The 177 rooms, including 64 suites (suite bedroom pictured at left) at St. Regis Deer Valley are extremely well appointed. From our kitchen (pictured below) with its marble countertops and cabinets stocked with dishes, glassware, cutlery, pots and pans—everything one might need to prepare dinner or snacks, should you decide on occasion to forgo the resort’s excellent restaurants—to the bathroom with separate water closet, and both a tub and extremely spacious, glass-enclosed shower with two showerheads and the capability to pump steam into the stall, replicating a sauna experience. The sliding glass doors of the suite look out onto Wasatch Mountain views and provide access to a lovely terrace with wooden furniture for relaxing, dining, or just breathing in the clear mountain air, weather permitting.
For meetings and events, the St. Regis offers six spaces accommodating from 20 to 200 guests. The 7,500 square feet of indoor, and 7,000 square feet of outdoor function space includes the 2,814-square-foot Astor Ballroom. The adjacent outdoor 1,829-square-foot Astor pre-function area offers a fire pit and stunning mountain views, and it can be tented and heated for year-round use. The meeting space, all on the first floor and in a section of the hotel remote from guest rooms, provides a sense of privacy; but for the ultimate sense of ownership, the entire property can be bought out for an event. (The day that I departed, Nike was moving in and taking over the entire hotel for a weeklong event.)
The hotel’s several eateries all have a casual vibe. J & G Grill offers knockout views along with custom-made omelets, frittatas, and eggs Benedict; meats and seafood; and a host of other options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The St. Regis Wine Vault stores more than 13,000 bottles of wine and is a handsome and intimate venue for private dinners or receptions. Close by, the St. Regis Bar serves a variety of hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches, and tapas-style dishes, as well specialty cocktails that include the 7452 Mary. (Every St. Regis has its own specialty Bloody Mary, a nod to the drink’s invention by the bartender at the original St. Regis Hotel in New York.) Park City’s 7452 version is a reference to the bar’s altitude—7,452 feet above sea level.
But to work up an appetite for the sumptuous and delicious offerings at the St. Regis, what better than a morning—or a full day, if you’re up to it—of skiing? Jans Mountain Outfitters on the lower level of the hotel offers ski equipment rentals—just about anything you might need: snowboards, skis, boots, even ski jackets and pants. St. Regis Deer Valley is a ski-in, ski-out resort, located at the base of Deer Hollow ski run, but I’d arrived on opening day of ski season, and the snow was not quite deep enough for that run to have opened. But it’s just a few steps out the door to the resort’s dedicated funicular, which will bring you down (and, of course, back up again) to Snow Park Lodge at the base of Deer Valley Resort ski area in just 90 seconds. Alternatively, you can catch a hotel shuttle—they run regularly and can also be summoned easily with a phone call from the base of the slopes—to carry you down; ski valets will meet your car and help unload your equipment. Deer Valley Resort has been ranked No. 1 resort in North America for five years in a row by SKI Magazine readers.
Skiing is of course the main winter draw in Park City, and the terrain is extensive and varied, meeting the needs of all ages and ability levels. Having not hit the slopes for a few years, my husband and I decided to take a half-day ski lesson. Our instructor eased us onto the mountain, helping us brush up on our skills and feel comfortable on the snow after just a couple of fun hours. The ski school at Deer Valley employs 500 instructors and offers private and group lessons for children, adults, and families. On our second day in Utah, our group skied with two-time moguls Olympic medal winner Shannon Bahrke—enthusiastic, energetic, and a lot of fun. Planners can arrange for Bahrke to lead their group in an inspirational, exciting, half-day excursion.
Because Park City/Deer Valley hosted the 2002 Olympics, there are plenty of venues and activities that seem custom-made for groups. A shuttle bus ride away, Olympic Park houses a fascinating museum highlighting the history of skiing in Utah up to and including the 2002 Olympics. Also a big hit with adventuresome groups are the bobsleigh and luge rides at Olympic Park. Our group—well, most of us, anyway—did the bobsleigh ride on the Olympic track. Suitably helmeted and packed into the sleighs in teams of four (one of whom was, fortunately an experienced driver licensed to pilot us greenhorns), we made the one-minute ride to the base of the run, an intense experience I think none of us will forget any time soon.
I hauled my slightly battered body back to the hotel where I’d booked a facial at the 14,000-square-foot Remede Spa. The treatment was so much more than just a facial, encompassing a deep massage of head, neck, and shoulders, and a fantastic foot massage with warm paraffin treatment. Just the ticket after the bone-jogging trip down the icy bobsleigh track. Also on site at the hotel, the 3,000-square-foot Athletic Club, open 24/7, has workout equipment and free weights, as well as a separate yoga and pilates where I took both a yoga class and, the next day, a foam-roller self-massage class. (Foam rollers were new to me; they work wonders at unlocking those tight, knotted muscles that most of us seem to develop these days seated at our computers for hours on end.)
Even though the St. Regis has loads of activities available, our group spent one evening off site in Park City. Once an old mining town, then officially declared a ghost town before being revived, big-time, by the ski industry, Park City’s Main Street is an inviting collection of interesting shops and restaurants, perfect for an evening’s stroll. We ended up at the eclectic High West Distillery & Saloon, just off Main Street at the base of Quittin’ Time ski run and next to the Town Lift. (They bill themselves as the world’s only ski-in gastro-distillery.) Here the owner gave us a tour of the distillery in the basement where the establishment’s Vodka 7000 (again with the altitude!) is created. Housed in a historic former home, the restaurant offers several separate rooms for private dining, and our group enjoyed an amazing, multi-course meal with many dishes featuring products from the distillery, and a whiskey tasting as part of the experience. On a scale of one to not-to-be-missed, this is a destination/dining/drinking experience you don’t want to miss.
Finally, a mention of Park City/Deer Valley summer activities: plenty. The fly-fishing is amazing, the golf expansive, the hiking and mountain biking epic. Snow Park Amphitheater features top-run musical acts, and, of course, the shopping and dining experiences are there year-round.