Handmade Historic and Chic or Too Glitzy For These Parts?
On Slow Life Likes This Photo
I used to live in Park City as a teen before the stars got there and it was a rustic mining town with amazing snow and an unruly mountain. I just got back and had an amazing time skiing and sampling the old and slow and the current new hotels (just for a look and a drink) and their out of whack slickness which does not integrate into the landscape.
A Little Out Of Scale
Due to my history with Park City, I have a protective feeling for the essence of the place. Thankfully, it still feels like Park City. I like luxury hotels if they honor where they are. This St. Regis could have been planted from anywhere. Mountains can really frame thoughtful architecture and this was a missed opportunity. As one local Park City/ Deer Valley woman so clearly points out, "The exterior architecture and location is like a jagged scar on that hill. The building is so sterile and jutting out of the notch on the hill, with no architectural references inside or out that connect it to the mountain environment or ambiance. Its just a plain, rectangle with no imagination or detail. I have often said that is like it was plopped down by someone who has never seen or been to Park City/ DV...it could have been built just as it is in any urban setting."
They are big, slick and stylized, not of the alpine vernacular but transported from a blueprint . Here I am at the top of the St. Regis perched over the hills on a terrace with Flintstone rock landscape architecture and gas flames. I watched the Superbowl and the staff was very friendly and service was great. I also appreciated the beautiful use of wood and rock, but the visual against the mountains is a little intense.
Montage Looking Big and Fairytale like
Montage is a little more soulful but a bit cold and massive. A modern mountain Shining location but impressive as well. I only had a meal with friends at the Apex Bar but the guitar player was amazing, great voice, delicious mountain fare appetizers, nice views of the mountain, very large and impersonal hotel lobby but a Montage.
According to a designer who lives in Park City and covets small town charm, she knows her hotels. " I do like the exterior elevations - when you approach the hotel from the road it's very impressive with the intricate roof line that feels European and appropriate for the alpine location. Inside, it again feels to me that they realized they were building in a mountain resort, and were able to hit the right notes with wood and alcoves and furnishings to honor the mountain while maintaining the luxurious feel expected at a Montage. I can see how it relates to say the Laguna Montage, while adapting to the mountain style."
The narrative of Deer Valley and luxury was originally influenced by the old school Norwegian Olympic champion who started the whole luxury culture in Deer Valley.
Night & Day
So on the luxury side, I vote for Stein Erikesn Old Style Alpine lodge and the amazing dining experience at Glitretind Restaurant. I had dinner one night by the fire with a pal of mine who is half Norwegian. Stein is Norwegian and the lodge is a shrine to his old European rustic lodgey sensibilities. Huge fireplaces and wood and great details with metals, woods, stencils and style. Not kitsch but mountain luxury in a slow way. Global staff, our server was an amazing man from Jamaica and very polished. He knew his menu, his wines, his timing and the nuances of unobtrusive yet attentive service. Very impressive nice staff tucked mid mountain Deer Valley. Cozy, detail oriented, fresh local, regional and not pretentious.
Old town is still charming, even better with strings of festive lights illuminating main street and the victorian and federal style architecture. One of a kind shops and rustic hip bars and restaurants maintain its authenticity. I love the way they keep it looking like Christmas all season. No Name Saloon anchors the old and new with lots of wood and old sleds, mining tools, historic alpine relics, air hockey, beer on tap, cool staff, very responsive like when a drunk guy wouldn't stop talking to me. They helped me out. Very local scene in a timeless ski town way.
Main Street Park City
Park City Ski Resort staffers can be rude though. No hellos in the over priced lodges on the mountain, out of control skiers and snowboarders whacking into my friends and family without even a sorry. The skiing terrain has gotten better though and slow chairs a thing of the past. Park City is still a rough and charming place. It's still the wild west.
Sundance is still my favorite. Rustic, evocative of the mountains, the heritage of alpine sports and native American wisdom. I went for a snowshoe and every turn was magical, quiet, and gorgeous. Jutting mountains, history of mountain man legends, Independent film and ski resort rustic elegance at its best.