We descended upon Salt Lake City along with what seemed the entire Upper East Side for spring break and the last ski of the season – ironically leaving a bone-numbingly cold city to balmy 68 degree temperatures across Utah. Although I have been to Deer Valley several times and have checked out the popular luncheon buffet at the Stein Eriksen’s on-mountain restaurant Giltretind, this would be our first time staying at the Stein Eriksen lodge.
In Deer Valley, there are three luxury hotels claiming ski-ski out access. Two of them – the Montage (see our 2010 review)
located at the top of the mountain at Empire Pass, and the St. Regis, located at the base – have only been open since 2010. Located smack in the middle of these two hotels at mid-mountain (8,200 feet to be exact) in Silver Lake Village is the Stein-Eriksen.
Named after and managed by 1952 Winter Olympic Gold medalist of the same name, The Stein, as it is called by guests and locals, has been attracting a loyal crowd since its opening in 1981. Even though it is not the only luxury game in town as it once was, the Stein is still the only hotel in all of Utah possessing a Forbes five-star rating and a AAA five-diamond award. There’s a good chance you will see Stein himself, now 87 years old, still walking around the lobby and make sure things are in order.
In comparison to its newer and more glamorous neighbors, Stein might appear at first impression a bit frayed around the edges but that is in fact part of its appeal to loyalists who go back year after year. Someone looking for a more modern aesthetic or a chic scene will most likely be happier at the others mentioned above. For me, Stein-Eriksen distinguishes itself by really feeling like a lodge rather than ‘a hotel on the mountain’ (no doubt based on the influence Stein brought from his own country of Norway). A current $8MM renovation through December 2015 to update most all of the rooms and give a makeover to the main lodge will keep it fresh without straying from its rustic design.
At the Stein, there are no airs or pretenses, just a lot of character wrapped up in the style of an Alpine ski chalet. Think lots of overstuffed couches, lit fires in stone fireplaces (there are many including in the restaurant where morning buffet breakfasts and lunch is held), cathedral timber ceilings and a large outdoor terrace where people can watch the world ski by. It’s exactly what a lodge should look like (and why we also loved the Ritz Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek). I imagine the Stein is at its best when its snowing plentifully rather than the ultra-warm temperatures we experienced – we didn’t sit by the fireplace once! The only thing we missed seeing was a nightly s’more gathering at an outdoor pit and some resident dogs to fawn over.
What differentiates Stein from the rest of the pack – and what it prides itself in – is its exceptional service and eagerness to please. It exceeded our expectations in every way. Everything was efficient and easy from check in to the concierge to the ski valet. For me, it was the little touches that mattered: our daughters being greeted upon arrival with stuffed animals and homemade cookies and milk, the Voss water and Duke Molton toiletries throughout our suite, the Keurig coffeemaker in our kitchen, the fluffy down duvets, even the newspapers at our door each morning in canvas bags. No request was too outrageous and answered in seconds. That is simply how the Stein rolls.
We definitely look forward to a future stay here – hopefully next time with lots of snow!
Stein has the enviable position of being idyllically situated both slope-side and mid-mountain. Three different lifts as well as neighboring Silver Lake Lodge are just steps away from the ski valet and terrace. Ski instructors for private lessons conveniently meet you right outside. We never had to bother going to the crowded base of the mountain other than to drop off our daughter for ski school. Another key perk: we could pick up our daughter from ski school during her hot chocolate break an hour earlier at next door Silver Lake lodge.
Shuttles depart every 30 minutes like clock-work from the hotel entrance taking you to town of Park City a few minutes away, other hotels or restaurants. If you miss the shuttle as we always seemed to do, no worry. The complimentary hotel car took us wherever we needed to go and picked us up as well.
ROOMS TO GET
The resort has 180 rooms comprised of 112 Deluxe and Luxury guest rooms and 68 1-5 bedroom suites including seven grand suites located in the main lodge.
As a family of four, we booked a two bedroom suite (#109). Ours was attractively decorated in earth tones, very comfortable (with three plasma TVs) and incredibly spacious: Our suite comprised of a foyer for hanging all our ski clothes and snow boots, three full bathrooms, living/dining area, a full modern kitchen, and a large terrace with a generously sized hot tub looking out over the mountain and lifts for the full-on experience. Two wood burning fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom were replenished daily and lit upon request.
