THE DEAL: GRAND AMERICA, SALT LAKE CITY, UT
WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: A case can be made that Grand America, a hyper-elegant hotel that’s like a Ritz-Carlton on steroids, is one of the best ski hotels in the US. The kicker is that the hotel is located in the middle of Salt Lake City, a good 40 minute drive from some of Utah’s best resorts, such as Snowbird, Alta, Brighton and Solitude. Sure, you can see the snow-covered Wasatch range from your big windows downtown. But you stay here for two reasons. Because you can jump on a highway and be at a different ski resort every day. And because this amount of space and luxury would cost you four or five times as much in the mountains. It’s why you see couples and families in ski gear in the dramatic two story lobby of this hotel, a space that befits corporate moguls more than powder hounds clad in North Face. Built as the lodging centerpiece for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the hotel’s ski patrimony is clear. It’s owned by Earl Holding, who also owns Sun Valley and Snowbasin Resort in nearby Ogden.
WHO SHOULD GO: Anyone who wants to sleep in high style and considerable comfort and visit a different ski resort every day. Ski Utah estimates that a whopping 50 percent of skiers and snowboarders who come to Utah stay in Salt Lake City, not at one of the storied resorts.
THE ROOMS: Premier Rooms are a lavish 700 square feet, with classic French furniture, lush fabrics, and bathrooms that are vast and clad in marble. Executive Suites, at 880 square feet, offer almost an embarrassing amount of space for an extended stay. The 775 room hotel manages to provide a close approximation of a formal European hotel experience.
MORE REASONS TO STAY: You can have dinner at the hotel’s Garden Cafe‚ or walk 10 minutes for dinner at Bambara. Or head out for a casual night at the lively Squatters Pub Brewery, where you can drink beer brewed downtown in a state not especially known for imbibing.
WHAT’S THE DEAL: On weekends, the rates start at $259 for a Premier Room. Executive Suites start at $279. Or go for the ski package, at $310, which includes a lift ticket to Alta, Snowbird, Solitude or Brighton.
CAVEAT: You’re not at a ski resort. But you’re awfully close.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: You can walk to restaurants, shops and bars in eminently walkable Salt Lake City, which has a kind of 1950’s feel about it. And I mean that in a good way.
THE DETAILS: Grand America; www.grandamerica.com; 800-621-4505