You arrive breathless to the brand-new Salt Lake International Airport, dreading that moment at baggage claim when your over-sized luggage (think skis or golf clubs) will be lost or placed in some far away kiosk. That’s what always happens at other airports. Amazingly, though, what you discover is that the $4 billion redo of this airport included a state-of-the-art baggage re-think, which accommodates the handling of colossal-sized luggage. Things go crazily smooth, including the chauffeur transfer (just 35 minutes), skis in hand, provided by your bucket list hotel, St. Regis Deer Valley.
You’ve always been a skier (not a boarder), so you’ve been relishing the chance to ski at this legendary ski area, famous for its wide, groomed runs, celebrity visitors and ski only access. She has never skied before, but you’ve assured her that if she can learn anywhere, it’s here in the Wasatch Mountains, just one mile from Park City’s historic Main Street, home to her beloved Sundance Film Festival. The moment you pull into the hotel, you hesitate. “Is this the right place?” you ask the driver, because he’s brought you to a building that doesn’t look like a hotel at all. In fact, you’ve been to Europe, you’re pretty sure that’s what you see is a funicular.
Indeed, you discover that to arrive to the lavish St. Regis Deer Valley means to ascend the mountain in what amounts to a charming train on tracks, pulled by cables. She’s thrilled and claps her hands in glee. Score! When you step into the hotel, set atop the mountain like a multi-level feudal castle, you can see for miles from every direction. You’re whisked to your suite. Like the hotel itself, it sits on the slope, overlooking some of the world’s most coveted expanses of mountain snow. You wanted to get her something special, so the chief concierge helped you formulate a plan in advance. He arranged for a pair of perfect alpacas (that’s right: her favorite animal) to meet you on the way, greeting you in the terrace of the expansive lobby. She’s over the moon. “Can we take them home?” she sings.
You hit the slopes in Deer Valley, where Ski Valets assist with ski storage and boot warming, though you do wander over to nearby Park City Resort (the biggest ski resort in the U.S.), as well. As you predicted, she learns to ski quickly on these accommodating slopes, carpeted with what locals call “the greatest snow on earth.” You also enjoy the amenities at this grand hotel. From the signature 7452 Bloody Mary cocktails (each St. Regis offers its own rendition, this one’s named for the altitude) to the famous champagne sabering event each evening to salute the day to your seductively healthy couples massage in the 14,000-square-foot Remede Spa, this hotel defines honeymoon haven. When not skiing, you dip into the split-level infinity pool, sun between runs at the Val d’Isere-style Ski Beach, nosh from the decadent Après-Ski Caviar and Raw Bar to a serenade of live music and make your own before-bedtime s’mores at the Astor Fire Pit.
But there’s something else: this honeymoon isn’t just about her. She knows how to surprise you as well. You gave her alpacas, and she has the chief concierge arrange for you to ski with Deer Valley’s Ambassador, three-time Olympian, Heidi Voekler. In every way this ski trip reigns as a dream come true.
More on Park City Area:
This one-time silver boom town manages to be both quaint sophisticated, hip and entertaining, all at once, with galleries, bars, restaurants and unique boutiques. The historic Main Street rolls up hill to the ski lifts, so you can ski down for lunch. There’s even the world’s first ski in/ski out distillery, High West Saloon, set slope-side, to add to the fun. Besides Deer Valley Resort, the area is home to two unforgettable winter experiences: Park City Resort (with 7,300 skiable acres, 38 lifts, 300 trails and 14 bowls) and the newly opened Woodward Park City, the nation’s first, all-in-one, year round, ski and sport action retreat for lift-accessed adventure tubing, skiing and snowboarding in season.
Note: As far as COVID-19 awareness, this hotel has risen to the challenge to provide a safe environment for its guests. From a ski butler to disinfect your equipment after every use, to mandatory masks and individual, socially-distanced outdoor dining venues, the hotel (and the surrounding resorts) have dedicated plans to keep visitors safe.