A Tale of Two Cities

Pleasure in the Park
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Night Light: Park City keeps going even when the sun goes down (Lori Adamski-Peek/courtesy, Park City Chamber & Visitors Bureau)

The Scene
The glitterati and indie film crowd descend on Park City each January for the Sundance Film Festival, a great time to see and be seen. Naturally, for a place used to hosting Hollywood royalty and prima donnas, Park City knows how to roll out the red carpet with plenty of luxe accommodations, Platinum Card-worthy dining, and skiing that's fit for a king (and his queen and all their little princelings).

Most mere mortals will only glimpse the opulence of the haute side of Park City as they schuss past grand chalets shadowing the slopes and hogging the best promontories. But even without a gated mansion within sight of a chairlift, you'll still find Park City caters to the taste for the luxuries in life.

The Slopes
Utah's powder is world-class white gold, nowhere more so than at Deer Valley (800.424.3337; www.deervalley.com), which will leave you powering through dump-filled glades and imagining you're in a winter wonderland of Narnia proportions.

And if luxury's your aim, this is your place. Period. This 1,750-acre resort pulls no punches in its raison d'être: to provide the most sumptuous ski experience possible (no snowboarders allowed!). All of which is to say, expect perfectly groomed trails, immaculately mannered staff, a dearth of serenity-shattering sound systems, luxe fittings and finishings, and award-winning cuisine that wouldn't be sniffed at by an Upper West Manhattan snob fest. In fact, Deer Valley's daily skier limit tops out at 6,500, a number based on the resort's restaurant capacity. You just know you'll eat well when a place goes to those lengths to keep your stomach and your claustrophobe tendencies happy. Lift tickets for the 2005-06 season start at $74.

With 91 runs to choose from, the skiing at Deer Valley is no slouch either. Cruise your way down pleasing groomers on Flagstaff Mountain or Little Baldy Peak, or up your game on newly opened Empire Canyon, where the double-black chutes will elicit less than polite cussing—and maybe even some rebel snowboarder antics.

A little closer to the Main Street action, Park City Mountain Resort (800.222.7275; www.parkcitymountain.com) is the place for true ski-in, ski-out ambience, including a small tramway that sifts skiers from the downtown hotels right to the base lodge. Daily lift tickets start at $69.

Finally, word to the wise: to experience chichi Park City's skiing at its very cushiest, hit the slopes during the Sundance Film Festival when the great and the good are too busy striking deals—the slopes are empty and your lift ticket will suddenly seem worth twice as much.

The Crib
After a day of pampering yourself on Deer Valley's slopes, spend a night pampering yourself at the equally cushy, slopeside Lodges at Deer Valley (800.782.4813; www.lodges-deervalley.com). A hotel shuttle will whisk you and your gear all of 500 meters to your lodging, and you'll be sprawled on your massive, ache-busting bed before the sweat's had time to evaporate off your back.

This 190-unit complex of hotel-style rooms and condos is grand yet welcoming, with a towering three-story fireplace and open lobby beckoning you in, and similarly large rooms providing all the comforts of home (including big timber or stone fireplaces in each condo). An outdoor heated pool plus hot tub are great ways to soothe away the aches of too many turns (or tumbles?), while the staff stand alert to answer your every A-list beck and call. Rates for hotel-style rooms start at $330 in the regular season, with a two-bedroom condo running $740 per night over the same period.

For something a little closer to Main Street, though no less exclusive, consider the charming Silver Queen Hotel (435.649.5986; www.silverqueenhotel.com), a 12-suite boutique hotel that's a stone's throw from the Park City Town Lift. Beyond the killer location, each room exudes its own distinct styles, while amenities include a rooftop hot tub with mountain views and washer/dryers in every room for the long-haul stay. Rates start at $425 per night in the regular season.

Après-Ski
Not content with a mere post-ski soak in the hotel hot tub? Then book yourself some true muscle rehab in one of Park City's dozen luxury spas, the pick of them being the 10,000-square-foot Spa at Hotel Park City (435.200.2000; www.hotelparkcity.com), conveniently located at the base of the slopes at Park City Mountain Resort and a 20-minute stroll from Main Street. Let one of their qualified sports masseuses give you a deep-tissue workover as you replay your day's athletic feats to the soft tinkle of New Age melodies and wave of aromatic scents. The spa also boasts steam and meditation rooms, Jacuzzi, hydrotherapy tub, and a whole menu of massages and treatments for total body rejuvenation. The 80-minute Deep Tissue Sports Massage costs $180.

With your limbs now like loose spaghetti, turn your thoughts to food: Main Street is lined with a number of classy, eclectic places to eat, including the atmospheric Wahso (570 Main St., 435.615.0300; www.wahso.com). The creative menu twists Asian staples like duck or Thai curry into more modern platters, with fusion flourishes and unexpected local ingredients. And while the combos don't always work (oyster tempura, anyone?), the restaurant receives full marks for its bold style and mouthwatering flavors. To really cap off a grand day, choose from over 100 wines in a cellar that has garnered Wahso accolades from foodie bibles like Wine Spectator.


Published: 10 Oct 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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Best Hotels in Park City

$269-$289
Average/night*
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#1
Hotel Park City
$275-$295
Average/night*
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#2
Stein Eriksen Lodge
$115-$127
Average/night*
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#3
The Silverado Lodge by Canyons Resort
$175-$178
Average/night*
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#4
Park Plaza Resort

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