Park City: Waldorf Astoria
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Waldorf Astoria2100 Frostwood Drive 84098 Park City, Utah 435/647-5500 parkcitywaldorfastoria.com
Crave Cafe offers grab-and-go breakfast, lunch, and snacks, including locally produced creminelli salami.
Brand-new for late 2012 is the Powder Ice Lounge, a 14-foot bar carved in ice that serves bubbly to patrons who are invited to keep warm under fur blankets.
- Shuttle service to Park City
- Fitness center and pilates room
- In-room washers and dryers
- Ski valet service
- Ski boot room
- On-property gondola
- Golden Door Spa
One of the reasons I gave up skiing was the hassle: waking up early, driving for hours, renting gear, and lugging it around. Yet approximately 20 minutes after I'd checked in at the Waldorf Astoria Park City at the Canyons Resort it became apparent that I wouldn't have to shoulder these logistics. Somebody else had them under control, from the two strapping Black Tie Ski Rentals guys who showed up at my door to fit my gear to the staff manning the hotel's handy boot room and ski shed. There was even a gondola just outside that led directly to the mountain. Now that all I had to do was show up, the cold-in-my-face rush of whizzing down a slope seemed appealing again.
Of course, should the old, chill-averse me return, the Waldorf, which sits ten minutes outside of the historic former mining town of Park City, isn't exactly a hardship to hole up in. From the outside, the place channels a grand mountain lodge, while inside, the lobby and entrance area feel intimate rather than soaring. The lobby sports a look I'd call "wild west chic," with weighty crystal chandeliers and Oriental rugs blending seamlessly with a pair of cast-metal buck deers.
Accustomed to the layout of the typical ski-cabin retreat, I expected most of the rooms to offer kitchens or kitchenettes. But in addition to a balcony, two gas fireplaces, two bathrooms, and three TVs, my one-bedroom suite had a larger and vastly better cooking area than my kitchen in New York City (Viking range, check!), making me wish my stay was long enough to warrant picking up some provisions. Luckily, the hotel's food and beverage staff have anticipated such an urge: A program called "Be Your Own Chef" lets culinarily-inclined guests order kits that come stocked with every ingredient necessary for a meal, say, Italian—with house-made pasta, fresh sauce, and rosemary lamb—or a Mexican family-style feast.
At Slopes, the accolade-studded onsite restaurant, chef Clement Gelas brings refined techniques to Utah's rustic ingredients: a tender, tomato-red elk carpaccio, woodsy smoked Steelhead tartare dotted with goji berries, and rich roasted butternut squash bisque poured into a ramekin of gruyere foam all stick out in my taste memory. In the morning the restaurant becomes the more casual Powder, where you can fork into Gelas' authentic tartiflette, a specialty of his native French Alps, featuring a potato and bacon tart topped with poached eggs and Utah cheese.
Though your mornings may be spent whizzing down the mountain, relaxation is also a serious part of the agenda. Après (or in lieu of) ski, there's a courtyard with several outdoor hot tubs and a heated pool that make a particularly thrilling vantage for the snowfall. The hotel is also home to a Golden Door Spa, one of just five in the world, where you're encouraged to arrive early and stay after to stretch your chosen treatment into a half-day relaxation retreat. —Jenny Miller
IN THE AREA
- Shopping in Park City: The home of the Sundance Film Festival has enough shops to warrant an afternoon's browsing. Pick up authentic Westernwear at Burns Cowboy Shop, read about the town's history at Dolly's Books, and taste-test the largest and most unusual selection of oils and balsamics I've ever encountered at Mountain Olive Oil. 613 Main Street in the Park Hotel; tel: 463/649-1400; mountaintownoliveoil.com
- Winter Sports: Skiing and snowboarding are top-notch and seamlessly accessible from the hotel, which sits at the base of the 4,000-acre Canyons Resort. Off-the-beaten-slopes types can consult the hotel concierge to set up snowshoeing, zip-lining, dogsledding or a speed-skating lesson with Olympian Patrick Meek, when he's in town.
- Talisker on Main: When a restaurant wins awards independently for its cuisine, wine and design, it's probably time to book a table. In fact, if you are visiting Park City, reserve yours at Talisker on Main right this moment, before they all fill up. Chef Briar Handly brings creative techniques to the best local ingredients for dishes that offer an element of surprise, like a delicious dry-ice-frozen shaved turnips topped with horseradish and trout roe. 515 Main Street; tel: 435/6458-5479; taliskeronmain.com