Suites can vary widely in decor as owners are responsible for decorating them and some are more renovated than others (although most will all be renovated by the end of 2015). Location is key as the resort is spread across 10 acres. Ours was ideally nestled between the front entrance of the hotel, the main lodge where the shops, restaurants and ski valet is located and the spa – all connected via a heated walkway. Everything was just a few steps in any direction.
Stein possesses Utah’s only Forbes five-star spa aptly named The Spa. The 23,000 square foot spa was renovated in 2009 and possesses 16 treatment rooms, hot tubs, jacuzzis, saunas and morning/afternoon classes of pilates and yoga for anyone who is capable and motivated. After badly bruising my ribs thanks to a skier who decided I was in her way, I wisely sought refuge here and experienced one of the best massages ever by Holly. Seek her out.
There are two on-site restaurants at Stein: Troll Hallen lounge for casual fare (no reservations) and Giltretind, where breakfast, lunch and dinner is served. A stay at the hotel (or a visit to Deer Valley for that matter) is not complete without experiencing lunch at Gilterand – arguably one of the best buffets in the area. You will find long lines here starting at 11:30 through 3 p.m. on any day especially as they don’t take reservations (that is, unless you are a guest at the hotel). The dessert buffet (pictured above on St. Patty’s Day in case you were wondering why everything is green) is a sight to behold and impossible to resist.
WHAT WE LOVED
- 5-star flawless service. This is how its done, folks.
- The Ski Valet service was bar none the best we ever experienced at any ski resort from the ski lockers to overnight boot warmers to the ski valets getting us on and off the slopes. We didn’t have to lift a finger.
- Giltritend. Ski up your appetite and then head here.
- Location. From the proximity to Park City for its restaurants to the on-site Deer Valley skier services (for lift tickets) to roll-out-of-bed-to-the-lifts, everything was so easy and convenient.
- Roomy and comfortable suites with down-covered beds you can’t wait to sink into.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LOVE
- The breakfast buffet was a bit underwhelming. Our one-time request for an egg-white omelette ($20) and a soft boiled egg somehow went awry.
- The ‘game’ room is seriously in need of a rehaul.
- Where are the s’mores? Perhaps we have just been spoiled at other resorts offering marshmallow toasting at a fire pit nightly after a day of skiing but we look forward to congregating with other guests at the end of a day at a fire pit. Perhaps it was because of the warm weather, but this ritual was only offered one night in the lobby during the six days we were there. Disappointing.
- Sleigh Rides are offered every evening outside the hotel from 4:30- 6 p.m.
- When you want a day’s break from slopes, try dog sledding. We used and recommend North 40 Escapes. A really fun activity but advise anyone to do this after a snowfall and when its under 50 degrees otherwise the dogs get overheated quickly.
- Park City, a historic town with an abundance of great restaurants is only a five minute drive away. These are the ones we recommend trying and most you can book through Open Table (book weeks ahead of time):
- Fletcher’s on 562 Main Street in Park City – delicious food with a twist and nice ambience.
- Fireside Dining at Empire Canyon Lodge. An alpine gourmet experience: Raclette cheese and fire-roasted legs of lamb served from stone fireplaces and chocolate fondues. Definitely worth it and if you have time, take a sleigh ride with the Clydesdales waiting outside).
- Blind Dog Restaurant & Sushi – An extensive regular menu and sushi menu to satisfy any appetite. Live music and fun, hip vibe. Located right outside of town, a short drive from the hotel.
- Handle on 136 Heber Avenue – we didn’t get a chance to eat here but we heard great things. Check out the menu.
Images courtesy of Stein Eriksen and Inviato.
|Rooms to Get||Tips|
Stein Eriksen Lodge
Virtuoso Amenities through Classic Travel/Inviato at the Stein include:
• Upgrade at time of arrival, subject to availability
• Complimentary Buffet Breakfast in Winter and Ala Carte Breakfast in Summer for two daily for duration of the stay
• $100 USD equivalent Spa Services credit to be utilized during stay
• Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
Why book Virtuoso?
- Personalized travel assistance
- 24/7 online booking
- Special rates & exclusive offers
- Guaranteed Room upgrade*
- Complimentary full American breakfast
- Early check-in, Late check-out*
- Exclusive on-site amenities (varies by hotel)
- * based on availability on time of arrival